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Museum, free entry

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The Guildhall

The Guildhall

Exterior

Address

Guildhall Lane,
Leicester,
LE1 5FQ

Details

Leicester's Guildhall is one of the finest surviving timber framed medieval halls in England and a premier venue in the city for more than 600 years. In the heart of the Old Town, this grade 1 listed building retains much of its traditional architectural splendour, with original period features and detailing in the Great Hall and Mayor's Parlour. The upstairs library is one of the oldest in the country. Visit our new Medieval Leicester galleries and the old cells.

Leicester is very privileged to have one of the best-preserved timber-framed halls in the country, dating back six hundred years. The Guildhall has had many uses and lives. The Great Hall of the Guildhall was built circa 1390 as a meeting place for the Guild of Corpus Christi (a small but powerful religious and social group). It was a venue for social gatherings, banquets, festivals and a place for Chantry priests to live. Over the next hundred years the Great Hall was extended and the two wings were added at either end.

By the end of the 15th century the Corporation of Leicester (the town's civic body) had begun to meet in the Guildhall. When the Guild was dissolved in 1548, the Corporation of Leicester bought the Guildhall for the sum of £25 15s 4d. In 1632, the Town Library (the third oldest public library in the country) was moved here from St Martin's Church. Many rare volumes are still on display. At about the same time, the ground floor of the West Wing was refurbished as the Mayor's Parlour. The Corporation met at The Great Hall to conduct civic duties and The Great Hall was often used as a courtroom. A Jury Room was created above the Mayor's Parlour.

The Guildhall was also used regularly for theatrical performances, banquets and civic events - it is believed that Shakespeare performed here during Tudor times. In the 19th century it became increasingly clear that the Guildhall was now far too small as a town hall. After much debate a new Town Hall was built on Horse Fair Street which opened in 1876. For the next fifty years, the Guildhall was used for several purposes including the headquarters of Leicester's first police force and a school. The building became increasingly dilapidated and there were even calls for its demolition as an eyesore! Fortunately, the Council decided to restore the building and following a major renovation, it was opened to the public as a museum in 1926.

Today, the Guildhall is best known as an excellent performance venue, attracting top acts from across the country, and as a space for a wide variety of children's activities. The Guildhall is also licensed to host civil marriage ceremonies. Visitors can step back in time and marvel at the building and come face to face with 'Crankie Gemmie' and Emma Smith, two of Leicester's notorious criminals, who can be found lurking within the Victorian police cells. The Guildhall is also reputedly Leicester's most haunted building, claiming five ghosts including the mysterious White Lady, who makes her presence known in the library. The Hall has also been seen on Living TV's now legendry 'Most Haunted' TV series.

Coach parties acceptedCredit cards accepted (no fee)Disabled accessDisabled toiletsFacilities for groupsFacilities for educational visitsFrench signs/guidesGerman signs/guidesGift shopPublic toiletsWelcome HostWheelchairs availableFacilities for conferencing

Mobile phone coverageChildren welcomeDisabled accessDogs not accepted (except guidedogs)Smoking not allowed

Limited wheelchair access, accessible toilet, induction loop, guide dogs welcome. Broadband internet access is available.

Opening details

Open daily 11am - 4.30pm

Prices

Free entry

Except at certain events.

Facilities

  • Coach parties acceptedCoach parties accepted
  • Credit cards accepted (no fee)Credit cards accepted (no fee)
  • Disabled accessDisabled access
  • Disabled toiletsDisabled toilets
  • Facilities for groupsFacilities for groups
  • Facilities for educational visitsFacilities for educational visits
  • French signs/guidesFrench signs/guides
  • German signs/guidesGerman signs/guides
  • Gift shopGift shop
  • Public toiletsPublic toilets
  • Welcome HostWelcome Host
  • Wheelchairs availableWheelchairs available
  • Facilities for conferencingFacilities for conferencing
  • Mobile phone coverageMobile phone coverage
  • Children welcomeChildren welcome
  • Disabled accessDisabled access
  • Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)Dogs not accepted (except guidedogs)
  • Smoking not allowedSmoking not allowed

Limited wheelchair access, accessible toilet, induction loop, guide dogs welcome. Broadband internet access is available.

Self-Assessed Accessibility Details

Parking

  • The route from the parking area to the entrance:
    • YesIs flat (i.e. without steps)

General

  • YesSeating available for visitors with limited mobility
  • YesGood colour/tonal contrast for visually impaired visitors
  • YesWheelchairs provided
    • YesFree
  • YesRoutes/pathways suitable for wheelchair users or visitors with limited mobility
  • YesAudible alarm system
  • YesVisual alarm system

Public Areas

  • Level access (no steps/thresholds) or access by ramp or lift:
    • YesFrom the entrance to reception / ticket area
    • YesTo a specially adapted public toilet suitable for wheelchair users
    • YesTo the gift shop

Location

Directions

See location of The Guildhall on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: SK 585044  Lat: 52.63421 Long: -1.13703

The Guildhall is located in the heart of the city centre. It is next to to Leicester Cathedral, on Guildhall Lane. Guildhall Lane is a continuation of Silver Street and runs parallel to High Street where the Highcross Shopping Centre is located.

Parking: with charge

Accessible by Public Transport: 1 mile from Leicester station

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