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Fun gets under way as schools break up for summer

Funfare rides return to Humberstone Gate tomorrow (Saturday) as the city’s schools break up for summer.

Leicester’s summer funfair will be joined on Thursday (14 July) by another popular attraction: the sandy beach that brings a bit of the seaside to land-locked Leicester.

Run in partnership with Billy Bates & Sons’ Funfair, the City Beach will be open daily from Thursday – and entry is free of charge.

Opening hours will be 10am until 6pm, and from 11am to 5pm on Sundays.

Before then, youngsters and their families can line the city centre’s streets to welcome The Queen’s Baton Relay – an event that’s part of the build-up to this month’s Commonwealth Games.

From 11am until 3pm on Sunday (10 July), Leicester’s sports clubs will provide free and fun activities in Green Dragon Square and Jubilee Square to support the event.

The Queen’s Baton will arrive in Green Dragon Square at 12.02pm on Sunday, before heading to Gallowtree Gate, the Clock Tower (12.05pm), High Street, Carts Lane, Loseby Lane, St Martins, the King Richard III Visitor Centre (12.10pm), Peacock Lane, Applegate and – finally – Jubilee Square, where it’s due to arrive at 12.14pm.

There will be a brief opportunity to have photographs with the baton, before it leaves Leicester at 12.24pm and continues its journey to Nottingham.

Tasty foods and snacks will be available from a Vegan Market at Leicester Market, which is open from 10.30am until 4pm on Sunday (10 July).

From Monday (11 July) until 26 August, young children and families can enjoy free activities at Leicester’s children, young people and family centres (CYPFC). 

Run by the city council, Get Up & Go will include lots of outdoor fun, such as skipping, den building and giant outdoor games, as well as green-fingered fun and seed-planting – and there’ll also be plenty of opportunities to play with LEGO, bubbles, playdough and paints.

Every Monday throughout the summer, there’ll be activities at St Matthews, Thurnby Lodge and Woodbridge CYPFCs; on Tuesdays the action is at the Kingfisher Youth Centre, while Beaumont Leys CYPFC is the place to go on Wednesdays; on Thursdays youngsters can get up and go at the Tudor Centre, Spinney Hill Park and the CYPFCs at Netherhall, New Parks and Belgrave; while there’s Friday fun at The Grove in Braunstone and Eyres Monsell CYPFC.

Times vary at each venue so people are advised to check the timetable at or to call their local children’s centre.

Taking place every Wednesday in July will be a mini Playday in Town Hall Square, where there’ll be giant outdoor games, story-time, arts and crafts and a dedicated area for babies. The first mini Playday takes place on Wednesday (13 July), and will be repeated on 20 and 27 July from 11am-2pm. These mini events will be followed on Wednesday 3 August by the return of Leicester’s Playday.

This year’s Summer Reading Challenge also gets under way next week, with free activities at Leicester’s libraries.

With a theme of ‘Gadgeteers’, the challenge will invite youngsters to create the ultimate gadget – a giant robot – while they pick up their first books for the summer at their local library next week.

Activities will run at Aylestone, Evington and New Parks libraries on Monday (11 July); Knighton, Beaumont Leys and Rushey Mead libraries on Tuesday (12 July); Belgrave, St Barnabas and St Matthews libraries on Wednesday (13 July); Central, Highfields, Pork Pie and Westcotes libraries on Thursday (14 July); and the Brite Centre, Fosse Centre and Hamilton libraries on Friday (15 July). All sessions run from 1pm-3pm.

There’s lots going on at Leicester’s Museums too, with a small charge for special events.

Abbey Pumping Station will be running its popular Railway Days on Tuesdays throughout the summer holidays, starting on 12 July. Rides on the narrow gauge railway cost 50p (cash only please), with trains running between 12 noon and 4pm every Tuesday until 23 August.

Next weekend (16-17 July), there’s a chance to get close to a real-life Spitfire, thanks to the RAF Museum Midlands. The Spitfire will be in Jubilee Square on both Saturday and Sunday.

There’s a Festival of Archaeology Family Fun Day at Leicester’s Guildhall on 19 July, while Belgrave Hall hosts a Teddy Bears’ Picnic on 20 July and Newarke Houses Museums celebrates Peter Rabbit’s 120thbirthday with crafts, games and storytelling on 24 July. A £3 admission charge applies for all three events.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell said: “We’ve got lots of ideas for low-cost and no-cost activities that children will enjoy this summer.

“Whether it’s playing on the Humberstone Gate beach, taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge, or joining us for a playday in Town Hall Square, there’s plenty going on from now until the end of August.”


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