Leicester is probably best known for its connections to Richard III, the King of England from 1483 to 1485. But this surprisingly modern city also boasts a lively arts scene. Visitors looking for culture will not be short of things to do in Leicester, as the city plays host to historic and contemporary art exhibitions, colourful theatrical productions, and cutting-edge film workshops. If you love the arts, then check out our guide to Leicester’s best venues and explore this creative city with Uber:
The Attenborough Arts Centre
The famous film director Richard Attenborough was born in Leicester and throughout his life, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the arts. This accessible venue was inspired by him and he was also the founding patron. The Attenborough Arts Centre hosts contemporary art exhibitions and theatrical performances, as well as comedy, music, and dance shows. The focus is on inclusivity, and the venue actively supports emerging talent and disability-led companies.
New Walk Museum and Art Gallery
New Walk Museum and Art Gallery is one of Leicester’s oldest and most established cultural spots. Opened in 1849, this historic building, with its impressive, columned facade was one of the first public museums in the United Kingdom. The venue is home to themed exhibitions that focus on nature and culture, as well as an impressive fine art collection. This family-friendly museum also features a gallery called The Den, which was specially designed for kids under five.
Leicester’s Cultural Quarter
A fantastic way to get a taste of the city’s arts scene is to delve into Leicester’s Cultural Quarter in the St. Georges South part of the city, where many artists and designers are based in this regenerated district. The Leicester Creative Business Depot features work spaces, a gallery, and a relaxed café. The nearby Two Queens gallery is an artist-led space that supports new and experimental work, and the Leicester Print Workshop hosts exhibitions and hands-on workshops. There are also open spaces with public art works throughout the zone.
Housed in a hip, colourful building located in the Cultural Quarter, Phoenix is Leicester’s hub for independent cinema, digital culture, and innovative visual art. The gallery hosts temporary exhibitions by local and international artists, and the cinema shows films from across the globe. Visitors can also learn about art, film, and digital culture through the Phoenix’s programme of workshops and special events. The café bar offers fresh prepared meals, and there’s a garden with outdoor seating. For the ultimate in viewing pleasure, you can grab a drink at the bar and take it into the cinema with you.
Opened in 2008, Curve is a high-tech theatre designed by dynamic Uruguayan architect Rafael Viñoly. Aptly named after its impressive curved facade, the building is a stunning blend of glass and steel. Inside, the designers have taken an innovative approach to theatre in the making. There is not a traditional backstage area for actors but instead, visitors are offered a behind-the-scenes perspective where they can see the actors out of character. Performances range from popular classics and musicals to contemporary dramas. The bright café serves up light meals, and you might even spot an actor or two.