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The local area guide to living in Leicester
The city of Leicester can trace its roots back to Roman times and was also an important trade centre during the Industrial Revolution and for many years afterwards, notably producing hosiery, textiles, and footwear. Although Leicester’s industry declined in the post-war years, it is still the headquarters of several major British firms, including British Gas, DHL, and Next. This is largely thanks to its transport links, which have helped to attract new manufacturing and service businesses.
In recent years, development has brought huge benefits to Leicester, such as post-war housing estates like Braunstone and Beaumont Leys. Retail has also boomed and the city centre now has many new shopping centres, including Highcross, Haymarket, and the Shire Shopping Centre.
Of course, Leicester cannot be mentioned today without reference to its local football team’s unpredictable winning of the 2016 Premier League. Despite the odds of them winning originally being 5000/1, the Leicester Tigers beat out the bookies and became Barclay’s Premier League Champions. Amazingly, this is only their first top-flight title in nearly 140 years.
Information about the local residents
At the 2011 census the population was around 330,000, with about 50% of people identifying as white British. Leicester has an impressive mix of immigrant communities, including Somalis and Poles, and a large population of South Asian people, who have helped the city achieve fame as one of the curry capitals of the UK. It’s also the second fastest growing city in the country, with the Eurostat regional eurobook of 2015 classing it as one of the eleven ‘Greater City’s’ of the UK.
The largest public sector employer is the NHS, while engineering still plays a role in the local economy. Leicester is also historically significant in the textile and garment industry, with several larger companies having started returning there today due to higher manufacturing costs in Asia.
Though schools in Leicester have had a difficult history, real improvements have been seen in the last two decades. Ofsted has rated state schools such as The Roundhill Academy, Beaumont Leys School and English Martyrs Catholic School as ‘good’, while the newly opened Samworth Enterprise Academy is improving. Primary schools fare better in Leicester with many, including Christ the King Catholic Primary School and Highfields Primary School, being classed as ‘outstanding’.
Leicester has long benefited from very good transport links, and the same is true today. Rail services are excellent, with plenty of services running to London every hour, at a journey time of an hour and a half. There are also direct rail routes to Birmingham, Cambridge, Stansted Airport, Lincoln, Luton, Leeds, and York.
Leicester is located near to the M1, putting Birmingham, Loughborough and Sheffield within easy reach, and London about a two and a half hour drive away. The East Midlands Airport is nearby as well, offering access to many major European cities.
Leicester has an impressive selection of shopping destinations, which are all handily located in the centre of the city. Highcross has a selection of large chains such as Apple, Zara, and John Lewis, as well as a selection of upmarket brands like Lacoste and Hugo Boss. Haymarket also has big chain stores and includes well-known brands like H&M, TK Maxx, Primark and Gregg’s.
The areas of St Martin’s Lane and Leicester Lanes have an excellent selection of smaller specialist and designer shops, selling everything from fashion to music to homewares. Also located in this area is one of the UK’s largest covered markets, which sells meat, cheese, fresh vegetables and fruit, and many other groceries.
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