Top 10 things to do in Leicestershire this autumn
Food, glorious food will be the mantra in Leicestershire from September 22 to October 7 as the county celebrates all things edible.
More than 60 of the county’s food and drink businesses are getting involved in the Leicester and Leicestershire Food Fortnight.
Key events include a food and craft fair at Twycross Zoo, a festival dedicated to British pie-makers in Melton Mowbray, a best of Leicestershire tasting market in the city and a gourmet food night at Hothorpe Hall, near Market Harborough, plus a food fair in the grounds of Rockingham Castle.
There are also demonstrations and the chance to learn how to brew beer or bake bread and the whole mouthwatering extravaganza ends with the ninth East Midlands Food and Drink Festival in Melton Mowbray on October 6 and 7.
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But there’s more than food to tempt visitors and residents this autumn – we’ve picked out 10 highlights to whet your appetite.
1. Theatre treat – check out Kilworth House Theatre which opened in 2007 in a wooded glade close to the lake in the grounds of Kilworth House Hotel. Open-air theatre can be magical and this auditorium has sail-like canopies to protect the audience from the British weather. There’s bar facilities and visitors can book a pre-theatre dinner in the hotel or take a picnic to enjoy in the grounds.
Box Office 01858 881939 open Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm
Contact: Kilworth House Hotel and Theatre, Lutterworth Road, North Kilworth, LE17 6JE T: 01858 880058.
2. Beer Festival - The Great Central Railway Beer Festival takes place from September 21-23 from midday each day. More than 40 guest ales and ciders selected from breweries across former LNER lines will be on offer. As well as the main marquee at Loughborough Central, there’ll be a bar at the new Greenacres site, next to Leicester North Station. As well as beer there will be ciders and perries too. The event also features beers on the trains. Admission is free to CAMRA members and Friends of the Great Central Main Line, holders of Great Central Railway travel tickets valid on the day or £3 Friday and Saturday - £1 after 9pm and free on Sunday. Souvenir glasses cost £2. Live music is also planned.
Contact: Great Central Railway, Great Central Station, Great Central Road, Loughborough, LE11 1RW T: 01509 632323.
3. Band music – the world-famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band is performing at De Montfort Hall on September 22 for a fundraiser for the ongoing work of the Salvation Army. Promoted by the Leicester South Salvation Army Band, tickets cost £17 and £19 and doors open at 6.30pm.
Contact: De Montfort Hall, Granville Road, Leicester, LE1 7RU T: 0116 233 3111.
4. Guided walk – discover the change in seasons with a ranger-led guided walk at Bradgate Park and Swithland Wood. A range of topics are covered and give an insight into the park as well as the natural history. Some walks include areas not normally open to visitors. Places on most walks are not pre-bookable and visitors can just turn up. The Young Deer and Old John Tower Walks are pre-bookable. Walk dates for Autumn include: Swithland Wood September 29 2.30pm meet at the Park Entrance at Hallgates Car Park; Woodlands of Bradgate September 22, 2.30pm meet at the Park Entrance at Hallgates Car Park; Veteran Trees, November 3, 17 2.30pm meet at the Main Park Entrance at Newtown Linford Car Park; Old John Tower and Bradgate October 6 2.30pm £5 per person, meet at pole gatae leading into wood at Hunts Hill (Old John) car park and Deer of Bradgate Park October 11, 13, 16, 20, 24, 27 and 31, 2.30pm £5 per person, meet at the Main Park Entrance at Newtown Linford Car Park.
Contact: Bradgate Park Trust, Estate Office, Deer Barn Buildings, Bradgate Park, Newtown Linford, LE6 0HE Bookings: 0116 234 1850.
5. Pudding Night – for those for whom dessert is always the best part of a meal then check out Launde Abbey. On offer is a modest savoury first course followed, say organisers, by ‘six delicious puddings, until you have to say ‘I’m full!’’’. Cost is £15 per person and the night starts at 7.30pm for 7.45pm supper. Dates for the remainder of 2012 are October 18 and November 22.
Contact: Launde Abbey, East Norton, LE7 9XB T: 01572 717254.
6. Race for Life – postponed due to bad weather from the summer to the autumn, join in or watch the Race for Life in Leicester on September 22 and 23 as thousands of women are set to run, walk or jog to raise money for Cancer Research UK. The Saturday sees the 10k start at 10.30am with a 5k at 2.30pm and at 11am on the Sunday. Entry costs £14.99 per adult and £10 for children under 16 and places can be booked online before the event.
Contact Race for Life, Western Park, Glenfield Road, Leicester, LE3 6RN.
7. Ding dong – discover bell-making with a visit to the John Taylor & Co Loughborough Bellfoundry. There’s been plenty to rin bells in celebration for in 2012 and now you can discover how the bells are made. Visits can be arranged to coincide with a foundry casting. To visit telephone before travelling as it is closed when tours are taking place. Full tours for groups of 10 or more are by prior arrangement only. Bellfounding has been in the Taylor family since 1784 although it continues a line of bellfounding since the middle of the 14th century.
Contact: John Taylor & Co Loughborough Bellfoundry, Freehold Street, Loughborough, LE11 1AR T: 01509 212241.
8. Fab fashion – Utlity Clothing 1942-1949 is the current exhibition at Snibston. “From austerity inspired underwear, footwear and evening wear, this exhibition shows that the fashion of the war years was full of colour and vibrancy lifting the black and white memories that are so familiar to us all. Alongside the exhibition are garments from De Montfort University’s Fashion students who have designed and produced outfits both inspired by the museums utility garment collections and the restrictions of the utility scheme,” say organisers. The exhibition runs until May 1 2013. Usual museum entry prices apply however entry to the fashion gallery is free two hours before closing each Wednesday. Snibston showcases Leicestershire’s science, technology and design collections and is on the site of the former Snibston Colliery created by railway pioneer George Stephenson.
Contact: Snibston Discovery Park, Ashby Road, Coalville, LE67 3LN T: 01530 278444.
9. Birthday Party – a party with a difference celebrating King Richard III’s birthday on September 30 from 11am to 3pm. This event has added poignancy given the events of recent days with the possible discovery of the King’s remains. Medieval games, stories and fun for all the family are promised with the King touring the courtyard with his armoured guards at midday. Adults £2, concessions £1 and family – two adults two children £5.
Contact Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Country Park, Sutton Cheney, nr Market Bosworth, Nuneaton, CV13 0AD T: 01455 290429.
10. Half marathon – The Leicester Marathon takes place on October 14 and will feature five races on the day – the full/half marathon, The Loros Maza Fun Run, Freeth Cartwright Relay and Ted Toft Mile. The event is expected to attract a record number of spectators in the wake of the buzz created by London 2012. The full marathon will be starting at 9am from Victoria Park. The new 5k Maza Fun Run will take place from Abbey Park at 1pm. Organisers say the wide range of running activities are designed to encourage runners of all ages and abilities to get involved. See the Leicester Marathon website for more details.