Leicester (pronounced /ˈlɛstər/) is a city and unitary authority area in the East Midlands region of England, and the county town of Leicestershire. The city lies on the River Soar and at the edge of the National Forest. The population of the City of Leicester at the time of the 2011 census was 330,000, while the wider Leicester Urban Area had a population of 476,000.
Leicester is best known for its football club, Leicester City F.C. which plays in Premier League at King Power Stadium, for its rugby club Leicester Tigers, and for its two universities, Leicester University and De Montfort University (DMU). The city has also been home to famous people such as: Lord Byron (poet), Richard III (King of England), Sir Isaac Newton (scientist), John Wesley (Methodist minister), Samuel Johnson (author), David Attenborough (naturalist), Joss Ackland (actor/director)…
The city has a rich history and was originally known as Ratae Corieltauvorum, which means “fortified place of the Corieltauvi people”. The Romans built a military camp here around AD 50 to defend against attacks by the Brigantes, an Iron Age tribe who lived in what is now Yorkshire.
In 1194 Leicester was granted a royal charter to hold markets and fairs and became a borough with a mayor and two bailiffs by King John. The first mayor was elected in 1215 but there weren’t any other mayors until 1296 when John de la Zouch was appointed by Edward I.
The centre of Leicester has changed very little since medieval times, with narrow streets leading off Cheapside (the main shopping street) which are lined with black-and-white half-timbered buildings.
Leicester is the most central city in England, and the county town of Leicestershire. The city is located on the River Soar and at the edge of the National Forest.
The city has been a centre for education, culture, religion and politics since it was founded by King Richard III in 1485. It is known as a centre for manufacturing, particularly footwear and clothing. There are two universities in Leicester – De Montfort University and Leicester University – which together make up one of the largest higher education institutions in Europe with over 50,000 students.
Leicester’s location makes it an ideal base for exploring surrounding towns including Loughborough, Hinckley and Market Harborough. There are also plenty of historical attractions within the city itself.
The Roman site around what is now called Leicester was called Ratae Corieltauvorum, which means ‘the camp of Corieltauvians’.