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The BIG List of Galleries and Museums in Leicester

People enjoying themselves, drinking and chatting at the launch of Bruce McLean's Black Garden Paintings exhibition.

Leicester is widely recognised as one of the most diverse cities in the UK. A thriving centre of community and inclusion, there are cultural landmarks and artistic spaces dotted all over the city, which is why we have compiled this BIG list of galleries, museums and diverse art this culturally accommodating city Leicester has to offer.

So, without any further adieux, scroll on and be amazed.

Attenborough Arts Centre

Attenborough Arts Centre

Caption: Our Attenborough Arts Centre.

Where to start? You guessed it, Attenborough Arts Centre. Opened in 1997 by Richard Attenborough, our centre is a vehicle for accessibility, diversity and inclusivity in the arts. Based right on University of Leicester campus, we are a few minutes from the train station, next to Victoria Park and round the corner from the O2 Academy. Our exciting program includes creative courses, theatre and performance, family events, visual arts, music, comedy, spoken word, and free regular exhibitions in any of our four galleries. Our learning and outreach program offers young creative talent the opportunity to grow as an individual and within their chosen field of art.

For free events, creative opportunities and a chance to immerse yourself in an accessible multi-use space, click here.

Leicester Museum and Art Gallery

Dinosaur exhibit in Leicester Museum and Art Gallery

Caption: inside the Leicester Museum Dinosaur exhibit. Photo from Leicester Museum and Art Gallery.

Formerly titled New Walk Museum because of the 200 year old conservation protected promenade it’s located on, it dropped the old title in 2020 in order to promote the space in and outside the city. Right in the city centre, just ten minutes walk from the train station, universities and Highcross shopping mall, the Corinthian pillars and Parthenon arch welcome all spontaneous, planned and repeat visits through their doors. From free galleries dedicated to Ancient Egypt, Dinosaurs, the Attenborough collection, as well as the internationally renowned German Expressionism collection, there’s always something to see.

Click here to see what’s on.

Phoenix Cinema & Art Centre

Phoenix Cinema and Art Centre

Caption: Phoenix Cinema and Art Centre. Photo from Phoenix.

A city-wide recognised charity passionate about independent cinema, art and digital culture, Phoenix are located in the Cultural Quarter of Leicester. Ready to inspire and entertain, they bring together mainstream films with independent productions and boast a space that offers diverse thematic art.

Click here to see what’s on.

King Richard the III Visitor Centre

King Richard the III Visitor Centre

Caption: The viewing area for the remains of King Richard the III. Photo from KRIII

Discover the incredible 500 year old story of a Plantagenet king defeated in battle then dumped in what would become a council car-park. Rumoured to be buried in the city for years, it wasn’t until 2012 that archaeologists unearthed his remains. Now you can unravel the mystery of why he was lost for so many years, how he was found and the history behind it all. It’s a fascinating experience and one not to be missed.

Click here for more.

Botanic Garden and Attenborough Arboretum

A family enjoy one of the ponds at Botanic Gardens

Caption: A family enjoy one of the ponds at Botanic Gardens and Attenborough Arboretum. Photo from University of Leicester.

A garden rich in history, The University of Leicester’s Botanic Gardens offer free entry as well as the chance to lose yourself in a landscape of breath-taking flora and fauna. Included in the astounding array of botany are alpines, succulents and tropical plants. Residing on the grounds of a spectacularly restored Edwardian garden, you can feel inspired by the power of nature through creative courses we regularly host at the gardens. Explore our What’s On to learn more.

Once you’ve experienced the Botanic Gardens you can hop over to the Attenborough Arboretum, which is the Latin word for a place with trees. One of the only places in the city where you can see a medieval ridge-and-furrow field, it also contains two large pretty ponds with a boardwalk for the keen observer and classrooms for educational visits. With a planting scheme designed to showcase trees as they would have been 10,000 years ago, it’s a trip back into the forests of our past.

Click here to learn more.

Newarke Houses Museum

Newarke Houses Museum and Gardens

Caption: Newarke Houses Museum. Photo from Britain Express.

Maybe two Tudor houses rich in history are for you? If so, you’ll find Newarke Houses Museum located on De Montfort University campus. Originally owned by William Wygston and Thomas Skeffington, they offer gorgeous galleries to the Leicestershire Regiment as well as spaces designed as a commentary on social history. With oral histories, archive film, interactive exhibits and collections, as well as beautiful gardens set against a backdrop of English Civil War walls, there’s loads to see.

Click here for further details.

Curve Theatre

Curve Theatre

Caption: Curve Theatre in Leicester’s Cultural Quarter. Photo from Leicester Mercury.

Carved into the heart of Leicester’s cultural quarter, the curved lines of the buildings architecture are a stand-out feature of the city’s skyline. Providing a dynamic mix of community engagement, artist development and learning programmes, they are an inclusive space for artists, performers and audiences alike. With a staggering 750,000 people going through their doors each year, they offer multiple forms of diverse art for everyone’s tastes.

Click here for more.

Leicester Creative Business (the LCB Depot)

Leicester Creative Business LCB Depot

Caption: Leicester Creative Business, or the LCB Depot. Photo from Leicester Mercury.

The iconic orange letters in clear plastic cubes of the LCB depot are a bright, inviting welcome to the Cultural Quarter of Leicester. There’s over a 100 creative businesses, artists and designer-makers in their three workspaces as well as regular events geared towards family, food and art.

And best of all, Gray’s café-bar offers some of the best meals and drinks in town.

Click here to learn more.

The Y Theatre

The Y Theatre

Caption: The Y Theatre before a performance. Photo from Leicester YMCA.

The Y Theatre is part of the charity YMCA which was founded for homelessness and youth development in the 1800’s and is dedicated to providing a safe space for all young people to call home. Its modest entrance leads to a stunning 300-seat Victorian theatre which hosts varied arts like music, comedy, theatre, dance, new work and family shows. The Y theatre is also a community hub committed to the development of emerging and established artists. A real find within the city centre.

Click here to see what’s on.

De Montfort Hall

De Montfort Hall

Caption: A frontal view of De Montfort Hall. Photo from Leicester City Council.

The largest music and performance venue in Leicester, De Montfort Hall can seat up to 2,000 people. Built at the turn of the 19th century, it’s diverse art ranges from ballet to opera and pantomime to classical music – with the world-renowned Philharmonia Orchestra enjoying a residency since 1997. It features in regular festivals and has even placed in film, starring in Richard Attenborough’sGrey Owl‘ in the early 90’s.

For a diverse range of theatre and performance, click here.

Leicester Gallery at DMU

Inside the Leicester Gallery at DMU

Caption: Inside the Leicester Gallery at DMU. Photo from DMU.

Modernised to provide a rich and updated perspective for world-class art, Leicester Gallery is a cultural cornerstone of the city. Boasting musical ideas, thematic concepts, exploratory paintings and sculptures from across the globe, it caters for students and the general public alike.

Click here for what’s on.

Leicester Guildhall

Interior of Leicester Guildhall

Caption: Interior of Leicester Guildhall. Photo from Leicester Museums.

The Leicester Guildhall is at least 600 years old, with some parts dating back to 1390. It’s one of the best preserved timber-framed structures in the country and has been used as a public performance space where Shakespeare may have acted, meeting place, police station, town hall and library. The space was also around during the time of King Richard the III. Currently, it hosts the Medieval Leicester Galleries and attracts a diverse catalogue of performance.

Click here for events.

The Maker’s Yard

The Maker's Yard

Caption: The Maker’s Yard, down the road from Curve, also in the Cultural Quarter. Photo from Story of Leicester.

Managed by the LCB depot, the Maker’s Yard is where 20 designer-makers call 10 studios their creative home. Based in the cultural quarter and housed in the oldest surviving hosiery factory in the city, it is a hive of artistic exploration that offers regular markets, creative classes and exhibitions.

Click here for more.

Leicester Print Workshop (LPW)

People working in the Leicester Print Workshop

Caption: Inside the Leicester Print Workshop. Photo from the LPW.

Down the way from the Curve, Leicester Print Workshop offers classes in screen-printing, lithography, etching, engraving, relief and letterpress for beginners through to advanced practitioners. LPW also work with schools, community groups and art partners in teaching the art of printing to all. Plus, the centre has an exhibition space that hosts a changing program of displays related to the field of printing.

What’s on? Click here.

Jewry Wall Museum

Jewry Wall Museum

Caption: the Jewry Wall Museum. Image from Trip Advisor

Jewry Wall is one of the largest surviving Roman structures in Britain today. Almost 2000 years old, the excavation includes a series of rooms, baths and furnaces. It sits on the edge of the city centre and was formerly owned and managed by University of Leicester, who built Vaughan College on the site in the 1960’s. However, since 2016, the museum is a part of Leicester City Council holdings, who are currently building a new state-of-the-art immersive visitor centre. Unfortunately, due to those improvements, the site is closed at the moment.

Click here for updates.

National Space Centre

Inside the National Space Centre in Leicester

Caption: Inside the National Space Centre in Leicester. Photo from The National Space Centre.

Despite the National Space Centre offering no galleries dedicated to art, it is a museum within Leicester which is why the intergalactic space finds itself on this list. They offer six galleries themed around Space, a star-studded planetarium, a Rocket Tower, as well as a universe worth of suits, satellites and meteorites. With immersive experiences on the history of human space travel and our Solar System also included, there is a whole cosmos to explore.

Click here for more.

 

A Summary…

There we are, the BIG list of galleries, museums and diverse art in Leicester. There’s a massive amount to do, see and learn within the city and we hope this has piqued your interest to venture out to spaces you may have been unaware of before. We researched long and wide to include all examples within the city of Leicester, however, if we’ve missed any we’d love to hear from you in the comment section of this page.

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