Best Day Trips From Loughborough
Photo Credit: ‘Belvoir Castle‘ by Iain Merchant on Flickr (license)
Located more or less in the middle of England, Loughborough is the ideal home base for seeing most of the country. We’ve already touched on some of the coolest places to visit from the town, but for this list, we’ll list the must-see sights found more locally, in Loughborough’s county of Leicestershire.
The National Space Centre
Located in Leicester, the town the county gets its name from, the National Space Centre is undoubtedly THE coolest thing to do in the East Midlands.
The UK’s Space Centre, housed in a futuristic building, contains an original Soyuz spacecraft (one of only three in the Western world), and is dominated by the PGM-17 Thor rocket.
But the Centre is so much more than seeing cool artefacts. Across the six galleries, you can learn about the history of space flight, see yourself in a spacesuit, and enjoy planetarium shows about the wonders of the night sky.
King Richard III Visitor Centre
Leicester is only ten minutes away from Loughborough by train, so can you blame us for including it again on this list?
King Richard III, the last English King to die in battle, was the last King of the House of York before the infamous Tudors took over the throne. Famous for his twisted spine and for being the subject of a Shakespeare play of the same name, Richard III caused a stir in 2012 when his remains were found buried underneath a modern-day car park in Leicester.
The dynamic Visitor Centre, opened on the site of the King’s original burial, allows visitors to discover the dramatic story of the King, learn about the Wars of the Roses (which inspired Game of Thrones), and learn about the mystery of the Princes that Richard supposedly locked in the Tower of London so he could ascend the throne…
Belvoir, French for ‘beautiful view’, is a fitting name for this gorgeous castle on the edge of Leicestershire. Although it’s still privately owned, Belvoir is open to visitors, who are invited to explore the garden and grounds or have a tour of the castle.
At £20, a guided castle tour might be a bit beyond the student budget (though the home’s treasures are definitely worth seeing). But if you’re in the mood for soaking in some beautiful sights, enjoy a drink at the nearby Engine Yard, or check of the Castle’s other stores across the Vale of Belvoir.
The National Forest
In the 1990s, it was decided that a staggering 520 km2 of land would be planted with trees, to blend England’s ancient woods with new trees to create a large national forest. Aiming to transform land scarred by coal mining and industry, the National Forest Company breathed new life into the heart of the Midlands.
The massive site surrounds a number of locations well worth a visit. Highlights include the beautiful remains of Ashby Castle in the town of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and Leicestershire’s stunning Beacon Hill Country Park. You can even check out Bosworth Battlefield, where Richard III met his demise.
But even if you’re not looking for something specific, there’s nothing quite like a walk in the woods.
When you think of scuba diving, you probably think of Australia’s crystal waters, and exploring the Great Barrier Reef. Or maybe you think of heading out to the sea, investigating the world’s most famous shipwrecks.
You probably don’t think of Leicestershire.
Stoney Cove, once a granite mine, is now the UK’s national dive centre, and serves as an underwater adventure park. Thanks to the area’s history, there’s so much to see in the old quarry, including an aircraft wreck and the remains of an old steam-powered boat, Stanegrath. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the Cove’s very own ‘Monster’!
And if you’re new to scuba, you can learn to dive in the Cove’s (heated!) dive pool, so you’ll be able to explore Leicestershire’s underwater attractions in no time.
If you’re looking for cool things to do without leaving Loughborough, check out our article on the best museums and cultural sights the town has to offer. Fancy a run down on the best cafés to visit? Look no further than here.
This post has been written by Matteo Everett