Leicester’s Best of 2015

My favourite apocalyptic image!

Well, here we are, New Year’s Eve. It’s been a great year for the blog, with lots of new readers, hitting half a million page views and a heap of exciting new things happening in the city. Here’s my roundup of what was best about Leicester this year!

Best City Spectacle

By far this was the demolition of New Walk Centre, back in February. It’s been lovely to have the open skyline at the end of Pocklington’s Walk throughout the year, but no doubt no the site is clear something new will be going up there soon. You can enjoy my video of the demolition (with unnecessarily violent musical accompaniment) by looking back at the post here.

Best New Venue

2015 was the year that Crafty Burger turned from pop up shop to permanent fixture in the city, and much to everyone’s delight it continues to go from strength to strength. Honorable mentions should also go to Gelato Village – rapidly becoming a local favourite – and Meatcure who opened their second branch in Leicester this year. However, for me, the best new launch this year has been 45 West – a deliciously cool bar and bottle shop with excellent selection of wines and of course, plenty of Burleigh’s Gin. Local products and local passion at its best.

Best Media Attention

Naturally, this was the year that the King under the Car Park got a new resting place under the Cathedral. Tens of thousands lined the street for the parade and then filed past Richard III lying in repose in the Cathedral, while millions around the globe watched the coverage on TV. A vast array of events, talks and activities got us all engaged and for me, it was the culmination of five years’ long work. The Cathedral are reporting ‘a new normal’ in visitor figures and happily, most people are taking the opportunity to pop into the Guildhall (also for free) and find out more about medieval Leicester during their visit.

Best Beer Garden

This spring, The Boy and I set off on an intrepid adventure to find Leicester’s Best Beer Garden. Joint winners were the Queen of Bradgate on High Street and the Black Horse down in Aylestone. Both worthy winners and both worth a visit even in the winter because of the range of events and fun stuff they put on year round.

Best Community Spirit

My top award of the year has to go to the Real Junk Food Project who run out of LCIL as well as operating at special events around the city. When I first met TRJFP back in May, they were looking forward to trialing their first Pay As You Feel Cafe. Now they have found a permanent home, intercepting food and using it to feed over 3800 people this year. 

They have saved over 8 tonnes of food from landfill and helped to feed those in need across the city, as well as providing delicious Friday lunchtime treats to people like me every week who are more than happy to Pay What They Feel (money, music or otherwise!) for a thoroughly enjoyable lunch at the Social Media Cafe. If you haven’t been down to see them yet, put it on your list for 2016. They are using all donations above what covers the utilities to save up for a mobile catering unit, so they can reach all the more people next year. A worthy cause and a great set of ambassadors for Leicester.

How was 2015 for you? It’s been a big year for burgers and burials in the city, what have you enjoyed the most? And what is coming up that you are looking forward to?


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

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