We went to Leicester for the weekend. Leicester, I have learned, has something of a bad reputation in the UK. When I tried to find out why this is the case, it is simply that there is a large immigrant population there. This is certainly true but I did not feel unsafe there, the people were all very friendly and there were quite a few interesting things for tourists to do. Here are some photos from our trip.
The first two photos are not of Leicester but of the train station in York where our journey began. It was built in the 19th century and opened to the public in 1877. I am in awe of the infrastructure the Victorians built which is both beautiful to look at and long-lasting. We get to enjoy today the hard work and creativity of the people from 150 years ago. It makes me wonder what the people 150 years hence will think of the stuff we build today if any of it is still standing.
After an enjoyable couple of hours relaxing on the train we arrived in Leicester.
The next two photos are of Leicester Guildhall, built in 1390 and still standing today. It was nearly demolished in the late 19th century but fortunately sanity prevailed. It is currently home to the King Richard III exhibition. People might have heard in the news that recently King Richard’s remains were found buried beneath a car park in Leicester not far from the Guildhall. Apparently there’s a bit of rivalry between Leicester and York about where King Richard’s remains ought to be housed now they’ve been found, with each city claiming rights to his remains.
One of the advantages of living in a city with a high Asian population is that fresh produce tends to be cheap. I’m not sure why this is the case but it’s certainly true in Auckland where Asian-run fruit and veg stores sell fresh produce at much cheaper rates than the local supermarket. We discovered this market in Leicester where punnets of blueberries could be bought for 2 for £2.50.
The next photo is the Abbey Pumping Station. It’s no longer operational but was built by the Victorians to pump sewerage away from the city of Leicester. I find it absolutely remarkable that a building solely designed for dealing with shit and piss could be so beautiful. Are there any modern examples of sewerage stations that look as good as this?
The inside of the station is also magnificent, perhaps even more so, and shows how much the Victorians valued their infrastructure and perhaps also how proud they were of their engineering achievements.
The pumping station has become a museum now and there was this exhibit of a toilet which you could flush and watch the water drain away through perspex pipes. This was the highlight of the museum for the kids. They were fascinated by this and we had to flush the toilet over and over again so they could watch the water drain away. Who’d have thought a toilet could be so entertaining?
Next up was the National Space Centre. This was fantastic and you could easily spend a full day here. One of the highlights was a short film in the planetarium where the dome-shaped ceiling forms the screen for the movie.
On the way back to York we got off at Sheffield and spent a couple of hours there. Sheffield has TRAMS! Any city that has trams gets an extra ten points in my view. Sheffield is gorgeous with lots of grand architecture. Unfortunately the battery ran flat on my phone by this stage so I only got a couple of photos of the city.
Then back to York. It is so nice being able to jump on a train and travel almost anywhere for the weekend.