Today I’m going to take the emphasis off English for a while and discuss something very important for people studying at Leicester: Leicester. You might have a great university, but if its location is a dank ghost town or the remote home of some Pagan cult then it’ll be really hard to do things like go to the cinema and have a decent Chinese takeaway. Luckily, Leicester is excellently-equipped for a student population, or even indeed a regular human population. There are numerous clubs, more than enough bars and pubs to keep anyone entertained — including the excellent Firebug which has that cocktail that’s effectively ice cream — along with three cinemas — most notable of which is the Phoenix and its showing of classic films, social cinema screenings, and a Sunday-brunch-and-movie deal — and the Curve Theatre for all your cultural needs. Oh, and there’s the King Power football stadium and the Leicester Tigers rugby stadium.
For shopping you’ve got the Haymarket shopping centre, the newer Highcross shopping centre, the arcades, the famous and massive outdoor market…
But enough brochure stuff. What’s really important and notable about Leicester? Clock towers. Everywhere. If I had to make a conservative estimate, I’d say Leicester has a million clock towers (if I had to make a Conservative estimate, I’d say George Osborne). The amount of eye-pleasing clock towers in Leicester is inexplicable (as in there’s probably a perfectly good reason for it but I’m not going to look it up) but rather interesting and it makes what is admittedly not the prettiest of cities considerably more appealing. The shopping arcades are very picturesque too. And if you take the forty minute walk from the university to Oadby, where the main student accommodation buildings are, you may well be impressed. The halls of residence are situated in what you’d call a rather affluent area indeed, and the huge houses look especially good in the crisp oranges and browns of autumn.
So it’s a practical city with all the big chain stores and lots of more interesting independent ones, it’s not a paradise but it has many visually-appealing sights — what else? Well in terms of moving around inside it, I’ve already mentioned the walking distance from halls to the university, and by bus it takes about twenty minutes from the furthermost hall, John Foster. From the university to the station is about fifteen minutes. The university to the city centre is about twenty minutes. In the second year when most students move out to private accommodation, they’re likely to be not much more than ten or fifteen minutes away. The university’s city living accomodation, such as Nixon Court, can be as little as five minutes away. As you can see, once you’re out of the first year your journey is cut down considerably.
Hopefully this gives a better idea of what Leicester is like than if I had said nothing at all. Oh, and it’s pronounced ‘Lester’.