Markets are somewhere I love to visit at home and when on holiday. Something about them gives you a brief insight of area. Leicester Market is no different.
Adam Piotrowski, the manager of Leicester Market, kindly gave Bejal and I a mini tour of on 14 September 2018.
The Market is protected by a Royal Charter which prohibits other Markets from operating within a specified distance of it.
The centre of the Market Place has a Grade II listed building Corn Exchange, built in 1850. This is where trade used to happen. Now it is a Weather Spoons pub, popular with many.
In the early 20th century, the Market was a place for important campaigns like that of the famous suffragette Alice Hawkins. February 2018 unveiled a beautiful bronze statue of Alice Hawkins in the Market Square. This was 100 years after the passing of Representation of the People Act 1918, which gave women the right to vote in Britain.
The Indoor Market opened in 2014. This is where you can find all the meats and seafood alongside some of Leicester’s finest cheese. The Food Hall has won several awards including the Best Food Market 2015 by Great British Market Awards.
The Market Square which is located behind the Corn Exchange opened in 2017. An open plaza that will be used for various events.
The Market has around 80 stalls, some traders taking up to 4 for their fresh produce. Open 6 days a week (Monday to Saturday), the Market has a good working ethos which they want to retain.
Fruit and Vegetables is the core of what the Market sells, freshness and price being their strong selling point. Sourced from wholesale Markets there are an array of traders who selling produce mostly from Britain.
Each trader has their own niche whether it be organic, Indian or Caribbean produce.
The buzz is brilliant, and the traders always seem to be full of energy and upbeat.. “any bowl for a pound”!
You can also find traders selling spices, textiles, gadgets, plants, clothes and almost anything you can want in the Market.
The Food Hall aka Indoor Market, is home to butchers and fish mongers selling a variety of meats and seafood. There is also a Deli section which offers a large selection of cheese, fresh bread and local honey.
Shopping in the Market is friendly on your bank balance and fresh produce is always better for you.
There is a coffee shop (Café Bocca) and a Falafel van in the Market Place. Both are great places to eat.
Whilst walking around the Market the owner of the van kindly gave us a falafel each to sample. They were so delicious we had to return for a wrap. The falafel wrap was £2.80 and was big enough to share. The van does get busy especially at lunchtime with customers tucking into wraps and Moroccan Tea.
The Market Square recently hosted the Makers Market. It also offers Tai Chi classes on Saturday mornings and Zumba by one of my favourite Leicester fitness instructors, Leona Knott, on a Friday at 12.30pm. The sessions are free to attend.
The back of Corn Exchange, Market Square, will have more of an uplift and hopefully by February 2019 the public will be able to enjoy an outdoor cinema experience.
The council and Market want more footfall to the area. Developing and opening the surrounding areas, from Town Hall Square to St Martins Square, will make this possible. Dolphin square will be redeveloped too.
The new year will also bring some exciting new stalls including craft & antique traders along with some eateries places. The Market is hoping to have traders selling organic products and structured permanent stands for the traders.
Adam said, “We want to make the Market a shopping experience”.
I am excited for the future of Leicester Market. It is so important to support local trade including the Market to boost the City’s Economy.
Leicester Market Address: Market Place, Leicester LE1 5HB