Visiting Leicestershire

visiting east midlands airport Leicestershire visit

East Midlands airport is perfectly situated; its central location nestled between the counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, with three of the UK’s most happening cities virtually on its doorstep. It is also in close proximity to some of the most beautiful countryside seen anywhere in England.

The area has a wonderful heritage, being at the forefront of several industries, laying claim to the world’s first factory in Cromford, used for spinning wool and later copied by the more famous mills of Lancashire. Derbyshire also houses the world’s oldest factory in John Smedley’s eponymous luxury knitwear company, and the neighbouring county of Notts is famed for leading fashion brand Paul Smith. The East Midlands is one of the few areas of the UK still to have its own textile factories and footwear companies, with this former UK-leading industry having largely moved abroad.

If you're visiting the East Midlands for a business trip, take a look at our Business in Leicestershire page to help you find a meeting room or conference venue to impress.

Find all you need to know about the East Midlands below and ensure you make the most of your trip to the region.

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Flybe works in partnership with so it’s easier than ever to find the perfect hotel in the East Midlands for your visit. Whether you’re just in need of a place to rest your head or after a little luxury, there is accommodation in the East Midlands to suit all needs and preferences.

Have a browse through some of the best East Midlands hotels on and find the perfect accommodation for you to unwind after your Flybe flight.

Things to see

The central location of the East Midlands means there is much to see and do in the surrounding areas. The cities of Leicester, Nottingham and Derby all have their own character, history and rich culture, with lively social scenes and beautiful English countryside on their doorstep.

See our East Midlands Airport Arrivals page for information on getting to your destination. The city of Leicester has a wonderful history, including the resting place of the last king to be killed in England, Richard III, as well as housing the battlefield (Bosworth) where his reign came to a grisly end. Nottingham meanwhile competes with its ice age art, found in Creswell Crags, and Derby’s cathedral quarters rank amongst the finest in the country.

With a fabulous choice of shopping experiences, cultural scenes and proximity to countryside, the East Midlands has a huge choice of activities to keep all ages and interests entertained. However much time you have during your trip, you’ll never be short of things to do in the East Midlands.

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The main cities of Leicester, Derby and Nottingham all have their own distinct shopping culture. The Highcross Centre in Leicester has a host of high street names under one roof, with plenty of eateries and cafes when the shopping feet are in need of a rest. Haymarket Shopping Centre is a haven for price-savvy shoppers and Leicester Market an historic foodie’s delight that’s not to be missed.

Derby has its own shopping centres, with the Market Hall – the first ever dedicated centre built in Britain – and INTU centre boasting 100s of stores between them. Find independent shops and boutiques in the city’s beautiful Cathedral Quarter.

With its rich history of lace-making and being the home of fashion brand Paul Smith, Nottingham quite rightly has a fine line in quality threads. Check out the INTU Victoria Centre for the latest fashions, or The Exchange for designer labels, gifts and jewellery, all within a gorgeous Grade II-listed building – it’s worth going to see even if you don’t plan on spending a single penny!


Given its choice of fabulous cities, the East Midlands has an excellent cultural scene after hours. If it is clubs you’re after, try Leicester’s Club XY – famed for its cocktails, Nottingham’s many-roomed Pryzm, or Derby’s Blue Note Club, which spins a super range of beats on different nights to suit all tastes. For theatres, try Leicester’s Haymarket Theatre, Nottingham’s Theatre Royal or Derby’s eponymous Derby Theatre.

Live music aficionados will adore Leicester’s The Musician pub, which, along with some splendid local ales in a homely setting, has an excellent roster of local musicians playing a range of styles in its live room. Nottingham’s Rock City is a premium venue for well-known international bands, and The Venue in Derby hosts a range of musical styles.


You’ll be spoilt for choice when dining out in the East Midlands. Leicester is famed for its Indian cuisine, which ranks amongst the finest in the country, with Jamal’s Balti House, the Spice Bazaar and the buffet-restaurant Chef & Spice being excellent places to sate the appetite and warm the mind. Fine diners will be cock-a-hoop at Sat Bains in Nottingham, a well-known chef who makes regular appearances on television – and his food is happily fantastic! Special mention must also go to Veeno, which feels like Nottingham’s own corner of Italy.

If you’re visiting Derby on your trip to the East Midlands, try the award-winning Zest. The food might be fine dining, but it’s without the usual high-brow stuffiness one sometimes encounters in foodie havens. Any trip to the city’s historic Cathedral Quarter shouldn’t omit The Old Bell, a real ale pub with a choice of menus, all serving wonderfully hearty British classics, with locally-sourced ingredients and a firm nod to the glorious seasons of England.

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Beyond the major cities

The East Midlands’ countryside ranks amongst the most beautiful in the UK, with its miles of rolling hills and tranquillity. Alongside the major cities of Leicester, Nottingham and Derby are a host of delightful towns to visit, including historical Long Eaton, Loughborough with its heritage Great Central Railway and Coalville with its rich mining history. And London is only 90 minutes away.

For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the region’s conurbations, Byron’s Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire is a neo-Gothic delight, and the gardens a wonderful adventure at any time of year. Leicestershire’s Market Bosworth is a picture-postcard Georgian treat, with its thatched cottages and peaceful air, and Matlock’s 18th century Cascades Gardens in Derbyshire is a place to unwind and truly allow the mind to wander.

For more information on flight to the East Midlands with Flybe, see our dedicated East Midlands Airport page, as well as Getting to East Midlands Airport for advice and how best to reach the airport for your flight.