City Guide

Loughborough

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Introduction to Loughborough

Loughborough may be a relatively small town, but getting a place at the university here is no small feat. Loughborough University is not far behind Oxford, Cambridge and high-ranking London institutions in the UK university league tables. It is exceptional for sport, awarding more scholarships in this field than any other institution. More than 250 international athletes train at Loughborough.

The settlement started out as a market village about 1,000 years ago, eventually going on to manufacture hosiery and lace in the 1900s. Plague affected the townsfolk through the ages, but they showed their resilience to reach today’s population of 57,000.

Higher education is the focal point of the town in the 21st century. The University started life as a technical college, which was founded in 1909 and brought to life by Dr Herbert Schofield. It has since swelled into a large single-site university of more than 400 acres.

Town centre

Loughborough town centre is largely defined by three separate shopping areas: the Rushes, Regents Place and Carillion clustered around the High Street, which merges into Swan Street and the Rushes. Pedestrianised Market Place and Market Street are the focal point of town shopping and are the location of many art deco buildings.

Queens Park

This area of green space was opened to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1899 and is home to Loughborough Carillion, the site of a war memorial and museum. The park contains bowling greens, an aviary and Swan Maze. Queen’s Park hosts several events in the summer, including bandstand concerts, picnic in the park entertainment and other recitals.

Southfields Park

The smaller of the two town centre parks, Southfields provides a place for shoppers to get out of the centre, stop and relax, especially for families, as there is a children’s play area. It is home to the annual Loughborough Mela, a festival that celebrates the town’s cultural diversity and attracts 3,000 visitors to its rides, theatre, food, singing and dancing.

Loughborough Wharf

Although this newly built part of Loughborough has faced criticism for its colourful block-like buildings, which prompted nicknames such as Legoland and Balamory when it opened in 2007, the Wharf is a quiet place students can sleep, eat, drink and take it easy. It has also become an unusual run for the town’s skateboarders.

University campus

Situated along a strip of green space to the east of the centre, Loughborough University almost takes over the town in terms of land mass. College sites cling to Epinal Way, with the art and design centre and college over the road from the main body of the educational institute. Turn the corner into the town centre along Forest Road to reach Loughborough Leisure Centre, shared by students and residents alike.