A glorious tumble of Leicestershire countryside, Bradgate Park is prime walking country. Stay locally and enjoy peaceful early strolls before the day-trippers arrive – these top places to stay are bookable with Culture Trip.
Bradgate House was formerly the childhood home of Lady Jane Grey, who ruled as queen of England for a week and a half before suffering a gruesomely familiar Tudor fate. Today, the family manor house has crumbled into a picturesque ruin, but the surrounding parkland has been open to all since 1928. With plenty of accommodation options nearby, Bradgate Park makes for a peaceful getaway to the countryside.
Ambling distance from Leicester’s De Montfort Square, the Belmont is a swish revamp of a 19th-century mansion, with soft-edged rooms full of fun fabrics and colourful upholstery that invites you to settle in with a book after day trips out of the city. The design ethos is modern, but with an eye on creature comforts, and the restaurant serves modern takes on traditional British cuisine. Being just a block from the excellent Leicester Museum is another plus.
Leicester’s multicultural history is proudly on display in the streets around this smartly designed hotel, close to Jubilee Square, the Guru Nanak Gurdwara and Jewry Wall Museum. Cavernous deluxe and executive rooms are decorated with crushed velvet upholstery or painted in mingled watercolour tones, and the best rooms have roof-level balconies. It’s worth splurging on the superior classes for a city overlook.
Quiet, hedgerow-edged farmland spills in all directions from this mood-calming B&B on the edge of Bradgate Park. Set inside a neat brick-and-slate house are two quirky rooms full of interesting furniture, artworks and fabrics. Breakfast is served in the garden, to a backdrop of birdsong – the perfect primer for country walks around Cropston Reservoir and on to the ruins of Bradgate House.
Abbots Oak is full of surprises: a dignified old manor that’s all rough-hewn stone on the outside, and a celebration of modern design inside. Rooms are airy, bright and artfully decorated, with open fireplaces and statement mirrors. Another surprise is the menu of Leicestershire tapas: local ingredients are blended with Spanish flavours in inspired combinations. Ask about the building’s interesting history – it was once a chapel, before being expanded and renovated using items taken from Nell Gwynn’s flat in Pall Mall.
A huge, glazed lobby welcomes guests to the Leicester Marriott, a smart, contemporary four-star hotel set close to the M1 but edging the valley of the River Soar. The lobby says “business hotel” but rooms are more imaginative than most, with eye-catching artworks and complementary colour schemes in warm wood tones and greys. The Market Kitchen bar and lounge serves craft beers, cocktails, gourmet burgers and superfood salads.
A baffle of trees screens Winstanley House from the outside world, creating an atmosphere of peace and seclusion – despite being flanked by Leicester suburbs. Set in 168 acres (68ha) of parkland, the voluminous rooms inside this elegant, red-brick Georgian mansion are full of modern design dazzle: freestanding tubs, gilded chandeliers, rococo furniture and chrome-edged, four-poster beds. Make time for a drink in the Great Gatsby-style bar or dinner in the art deco Black Iron restaurant.
This agreeably understated village B&B takes its name from nearby Kirby Muxloe Castle, a 15th-century brick keep now managed as an evocative ruin by English Heritage. The B&B is no museum piece, though – inside the brick-and-slate farmhouse are two ensuite rooms with edges softened by soft carpets and colourful fabrics, and there’s a gym and heated swimming pool to upgrade the experience.
If you’re visiting Bradgate Park, be sure to check out our recommendations of where to stay in Leicester, all bookable through Culture Trip. If you’re stuck for things to do in Leicester, take a boat down the canal or treat yourself to a well-deserved brunch.
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