Saturday, 28 May 2016

Kilby Bridge and Leicester

I've mentioned our arrival at Kilby Bridge and our meal at The Navigation in the previous blog entry  and now we took a day off to visit Leicester which neither of us had visited for many years.
It wouldn't be fair to diminish the huge success of the unexpectedly league-leading football club by saying that we were underwhelmed by Leicester city centre. After all, it was a day of dull weather and we were quite focused on what we wanted to see, but the people did seem very friendly and helped us with finding the right buses and pointed us (usually) in the right direction.
Regional TV is asking "Joan from Leicester" how she's going to vote in the referendum, but we are happy for her to tell us that we can easily walk 15 minutes from Kilby Bridge to Wigston and catch a bus into Leicester City Centre.

We found the famous car park where Richard III's body was found, visited his grave in the modest cathedral and found the visitors' centre well laid out and interesting. Richard's life is well explained and the discovery of his grave is described in detail.
From the excellent bus station (yes, really, great information and lots of space) we headed out to the National Space Centre (yes, in Leicester! - with cooperation from University of Leicester's Space Research Centre and land from a redundant pumping station).
With its child-friendly exhibits (a space toilet explained, interactive experiences, walk-through capsule etc) and impressive artefacts (a Soyuz capsule, space suits, actual rockets) the museum appeals to young and old, with hard questions about the origin and destination of the universe as well as "what would an alien look like".

The open design, determinedly avoiding a defined route through the six galleries areas plus planetarium and upper levels meant we felt a bit lost at times, but there was great variety for us and for the many children swarming around on school trips. Curiously the translucent 42 metre tower made apparently from plastic inflatables didn't allow for any viewing over the city. But then the view was less than impressive. Sorry, Leicester, but true.

Finally we visited the free Abbey Pumping Museum with its wonderful Victorian brass and mahogany pumps, created in the days when engineering had to be visually awe-inspiring even if it was just pushing effluent into pits. There are also rather random collections of plumbing, Meccano and a knitting machine. We enjoyed this and gather that their Events days with working steam pumps and narrow gauge railway are justifiably popular.

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