Loughborough, a vibrant town in Leicestershire, England, has a rich history and plenty of attractions to offer visitors. From exploring the town’s historic architecture to taking in the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside, there is something for everyone in Loughborough. In this article, we’ll explore the top 15 things to do in Loughborough, from museums and galleries to parks and outdoor activities.
Interesting facts about Loughborough:
- Loughborough University is one of the UK’s top universities, consistently ranking highly in national and international league tables. It is particularly well-regarded for its sports science programs, with many Olympic athletes having studied there.
- The town has a long history of bell making, with the famous Taylor’s Bell Foundry having been based in Loughborough for over 150 years. The foundry has made bells for many famous buildings around the world, including St Paul’s Cathedral in London and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.
- Loughborough has a strong sporting heritage, with a range of local teams and clubs in various sports. The town is particularly known for its rugby and football teams, with Loughborough FC having won the Leicestershire Senior League multiple times.
- The Loughborough Echo is a local newspaper that has been serving the town for over 100 years. It covers news and events from Loughborough and the surrounding area, and is a valuable source of information for residents and visitors alike.
- The Charnwood Museum houses a range of interesting historical artifacts from the town’s past, including a rare Roman mosaic and a display of Ladybird Books. The museum also has a range of interactive exhibits, making it a great spot for families.
- Loughborough is home to a range of cultural events throughout the year, including the annual Loughborough Mela, which celebrates South Asian culture. The town also hosts regular live music events, theater productions, and art exhibitions.
- The town’s market has been a fixture of Loughborough life for centuries, with records dating back to the 13th century. It is still a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, with a range of stalls selling everything from fresh produce to clothing and crafts.
- Loughborough has a range of green spaces, including the Queen’s Park and the University of Loughborough Botanic Garden. The town is also surrounded by beautiful countryside, including the Beacon Hill Country Park, making it a great spot for nature lovers.
- Loughborough has a thriving food and drink scene, with a range of local restaurants, cafes, and pubs. The town is particularly known for its real ale and craft beer, with many local breweries producing high-quality brews.
- The Great Central Railway is a popular attraction in Loughborough, offering visitors the chance to take a ride on a vintage steam train. The railway also features a museum showcasing the history of the railway, making it a great spot for train enthusiasts.
Visit the Loughborough Market
Loughborough’s bustling market is a great place to start your visit to the town. The market takes place every Thursday and Saturday in the Market Place, and has been a fixture of Loughborough life for centuries. Visitors can browse a wide range of stalls selling everything from fresh produce to clothing and crafts. The market is a great place to pick up some souvenirs or gifts to take home, and you can sample some of the local produce while you’re there. The friendly vendors are always happy to chat and share their knowledge of the town with visitors, making it a great spot for those looking to get a taste of Loughborough life.
Learn about the town’s history at Charnwood Museum
For history buffs, a visit to the Charnwood Museum is a must. The museum explores the rich history of Loughborough and the surrounding area, from its Roman origins to its role in the Industrial Revolution. Visitors can learn about the town’s famous residents, including Ladybird Books creator Douglas Keen and Olympic athlete Sebastian Coe. The museum also features exhibits on the geology and natural history of the area, as well as a range of interactive displays that will appeal to visitors of all ages. The knowledgeable staff are always on hand to answer questions and offer insights into the town’s fascinating past.
Discover local art at the Charnwood Arts Gallery
The Charnwood Arts Gallery is a must-visit for art lovers. The gallery showcases the work of local artists and craftspeople, with exhibitions changing regularly. Visitors can browse a range of unique pieces, from paintings and sculptures to textiles and jewellery. The gallery also hosts regular workshops and events, giving visitors the chance to get hands-on with the arts. The friendly staff are always happy to chat and share their knowledge of the local arts scene, making it a great spot for those looking to explore the creative side of Loughborough.
Take a stroll in Queen’s Park
Queen’s Park is a beautiful green space in the heart of Loughborough, and a great spot to relax and unwind. The park features a lake, playground, and plenty of green space, making it a popular spot for families and nature lovers alike. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll around the park’s perimeter, or simply find a quiet spot to sit and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. The park is also home to a range of wildlife, including ducks, swans, and squirrels, making it a great spot for nature enthusiasts.
Go for a bike ride on the Great Central Railway Trail
For those who enjoy cycling, the Great Central Railway Trail is a fantastic option. The trail runs for 16 miles along the former railway line, offering scenic views of the surrounding countryside. The trail is suitable for cyclists of all abilities, with relatively flat terrain and plenty of rest spots along the way. Visitors can take in the sights of the Leicestershire countryside, including picturesque villages and historic landmarks. The trail is also a popular spot for walkers and runners, making it a great place to get some exercise while enjoying the great outdoors.
Explore the history of the Great Central Railway
The Great Central Railway played a key role in British railway history, and visitors to Loughborough can learn all about its fascinating past at the Great Central Railway Museum. The museum features exhibits on the railway’s engineering feats, as well as a range of vintage trains and carriages. Visitors can explore the museum’s collection, including the only surviving GCR Director’s Saloon, and learn about the people who built and operated the railway. The museum also hosts regular events, including steam train rides and special exhibitions
Visit the beautiful St. Mary’s Church
St. Mary’s Church is a stunning example of medieval architecture, and one of the most striking buildings in Loughborough. The church dates back to the 14th century and features stunning stained glass windows and intricate stonework. Visitors can take a guided tour of the church, or simply wander around at their own pace, admiring the beautiful details. St. Mary’s Church is also home to a range of interesting historical artifacts, including a rare set of medieval bells.
Discover the Loughborough Carillon Tower and War Memorial Museum
The Loughborough Carillon Tower and War Memorial Museum is a unique attraction that combines history and music. The tower houses a collection of 47 bells that were donated to the town after World War I, and visitors can attend regular recitals performed on the carillon. The museum also features exhibits on the town’s role in both world wars, with a particular focus on the local soldiers who fought and died in the conflicts. Visitors can learn about the history of the carillon and its bells, as well as the important role they have played in the town’s history.
Relax in the University of Loughborough Botanic Garden
The University of Loughborough Botanic Garden is a hidden gem in the heart of the town. The garden features a wide range of plant species from around the world, including rare and exotic specimens. Visitors can enjoy the garden’s peaceful atmosphere and beautiful views, as well as learning about the plants themselves. The garden also hosts a range of events and workshops throughout the year, making it a great spot for those interested in gardening and horticulture.
Watch a movie at the Odeon Cinema
For a fun evening out, head to the Odeon Cinema in Loughborough. The cinema features the latest blockbuster movies, as well as regular special events such as live broadcasts of theatre productions. Visitors can also take advantage of the cinema’s range of food and drink options, including popcorn, hot dogs, and soft drinks.
Shop at the Rushes Shopping Centre
The Rushes Shopping Centre is a popular destination for shoppers in Loughborough. The centre features a range of high street and independent stores, selling everything from fashion and beauty to home goods and technology. Visitors can also take advantage of the centre’s range of restaurants and cafes, making it a great spot to stop for a bite to eat or a coffee.
Try some local cuisine at The Swan in the Rushes
The Swan in the Rushes is a popular spot for food and drink in Loughborough. The pub features a menu of classic British dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, as well as a range of real ales and craft beers. Visitors can enjoy a cosy atmosphere, with a range of seating options available both inside and outside.
Visit the Beacon Hill Country Park
The Beacon Hill Country Park is a stunning natural area located just outside Loughborough. The park features woodland, heathland, and grassland habitats, as well as fantastic views from its high point on Beacon Hill. Visitors can enjoy a range of activities in the park, including walking, cycling, and horse riding. The park is also home to a range of wildlife, making it a great spot for nature enthusiasts.
Attend the annual Loughborough Fair
The annual Loughborough Fair is a must-visit event for those in town in November. The fair features a range of rides, games, and attractions, as well as food stalls and live music. Visitors can enjoy the festive atmosphere and take in the sights and sounds of the fair, which has been a fixture of Loughborough life for centuries.
Explore the nightlife of Loughborough
Loughborough has a lively nightlife scene, with plenty of bars, clubs, and pubs to choose from. The town has a range of venues catering to different tastes, from sports bars to live music venues. Visitors can enjoy a night out with friends, taking in the local atmosphere and socializing with the friendly locals. Some popular spots include the Paget Arms, the Orange Tree, and the Brush Club, which hosts regular events and live music performances.
In conclusion, Loughborough offers a wealth of attractions for visitors of all ages and interests. From exploring the town’s history and culture to enjoying its beautiful natural surroundings, there is something for everyone in Loughborough. Don’t miss out on these top 15 things to do during your visit.
What is the best time to visit Loughborough?
Loughborough can be visited at any time of year, but the summer months offer the best weather for outdoor activities.
Are there any free things to do in Loughborough?
Yes, many of the town’s top attractions are free to visit, including the market, Queen’s Park, and the Charnwood Museum.
Is Loughborough a safe town to visit?
Yes, Loughborough is generally considered a safe town to visit, but visitors should take normal precautions to avoid crime.
Can I visit the Great Central Railway Museum with children?
Yes, the museum is family-friendly and features exhibits that will appeal to visitors of all ages.
How do I get to Loughborough from London?
Loughborough is easily accessible by train from London, with regular services running from London St Pancras International station.