Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Secret Leicestershire Tour (A Coach Trip in Leicestershire)

"Secret Leicestershire Tour" is a Coach Trip devised and led by Blue Badge Guide Colin Crosby, of Colin Crosby Heritage Tours. It is one of the morning trips, starting at 9.30am and returning about 2pm.

These excursions are an excellent way of soaking up some Local History.

The coach leaves from St. Margarets Bus Station in Leicester City Centre.

The format is that one stays on the coach for almost the whole trip, while Colin gives a commentary, but there is a stop about halfway round, usually around 11.30am, where coffee, cakes etc can be purchased in pleasant surroundings.

This particular tour looks at some of the less-known aspects of Leicestershire and its neighbouring county, Rutland - the things that don't normally find their way into the tourist agenda.

Deserted villages, castles, ancient crosses and holy wells - those are some of the things which feature on the tour.

Leicestershire, for its small size, is particularly rich in deserted mediaeval village sites. There are far more than is generally realised.

It is usually popularly supposed that deserted villages came about because of the Black Death. This is rarely true. Although the Black Death was a terrible visitation, it killed a third of the population. That's awful, of course, but it does mean that two thirds did not die.

The most common reason for villages being deserted is for sheep - landowners, especially the large religious houses, found it far more profitable to devote the land to sheep farming rather than to people. Later on, some of the gentry moved villages so that their visitors did not have to put up with common people in the views.

Leicestershire has two of the most spectacular deserted village sites in England, the little-visited Hamilton and Ingarsby.

Apart from the famous castles such as Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Belvoir, Kirby Muxloe, Leicester and Oakham, there were plenty of other towns and villages where there were formerly castles. Among these are Castle Donington, Hallaton, Kibworth and Mountsorrel.

There are ancient crosses in some of the villages. The most spectacular is the Anglo-Saxon one at Rothley, and there are other examples at places such as Anstey and Scraptoft.

There are also a number of holy wells, the best-known today probably being the one at Ashwell.

This tour will reveal a good number of these hidden features of the local countryside.

Dates, costs and where to meet

A place on 'Secret Leicestershire Tour' costs £8.00 per person, or £8.00 if paying in advance. The coach trip begins at St. Margarets Bus Station, and is running on:

I'm sorry, but there are no plans to run this event at present.

If you would like to book a place on one of these dates, please telephone Colin on (0116) 2611576 or email him at

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