COUNTY AND JUST BEYOND
The economy of Leicestershire, and adjoining parts of neighboring counties, is mainly agricultural,
thereby offering many miles of travel along rural
lanes through rolling countryside and picturesque
villages. The following places, listed from north
of Barrow clockwise, are conveniently located for
a trip of no more than a few hours, all being around
1 hour or less driving time. Virtually every village
has its pub, many offering more than just one, most
of which serve appetising food at reasonable cost,
with more up-market restaurants also being found.
The larger the centre of population, naturally the
more wining and dining establishments.
Nottingham has much to offer the tourist
with many historic buildings, including its famous
castle. It is a large city, steeped in history,
and a major shopping, wining/dining, and entertainment
venue. It stands on the banks of the River Trent,
an active recreational and commercial waterway.
Sports offerings are two professional soccer teams,
First Class cricket, ice hockey, rugby football,
and horse racing - over jumps and flat. The ice
rink provides recreational skating also.
Paralleling the downstream course of the Trent,
a slight leftward diversion leads to
Southwell, a charming old market town
with numerous historic buildings, Southwell Minster
being a great attraction. There is also a race course
- over jumps and flat - with an all-weather track.
Continuing as before
Newark is reached , another old market
town with many interesting buildings and an impressive castle. The river front has been developed in recent
years with prestigious town houses. Built at the
intersection of A1 and A46, both originally Roman
roads, the town is now by-passed. A few miles along
Lincoln, dating back to Roman times
and noted particularly for its magnificent hill-top
cathedral. It is a medium-sized city with many historic
buildings. Brayford Pool, a body of water in the
middle of town connected to two navigation systems,
has been developed as a marina with wining and dining
along the water's edge. Of interest is the old bridge
over the River Witham access incorporating a restaurant.
The Leicestershire Wolds display what
is considered the county's best and most typical
countryside. It is also known by some as High Leicestershire.
Rolling countryside consisting of large fields interspersed
with isolated farms and pretty villages nestling
in leafy vales . It is prime fox-hunting country
in which can be found the Quorn, Belvoir, and Cottesmore
hound packs. On the eastern edge lies
Belvoir Castle, home of the Duke of
Rutland, and the Vale of Belvoir.
Stilton cheese was first manufactured, and still
is, in several villages between Belvoir and
Melton Mowbray. Originally a small
market town, it still hosts a weekly cattle market
but has in recent years regrettably suffered developers'
blight. Some interesting historic buildings have
survived, however. Melton is famous for its pork
pies. Accessible by rail via Leicester.
Oakham is a charming old market town
and Rutland county seat. It has many interesting
buildings and is home to a noted public school.
Accessible by rail via Leicester. Just east of Oakham
Rutland Water, one of the largest
man-made bodies of water in Europe. There are numerous
activities to choose from - sailing, fishing, biking,
and walking - so a day trip is recommended.
Just to the south is
Uppingham, a town very similar to
Oakham, and host to a well-known public school also.
It was bypassed some years ago by A47, the main
route from Leicester to Peterborough and Norwich,
which improved greatly quality of life for the residents
as well as visitors.
Stamford is an enchanting and historic
town east of Rutland Water, just over the county
boundary in Lincolnshire. It has numerous interesting
buildings, most built of sandstone. It is noted
particularly for its wining and dining establishments,
the George and Dragon being one. As Oakham and Uppingam,
a reputed public school has been active in the town
for many years. Accessible by train via Leicester.
Close by is
Burghley House, in the grounds of
which are held the annual Burghley Horse Trials.
Peterborough, a city that has grown
considerably over recent years, has some historic
buildings, most notable being the cathedral. Accessible
by train via Leicester.
Although individually a fairly easy drive, advisable
to combine Stamford area and Peterborough as a day
trip. The very new Rockingham Motor
Speedway can be found close to
Corby, a town just over the southeastern
The Langtons, a collection of villages
of particularly rural character, lie not far from
Market Harborough, another attractive
old market town with numerous notable buildings.
It lies at the end of an arm of the Grand Union
Canal, and in recent years the old canal basin has
been transformed into a prestige residential development.
A6, the former main road between Leicester and London,
has been re-routed around the town, greatly improving
its environment. Accessible by rail via Leicester.
Just in Northamptonshire south of Market Harborough
is the Battle of Naseby
Foxton Locks are found just outside
the same-named attractive village. The 10 chamber
staircase lifts south-bound craft 75 feet. It is
thought at time of writing that an adjacent abandoned
boat lift is in process of restoration.
Lutterworth, an old coaching village
that in more recent times has become a dormitory
for Leicester, has some interesting architecture.
Coventry, a large city not far over
the Warwickshire border and largely rebuilt after
devastating bombing in the Second World War, offers
shopping, wining/dining, and entertainment. Its
origin is historic, but few old buildings survive.
Worth visiting are the new cathedral and bombed
ruins of the old one.
Warwick and Castle, Kenilworth and Castle,
Royal Leamington Spa, Stratford-upon-Avon and
Royal Shakespear Theatre are all only a
few miles apart not far from Coventry. A combined
visit is recommended as each town offers much to
see, so a day - possibly longer - is advisable for
Hinckley is a medium-sized industrial
town with little to attract the tourist, except
perhaps for some the resurgent Triumph motor cycle
plant. In like vein, nearby
Mallory Park motor racing circuit,
near the village of Kirkby Mallory,
hosts several meetings throughout the year.
Bosworth Field, site of the same named
battle, is located close to Market Bosworth, another
attractive small town. Passing just west of the
battlefield is the
Ashby Canal. Built to carry coal from
the Leicestershire Coalfield to Coventry and Birmingham
in the 18th century, it is a popular leisure waterway
notable for being devoid of locks as its course
Twycross Zoo is just outside the same-named
village. The zoo is small but well run, some years
ago its chimpanzees attaining fame in TV ads for
a well-known tea manufacturer.
Ashby-de-la-Zouch, another old market
town, has historic significance due much to Ivanhoe's
association with it. Now by-passed by the main route
between Nottingham and Birmingham, Ashby has many
old buildings, and the castle ruins are particularly
worthy of note.
Burton-upon-Trent, just over the Staffordshire
border, is a medium-sized town famed for many years
for its brewing industry, which produces some of
UK's best known beers. Certain breweries arrange
guided tours, and the sampling encouraged can be
Derby, one of three cities forming
the East Midlands triangle, the other two being
Leicester and Nottingham. It is the home of Crown
Derby china, Rolls Royce Aero Engines being headquartered
combination of the foregoing can, of course, be
made into a day trip.