King Richard III Visitor Centre

"The Visitor Centre provides the setting for an innovative and exciting exhibition which has preserved the archaeology of the grave area in a respectful manner." Louise Seymour, Head of Developments, Leicester City Council
Client satisfaction
Local labour within 40 miles
Local spend within 20 miles

"An award-winning visitor attraction in an award-winning building."

Following the discovery of King Richard III’s remains in a local car park, Leicester City Council commissioned the design of a major new visitor centre for the city. 

The building forms part of the council’s wider plans to increase tourist engagement and further support the city’s rich cultural heritage. 

The King Richard III Visitor Centre, located on the site of the grave and within a former grammar school, involved renovations to preserve the original features and new build elements. 

The Victorian Gothic school building has been refurbished to create two floors of exhibition space and a new covered area, allowing visitors access to the exact area in which the remains were discovered. 

The project, delivered by Morgan Sindall through Scape Procure included the construction of a new courtyard garden, glass entrance hall, viewing balcony, café and visitor entry from Peacock Lane and was completed just 18 months after the remains were discovered.

The Visitor Centre has played a key part in Leicester’s regeneration and economic growth. Since it opened its doors, the exhibition is credited with playing a major role in re-invigorating Leicestershire’s tourism industry, which has grown year-on-year since the centre opened, and is now worth around £1.7 billion to the county.

The project involved the conversion of a former Victorian school building and adjoining listed buildings within a conservation area. 

It also included the city’s most sensitive archaeological site, which had to be retained and incorporated within a new build extension.

All new buildings for the site had to be designed to protect existing archaeological features, and where practical, better reveal any heritage assets.

Working closely with the Arts and Museum’s service, the appointed exhibition designers, the University archaeologists and The Richard III Society, the visitor centre opened as scheduled on the 18th July 2014. 

This was only 18 months after the confirmation that the remains discovered at Grey Friars were those of King Richard III.

Since completion, the visitor centre has won several awards including:

  • Procon Award - Large Non-residential Scheme of the year 2014
  • Construction News Awards 2015 - Project of the year (below £10m)
  • FBE - Best non-residential development and Project of the Year at the East Midlands Forum

Project statistics

Project value:£4.5 million
Sector:Heritage, Leisure & Recreation
Local labour within 40 miles:80%
Local spend within 20 miles:95%
Client satisfaction:8/10
Apprentices engaged:3
Waste diverted from landfill:90%
Frameworks: Regional Construction

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