The 10th-largest city in the UK has much to offer teachers who are seeking a fresh start in a new location. In our latest city guide, we look at why Richard III’s resting place is much more than an outside bet.
Even for people with the most fleeting of interests in football, the 2015-16 Premier League-winning Leicester City side has to go down as one of the great underdog stories in recent British history.
Thanks to the efforts of Jamie Vardy and co, the 5000-1 rank outsiders outfought and outmanoeuvred some giants of the game — giving the city a global platform and creating legends in the process.
Though footballing prowess made the city a household name from Bangkok to Buenos Aires, the city of Leicester itself is still something of an untapped gem.
Britain’s most diverse city combines an affordable cost of living with a rich cultural heritage. And owing to its geographic centrality within England, you can get to just about anywhere in the country in a couple of hours.
In online lists of the best places to live outside of London, however, Leicester rarely makes the cut. But with first-class schools, decent transport links and a burgeoning local economy, there’s never been a better time to move to Leicester.
There’s plenty of choice when it comes to teaching in Leicester. The city has 104 state-funded schools, of which seventy-five are primary schools, seventeen are secondary schools, eight are special and alternative schools, and four are sixth form colleges. There are also 22 independent schools in the city, including the prestigious Leicester Grammar School.
For the latest teaching jobs in Leicester, click here.
As for higher education, Leicester can lay claim to being one of the region’s best destinations for universities. Both Leicester University and De Montfort University rank within the top 75 universities within the UK and have a combined student population of over 30,000, many of whom live in areas such as Oadby, Evington and Clarendon Park.
Where to live in Leicester
After you’ve found a school that suits your career ambitions, the next step is to find a place to live. With affordable prices and a range of housing options across the city, finding somewhere to live shouldn’t be too difficult — whatever your budget.
As in other major cities, housing in Leicester city centre mostly consists of flats, apartments, studios and terraced houses. In the outer suburbs and surrounding villages, semi-detached and detached houses become more commonplace.
A one-bedroom flat in Leicester city centre costs upwards of around £500 a month in rent, while 3-bedroom properties in the suburbs start at £750. No matter if you’re looking to soak up some culture in the city centre or set up shop in suburban serenity, such affordable prices mean your salary will stretch further than you might expect.
The most upmarket areas near the city centre are Stoneygate and Clarendon Park. Both are residential neighbourhoods with a family feel and are ideal for young professionals looking to lay down roots in the city. Other areas worth considering include the leafy village of Oadby; the trendy, urban Cultural Quarter in the east of the city; and the bustling Narborough Road — considered to be the most multicultural street in Britain.
Transport in Leicester
After employment and housing, the biggest consideration when moving to a new city is its transport infrastructure. As with most cities, finding a parking space in Leicester city centre can be a hassle, but knowing where to look can save you a lot of stress during a weekend shopping spree.
If you don’t drive, the city’s comprehensive public transport system will help you get from A to B with relative ease. Transport options include buses and Park and Ride. Choose How You Move’s journey planner provides bus schedule information to and from locations across Leicester.
Leicester also has plenty of taxi options, as well as rail links to most major cities in England. The Leicester to London train, for example, only takes 1 hour 17 minutes. It’s little wonder that more and more people are making the move from the capital.
If you’re planning to travel further afield, East Midlands Airport is only a 35-minute drive away from Leicester city centre too.
Sports and culture
Leicester City Football Club are by far and away the city’s biggest sports team, especially after their 2016 title triumph. The team has an average attendance of around 32,000, making them one of the country’s best-supported clubs outside of football hotspots such as London, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and North East England.
It’s not all footy, however, as Leicester is home to a number of illustrious clubs across a number sports. With 10 English Premiership titles, rugby union club Leicester Tigers are the most successful team in the league’s history. Leicestershire County Cricket Club are also based in the city, as are Leicester Riders — the oldest professional basketball team in Britain.
Away from the high-octane excitement of the sports arena, Leicester is brimming with historical and cultural treasures to get stuck into. Mostly notably, the Richard III Visitor Centre explores the infamous reign of the eponymous king, whose remains were found underneath a car park in a 2012 excavation that generated worldwide interest in the city.
Meanwhile, the Jewry Wall Museum delves into the history of Leicester, from prehistory to the medieval period. In the city centre, the stunning New Walk Museum and Art Gallery contains ancient Egyptian mummies and works by luminaries such as Picasso, Turner and Degas.
If the future’s more your bag, then the National Space Centre might just be worth a visit. Located two miles north of the city just off the A6, this interactive centre is a veritable treasure trove of space, science and astronomy. It’s a great day out for the family.
The diversity of sporting and cultural pursuits mirrors the diversity of Leicester’s population. In the near future, the city is poised to become Europe’s first plural city, meaning that no single ethnic will make up the majority. With over 100 languages spoken in the city, this East Midlands melting pot is colourful as it is diverse.
Famous sons and daughters of the city include David Attenborough, Gary Lineker, Parminder Nagra, Mark Morrison, and Kasabian.
Leicester bars and restaurants
With its unique blend of cultures, it’s perhaps unsurprising to hear that Leicester has one of the best food scenes in the country. From Italian to Bengali, Caribbean to traditional British pub grub, a range of cuisines can be sampled throughout the city.
More than a third of Leicester’s inhabitants are of Indian descent, so fans of Indian food will be spoilt for choice. Belgrave Road contains a flurry of first-class curry houses that draw foodies from far and wide, and popular hotspots include Sharmilee and the vegetarian restaurant Chai Paani.
If you’re looking for a romantic meal for two, Leicester certainly won’t let you down, as this list of Leicester restaurants by TripAdvisor shows.
Nightlife in the city is equally eclectic. Gate 38 is an airport-themed bar and nightclub on Albion Street that attracts the hip crowd. Manhattan34 is a 1930s-influenced speakeasy that serves up some of the best cocktails around. And the city’s BrewDog is ideal for those who want to cut back on the excess and enjoy a craft beer or two in contemporary surroundings.
Whatever your tastes, lifestyle or budget, Leicester has enough on offer to help you make the most of your time outside the classroom. Cheers to that!
Though the Leicester accent isn’t as strong as other big cities in the Midlands, there are still a few words and phrases that may leave new arrivals feeling none the wiser.
If you want to get down with the Lestah lingo, this guide from Leicestershire Live will have you speaking like a true chissit in no time.
Leicester is a city that is certainly on the up. Since the discovery of Richard III’s body and the 2016 Premiership title, a slew of new cultural centres, offices, apartments, and even schools have sprung up across the entire city — galvanising the local economy and restoring a sense of pride among Leicesterians. There’s never been a better time to move here as a teacher.
Tempted to teach in Leicestershire? Get in touch with one of our Leicester recruitment experts.