Following the King’s footsteps in Leicester

Val at the Turret Gateway.

Val Baynton spent the 529th anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth in August very appropriately by exploring the city of Leicester’s Richard III connections, hosted by Simon Gribbin, Head of Communications, and Martin Peters, Chief Executive, at Leicester Shire Promotions. Her visit began at the recently opened King Richard III Visitor Centre, dedicated to telling the story of the King’s life as the last of the Plantagenet dynasty, recounting how he died at Bosworth along with the intriguing archaeological and scientific research involved in discovering and identifying his long-lost remains. The centre, designed to complement the Visitor Centre at Bosworth, is in a renovated Victorian Gothic school, which had been partly built on the site of the medieval Greyfriars Church, and includes a tranquil area where visitors can contemplate Richard III’s newly discovered grave. Val was also treated to the Richard III: The Leicester Connection guided walk with Blue Badge guide, Virginia Wright, which explored the facts and legends surrounding Richard III and took in buildings from Roman and medieval times including the Guildhall and Wygaston’s House as well as sites key to Richard’s journey to and from Bosworth such as the Turret Gateway. Richard III will be reburied at a special ceremony in Leicester Cathedral on 26th March 2015.

Inside the new King Richard III Visitor Centre.

Val was also delighted to visit the New Walk Museum & Art Gallery. Here she enjoyed a tour of two unique collections with the fine art curator, Simon Lake. The first, Picasso Ceramics, has been gifted to the museum by the late Lord Attenborough and his wife, and commemorates the lives of their daughter and granddaughter who perished in the Asian Tsunami in 2004. The museum also holds the UK’s largest collection of German Expressionism Art and a new permanent gallery, with excellent multimedia displays, has just opened to highlight works by artists such as Max Pechstein and Franz Marc. Groups wishing to visit Leicester should contact Leicester Shire Promotions for help with arranging itineraries including accommodation.