9 huge reasons to hit Leicester up for Diwali

Leicester, Leicestershire

Celebrate the festival of light in Leicester

November 12, 2023

Learn the history behind this spectacular celebration of light and its importance to Hindus all over the world whilst joining in on the fun. Diwali is the festival of lights in Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism. It symbolises the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance". So, what is the connection to Leicester, and more importantly why should you visit? All are welcome to participate in Diwali celebrations and with Christmas creeping ever closer, getting out there and doing something different with your mates sounds like a great way to hold back the tinsel tide.

More lights than Las Vegas

Mm, we exaggerate, but Leicester does have the highest population of Hindus in the UK outside of London, and the city goes all out with festival feels. It’s one of the biggest displays outside of India and the most awe-inspiring light decorations (6,500 of them) on the Golden Mile makes Leicester the perfect place to join in the celebrations.

We wheely like this one

Take a spin on the Wheel of Light on Belgrave Road. This 100-feet high Ferris wheel was added to the Diwali celebrations, and it looks out over the city skyline at the Golden Mile and the rest of the city. The Wheel of Light will be installed from 13th October through until Diwali Day celebrations on 12th November, giving you plenty of opportunity to head on up and enjoy the ride.

Fun fair, fireworks and a fire garden

The celebrations kick off at 3pm on Sunday 12th November on Belgrave Road. Celebrating 40 years of celebrations in the city, the programme is full of music and dance, a stunning firework display, and Indian arts and history will be on show at the Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre. Head over to the Cossington Recreation Ground for a fun fair, food stalls, a laser show, and the unmissable fire garden display. 

Ever eaten off a banana leaf?

Has there ever been a better time to try some new and delicious food from another country? Chettinad Restaurant is hailed as ‘Authentic South Indian food’ and offers a range of mouth-watering dishes. Try a new style of eating, enjoying food eaten off banana leaves with your hands to really immerse yourself in southern India.

Get to know Leicester

Acquaint yourself with the city of Leicester before the festivities start with a scavenger hunt. Use the exclusive app to send in photos of the locations you visit and complete the challenge. You can complete this hunt in any order, making it the perfect way to see the city with an added thrill.

Free zoo in the park

Just a short walk from Belgrave Road is the stunning Abbey Park. Located on the River Soar, this wonderful park is perfect for a relaxing walk through the greenery and Abbey ruins. You can also visit the boating lake and Victorian gardens filled with sweet-smelling flowers and plants. Drop by the ‘free zoo’ in Pet’s Corner to watch the cute guinea pigs and goats and listen to the songs of the birds in the aviary.

Nutty sweets and savoury snacks

Embrace more of India during Diwali with some flavourful sweet treats from Aarti Sweet Centre. Try some cakes, sugary sweets, and savoury snacks made fresh each day. The nutty flavours are a staple of Indian sweets, with almonds and cashews taking front and centre. We can’t wait to try a chocolate barfi.

To infinity and Leicester’s space centre

Spending a couple of days in the city? Better to say, you’re going to want to stay longer than overnight to make the most of this fab city. Head slightly out of town to the National Space Centre. Whilst not Diwali themed, the National Space Centre has loads of brilliant events on throughout the year, including adult only evenings. Find out more  

Because there’s a secret stash of Picassos

Ok, not secret exactly but who knew? Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, that’s who. In the heart of the museum there’s a whole room dedicated to Picasso’s ceramics, and even better, it’s free! Explore some of history at Leicester Museum and Art Gallery. With free entry to all guests, you’ll be able to explore the temporary and touring exhibits from national museums, dinosaur remains, and local artefacts.