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Leicester is the largest city in the county of Leicestershire in the East Midlands of England. It is ranked as the 16th largest city in England. This city is an important economic centre with a large commerce and industry base. The "Golden Jubilee" park was opened to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II, Queen of England. Leicester University has its main campus in this city.
The city was named after the first Earl of Leicester, Robert Sidney, who was the patron of Leicester's Free Grammar School which was founded in 1598. The name "Leicester" is the demonym for an inhabitant of Leycester or a person from a similar place in France (Rhineland-Palatinate) called La Châtre, meaning "the church" in the local language.
The city founded its own unitary authority, the borough, on 1 April 1997 (previously being part of Charnwood Borough Council). It is also the only English county town to be surrounded by another county with no other towns between it and that county. The district administered by Leicestershire County Council includes a small amount of land north of the city which is subject to the Peterborough unitary authority. Charters were granted in 1155 and 1189 respectively. By 1229, Leicester was an independent county authority governed by a portreeve (now known as mayor), having broken away from the Liberty of Leicester in Warwickshire (the county to which it had previously been tied).
The city is unique in the UK in having a cathedral and city church (St Martin's) serving as an Anglican, Roman Catholic and United Reformed Church. Since August 1994, there has again been an Anglican Bishop of Leicester in addition to the Roman Catholic one. In 2014, the Church of England diocesan synod voted to ask the General Synod to consider changing legislation so that Leicester could become a separate diocese.
Leicester is currently one of only three cities in England (the others being London and York) that has a cathedral church. In addition, Leicester Abbey was founded by a monk from Lutterworth in 1273 but has since been converted to a Methodist church.
Another major feature of Leicester is the Dutch Quarter which was built in the 17th century. This area consists of Dutch-style buildings lined with timber-framed facades.
The Leicester city centre and Market Square boast many individual boutiques, retail chains, restaurants, cafes and different pubs.
You can check out the Bear Pit which is situated on the busy London Road at the junction of Belgrave Gate in the city centre.
The postcode areas for Leicester are LE. The area phone code is 0116.
Leicester has a population of over 329,000 in the city and just over half a million in the urban district. Over 830,000 people live in the metro area. In terms of demographics, half of the population is White British. There is a large Asian community in Leicester accounting for almost 40% of the population. The rest of the population are the Black and other minority communities.
There is an extensive park system around the city centre which was greatly expanded in Victorian times. The New Walk Museum is near the city centre and contains many historic photos of Leicester, along with a large collection of archaeological finds recovered from the surrounding area.
Leicester Botanic Gardens lie on the southern edge of the city centre and are one of the largest botanical gardens in Europe with 2,140 different plant species displayed. A large lake with fountains and an Italian garden is the centrepiece of the gardens. Between 1873 and 2004, Leicester was home to Banbury cakes, a type of biscuit unique to the city.
Key neighbourhoods of Leicester include Abbey, Bayly, Belgrave, Braunstone, Eyres Monsell (previously known as West End), Humberstone, Highfields, Narborough Road and Stoneygate. The city centre is the main business district of Leicester.
The General Cemetery in Oadby Road was completed in 1861. The Cattle Market closed in 1966 making way for the Newarke Houses. The Cattle Market was then redeveloped in 1971/72 as an indoor shopping centre – Highcross Shopping Centre – and car parks, which stand next to the original market building.
The Leicester Secular Society was formed in 1851, and continues to operate. It is now affiliated with the national organisation, the National Federation of Atheist, Humanists and Secular Society (AHS).
The city's most famous sport is football. Leicester has two league clubs, Leicester City and the Rugby Club (Leicester Tigers), though in recent times both have been a shadow of their former selves. The city's rugby club is notable as England's first rugby union side to win the Triple Crown in 1905.
Leicester also has a football team called "Leicester City" which is known as the "Foxes". The club was formed in 1884 by a group of young men who played football on St. Mark's Green, near the city centre. It now plays at King Power Stadium and is among the highest-earning football clubs in the world.
Leicester is a major centre for motorsport manufacturing in Europe, including the production of Jaguar engines at Jaguar Land Rover's Ladbroke Grove factory. There is the production of Mercedes-Benz AMGs at a plant in Brackley in Northamptonshire close to Leicester.
The city has a modest-sized financial district centred on Humberstone Gate, although it is dwarfed by the 'Square Mile' of the nearby City of London.
Leicester Market is one of the oldest markets in the Midlands, and its present site dates back to 1892. It is now housed in an art deco style Grade II listed building with a market area undercover and two outside areas. Leicester Market has approximately 150 stalls which trade on most days.
Leicester railway station lies on both the West Coast Main Line and East Midlands Main Line, which provide connections to London, Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham and intermediate cities. Also Midland Main Line trains run to London St Pancras International regularly. East Midlands Trains express services connect the city with Leicester Bradgate Airport close to Derby via a parkway station at Castle Donnington on the Midland Main Line south of Retford. The Leicester railway station is located on Station Road in the Aylestone suburb, approximately from the city centre.
National Express Coventry is the main operator with bus services to major cities and towns in the UK. The M1 motorway runs north-south by the west of Leicester, linking it to London (M40 junction 21) to the south and Nottingham (junction 22) to the north. By road, Leicester is east of Leeds, northwest of Milton Keynes, west of Brighton and southeast of Sheffield.
The nearest commercial airport to Leicester is East Midlands Airport which is in North West Leicestershire, around 20 miles northeast of the city centre. The airport has links to London (Heathrow & Gatwick), Dublin, Belfast, Spain, France, Italy and Amsterdam with a wide selection of European and other North American destinations.
The main thoroughfares are Regent Road which runs from west to east through the city centre, and London Road which runs from north to south.
The Leicester Outer Ring Road runs around the perimeter of the city (completed in October 1992) providing links to junction 22 of the M1 and via a recently constructed link to junction 2 of the M69 motorway towards Coventry and Birmingham cities. It also provides transport routes to the A6, the A50 and M69 motorways.
The A47 links Leicester to Peterborough, Milton Keynes and Ipswich. The A46 links Leicester with the national motorway network running along its south-western edge towards Rugby linking to Coventry and Birmingham on the M6.
There are many educational institutions in Leicester for primary, secondary and further education. The City of Leicester Education Committee coordinates 11–18 provisions in the city.
The University of Leicester is based within the city, and there are also two universities nearby (De Montfort University, located in Dicconson Terrace on Braunstone Campus and the National Space Centre at Great Central Way, near to Pear Tree). There are also two teacher training colleges, the City of Leicester College and De Montfort University. The University of Leicester and De Montfort University (DMU) have a joint Institute of Engineering & Technology on their main campus in Leicester, which opened in early 2007.
The University of Leicester started in 1963 and is a renowned research-led university. It has recently (May 2013) won two Queen's Anniversary Prizes in recognition of its work. Other universities close by include De Montfort University, Loughborough University and Nottingham Trent University. The University of East Anglia is also in close proximity. Addenbrooke's Hospital is the main hospital for the City with two more hospitals nearby in Lutterworth and Glenfield as well as many GP surgeries.
The city has a strong Roman Catholic contingent with four Roman Catholic grammar schools (including two dating back to the 19th century), – St Michael's and Notre Dame High Schools, Cardinal Wiseman Catholic College and Tachbrook Park School. There is also a Roman Catholic Cathedral in the city, The Cathedral of Saint Martin.
However, there are many other faith's within the city including multi-denominational schools Beaumont School, JFS and Ellis Guilford School (this school has recently been renamed Lutterworth High School, the name of an earlier school on the same site).
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust runs the local NHS Hospital Services. The Central University of General Hospitality is based at the city's Haymarket Business School with an additional teaching site at DMU’s Houghton Street campus.
The Leicester Royal Infirmary is one of the largest hospitals in the East Midlands region. It has its main entrance on Welford Road and another entrance on Narborough Road, opposite to Victoria Park.
Sites of interest include the New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, home to a wide range of exhibitions including the popular "Treasures from Indian Princely Courts"; St Mary de Castro church, with its medieval tower and chapels; Leicester Cathedral dating back to the 13th century and renowned for its stained glass windows and mosaics; the Museum of Photographic Arts featuring a permanent collection by David Hockney; and The Haymarket, an area in the city centre which is undergoing refurbishment.
The Leicester Haymarket Theatre, located on Shires Lane, hosts theatre productions, stand-up comedy evenings and other events such as local band performances. It University's art collection is housed at the Richard Frahn Gallery on New Walk, which also exhibits work by local artists; The Curve Theatre complex and the De Montfort Hall are both located nearby, along with Leicester Market and Queen Victoria Square.
Leicester is home to one of the United Kingdom's largest bus stations, served by services
Other major attractions in Leicester include the New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, the largest museum in the city.
The Attenborough Arts Centre is a multi-arts venue that opened as part of the De Montfort University campus.
In March 2008, Leicester City Council announced plans to redevelop the city centre around St Margaret's church on Humberstone Gate and Castle Street, which would be the biggest development in the city for over 100 years. This has now been completed and work is continuing around Bishop Road, with a new shopping centre built near the Curve theatre.