Transport in and around Leicester
Leicester is on the main route north from London, passing through the midlands. As such it is well served by both road and rail links.
Getting to and from Leicester:
The main railway station in Leicester is located on London Road, which is some way from the city centre. There are two main railway services passing through Leicester. Central Trains, operating east-west, whose City Links service running between Norwich and Liverpool passes through Leicester, and Midland Mainline, operating north-south, which provides the train service linking with the capital city of England, St Pancras station in London. The principle Midland Mainline service running through Leicester is Sheffield - London. Despite being away from the city centre the railway station has good links into the city centre from the public transport buses and taxis. If you fancy a bit of nostalgia there is also the Great Central Railway that runs a steam train service between Leicester North and Loughborough Central. (NB. Leicester North station is not used by other national railway companies.)
National Express coach services linking Leicester to other nationwide cities run from the St Margarets Bus Station to the north of the city centre off the A594 on Gravel Street. The bus station is also used by Stage Coach services and the local bus route operators. In January 2006 an extensive refurbishment programme for the bus station was begun.
There is no Leicester airport as such. Leicester does have an aerodrome suitable for small/light aircraft and helicopters but has no facilities for larger aircraft. The main airport that is nearest to Leicester is Nottingham East Midlands, which is about 20 miles (30km) away, a short journey north up the M1 motorway. Also nearby are Birmingham, Luton and Coventry airports. SkyLink runs a direct coach service linking Leicester and East Midlands airport.
Major road routes for Leicester are maintained by the Highways Agency. The main road route to Leicester from the south or north is the M1, the first motorway to be built in England and now linking London and Leeds. The M69 provides a direct link to the M6 motorway heading west to Birmingham and then north as far as Carlisle. Heading east, the main routes are by the A6 which links up with the A14 to Cambridge and A47 that heads out to Peterborough.
Travel in and around Leicester:
The main local public transport bus services in Leicester are operated by Arriva (Fox County) and First Leicester companies. There is also the CentreBus - Leicester which operates services specifically along the main arterial routes and around Leicester City. As mentioned above, the main bus station in Leicester is the St Margarets bus station.
Apart from at the main railway and bus stations, there are numerous taxi ranks around the city from which you can use one of the city's Hackney cabs. Alternatively, there are plenty of private hire taxi firms you can phone to use. The most central taxi rank to the city centre is at Humberstone gate to the east of the Clock Tower.
As with any major city, Leicester city roads can become very congested, especially during the rush hours. Congestion is not helped by the veritable maze of 'one-way' streets encountered in the city centre, which to anyone driving around the city for the first time, become as annoying as they are difficult to navigate. To get around the city centre there is no single ring road. The A594 to the north of the city provides half of a ring road, but to the south there is only a collection of roads that allow you to get around, as opposed to directing you around on a ring road. Within the city all the major shopping areas are well served for car parking with a variety of long and short stay car parks. Bulletins regarding congestion and parking are regularly broadcast by local radio stations.
Being a largely flat city Leicester lends itself well to anyone wishing to cycle in or through it. With over 60 miles of sign-posted cycle-ways and plans for a network of safer on and off road cycle lanes, Leicester is probably one of the more forward thinking cities regarding the use of cycles as a means of local and environmentally friendly transport.
The River Soar runs through Leicester on its way to join the River Trent to the north. It is a small river and is really only navigable by small/pleasure boats. However, the Grand Union Canal also runs through Leicester and was, in its day, a major transport route carrying goods north and south. The Grand Union canal and the River Soar meet in the south of Leicester in a suburb called Ayleston. Today the canal is part of the popular tourist industry in canal-barge holidays. Although not yet started Leicester has ambitious plans to re-develop its waterside area.
General enquiries regarding public transport in Leicester are directed by Leicester City Council to Travel Line UK, alternatively 'phone 08706082608.