A guide to living in Leicester
Recognised as Britain 's first Environment City and holder of the title European Sustainable City , Leicester is rich in green space, compact and unassumingly bashful. With a strong local economy and a wave of new developments transforming the once dilapidated industrial structures that contributed to the growth and success of the city as a powerful economic force, Leicester is an exciting place to be.
However, as oft befits many towns and cities in the Midlands, Leicester's unobtrusive character often shrouds its attractiveness as a desirable, cosmopolitan and modern city in which to live and work.
Getting around Leicester
For drivers, the city centre is a maze of one-way streets and no-turns that almost make you think that the road planners designed the centre to deliberately antagonise drivers. Whether it was intentional or not, they have succeeded. Best option is to utilise the public transport network.
Although there is no ring road as such, this may explain why there is just one Park & Ride scheme in operation, at Meynells Gorse with buses operating at least every fifteen minutes.
Alternatively, St. Margaret's and the Haymarket Bus Station are centrally located with both acting as main terminals for services entering and leaving the centre across all local, regional and national routes. You can also use the open-top bus that is operated by Discover Leicester which allows you to jump-on and jump-off at various points throughout the city.
And across the other side of the city centre is Leicester rail station, with East Midlands Trains and Cross Country operating most services linking the city centre with nearby South Wigston, Narborough, Nuneaton and Market Harborough.
But if you are of a fit disposition, you will be interested to know that many of the country's National Cycle Network passes through the city.
Eating, drinking and shopping in Leicester
Being a multi-cultural society, Leicester 's ethnic diversity is manifested in the plethora of international cuisines on offer. With an international reputation for the number of Indian restaurants in the city, Leicester 's reputation as the Curry Capital of Britain is unsurpassed - the pick of the best are found along Belgrave and Melton Road 's.
But it's not just Indian food that Leicester is good for. London Road has a good choice of Italian restaurants, whilst elsewhere there are a number of Spanish tapas bars, Mexican, French, Greek, Arabic and a strong Oriental option. There is a choice selection of fancy restaurants here and there but they will take a little longer to find – although the Opera House (and former brothel) is arguably the best restaurant in the city centre.
Whether you are looking for a familiar chain pub or a real pub selling real ale, head to Braunstone Gate, Narborough Road and Hinckley Road to fully experience Leicester's bar and pub scene. And when last orders are called and you are still in the mood for staying out later, Leicester has a diverse choice to please all tastes, from Goth and RnB, to Hip Hop, Rock, Gay and Lesbian.
A major new, state-of-the-art performance centre, Curve, has recently opened in the city. Elsewhere, Haymarket Theatre, the Phoenix Arts Complex and De Montfort Hall - which hosts major concerts - are the big venues. And Leicester also enjoys a number of annual festivals reflecting the city's cultural diversity, such as the Caribbean Carnival and the Diwali celebrations, reputed to be the biggest outside India as well as the annual Comedy Festival is held in the city each February
Leicester also boasts excellent shopping facilities. Haymarket Shopping Centre and the Shires Shopping Centre (soon to be renamed Highcross Leicester following major expansion) are mirror images of most shopping malls that appear in most major city centres throughout the country, with all the usual high street retailers. But just a few hundred yards away from both are Leicester Lanes, Silver Street and St Martin 's Square – an eclectic mix of smaller, independent and unique shops including fashion retailers, café bars and shoe shops. Belgrave Road , also known as the Golden Mile, offers jewellery shops and saris.
Standing alongside these retail hotspots is one of the city's most popular attractions, Leicester Market, which is the largest covered markets in Europe and boasts a vast range of wares. It was here that football legend Gary Lineker worked on the family stall.
And at the heart of the city centre is the Clock Tower that marks the central point in the city. From here, you can plot your way to wander through some of the sights of Leicester and appreciate that there really is more to this place than an industrial heritage, such as the Jewry Wall & Museum, New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Newarke House Museum and the National Space Centre.
Fans of sport will find much to interest them in and around Leicester , here they experience the electric atmosphere of The Walkers Stadium, home of Championship club Leicester City FC as well as the city's Rugby Union team, the Leicester Tigers and Leicestershire County Cricket Club.
But for the more energetic sports lover, the city boasts a number of public leisure centres, health and fitness clubs including leading names like David Lloyd, Living Well and Canon's among others. Whereas nearby Rutland Water is popular for a range of water sports.
Main residential areas
Arguably one of the most desirable city centre locations will soon be the redeveloped waterfront area. With one-third of the 3,500 new home development already completed, the Waterfront will consist of a number of new apartments, penthouses and studio accommodation alongside a retail development of cafes, restaurants and bars.
But if city living isn't your thing, Aylestone, Evington, Glen, Knighton and Little Stretton are popular suburban areas, although prices sometimes err on the more expensive side.
Take a closer look
A picture is worth a thousand words. You can see some images from in and around Leicester below.