Leicester

Which platform?
Which platform?

The deadline for the delivery is 5:30 pm so we can make a leisurely start and take the 9:25 Sheffield train. We left home just after 8 am and walked to Kings Cross where we breakfasted in the Station Cafe.

St Pancras celebrates July 14th
St Pancras decorated in celebration of Bastille Day

At 9 am we went up the escalator at St Pancras and joined the gaggle of people waiting for trains to Sheffield and Nottingham. There are four platforms here and the game is to guess which one is yours and get to the train while everyone else is still staring at the departures board waiting for the platform number to show. (See top picture.)

Joining the game we rushed ahead of the crowd to be first into a nice empty carriage: We won! We won! Childish but fun. The carriage soon filled up of course, but that doesn’t matter.

The day is grey though it hasn’t rained yet. Seasoned day-trippers, we have rain jackets just in case. It is also a little cool but experience suggests it will warm up later.

The train has sped through lesser stations like Kentish Town and Mill Hill and will make its first stop at Luton. The next stop after that will be Leicester, home of the red cheese.

Until then we can relax and watch the world stream past the window.


We reached Leicester without incident and took a cab to the client’s address as this was some way away from the station. The receptionist was very professional and gave us a receipt showing the time of delivery without being asked. It would be good if all were this efficient.

Now the pressure was off, we took a leisurely bus ride back to town centre. First impressions of Leicester were not favourable. Much of it is in the process of being dug up and built on. Often this obstructs traffic, both motor and pedestrian. If the result improves the city it will be worth it and I will suspend judgement until then.

Ugly building

This ugly construction, looking like a piece of dirty polythene packing material, is an example of the worst aspects of the town. It always amazes me that architects apparently design buildings that are good at catching dirt and grime.

Along with modern “fish tank” buildings, there were nevertheless one or two that caught my attention, and some charming details that Tigger’s quick eye discovered.

Colourful detail

This detail tops the facade of a vegetarian Indian restaurant. It was now just after midday, a little early for lunch after a solid breakfast, but we decided to give it a whirl. If you know Leicester, you may recognize the restaurant, but I am not naming it because we were not altogether happy with the food or standard of service. The staff were pleasant and well meaning but slow.

Continuing into the centre we saw a further selection of interesting buildings. Need I say that these were all *old* buildings, buildings designed by architects of the 19th and early 20th century who had an eye for beauty and harmony, an eye sadly not possessed by most moderns.

Turkey Cafe
One of our favourites, the
Turkey Cafe
Lion with gold ruff
Black lions with gold ruffs
Fountain
Fountain
Town crest
Town crest on town hall gate

One amusing discovery was this mobile bench complete with litter bin! Do you hail it a it passes or wait until one parks somewhere near you?

Mobile bench

We went for a look at the open market and there came upon John Henry, Duke of Rutland, apparently preparing to take a ride on top of an AA van!

John Henry, Duke of Rutland

Some other sights: the market and…

Market scene
Market scene

…the town clock.

Town clock Clock face
The town clock: in close-up, it seems to gaze down at the scene below with a somewhat bemused expression

It turns out that Thomas Cook, of Cook’s Tours fame, was a son of Leicester and his very first organized tour went from here, all the way to… Loughborough.

Thomas Cook
Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook building Detail
Thomas Cook building and detail

In the afternoon, it came on to rain, so we took shelter by exploring the shops. Even though we didn’t buy anything, it was fun and gave us some ideas for future purchases for our tiny flat.

After this, the best move seemed to be to make for the station, and take the train home.

While we were making our way through the town, Tigger received a phone call from base: another tender needs delivering by our intrepid special courier. So on Monday, we are off to Northampton. But don’t put a pin on the map for us yet in case there is another Cambridge.

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About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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3 Responses to Leicester

  1. Pingback: Horniman « SilverTiger

  2. emalyse says:

    Leicester on first impression always seems so irredeemably urban in a very ugly way but I’ve always found the eclectic mix of people there very helpful and friendly (the last time I went I was accosted by a very drunk Irishmen who eventually apologised profusely for bothering me & who thanked me for passing the time of day with him).They’ve got an enviable bus system in and around the town. I’m probably biased as Leicester is where I’ve had to travel for medical treatment in recent times so I owe many of the people of Leicester a deep personal gratitude.

  3. SilverTiger says:

    Towns are apt to mean different things to different people. Towns where one has been happy are always beautiful.

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