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Talks, walks and activities on traffic-free streets at the Open Streets festival

Published on Thursday, May 23, 2019

Image shows last month's Open Streets event, with people in rickshaws and enjoying the street scene

RICKSHAW rides, guided walks and children’s craft sessions are among the free activities on offer at Open Streets, a monthly festival celebrating Leicester’s unique history and urban landscape.

The event is focused around New Market Square and streets such as Friar Lane and Millstone Lane, in the city’s historic Old Town. Roads are closed to traffic for people to enjoy, local shops and businesses set up games and activities on the streets and local experts lead talks, walks and cycle rides to help people discover more about the Greyfriars area’s fascinating heritage.

It all takes place this Sunday, 26 May, from 1pm-4pm and all activities are free.

Each monthly event is themed, and this month’s theme - arts and crafts – will cover everything from craft sessions for children to talks on the historic Arts and Crafts movement. There’s also the chance to see live street art being created on site as the event links up with the Bring the Paint festival. Visitors will be able to take a rickshaw ride or cycle tour taking in street art sites across the city.

There will also be street food and drink – including an on-street pizza oven outside the Two-Tailed Lion, in Millstone Lane – plus there’s a free bike park and free bike repairs.

At 2.15pm Rowan Roenisch, from the National Trust, will give a talk on Stoneywell and the Arts and Crafts Movement, focusing on the architect and designer Ernest Gimson. The talk will look at his childhood, education and training, his profound influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, and the cottages he designed at Ulverscroft, in Charnwood Forest. This year is the 100th anniversary of Ernest Gimson’s death, in 1919.

And at 3pm Andrew French will give a talk on the art and craft of design in the 21st century. Andrew leads a Leicester-based design agency, Creed Design Associates, and his talk discuss the design of space within and between buildings, and how it is helping to redefine cities like Leicester.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transportation, said: “The Greyfriars area of Leicester has a fascinating history, and we’ve worked hard to reflect that in the street improvements we’ve made in the area, using heritage materials to restore and reinvigorate the street scene.

“Open Streets gives us a fantastic chance to open up this area for people to enjoy. The free, family-friendly activities on offer will complement lots of other events going on in the city centre this weekend, including the Bring the Paint and Art-AI festivals. It’s a great opportunity enjoy a traffic-free visit to Leicester.

“We’re facing a climate emergency, and we know that vehicle emissions adversely affect air quality, so anything that encourages people to explore the city by bike or on foot will have environmental and health benefits too.”

The event is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is linked to the Greyfriars Townscape Heritage Initiative – more than £10m of street scene improvements funded by the city council, property owners and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.