Loughborough is the second largest city in Leicestershire, England and just a short drive from Nottingham and Derby. It has a rich history, detailed in its many museums, shops, architecture, and festivals. It is the home of Loughborough University and is a thriving market town. If you’re in the area, Loughborough’s unique charm is definitely worth checking out.
Read on to find out about the best things to do in Loughborough, UK.
1. Charnwood Musuem
Charnwood Museum is found in beautiful Queen’s Park, which we will explore further in section five of this article. The museum is open all year round, so it makes the perfect stop for a planned or impromptu trip. The museum features a diverse array of exhibits that reflect the history of Loughborough, through natural pieces like volcanic rocks, the 4,000-year-old burial of the Cossington Boy, and its various audio and media presentations.
Address: Granby St, Loughborough LE11 3DU, UK
Website: Charnwood Museum
2. All Saints Church
All Saints Church is Loughborough’s oldest parish church. It was built to be an inclusive place of worship not only for the Christian community and a place where people from all over can connect and explore the Christian faith. If you aren’t there for a service, you can still admire the incredible architecture of the church, with its immense windows, tower door, and medieval touches. Your visit to the church can be rounded out with a visit to the restaurant, situated in the old manor house and the antique shop, found in the old Guildhall.
All Saints Church
Address: Parish Office/Fearon Hall/Rectory Rd, Loughborough LE11 1PL, UK
Hours: Tuesday 9.30am - 12.30pm, Wednesday and Friday 9.00am - 1.30pm
Website: All Saints Church
Loughborough Carillon is a carillon (a musical instrument usually found in the bell tower of a church) and a war memorial. It is a well-known landmark in Queens Park, rising to 152 feet (46.3 meters). The Carillon has 47 bells, ranging from 6 kilograms to 4,211 kilograms (13.2 to 9283.7 pounds) -yeah, some of these bells are REALLY heavy! The tower also has a War Memorial Museum, with three floors dedicated to military memorabilia. Some of the artifacts featured in the museum include those from World War I and II.
Loughborough Carillon Tower and War Memorial Museum
Address: Queen’s Rd, Loughborough LE11 1HA, UK
Website: Loughborough Carillon
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A visit to Stoneywell is bound to be packed with a plethora of activities. Stoneywell is a large cottage, designed to appear as part of the natural landscape and a building in the care of the National Trust. Aside from the amazing architecture you can admire from afar, the cottage itself houses pieces of British history, (primarily furniture and other crafts), that are truly unique. Outside the cottage you can enjoy the relaxing gardens and woodlands of Stoneywell that provide a wonderful place for children to play, hiding wildlife to seek out, and even a stone fort to explore. If you have the time, stop for some afternoon tea and sandwiches at the Laundry tea-room or pick yourself up a nice souvenir from the bookshop or stable yard.
Address: Whitcroft’s Lane, Markfield LE67 9QE, UK
Admission: Adult - 8.60 GBP (11.11 USD); Children - 4.25 GBP (5.49 USD)
Hours: 10am - 4pm (must pre-book at least 24 hours in advance for any visit)
5. One Ash
One Ash is an architectural wonder. Unfortunately, you can’t see the main grounds or the house from the main road, but it’s definitely worth the detour to see this Victorian beauty. One Ash was built in 1894 for the Wright family but it did not remain in the family. Instead, it was sold to the Faire family in 1920, and then the Deemings, in 1940, who are also the present owners. What is most captivating about the house are the nuanced details. Various stones and bricks were used, grape vines are presents, beautiful stained glass windows grace the entrance hall, and each room is furnished with one of a kind pieces. The grounds are impeccably kept and a delight to see, as well.
Address: One Ash Loughborough Road Quorn LE12 8UE
Website: One Ash
6. Queen's Park
Queen’s Park opened in 1899 and has since been a nice place for children to play, families to relax, and everyone to learn. The park features a lovely main ground, with interactive playgrounds for children of all ages. Additionally, there is a bowling green, a bandstand, aviaries, a swan maze, and more. The Carillon Tower stands here as does the Charnwood Museum, two other sites you shouldn’t miss out on. If you have some extra time or you’re a bit winded from running around Loughborough seeing all the sights, you can settle down in Queen’s Park for a concert, during their summer band series.
Address: 54 Frederick St, Loughborough LE11 3BJ, UK
Website: Queen’s Park
7. Whatton House & Gardens
The Whatton House and Gardens is a place of charm and relaxation. The grounds are welcoming and special, making them a popular wedding venue. Whatton House was built in 1802, but due to a catastrophic fire, had to be re-built in 1876. The house has 26 bedrooms, a stable yard, and walled garden (the latter two survived the fire and are the original 1802 structures). Like many other attractions in Loughborough, the Whatton House is also full of history. During World War II, Lord Crawshaw graciously offered it up to be used as a maternity hospital, where 2324 babies were born to mothers evacuating from the London bombings.
The gardens are a vibrant treat to the eyes. There woodland garden areas, flowering shrubs, ornamental trees, old fashioned rose gardens, and more.
Whatton House & Gardens
Website: Whatton House & Gardens
8. Chocolate Alchemy Cafe
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
The Chocolate Alchemy Cafe is the perfect stop for all you chocolate lovers out there. While the cafe is small, it boasts luxurious artisan chocolate drinks and foods, all handmade in their onsite kitchen (so yes, you can smell the deliciousness in the air). You can stop by for a quick visit and grab a snack - it may be hard to choose, but the Build Your Own Hot or Cold Chocolate and Bake Platter will definitely satisfy cravings. If you have more time, you can sign up for a chocolatier’s workshop, where you learn to make and taste how to make some of their hand-rolled truffles. If you have even an inkling of a love of chocolate, 10/10 recommend coming here.
The Chocolate Alchemy Cafe
Address: 5 Church Gate Mews, Loughborough LE11 1TZ, UK
Website: The Chocolate Alchemy Cafe
9. Loughborough Town Hall
Loughborough Town Hall is no ordinary town hall. It is actually a venue hall for concerts, plays, and other shows. However, in addition to serving as a show venue, it is also the perfect place for weddings, meetings, parties, and more - it is the ultimate venue for any town event. It was originally built in 1855 as a corn exchange and ballroom, and since then has maintained and expanded its uses. The building is as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, and is the perfect backdrop to the Loughborough Market, which you should also visit and read about below.
Loughborough Town Hall
Address: Market Place, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3EB
Website: Loughborough Town Hall
10. Loughborough Market
Last, but certainly not least, is Loughborough Market. Loughborough was originally a market town, so it’s not surprising that it has a thriving and lively marketplace. The market is held every Thursday and Sunday, between 8am and 4:30pm. There are over 100 shops, selling everything from fresh produce to luxury goods - so you’re bound to find that perfect souvenir for your mom or apple for your stomach.
Address: Markets & Fairs Team, Charnwood Borough Council, Southfields, Loughborough, LE11 2TX
Website: Loughborough Market
What are you waiting for?
There are so many gardens to lounge in, houses to wander through, history to experience, and so much chocolate to eat in Loughborough, UK. So get in your car or on a plane and start moving - and remember - chocolate waits for no one.
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