This weekend celebrates the public opening of Leicester’s new £2.5 million Cathedral Gardens.
The weekend long ‘Garden of Life’ event for the people of Leicestershire begins on Saturday 5 July, it will mark the first time that the new Leicester Cathedral gardens have been open to the public.
There will be many events and activities taking place over both days starting off with a performance by members of Curve’s Young Dance Company at 11.40am and will be repeated at 3.15pm.
The Cathedral Gardens will be formally opened by The Bishop of Leicester, Tim Stevens and City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby at 12 noon. The programme is packed with stage entertainment, workshops, heritage tours and other activities taking place in and around the city’s ‘Old Town’.
City Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby said “Cathedral Gardens is a place for people and I am really pleased that we are able to open this beautiful new area in time for the summer.The weekend of events will be a perfect way for people to experience the gardens for the first time, and enjoy this special setting for our magnificent cathedral and the city’s new King Richard III Visitor Centre.”
Activities and entertainment in the gardens will include a climbing tower, face painting, a drumming workshop, comedy, dance, and much more, which will commence on Saturday. A wide range of workshops and talks will be held in the Cathedral and St Martins House throughout Saturday. These will include a talk from James Butler, the sculptor who created Leicester’s Richard III statue. For younger guests, there will also be the chance to have a go at Lego gardening or taking part in other activities in the Grand Hall.
On Sunday, there will be more stage entertainment along with medieval activities, with costumed performers, falconry and jesting in Cathedral Gardens. Regular Sunday services will take place in the Cathedral.
Tim Stevens, The Bishop of Leicester stated “most great cities have a cathedral at their heart and our cathedral will now be set in a garden space which will be a magnet for thousands who will visit Leicester in the years ahead.” He later added “we are confident that Cathedral Gardens will become the heart of the city for people of all faiths and of none.”
Leader of Leicestershire County Council, Nick Rushton said “we’re delighted that Towards Stillness is a focal point in Cathedral Gardens, which is also a gateway to the county and the story of the two kings – Richard III and Henry VII – which we tell at Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre.” The new King Richard III Visitor Centre will open on Saturday, 26 July.
The final touches are being added to the new gardens, yet some final planting and construction will continue throughout July.
The £2.5million project to regenerate the Cathedral Quarter has been funded by the Diocese of Leicester, Leicester City Council and private donations- with support from Leicestershire County Council.
“Tourism figures in Leicestershire are already well above the regional average and I’m sure the impact will continue to be felt with the opening of the gardens – and that is great for the county’s economy as a whole.”
The new King Richard III Visitor Centre will open on Saturday, 26 July. For more information, or to book tickets in advance, visit www.kriii.com