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Leicester: the centre of everything

The buzz about Leicester that has been building for years has now become a roar heard around the world – a confident declaration from a city on a winning streak.

Brilliant teamwork has powered 5,000-1 shots Leicester City, our Official Higher Education Partners, to the Premier League title, tearing up received wisdom as they did so. De Montfort University (DMU) likes to challenge convention, too, and we’re proud to say we’ve been on the same side as Leicester City for years.

Our two great city institutions have worked together perfectly on a raft of exciting initiatives. Shinji Okazaki, the team’s Japanese international striker, completed an English course at the university, our students and staff have seen the ‘Leicester City miracle’ play out thanks to ticket offers, and more than 100 students will get work experience opportunities at the club’s King Power stadium.

A year before Leicester City’s remarkable title triumph, the power of a king had drawn the world’s attention to a city that is proudly at the heart of 2,000 years of English history - and still vital enough to rewrite it, too. DMU is closely linked to the legend of Richard III and the extraordinary celebrations that followed the discovery of his bones and his reburial at nearby Leicester Cathedral. Crowds flocked from around the world to witness the historic royal funeral service presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury and attended by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, among other luminaries. The ceremony and permanent memorial earned Leicester a must-see listing in the Lonely Planet guide

There’s always a story to tell here as history, royal and otherwise, weaves through the fabric of the city and county like a power cable, connecting past and present, ancient and modern, in a still-live saga. Taking a name from the city’s rich trading past, the £350 million Leicester Highcross has utterly transformed shopping and the city experience. It perfectly partners city centre streets where quirky boutiques and brands stand side-by-side, and the treasures of The Lanes, a funky maze of endless choices where one-offs, independents and specialist shops share the scene with upscale restaurants. And then there is Leicester’s legendary market – 700 years old and still selling the freshest world food and best bargain goods you’ll find anywhere.

Leicester’s £4m Jubilee Square, its name inspired by a memorable Royal visitor (Her Majesty chose to begin her Golden Jubilee tour at DMU), has reshaped the city, as have the Leicester Cathedral Gardens – space to live in and dream on past, present and future in, before taking the next step forward.

Always looking to the future, and strengthened by a proud industrial heritage, Leicester is equalling London in producing the fastest-growing businesses in England, according to The Economist. The magazine calls DMU ‘an important ingredient’ in the city’s success. IBM picked Leicester as the HQ for its Client Innovation Centres initiative and the Good Growth for Cities Index ranks Leicester in the top 10 of UK cities, ahead of London.

Leicester is home to Britain's most multicultural high street, with shopkeepers from 23 countries on Narborough Road, just a stone's throw from the DMU campus. It is one of the hottest retail locations in the UK, and is home to Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival, founded by a DMU alumnus, the largest Caribbean carnival in the UK outside of London and the biggest Diwali celebrations outside of India. We’re also a regular contender for the Curry Capital of Britain title.

Sport rules in Leicester – and it’s not just about the football.  Our partners at Leicester Tigers are European rugby giants, and as Leicestershire County Cricket Club enters one of the most exciting periods in its 137-year history, our students will continue to get extra benefits from the signing of a new two-year sponsorship deal. If basketball is more your thing, Leicester Riders are big shots in the BBL, while Leicester’s Mark Selby wrapped up his second World Snooker Championship title just as the Foxes became Premier League legends.

Creativity is one of DMU’s signature qualities and is in Leicester’s lifeblood. We are home to thriving creative industries, which represent the second largest cluster of retail businesses outside London; more than 200 businesses are currently trading in Leicester's Cultural Quarter. Many of the creators and achievers that enrich and energise music, TV, sport, cooking and crafts have Leicester links, expressing the vibrancy and diversity Leicester absolutely refuses to keep quiet about.

Beyond the sporting field and the snap and crackle of city life – yet not too far away – the sweeping landscape, open spaces and vast, shifting skies of Leicestershire also offer restoration, recreation and inspiration (‘All the ministers of hope/ Are tempted to this sunny slope’, as Wordsworth put it when he visited). Woodlands, the National Forest, meadows, wetlands and heath, and nature reserves holding wildlife and geological treasures all offer a soothing counterpoint to the giddy vigour of the city.

Mood-changing, time-shifting country parks characterise Leicestershire. Bradgate Park, a favourite haunt for many, sprawls richly across 850 acres and holds the ruins of Bradmore House – one of the oldest brick-built country houses in England and birthplace and childhood home of Lady Jane Grey, once a Queen of England.

Confident and colourful, alive with possibilities, full of quirks and corners and bars, cafés and cuisine from around the world – plus the appetite for life to do them justice – we’re big enough to offer something new every day, small enough to quickly feel like home.

And the story goes on. Come and be part of it. 

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