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Things to do in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire

The unusual name of Ashby de la Zouch is derived from the Breton nobleman, who inherited the estate through marriage in the 12th century.

Ashby developed into a Spa town in the 19th century, it has a long wide main street, with fine Elizabethan half-timbered houses and delightful bow-fronted Georgian shops.

Ashby de la Zouch Castle - Built in the 15th century by the first Lord Hastings.

The castle is an impressive ruin of a late medieval castle, dominated by its magnificent tower.

Sir Walter Scott took Ashby Castle as the setting for the tournament in his novel 'Ivanhoe', it was here that Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner for a time by Lord Hastings's grandson first Earl of Huntingdon.

St. Helen's Church - The East Window of the Parish Church of St. Helen's in Ashby, has some interesting heraldic stained glass, which was removed from the chapel of the ruined castle.

Here you can see the only known surviving finger pillory, a device made up of two beams with grooves cut in each.

Anyone foolish enough to disrupt the service in the church would have his or her fingers locked in the pillory as punishment.

Ashby De La Zouch Museum - This small friendly Award Winning Museum contains displays on Ashby's fascinating history, also a Model of Ashby Castle under siege.

Heart of the National Forest Visitor Centre - Situated at Moira, near Ashby (B5003).

The Heart of the National Forest Visitor Centre is the hub of the whole National Forest, featuring forest displays, a place to eat and shop, events, cycle hire and woodland walks.

The outdoor Forest Experience is a year-round opportunity to relax and have fun with family and friends, all in a mature and growing woodland setting.

There is an amphitheatre for music, plays and shows, a 'Canopy Walk', a 'Willow Bridge', a challenging 'Adventure Woodland Play' area, woodland trails, sculpture and a 'Forest Garden'.

Moira Furnace - An impressive early 19th-century blast furnace, one of the best-preserved in Europe.

There are also woodland walks and a children's playground.

Ashby Canal - Enjoy a walk along the towpath, passing through the beautiful rural countryside of South West Leicestershire.

This is the ideal link between Hinckley, Bosworth Battlefield, Marker Bosworth, Battlefield Railway, Measham Museum and Moira Furnace.

There are picnic areas at Gopsall Wharf and Basin Bridge.

Snibston Discovery Park - Near Ashby on the Coalville road.

Miners once spent long gruelling hours underground at the former Snibston Colliery, visitors of all ages can now have hours of fun at Snibston Discovery Park's 100-acre site.

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