This ancient agricultural centre and market town is well known for its tasty pork pies, cakes and cheeses. Attractively situation on the River Eye, it was once the capital of the Leicestershire hunting scene.
Melton Mowbray Town Centre © Travel About Britain
The centre is packed with 18th century and older buildings, fine shops and many interesting sights. Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe, in the centre of town, have been baking pies since 1850. The local delicacy is a particular style of pork pie, baked using a traditional hand-raised pastry crust. The town is also famous for its production of hand crafted Blue Stilton cheese. During its hunting heyday the mounted gentry also ate Melton Hunt Cake, a fruit mixture laced with Jamaican rum. The full history of the town and its gastronomic heritage are recorded in the Melton Carnegie Museum, in Thorpe End.
Melton Mowbray Market Cross © Travel About Britain
Commercial markets have long been a feature of the town, dating back before the Norman Conquest. Lively street markets are still held on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and ancient butter and corn crosses still stand at two places once used as trading points.
Anne of Cleves House © TAB
Near the Market Place stands the magnificent Gothic style church of St Mary. It boasts a fine 100ft (30m) tower, impressive stained glass windows and an interesting 'Galilee' porch at the west end.
A fine 15th-c house, near the church, was once owned by Anne of Cleves - one of Henry VIII's more fortunate ex-wives. In keeping with Melton's outstanding culinary reputation, the house is now run as a restaurant.
The 17th-c red stone Bede Houses (or Maison Dieu), opposite the church, were remodeled in Victorian times. Founded in 1641 by Robert Hudson as a hospital or almshouses for the poor.
Attractive parks and gardens line the banks of the River Eye, which runs through the centre of the town, providing peaceful areas for walking. The Vale of Belvoir, a rambler's paradise just to the north, is another area once famous for its hunting traditions.