Leicester Prepares for Increased Interest After Richard III Discovery


Last week was a big one for Leicester, the largest city in England’s East Midlands and the county town of Leicestershire: The University of Leicester confirmed that it has discovered the remains of King Richard III in the city. The bones had been discovered in September 2012 at the site of the former Greyfriars Church, where the fifteenth-century king had reportedly been buried in 1485 after his defeat at the Battle of Bosworth Field. Richard III was the last English king to die in battle, and his death heralded the beginning of the Tudor dynasty.

Following this news—and to help visitors to Leicester and Leicestershire discover the story behind the search for King Richard III for themselves—Leicester Shire Promotions has started working with local hotels and partners to launch exclusive short break offers.

The ‘King Richard III short breaks’ include entry to two new exhibitions at the Guildhall and Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, guided walks and overnight accommodation and are available from £79 for couples and £99 for families.

The breaks include hotel B&B for one night, afternoon tea at the Belmont Hotel, Richard III guided walks (to be booked directly), free Richard III information pack and entry to the new Richard III exhibition at the Guildhall. They can also be extended into the county with visits to Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre and Donington le Heath Manor House.

Simon Gribbon from Leicester Shire Promotions told Travel Agent that an exhibit about the search for Richard III is already open at the Guild Hall, and that history buffs are “queuing around the block to get in.” In the city, there is a heritage center at the site of the battlefield that depicts the myths and realities of Richard’s life and death.

“We’re creating a permanent exhibition, and the building is already purchased,” Gribbon said. “It will be 20 times the size of the existing space they’ve got.” Perhaps most notably, the exhibit will Richard’s skeleton on display before it is reinterred.  The new exhibit is scheduled to open sometime next year.

Meanwhile, the site where Richard was hidden for more than 500 years—in a still-operational parking lot—has started attracting fans as well, and has been covered for protection. “The plan is that it will be absorbed into the permanent exhibit,” Gribbon said.

Leicester is reasonably close to London, and makes for an easy day trip. (By train, it’s less than an hour.) Birmingham airport is 40 minutes away, making it easy for people to come directly to the city without going through London. “Locationwise, we’re accessible and central,” Gribbon said. “We’re working with VisitEngland on campaigns. It will be marketed within the history/heritage theme.”

And while Leicester has plenty of hotels, Gribbon acknowledges that the city could always use more. “There are no five-star hotels, but we do have some good four-star properties. That’s something that will be dictated by demand. There’s a lot of infrastructure already; it’s just a question of building on that.”

For more information on the King Richard III short breaks or to make a booking, visit www.goleicestershire.com.


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