Leicester is home to one of the most historic markets in the country. An award-winning food hall opened in 2014 as part of a major redevelopment programme which included improvements to surrounding streets, the creation of a high-quality public square and improved links between the market and the rest of the city centre. A programme to invest in the historic covered market area is now being prepared in 2021.
Framed by the old Corn Exchange, Leicester’s covered market has a trading history that stretches back more than 700 years on the same site at the heart of the city. Still operating six days a week with more than 100 stalls, the market offers a fantastic selection of fresh fruit and veg sitting cheek to cheek with flowers, fabrics, confectionery and jewellery.
Since the opening of the food hall in 2014, the market attracts even more attention. Nestling gently against the side of the Corn Exchange and framed by massive glulam roof beams, the light and airy space has become a favourite for Leicester shoppers. Open from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday, the 5,500 square ft hall has eight stalls stocked with an array of fresh meat, fish, seafood, game and poultry, as well as artisan cheese, fresh bread, cooked meats and other delicatessen favourites.
The overarching market redevelopment plan replaced the former run-down indoor market which sat to the rear of the Corn Exchange with a high quality new public square. The multi-functional space can now stage specialist markets, festivals and other events that drive footfall help to regenerate the area. The square was completed in 2019, and officially named Green Dragon Square – linking to Leicester’s history - in February 2020 during the visit of HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
Our next project is the redevelopment of the outdoor market itself, which will start later in 2021. Options for the redevelopment are currently being considered but will include replacement lighting, stalls and a new canopy edge - all of which will help upgrade the market and the produce being sold.
We are keen to attract new, exciting and unique traders whilst protecting the traditional heart of the market and its beloved brash approach to selling which has been in place for much of its existence. The project will help us to protect the historic market and ensure all it has to offer will become the thriving beating heart of our city centre once again.
A key objective is to improve connectivity between the market and city centre. Upgrades to the roads and footpaths surrounding the market area and the creation of new pedestrian links between the Market and the Town Hall Square will allow the market to grow and shrink dependent on need into areas such as Green Dragon Square, Dolphin Square and the walkway through to St Martins. It’s going to be a very busy and exciting future at Leicester Market!