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Abbey Park, Leicester

4.6
#2 of 16 in Parks in Leicester
Abbey Park is a public park in Leicester, England, through which the River Soar flows. It is owned and managed by Leicester City Council. It opened in 1882 on the flood plain of the River Soar, and expanded in 1932 to include the area west of the river that had formerly been the medieval St Mary's Abbey, still bounded by large medieval walls. The park includes the archaeological sites of the Abbey and the ruins of Cavendish House, along with a wide range of decorative and recreational parkland features.HistoryIn 1876 Leicester town council bought 57acres of marshy ground between the river and canal from the Earl of Dysart in order to develop flood prevention plans. Planning for this first incarnation of the park was underway by 1879, as part of designs by the borough surveyors for the relief of flooding in the area. However the design for the park itself was opened up to a competition. The winning design, with its bandstand, rustic bridges and planted gardens, was the work of William Barron, a celebrated landscape designer. It was Leicester's first public park of significant size, and was opened on 29 May 1882 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, an event commemorated by an ornate plaque at the Abbey Park Road entrance. The park was created in an area that had previously been described as "marshy ground in a poor district" at a cost of over £40,000. The works included the widening and deepening of the river over a length of around a mile, with the excavated earth used to create mounds within the park, as well as the construction of stone weirs and locks. Three new bridges were constructed crossing the river. An artificial lake was created and over 33,000 trees planted. Excavations as part of the work discovered remains of animals including elephants and rhinoceros. The resulting park occupied 57 acres of land between the River Soar and the Grand Union Canal. Two lodges designed by architect Mr. J. Tait were built at the Abbey Road entrance to the park.
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262 reviews
Google
4.5
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  • Park near the centre of the city with a river. Great place for a relaxing walk or taking small kids to some of the entertainment  more »
  • Beautiful park located close to the Centre of Leicester. Well groomed and very large, the abbey Park also features a small train that allows you to make a tour of the various parts of the Park to only cost 1 pound per person. Ideal to spend a few hours immersed in nature and appreciate the animals inside. I went to this park on the occasion of the October fest in Leicester, an idea very nice to catch up with friends and drink a good beer. Lovely!
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  • Leicester born and bred. Always a family favourite. Plenty to do....feed the ducks and miniature railway for fun.  more »
Google
  • Lovely park, clean and a good hour walk all round. A few times a year have the fun fair there which has a little beach area. The park also have the little boats for a fun boat ride in summer
  • Lovely park. Took a pedal boat out on the lakes 6 pounds for a family ticket. Cafe very busy. We went there so my little boy could see and ride the miniature railway but it wasn't opened but the rest of the park made up for it.
  • Beautiful park with lots of bits to explore. Children's playground, work out equipment, cafe bus and lovely walks. Easy parking too.
  • They always have the funfair here in the school holidays which is a fun thing to do, or if you just wanna have a walk and feed the ducks.
  • Kids love it, plenty to do, and the Funfair is usually there holiday seasons, tiny bird centre and ice cream available at the pavilion, boat rides, kids playground gym access all available. Nice and tidy park. Mainly parking can be an issue.
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