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A friendly city, bursting with heritage and culture, Leicester is one of the most central points in the UK. There are 10 Scheduled Monuments and 13 Grade I listed buildings here, such as Leicester Castle and the Jewry Wall, as well as some stunning examples of 20th century architecture. Leicester’s Natural Space Centre is worth a visit – a museum and educational centre covering the fields of space science and astronomy, along with a space research programme in partnership with the University of Leicester. There’s also a host of beautiful parks and green spaces, shopping centres and a heritage railway named after the company that built it, The Great Central Railway (GCR).
The city hosts an annual Caribbean Carnival and parade (the largest in the UK outside London), Leicester Comedy Festival, Leicester Pride and Leicester International Short Film Festival, ensuring a jam-packed events calendar for locals and visitors alike. Given the city’s unique cultural mix, it has become a hotbed of creativity, and the Curve performing arts centre, Haymarket Theatre and Little Theatre cater for budding and seasoned actors.
Leicester is at the intersection of two major railway lines – the north/south Midland Main Line and the east/west Birmingham to London Stansted Cross-country Line, as well as the confluence of the M1/M69 motorways and the A6/A46 trunk roads. There are plenty of bus operators serving Leicester and the surrounding area, along with three park and ride sites, making the commute into the city much less of a stressful ordeal, as well as keeping those eco credentials intact.
The central location of the city means its economy has grown from strength to strength. Companies that have their principal offices or significant sites in and around Leicester include Brantano Footwear, Dunelm Mill, Next, Shoe Zone, KPMG, HSBC, Santander, Hastings Direct, British Gas, BT, Topps Tiles and DHL. The city has historically had a strong connection with the production of textiles, clothing and shoes, but these days, engineering seems to have taken their place. Notable Leicester engineering companies include Jones & Shipman, Richards Engineering, Transmon Engineering and Trelleborg. The Golden Mile is home to a wealth of authentic Indian restaurants, sari shops and jewellers (hence its name), while Walker’s crisps have their origins in the city’s Oxford Street.
There are a number of comprehensive and independent schools in Leicester, along with three sixth form colleges. It is also home to two universities – the University of Leicester and De Montfort University, which opened in 1969 as Leicester Polytechnic and achieved university status in 1992.
The overall average property price for Leicester is £214,843. Leicester City Football Club and Leicester Tigers Rugby Union Club both reside in the city, but perhaps its most famous resident is Adrian Mole, whose fictional diaries are set in Leicester, where his creator, Sue Townsend, lived until her death in April 2014.