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It is open Monday to Saturday and has over 270 stalls. It is around 800 years old but was moved to the current site around 700 years ago. It is the largest outdoor covered market in Europe.
The outdoor market sells a wide variety of goods, particularly fruit and vegetables, but also flowers, clothes, second-hand-books, bric-a-brac and jewellery. It also has a number of permanent units, containing clothes, cosmetics, fabrics, greetings cards, a cafe and pet products.
The indoor market (1973) is a multi-level building containing the fish market and delicatessen, as well as stalls selling clothes, haberdashery, footwear, jewellery, gemstones, and confectionery.
In the centre of the market stands the Leicester Corn Exchange (1850), originally built as a trading centre, but now serving as a bar/restaurant. A statue of John Manners, 5th Duke of Rutland stands close to the Corn Exchange.
There is also a monthly Farmers Market held on the last Wednesday of every month, specializing in locally-produced organic meat, fruit and vegetables. In 2011 a new area called "Market Corner" was opened with various food and drink on offer on Fridays and Saturdays.
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The market is protected by a Royal Charter that goes back to its origin over 700 years ago. This prohibits other markets from operating within a specified distance (6⅔ miles) of the Leicester market.
In recent years the City Council which holds the Royal Charter has begun to allow some other markets within the City. In 2009 the City Council proposed to grant a license to a private market promoter to operate a Sunday Market at the Walkers Stadium.
This has become a point of political disagreement in Leicester, with the Labour Cabinet supporting the move under the Rival Market policy, despite cross party opposition from the lead scrutiny committee.
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