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Richard III: Leicester's Search for a King

Richard III Exhibition at The Guildhall

Richard III Events

Richard III: Leicester’s Search for a King
Exhibition on now until 1 June 2014
The Guildhall  

The Guildhall, in the shadow of Leicester Cathedral, hosts a major exhibition telling the story of King Richard III, his life and times and the search for his lost remains.

In the summer of 2012, archaeologists from the University of Leicester, working with Leicester City Council and the Richard III Society, unearthed the ruins of the lost medieval Grey Friars church and within the ruins, the grave of a battle-scarred warrior.

Richard III: Leicester's Search for a King offers visitors an explanation of the findings of the 2012 Grey Friars excavation and details the evidence that proves the skeleton found belonged to King Richard III. The story is told by four narrators, all from the team of experts at the University of Leicester who undertook the work.

The Historian – examines the historical context. Who was Richard III, what do we know from the historical sources about his life and death and how he came to be buried in Leicester after his death at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485.

The Archaeologist – what happened during the excavation. How the church of the Grey Friars was discovered and human remains that were likely to belong to King Richard III were found.

The Bio-archaeologist – what clues were revealed by studying the actual bones. Examines the injuries inflicted around the time of death as well as more information about the curvature of the spine. It is also explained how this evidence matches up with the contemporary source material.

The Scientist – the results of the scientific tests that the skeleton underwent and how they finally confirm it was that of King Richard III. These tests included radiocarbon dating, calculus analysis and environmental sampling as well as the DNA evidence.

The exhibition features unique touchscreen interactives, including a detailed examination of the various key pathologies that the skeleton has. Also, on loan from Loughborough University, is a model of King Richard's skull, made from the CT scan of the skeleton at Leicester Royal Infirmary and 3D printed using a technique called laser sintering.

Objects on display also include a case of items from the Grey Friars excavation, including decorated floor tiles, a silver penny of Richard's brother, Edward IV, and a section of carved stone frieze from the wall of the Grey Friars church. There is also an accurate model of the Blue Boar Inn, the building in Leicester where Richard spent the night before leaving for Bosworth.

Please note:
At peak times (during school holidays) queuing may be required. At peak times, we recommend taking the Richard III walking trail which is available to download for free at the bottom of this page, or from the Guildhall, priced 50p. The trail, which can take anything from 45 – 60 minutes, provides an opportunity for you to visit the sites associated with Richard III within the Old Town area of the city while waiting to view the exhibition.

Please note that other parts of The Guildhall may be closed for private hire bookings during the course of the exhibition. If travelling some distance, please check before visiting.

Free admission

The Guildhall, Guildhall Lane, Leicester, LE1 5FQ

T: 0116 253 2569

Opening Hours:

Daily for the duration of the exhibition: 11am – 4.30pm

Please note: At peak times the last admission to the exhibition will be 30 minutes before closing.

Reconstructing King Richard III

The facial reconstruction of King Richard III, as seen on the Channel 4 documentary, ‘The King in the Car Park,’ is to go on a national tour, beginning at The Guildhall. The model was commissioned by the Richard III Society and made by Professor Caroline Wilkinson and the forensic art team at the University of Dundee.

It was made using a 3D printing technique called stereolithography. Finishing details like the style and colour of Richard's hair and hat were taken from near contemporary portraits of the King.

Don't miss your chance to come face-to-face with one of English history's most controversial Kings.

Tour Dates

The Guildhall, Leicester: 18 May - 9 June 2013
Bosworth Battlefield: 11 June – 16 July 2013
Yorkshire Museum: 19 July – 13 October 2013
Northampton Museum and Art Gallery: 19 October – 5 January 2014
British Museum: 11 January 2014 – 16 March 2014
Gloucester Museum and Art Gallery: 20 March – 30 March 2014
Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Cheltenham GL54 5JD: 2 April - 15 April 2014

For specific display dates check with each venue. When the tour is complete, the model will return to Leicester for permanent display in the new King Richard III visitor centre. The tour was organised by Leicester Arts and Museums Service and the model has been kindly loaned for display by the Richard III Society.

Find out more about the tour venues on their websites:

Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre & Country Park

Yorkshire Museum

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery

British Museum

Gloucester Museum and Art Gallery

Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe

White Rose Cafe

Refreshments are available from the White Rose Cafe, next door to The Guildhall at St. Martins House. The White Rose Cafe will be open from 10.30am - 4.30pm, Monday - Saturday, closed on Sunday.
Find out more about Richard III

To find out more about the Richard III exhibition, associated events, activities and images of the Greyfriars dig, visit the Richard III website. 

Visit the University of Leicester’s The Search for Richard III website.

Keep in touch on facebook and twitter:  

* Please note that parts of The Guildhall may be closed for private hire bookings during the course of the exhibition. If travelling some distance, please check with the Guildhall prior to visiting.

Richard III Events

Enjoy a family day out and find out more about Richard III by attending one of many special events in Leicester. Listings are in date order and will be updated regularly so keep checking back to stay up to date with the latest events.   

Let's celebrate Richard III: Conflict 1485 Bosworth present the 15th century campaigner
Sunday 27 April
11am – 3pm
The Guildhall

Come down to the Guildhall and celebrate Richard lll. Help us create some beautiful bunting, celebratory flags and Richard III badges. Prepare for battle at Leicester’s Guildhall and meet the soldiers of King Richard lll 1485! Come and see the amazing arms and armour the soldiers wore as they marched to fight the usurper Henry Tudor on Bosworth Battlefield.  This was the decisive battle of the War of the Roses known to some as the Fields of Treason. Event includes face painting, quizzes and trails. Drop-in event, £2.50 for activities. T: 0116 253 2569

Finding Richard
Sunday 25 May
11.30am - 3.30pm
The Guildhall
Finding Richard short film follows a young boy, Gull, who on hearing that the bones of Richard lll have been found begins his own archaeological quest. Helping him on this journey is his Grandad, himself a dreamer who see something of himself in Gull. But what Gull finds isn't quite what he - or his Grandad - expected.

Finding Richard stars Colin Baker and local actor David Knight, 12. The film is co-written and directed by Rhys Davies of Hive Films whose feature film ‘How To Make A Movie For 43 Pounds’ recently premiered at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival.  Doug Cubin of Sawscale Films co-writes and produces.

This short 10 minute film will be played continuously throughout  the day, no need to book. Free event.

Download the Richard III Walking Trail below: