Leicester: Things to do in the East Midlands city

The East Midlands is a crowded place, as far as it goes; you’ll find plenty of towns and cities vying for your attention when you’re making a shortlist of places to go in the area.

While Derby, Nottingham, Northampton, Lincoln and Boston may all seem like perfect places to go for one or more reasons, you’ll find plenty of fun to have in Leicester. As a great city to work into an itinerary of a tour of the area, there are plenty of options to take further coach holidays from Leicester and make your break that extra bit special.

Leicester is the largest city in the East Midlands and the tenth largest city in the UK. What’s more, it hosts one of the most culturally diverse populations in the UK, reflecting highly on its cuisine, nightlife and sights to see.

It firmly established itself in the 1950s and 1960s as a major centre for manufacturing, bringing people from all over the world to work for organisations in nearby towns and cities including Siemens, Rolls-Royce and Caterpillar. Leicestershire and surrounding counties also act as a major base for automotives – Triumph, Toyota, Cosworth and a whole host of F1 teams have residence near to the city.

As a result, Leicester has always been moving with the times, reflecting its consistent wealth and diversity in great places to visit. The city centre alone provides a perfect place to eat, drink and shop, for one. Subject to a £19 regeneration project in the last few years, its new layout has garnered countless awards for its success.

It all centres around the Haymarket Memorial Clock Tower, an incredibly ornate landmark that acts as the most popular meeting point for families, friends and even strangers in the city. From here, streets snake out to all manner of other places to explore.

Just south of it is the famous Leicester Market. Open Monday to Saturday, this incredible canopy-based creation is the biggest outdoor covered market in all of Europe. Leicester Corn Exchange sits in the centre of the market and now serves as the home to bars and restaurants, though with excellent deals and a rich history in this area, you’ll be forgiven for overlooking them.

Probably the most famous nationally-important visitor’s destination in Leicester is the National Space Museum, which is just by the River Soar next to the A6. This unmissable tall structure devotes itself to astronomy and space science and opened in 2001, incorporating studies from the University of Leicester as well as the biggest mind in the industry.

Perfect for all the family, the institution also runs as an educational charity to teach children the ways of space. A restaurant is also located between two ballistic missiles: Blue Streak (UK) and Thor (US).

All manner of other historical delights can be found elsewhere in the city. You can see the War Memorial in Victoria Park, designed by London Cenotaph creator Edwin Lutyens. The small but perfectly-formed Leicester Cathedral is also a stand-out feature of the city, while the Grade I-listed Guildhall demonstrates one of the best examples of timber-framed architecture in the world; it’s also believed both Oliver Cromwell and William Shakespeare visited on several occasions. The Jewry Wall and nearby ruins also show Roman architecture in the area.

Whatever your reason for visiting, one thing’s for sure: you won’t regret a visit to Leicester!


Image courtesy of Colin Smith and resused under the terms of the Creative Commons Licence.

WTM 2011 first day visitors up 14 percent, including Danni Minogue

The first day of World Travel Market (WTM) 2011, the leading global event for the travel industry, was a resounding success with exhibitor invitations visitors up a massive 14 percent on WTM 2010.

Guests included Danni Minogue at the launch of the airline’s new routes to the Maldives and the Seychelles.

The Monday of WTM is an Exhibitor Invite only day with the aim of allowing exhibitors to hold discussions and negotiations with those people that they want to conduct business with.

The first day of WTM 2011 saw more than 7,600 (7,614) Exhibitor Invitations visitors attend, according to unaudited figures.

More than 200 of the exhibitor invitees buyers took part in the highly successful Speed Networking session, which took place for the first time before the exhibition opened to allow even more time for exhibitors and buyers from WTM Meridian Club to negotiate and conclude deals at WTM 2011.

Furthermore, 40 luxury travel buyers had pre-scheduled business appointments with 40 luxury travel brands in the session – A Taste of ILTM at WTM. It is the first time WTM has hosted a pre-scheduled appointment session.

Overall, total attendance on the first day at WTM 2011 was 8 percent up on WTM 2010 with almost 23,000 (22,913) participants, with exhibitors 4 percent higher than at WTM 2010 reveals the raw data.

Reed Travel Exhibitions Director Simon Press said: “I am delighted with the attendance figures for the day of WTM 2011. World Travel Market is all about exhibitors doing business with WTM Meridian Club buyers. The exhibitor invitation policy for the day of WTM was introduced to allow exhibitors to negotiate business deals with those people they want to sign contracts with.

“The Speed Networking session was the largest ever with more than 200 buyers taking part, setting up a highly successful day and WTM 2011.”

Furthermore, WTM 2011 was “trending” on leading social media site Twitter on Monday, November 7. Among UK Twitter users, WTM 2011 was the third most talked about subject.

Air tax rise to affect 6.5 million travellers

An estimated 6.5 million people are to be affected by the rise in Air Passenger Duty tax.  Travellers who have booked flights for April 2012 onwards will be forced to pay an additional fee towards their flights, even if they’re already paid for.


The decision on whether Air Passenger Duty will increase is expected to be announced at the end of this month, during the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement on November 29.


Flights taking place after April 1 are to be affected by the rise, even if the tickets for the flights were purchased before April.


Virgin Atlantic have announced several thousand passengers have already booked trips out of the UK through the airline, and may be affected by this rise.


The company have said that the increases should be introduced with a 12-month lead-in time to avoid applying these costs to passengers who have booked their flights early.


Chief Commercial Officer Julie Southern said: “We are very concerned that the Chancellor has failed to rule out retrospective rises in Air Passenger Duty”.


“Hundreds of thousands of our customers could be affected by this, and industry-wide the numbers will be greater still, with millions of people contributing tens of millions in extra payments to the Treasury’s coffers”.


She added: “UK aviation taxes are already some of the highest in the world, and a retrospective application combined with a double-inflationary increase would make matters even worse”.


Virgin have revealed if the Governments proposal goes through APD could increase to a staggering £3 billion.


The expected hikes will see an average tax increase of 10 per cent, however some journeys may experience a rise up to a third.


A survey of tour operators, hoteliers and restaurants last month has revealed that these businesses expect to see a five per cent decrease in bookings next year due to the APD rise.


APD increased by as much as 55 per cent last year on some long-haul routes, with short-haul flights increasing by 10 per cent.


If Airport Passenger Duty tax is to rise in April, this will signify the fourth APD hike in five years.


Article by Charlotte Greenhalgh