Leicestershire ( or "lestersher"; abbreviation Leics.) is a landlocked county in the non-administrative area known as the English Midlands. It takes its name from the City of Leicester, traditionally its administrative centre, although the City of Leicester unitary authority is today administered separately from the rest of Leicestershire. The county borders Nottinghamshire to the north, Lincolnshire to the north-east, Rutland to the east, Northamptonshire to the south-east, Warwickshire to the south-west, Staffordshire to the west, and Derbyshire to the north-west. The border with Warwickshire is Watling Street (the A5).
The county has a population of just under 1 million with over half the population living in Leicester's built-up area.
Leicestershire was recorded in the Domesday Book in four wapentakes: Guthlaxton, Framland, Goscote and Gartree. These later became hundreds, with the division of Goscote into West Goscote and East Goscote, and the addition of Sparkenhoe hundred. In 1087, the first recorded use of the name was as Laegrecastrescir.
Leicestershire's external boundaries have changed little since the Domesday Survey. The Measham-Donisthorpe exclave of Derbyshire has been exchanged for the Netherseal area, and the urban expansion of Market Harborough has caused Little Bowden, previously in Northamptonshire to be annexed.
In 1974, the Local Government Act 1972 abolished the county borough status of Leicester city and the county status of neighbouring Rutland, converting both to administrative districts of Leicestershire. These actions were reversed on 1 April 1997, when Rutland and the City of Leicester became unitary authorities. Rutland became a distinct Ceremonial County once again, although it continues to be policed by Leicestershire Constabulary.
The symbol of the county council, Leicestershire County Cricket Club and Leicester City FC, is the fox. Leicestershire is considered to be the birthplace of fox hunting as it is known today. Hugo Meynell, who lived in Quorn, is known as the father of fox hunting. Melton Mowbray and Market Harborough have associations with fox hunting, as has neighbouring Rutland.