CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE
Fly fishing at Draycote
The Aviary Cafe, Jephson Gardens Leamington Spa Elliot Brown
Car and Coffee morning at Coventry Transport Museum Mike Brewer
Attractions overview. Borrow our courtesy car and have a really great day out.
- Here are 2 real time videos and 2 speeded up versions showing how to get to my premises in Smeaton Lane depending on where you are coming from:
- Premises in Smeaton Lane coming from Brinklow or Stretton. (M1 junction 19 or A14 or from south/Fosse Way. 5 minutes in real time) click here
- 1 minutes speeded up version click here
- Premises in Smeaton Lane coming from Ansty Direction (junction 2 of M6), 5 minutes in real time. click here
- 1 minute speeded up version click here
- To access the page for a particular attraction that catches your fancy, just click on its name/link in this overview.
- Or you can use this Before 'n' After custom map of the local attractions. Click on an attraction to go to my own page for it.
- There are 4 really good campsites close by.
- Half price and subsidised deals on hotels We work week ends and there are 3 local Premier Inns that do their rooms for nearly half price on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Book a month ahead and it's even cheaper. If you are travelling a hundred miles or more, to show my appreciation I now have some subsidised deals on hotel, evening meal and breakfast. Check out my hotels and b and B page for details.
- Borrow our courtesy car and have a great day out We have been in our new premises near Rugby (after 8 years in Newbury) since March 2008. We lend you our Peugeot 203 Quicksilver 2 litre manual, diesel, supermini estate to visit the great local attractions while we rustproof your vehicle. (Note, the car is not insured for you. Please get comprehensive day cover for around £20 here
- Dogs There are some great walks for dogs nearby. You could do without the car and just walk all day along the canal, within walking distance of my premises. (see details underneath). If you want to take the dog in my car, bring a basket or a cage and the dog can go in the Honda SMX which has a van space in the rear. You will not be able to get day insurance though because it's a Japanese import. It will be third party on your own insurance. Let me know so I can get the Honda ready for you. (Just put “dog” in the “comments” section of my online booking form).
How to use the information of each attraction page
- Useful information My idea in making this “attractions” section of my website was to put all the useful information I could find on a dedicated page for each attraction or group of attractions in an easy to use form that could be carried round with you on your smartphone when you visit my premises. We have coded these new (in 2018) pages so that they are “responsive” and smart phone friendly. On many of the pages there are several images. I was a little worried that these would slurp your smartphone data allowance but my developer suggested that if we just compress the images to the maximum this should not be a problem. So this is what we have done. If you don't have unlimited 4G, you may want to find WiFi hotspots in the places you visit (cafes, restaurants, museums etc) and I've put a list of wifi hotspots on each individual attraction page.
- I won't be giving you a test! I have tried to give you the information to plan your visit to the attractions like a military campaign but only if you want to. You don't have to click on evey link and watch every video. I just want you to enjoy your visit and have a relaxing time. I won't be giving you a test!
- I recommend getting this Trip Advisor chrome extension. It makes viewing images on Trip advisor much snappier.
- My guide to the main WiFi networks; availability, online and app hotspot finders, how to log on with your mobile device, how to avoid spam, how to stay secure.
- Google maps and Trip Advisor links For the main shopping streets in the towns, I give you links to click on to reviews and photos on trip advisor and maps on google maps (scroll down for reviews and photos) as well as links to youtube videos. For a given street I will give you links to a “zoom in” which shows all the restaurants, cafes and shops in the street. Using these you can then click on an establishment to see its profile with photos and reviews. For many of them, there are dozens or even hundreds.
- Scroll down, "toggle", zoom. For some establishments google even provides a panoramic view where you can toggle 360 degrees actually inside the shop or cafe. There will usually be a panoramic view of the street as well. At the risk of telling my grandmother how to suck eggs: take a little time to explore how these features work. For example, if you are a luddite like me you might click on an establishment and because there is only so much google can put “above the fold” you might miss the fact that there are dozens of photos of the food or dozens of reviews, the panoramic view tool, etc. You may for instance click on one of my google links and just see a photo of the establishment. But keep clicking on links, scroll up and down and you will see much more detail. If,like me, you are a bit of a technophobe, take time to learn how the google street view panoramic toggle works. It really is amazing.
- Best videos I've tried to use the best, and most professional of youtube videos I could find and have shot some of my own as well. You might want to view these at home before you come - on your desktop or laptop in order to spare your data allocation if you don't have unlimited 4g. If a video is a bit shaky, it means that it was the best one I could find but in spite of being shaky, the content itself is interesting in spite of the poor production values. I have also shot videos of my own. Some in 2008 when I first moved here and some with my new 4G, High Definition Video Camera in February 2018.
- Comments I have put a comments section on each attractions page so I would really appreciate it if you could leave your unbiased review of the attraction visited (Internauts who are not my customers are very welcome to leave comments too).
The Fosse Way
- We are on the Fosse Way (old Roman road from Exeter to Colchester). It's not quite as straight as it looks on a road atlas nor indeed as straight as it would have been in Roman days. Sometimes for example, the road seems to come to a dead halt in front of a pub or hotel and you have to look really hard for the dogleg round the pub to see where the road starts again. The pub/hotel would of course have been a staging inn in days gone by and rerouting the road would have been a not so subtle way of getting the attention of the stage coach and its passengers and making sure they stopped there.
Brief overview of Attractions
- There are dozens of great attractions which can be reached in minutes from my premises. Many of the attractions are right next to each other, ie. within a mile or two miles or sometimes literally adjacent and usually in the lovely and stress free fosse way corridor.
- As soon as you have dropped your vehicle off at my premises I suggest that the first order of the day should be to have simply the best cooked breakfast you will ever eat at Malt Kiln Farm shop ,three minutes away. Here are some customers tucking in
- Leamington Spa, "Lem" as locals call it is a beautiful Georgian spa town with the lovely Jephson Gardens and great shopping and restaurants on the banks of the River Leam. It's just 12 miles away and Stratford upon Avon is only about another six miles further on. Warwick has lots of antique shops and quaint Georgian and Tudor half timbered streets with some interesting independent shops and some lovely parks and gardens. It's right next to Leamington. There is plenty to see at Warwick Castle (always great reviews from customers) so plan for a whole day.
- At Kenilworth there is an equally impressive castle that was ruined by Cromwell during the English civil war. Next to the romantic ruin of the castle there is a fine Tudor stable which houses a tea room. The tower built by the Earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley for a state visit by Elisabeth I in 1575 is still intact and was inhabited up to the 1930's and can be visited, and at a cost of two million pounds, English heritage have authentically reconstructed the garden that Dudley also built for the visit. There are some other great attractions at Kenilworth. Check out the page.
- Why not combine your visit with a "mini break" on a canal boat. You can take one out for just a day or a 3 day mini break. You could come the day before and sleep over in the narrow boat. Click here for Rose Narrowboats website
- I highly recommend a visit to Joseph Cheaney's shoe factory shop at Desborough (30 miles from premises) for some half price shoes (seconds), combined perhaps with a visit to Kettering for lunch and/or a visit to Stanford Hall stately home (link gives open days in 20180 and grounds on the way back or if you are really (I mean really!) serious about buying some shoes take my tour of the uk's shoe manufacturing centre 30 miles away. There are 10 shoe factory shops in Northampton and its outskirts. I have really gone to town on this subject because a) I love things that are hand made and b) I found such a lot of great information on each factory shop so I've devised two tours of the factory shops. One taking in 6 in the city centre (30 miles away) and another for the 4 in outlying villages (40 miles away). I spent a whole day shooting video. So I have a main, introduction page for Northampton shoe factory shops, which links to a separate profile page for each shop. You could visit Althorp Stately home, resting place of Diana on the way back. (Opens July/August only from 12 noon)
- A great walk or mountain bike ride There is a path leading up to the embankment on the Oxford Canal 200 yards away from my premises so you could walk or ride along the towpath or even take out a narrowboat for the day (cost £110). There is a lovely pub just a mile along the canal after Hillmorton locks (10 miles) where you can have lunch - so that makes a very good walking day out. Just 4 miles away is Ansty golf club (pay and play). In the village of Stretton under Fosse just by my premises is the Malt Kiln Farm Shop and Coffee Shop highly recommdend for breakfast when you get here and just 3 minutes away. For great fishing (carp and roach) - about 200 yards from my premises is "Lanny's Lagoon" but there are another 3 great coarse fisheries within only a few miles as well as the best fly fishing in the Midlands at Draycote reservoir Check out my very comprehensive page on local fishing
- If you like bird watching, wildlife and/or walking I recommend the Brandon Marsh nature centre (4 miles from premises) with 230 acres of wetlands and pools and 5 bird hides. Just a further 2 miles on is Ryton "Garden Organic" (6 miles from premises) with ten acres of display gardens and home to the heritage seed library of over 800 rare vegetable seeds as well as a great organic cafe, the Stock Pot. (great breakfast!).
- If you want a walk in more manicured surroundings, how about the 500 acres of gardens with many woods trails at Combe Abbey (aka Combe Park) - 4 miles from premises. The historic village of Dunchurch is 12 miles from my premises with many buildings of historic interest and links to the gunpowder plot and five good pubs/restaurants, a chippy and Chinese take away and some good shops. (Lots of through traffic though - visit on a Sunday) Right next door to the village is the Draycote reservoir covering 600 acres. A very good place for a good long walk or cycle, birdwatching, windsurfing, sailing, fishing (mainly trout) from boat or bank, or just sunbathing on the shingle beach (no swimming and no dogs). Draycote is exposed and can be windy so ideal for very hot summer days. (No dogs allowed on the perimeter road but there is a huge country park on the bank where you can walk your dog.)
- Retail therapy There are good shopping centres at Nuneaton (8 miles) , Rugby (8 miles), Leamington Spa (12 miles) or Warwick Leamington is highly recommended and on Sundays all the shops in Leamington are open until 4pm.
- Nearby Coventry is a special case. The beautiful medieval centre of Coventry was flattened by the Luftwaffe during WWII. To fill the empty spaces a system of precincts was built and in the 60s a dual carriageway ring road, "the Ringway" was built where the medieval city walls had been, making it very nerve wracking to get into and out of Coventry city centre by car. There are 4 great attractions in Coventry .Please make sure though that you look carefully at the videos on my page for Coventry which show you how to get in and out without getting caught up in the Ringway and also where to park.
- Museums There are 3 museums at Warwick and a really impressive aircraft museum 10 miles away at Baginton. (You can go up in the cockpit of their Vulcan Bomber). Just a short walk down the road at Lunt there is also the remains of a Roman fort, partly reconstructed (check opening times on their website). There is a small agricultural implements museum at Marton (2 to 4pm Summer Sundays only). See my Coventry page (link above)for superb Transport Musuem in Coventry (a must for Jaguar nuts!)and another must visit for car nuts Museum, the British Motor Museum at Gaydon (25 miles) click here
- The stately home of Arbury Hall (Bank holiday weekends from April to August only) is about 8 miles away There is one of the largest second hand bookshops in the world on the Arbury estate at Astley Book Farm with 80,000 volumes and a brilliant cafe. (The books are all selected for quality and interest.)
- The NEC is about 18 miles away. Check their website to see if one of their upcoming events grabs you:
- Ansty Golf Club is just 4 miles away and welcomes visitors. For petrolheads the British Motor Heritage Museum at Gaydon is about 16 miles away on the fosse way.
- For culture vultures there is Compton Verney Stately Home and Art Gallery about 20 miles straight down the Fosse Way.
- (back to top)
View over Draycote water
Warwick Castle seen from the river Avon
Avro Vulcan B.2 in Midlands Air Museum
Spring flowers in Jephson gardens – Leamington Spa
Review of Jephson Gardens from Trip Advisor:
“Fabulous! Our whole family loved this not-so-hidden gem of a park. It kept delivering for us as we walked about the park. The wrought-iron gates at the entrance; the fountain; the many spectacular wooden sculptures; the Glass House; the bridge over the weir; etc.Our little boy and us just loved this place. A must-see!”