Home to the crypt of King Richard III, this medieval church also has impressive carvings, ornate chapels and a public art instillation.
Leicester Cathedral is a striking medieval monument and important landmark in British royal history. Delight in its Gothic architecture, marvel at its richly decorated interior and discover artifacts related to the famous King Richard III.
The Normans constructed the original church building about 900 years ago on the site of a former Roman temple. The church was rebuilt and enlarged between the 13th and 15th centuries, before being restored and partially rebuilt again in the 19th century.
Admire the Gothic features adorning the cathedral’s façade. Gaze up at the soaring 220-feet (67-meter) tall spire, added by Victorian architect Raphael Brandon. Go to the south entrance to see the detailed carvings of the Vaughan Porch. The statues above the doorway depict notable figures with connections to the city of Leicester, including St. Guthlac and 14th-century scholar John Wycliffe.
Venture inside to the tomb of King Richard III. The king’s remains were re-interned here in 2015 after archaeologists discovered them beneath a city center parking lot. They had lain hidden, and presumed lost, since his death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.
Look for plaques, stained-glass windows and a statuette portraying St. Martin of Tours, to whom the cathedral is dedicated. The elegant chapels are also worth exploring. St. Dunstan’s Chapel celebrates the patron saint of bell ringers while St. George’s Chapel honors the patron saint of England.
Back outside, stroll around the Cathedral Gardens and spot a bronze statue of King Richard III. Inspect the open-air public art installation called Towards Stillness. The sculptures focus on key moments from the King Richard III story, from the time of the Battle of Bosworth to the excavation of the king’s relics.
The cathedral stands in the heart of Leicester’s city center, less than a 15-minute walk from Leicester Railway Station. Nearby attractions include Jewry Wall, the Guildhall and the King Richard III Visitor Centre.
Leicester Cathedral is open daily. Admission is free, though there is a small suggested donation. Pay a fee to join guided tours, available from Monday to Saturday. The cathedral is also a starting point for guided walks of Leicester’s King Richard III trails. Find full details on the cathedral’s official website.