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Heritage Sundays give chance to peer into city’s past

Published on Wednesday, April 26, 2017

SOME of Leicester’s best historic buildings will be opening their doors to the public in a new monthly programme of heritage-themed activities.

The latest programme of Heritage Sundays: Tours and Open Days 2017 will give visitors the chance explore some of the city’s finest historic buildings.

A number of new attractions have been added for the first time this year, clustered around the city’s picturesque Castle Gardens, The Newarke and nearby De Montfort University’s campus.

The Heritage Sundays take place on the last Sunday of each month until November 2017, running from 11am to 3pm. The next one takes place on Sunday, April 30.

New sites for 2017 include the 14th century Trinity Hospital Chapel and the nearby tranquil Trinity House Herb Garden in The Newarke, which was once used to grow medicinal herbs for the hospital patients.

De Montfort University’s Heritage Centre will also be open to visitors, showcasing the only remaining ruins of the Church of Annunciation, where King Richard III’s remains were publicly displayed following his death at Bosworth in 1485.

Visitors can also explore the nearby 15th century Magazine gateway building or climb to the top of the neighbouring Castle Motte for views over the picturesque Castle Yard, The Newarke and waterside Castle Gardens. From May 28 onwards, Leicester Castle’s Great Hall will also be open for Heritage Sundays.

Other key buildings on the route include St Mary De Castro Church, where Henry VI was knighted and Geoffrey Chaucer was married, and the medieval Turret Gateway which originally separated the religious church precincts from the castle.

Newarke Houses Museum will open its fine herb gardens – some of the oldest in Leicester – which along with its later Regency-style garden offer visitors a beautiful haven of plants and wildlife. The original Newarke Wall can still be seen, complete with the gun loops used to defend the castle in 1645 during then English Civil War.

For those wanting a more in-depth tour of the area’s history, Blue Badge Guides will run guided walks of the Magazine this month, and Leicester Castle Great Hall from May 28. Booking is essential, and can be done through Visit Leicester on 0116 299 4444 or at www.goleicestershire.com

A series of colourful and informative Heritage Panels has also been placed throughout the city, marking out key sites and stories from Roman times, through Leicester’s role in medieval times, to its significance in Victorian times and its industrial heritage right up to the present day. Some of these are featured around The Newarke and De Montfort University campus. 

Leicester City Council’s heritage manager Sally Coleman said: “Heritage Sundays give people the chance to explore the city’s fascinating history, including being able to visit places which aren’t normally open.

“This year we’ve joined forces with De Montfort University, whose campus contains a number of important medieval sites such as the Trinity Hospital and herb garden, as well as being home to the university’s own heritage centre.

“There really is a wealth of history in Leicester, and these events are a great way to learn more about the city’s past and appreciate the historic buildings around us.”

Full details and dates of all Heritage Sunday events are available at: www.visitleicester.info 

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