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Life in UK & Leicester


Diversity, History and Culture   |  Location, Location, Location  |  Health, Safety and Wellbeing  |  Accommodation Guide  |  Health Insurance and the NHS

Living in Leicester

Leicester is a modern city, rich in arts, culture, sports and heritage. A recent £3 billion urban regeneration drive has put the city firmly on the map as a destination for tourism, shopping and entertainment. The city continues to produce world-class talent in sport, business and the arts, including rock band Kasabian, actor Sam Hopper and adventurer Sarah Outen.

Leicester College has its own fair share of talented students too: fashion designer Gok Wan is a Leicester College alumnus, as is Aaron Patterson, the Head Chef at Hambleton Hall, who studied Culinary Arts and gained his first Michelin Star at age 23, Molly Smitten-Downes, who represented the UK at the Eurovision Song Contest, and singer-songwriter James Byron appeared on BBC music contest The Voice.

Leicester also has one of the most vibrant and multicultural populations in the country. This diversity gives the city a well-earned reputation for tolerance and respect.

Diversity, History and Culture

Leicester is a real cultural melting pot, with a variety of religions and cultures at home in the city. Leicester holds the biggest Diwali celebrations outside India, and has more than 240 individual places of worship. The city’s Golden Mile is the centre of the local Indian community, with bakeries, jewellery shops and many, many restaurants making it the perfect place for an afternoon out.

Most recently, Leicester has been in the news thanks to the fantastic, history-making 2016 Premier League win by Leicester City Football Club (known affectionately as the Foxes). The win was followed by a Victory Parade which saw the city come to a standstill as thousands cheered the players in an open top bus which toured the streets.

The discovery of the remains of King Richard III in Leicester captured the world’s attention in 2013 and the recently-opened visitor centre combines modern technology with myth-busting history to create a world-class museum. It was named as one of the “world’s hottest new attractions” for 2015 by travel guide Lonely Planet. Equally, Richard III’s grave can now be viewed in the Leicester Cathedral, opposite the museum, following his celebrity reinterment in 2015.

As the home of three large educational institutions, Leicester is undeniably a real student city, with the amenities to match. You’ll never go hungry, either- restaurants and cafes include cuisines from authentic Japanese to Korean, Turkish, Portuguese, Italian, Lebanese, French, Eritrean, modern British, Spanish, Southern Indian, and more. Equally, the city has a wide range of independent coffee shops, cocktail and wine bars, traditional pubs, and even a Champagne bar.

The iconic Curve Theatre is a world-class venue for the performing arts, while The Phoenix is our local art house cinema, offering international films and film festivals; art; cinema and photography courses; informative talks, and a fabulous bar/restaurant serving local beers and ciders. The UK’s National Space Centre is here in Leicester, and the city also boasts an art gallery, civic museum, medieval guildhall, and a Roman museum.

The city’s music scene is also thriving, with tiny gig venues right up to large theatre venues in abundance. These include the Shed, the Musician and De Montfort Hall, which has played host to some of the biggest bands and comedians on the planet. Every year, Leicester also hosts the Leicester Comedy Festival, which in 2019 included over 870 individual events in 72 venues across the city over 19 days.


Located in the East Midlands, Leicester is very much at the heart of the country, with excellent transport links to all parts of the UK. London St. Pancras Station is just over an hour away by train – and from there you can hop onto the Eurostar and be in Paris in just over four hours!

Both East Midlands and Birmingham International airports are less than an hour away by car and easily accessible by public transport. There are direct train services between Leicester and both Stansted and Luton airports and the UK’s gateway airports of London Heathrow and London Gatwick are also readily accessible. For further information about Leicester please visit www.visitleicester.info.

Health, Safety and Wellbeing

We are committed to ensuring your visit to Leicester to study is both safe and enjoyable. The Safety First publication produced by the British Council is designed to help you prepare for your stay and provides practical advice about living in the UK.

It highlights some of the safety and security issues you will need to be aware of, offers sensible advice and lists organisations to contact if you need help.

Accommodation Guide

It can be daunting moving to a new country, trying to learn a new language and study at the same time. At Leicester College we understand this, and we will support you in making the move as smooth and stress-free as possible.

While we don’t provide any accommodation directly, and we are unable to source family ‘homestay’ accommodation, the information below should help you and we will do our best in the International Office to advise and support you to find suitable accommodation.

Self-Catering Student Halls of Residence

Shared Accommodation (Houses / Flats)

Private Accommodation (Houses / Flats)

Further Information

Health Insurance and the NHS

The NHS (National Health Service) is the UK’s state health service. It provides treatment for UK residents through a wide range of health care services. Some services are free and some have to be paid for.

Limited treatment that is free for everyone

The following limited NHS treatment is free for everyone, including international students:

  • emergency treatment (but not follow-up treatment)
  • family planning services
  • diagnosis and treatment of certain communicable diseases

To qualify for any other free or subsidised NHS treatment, you must meet certain conditions. This depends on factors such as your nationality/immigration status, the length of your course, and whether you paid the “immigration health surcharge” when you applied for your visa. General information for all international students coming to the UK is set out below.

Immigration Health Surcharge

Reciprocal Health Care Agreements

European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals

Other health insurance

This information was correct at time of publication. For updates, please refer to the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).