Leicester is one of the oldest cities in the UK but with its vibrant, multicultural undercurrent there’s no shortage of new and exciting things to do. As a new student—whether you’re a domestic or an international student—you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of places to see, things to do, activities to try or events to experience.
Fortunately, Study Inn is here to help with our top suggestions of things to do before graduating in Leicester. You’re just a few steps away from becoming a fully-fledged honorary Leicesterfarian.
Cool things to do in Leicester for students
Leicester is teeming with things to do, whatever your interests, passions or hobbies are. From music festivals to shopping streets and live events.
A cookie a day
A coffee bar by day, bar and live music venue by night and home of regular comedy nights, this venue has seen the likes of George Ezra and Royal Blood perform. The Big Difference (though known by locals as its previous name The Cookie) is the nightlife destination of choice for students.
Beyond Festival is held annually in summer and is attended by over 10,000 people. Leicester’s most popular musical festival features performances by over 30 different dance acts and artists in Abbey Park. If you love dance music, you’ll love this huge summer dance party!
Show your pride
Leicester Pride takes place every year in September when the LGBTQAI+ community comes together to march through the city centre. Don’t miss the vibrant parade that marks the beginning of the festival. Whether you identify as LGBTQAI+ or not, the parade, associated events and pop up stalls are welcoming to all and the festival highlights just how welcoming and supportive Leicester is.
Shop ‘til you drop
Leicester has so many places to shop, with a range of big name stores and independent retailers. From Highcross and Fosse Park to Haymarket Shopping Centre, you’ll find everything you need. However, no shopping trip in Leicester is complete without visiting The Lanes. A group of cobbled streets that are home to lots of independent shops, many of which with Victorian style shop fronts. Booklovers should definitely check out Tin Drum Books and for the musically-minded, don’t miss out on the city’s best independent record shop, Rockaboom. And don’t forget Leicester Market!
Things to do in Leicester if you’re sporty
The city is a great place for sports-lovers. It’s home to Leicester Tigers, Leicester City F.C and the UKs oldest professional basketball team, the Leicester Riders. The opportunities for watching and taking part in sporting activities are endless.
Catch a rugby match at Welford Road Stadium
Leicester Tigers are riding high after their 2022 Rugby Premiership win. Which means it’s the perfect time to check out a rugby match at Welford Road. Why not get together with your friends and experience all the excitement of a professional rugby club match? The club even has a special student rate available for full-time students with a valid NUS card.
Cheer on the Foxes during a Premiership match
Perhaps football (or soccer) is more your thing? Experience a Leicester City FC home match at King Power Stadium. With a capacity of 32,273, the atmosphere is something you won’t forget in a hurry. For an authentic experience, grab yourself a hot pie at halftime. They often release discounted tickets especially for students but if you want to be the envy of your friends and cheer on your adoptive home team, season tickets are available too!
Bounce your way to a British Basketball League game
Proving that Leicester is the place for sport, it’s also home to Leicester Riders. Whether you know your way around a double dribble or not, catching a game at Morningside Arena is a fantastic chance to watch the best of British basketball.
Get your climb on
Why not take a trip to Social Climbing? Perhaps the most accessible way to learn a new skill, especially if you’re new to bouldering or climbing as you don’t need to book. Simply sign their online waiver, pay a £3 registration fee and then it’s only £10 for a whole day. Of course, you can take one of their introductory classes to get started too. You’ll need climbing shoes but you can rent a pair there.
Fancy something more cultural?
From the local historic landmarks, international music, museums and even sightseeing, Leicester truly has something for everyone.
Explore the ruins left behind by ancient Rome
In ancient Rome, Leicester was known as Ratae Corieltavorum and there’s still plenty of ruins to explore. You can find the remnants dotted around the city but the Jewry Wall located at the Jewry Wall Museum is the best place to visit for those who want to delve into the history of Roman Leicester.
Experience international music
Leicester International Music Festival is an annual event where you can experience both classical recitals and modern classical music. Enjoy piano recitals in gallery spaces, concertos surrounded by art at Leicester Museum and lunchtime concerts during this annual International music festival. It’s your chance to enjoy young British composers and a range of International talent.
…and all that jazz
If jazz is more your thing check out The Love of Jazz Festival. It’s organised and staged by Leicester Jazz House alongside Midlands Jazz and Cosmopolitan Arts.
Quirky things to do in Leicester
There’s no shortage of unusual things to do in Leicester too, from fun nights out to spooky goings-on.
Bust some ghosts at Belgrave Hall
Belgrave Hall is steeped in superstition with many believing it is one of the most haunted places in the country. It’s regularly visited by paranormal experts and has even been featured on TV’s Most Haunted. If you’re brave enough, you might want to take part in one of their public overnight ghost hunts.
Visit King Richard III
Back in 2012, archaeologists discovered a skeleton buried under a car park in Leicester. Historians were shocked to discover that it was the resting place and remains of King Richard III! You can learn more about King Richard III at the King Richard III Visitor Centre or visit his final resting place in Leicester Cathedral. Locals often cite this discovery as having a positive effect on morale in the city, as soon after the reburial, Leicester City FC had an unexpected winning streak which took them from bottom of the league to winning the league the following year.
Fun places to take the family
There are plenty of family-friendly spots in and around Leicester—perfect if you have family visiting!
To infinity and beyond
This award-winning space centre is home to the UK’s largest planetarium and the Apollo Lunar Lander. An absolute must for anyone interested in space or science. It boasts 6 interactive galleries and of course, Leicester’s iconic Rocket Tower. Take any route into the city and you’ll no doubt catch glimpses of the impressive 42 metre high Rocket Tower at The National Space Centre.
We’re going to the zoo, you can come too
More than just an average zoo, Leicestershire Twycross Zoo has lots of fun activities and isn’t far. Why not sign up for one of their wildlife photography workshops with National award-winning photographer Alex Wilkinson? The workshops are beginner-friendly and are a fantastic way to hone your skills while enjoying the zoo among unique and endangered animals. And for the younger members of the family, the zoo also contains The Gruffalo Discovery Land. Covering 4 acres of woodland, it’s inspired by the bestselling children’s book The Gruffalo written by Julia Donaldson.
Day trips from Leicester
Leicester’s wide network of trains and buses make it easy for students to get in and out of the city. Why not take advantage of it to explore different parts of England or plan a day trip from Leicester to somewhere new?
Around 2 hours from Leicester and with tickets as low as £5 via National Express bus or £15 by train, Cambridge is a fantastic place to visit for the day. We recommend trying your hand at punting on the River Cam for a quintessential Cambridge experience. Simply wandering this historic university town you’ll never be short on things to see. But for a great 360° view (and for only £3) you can climb the 123 steps of Great St Mary’s Church and snap some amazing photos of Cambridge from the newly-refurbished viewing platform.
Nottingham is of course famous for its links to the legend of Robin Hood! Why not take a day trip there and check out the Robin Hood Experience, a small museum and gift shop where you can take part in quizzes and challenges as you learn about the history of Nottingham and the legend of Robin Hood. Nottingham Castle is also a must-see and a chance to learn about its 1000 year history as a Norman Castle. Easily reachable by public transport, the city is only 20 mins away from Leicester by train.
Eh up, duck. You’re now an honorary Leicesterfarian!
Now you know where to go and what to do in Leicester, you’ve definitely earned your (Tiger) stripes! We hope this list of things to do before graduating in Leicester has given you some inspiration. After all, we know that your city and your environment both play an important part in your student experience.
If you’re looking for luxury all-inclusive student accommodation for the ultimate student experience in Leicester, why not reach out to us to learn more?