Loughborough is a market town in Leicestershire.
Loughborough's fortunes were built on engineering and textiles. Now, however, the largest employer is Loughborough University, this has a dramatic impact on the town. The 14,000 students account for around one in four of the town's population. This gives the town a younger profile than you might expect in term time but makes the place relatively quiet during the summer.
The university has a 437 ac campus on the mostly residential western side of the town. The campus occupies a band running west from the ring road to the edge of town, splitting the northern estates from the Forest Side in the south-west. The eastern side of the town, close to the canal and the railway lines is generally older, includes the town centre and contains more of the town's industry and industrial heritage.
In recent years, the university has sought to promote itself as a centre of excellence for sport. It now hosts facilities for a number of national associations including the headquarters of the Amateur Swimming Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)'s National Cricket Performance Centre. Loughborough will provide the main camp for 'Team GB' in the run up to the 2012 London Olympics and the university's facilities will be also be used by the Japanese Olympic team.
East Midlands Airport is 7 miles northwest of Loughborough. The town is well-connected to the airport by the Skylink bus service, a more direct link than via East Midlands Parkway railway station.
Loughborough is served by East Midland Trains travelling from London to Sheffield and London to Nottingham and by Cross Country Trains to Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, and Birmingham. Loughborough's railway station is approx 1 mile north-east of the town centre.
Loughborough is on National Cycle Route 6.
The refurbished Loughborough Wharf at the northern edge of the town centre links to the Grand Union Canal.
The main bus services within the town are provided by Kinchbus. Services to surrounding areas are provided by Arriva, Trent Barton, South Notts, Centrebus & Paul Winson.
A major remodelling of the town centre in the 1930s means that large parts of the centre were built in Art Deco style and many of these building survive. Of note is the foyer of Reel Cinema.
- The Sock. Market Place hosts the towns much criticised, but now much loved 'Sockman' statue. It's the work of Glaswegian artist Shona Kinloch and commemorates the once thriving hosiery industry within the town.
- The Carillon. Carillon Tower (universally mispronounced ca-ri-li-on) in Queen's Park is the town's war memorial and the outstanding landmark. The tower is open every afternoon plus Saturday and Thursday mornings from Good Friday to the end of September. The Carillon itself is an musical instrument of static bells played operated by a keyboard. Recitals are given on Thursdays lunchtimes and Sundays afternoons through the summer.
- Great Central Railway, Great Central Road, ☎ +44 1509 632323, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A preserved steam mainline railway running on the old Great Central from Loughborough to Leicester North.
- John Taylor Bellfoundry Museum, Freehold Street, ☎ +44 1509 212241. collection of the world's largest working bell foundry. It may be possible to tour the foundry. Pre-booking advised.
- Charnwood museum, Granby Street, ☎ +44 1509 233754. The small Charnwood museum occupies the old swimming baths in the Queen's Park. It contains displays on the history and geology of the area and some of the current industrial base of the town along with temporary exhibits.
- The second week of November brings the annual fair to the very centre of the town filling the Market place and surrounding streets for four days.
- Town Hall. Holds a number of arts and entertainment events.
There is a twice weekly market in central Market Place every Thursday & Saturday.
- Fernandez Grillhouse, 7 High Street, ☎ +44 1509 262828.
- La Gondola Ristorante Pizzeria, 35A Ashby Road, ☎ +44 1509 236467.
- Ramada Loughborough Hotel, High Street, ☎ +44 1509 233222.
- Premier Inn Loughborough Hotel, Southfield Road, ☎ +44 871 527 9314.
- The Hunting Lodge, 38 South St, Barrow upon Soar, ☎ +44 1509 412337.
Notable beauty spots around Loughborough include:
To the west of the town: Garendon Park former deer park with limited public access but containing a number of Listed buildings and monuments such as the Temple of Venus. To the south-west of the town: Beacon Hill and the Outwoods and Jubilee wood which form the eastern edge of The National Forest. To the south towards Leicester is Bradgate Park; formerly royal a deer park and home to Lady Jane Grey.