Leamington Spa

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  • Beautiful Georgian Spa Town
  • 15 acre Jephson garden on banks of River Leam with boating lake
  • Hire canoe/kayak/electric motor boat – go up the River Leam
  • Over 100 cafes/bars/restaurants!
  • 2 covered shopping malls
  • Superb shopping – all the national chains plus many independent boutiques
  • 3 cinemas
  • Follow postcode in information pack to go to free on street parking
  • Everything is open on Sundays till 4.30pm (apart from Park Street shops)
  • Click to see Wi-Fi hotspots

Check out the fantastic restaurants and their reviews on Trip Advisor (just about readable on a mobile phone).

For my customers only!

When you have parked the car using the postcode I give you for free parking, walk down to the fork of Regent Street and Regent Grove. At the “fork” you have 3 choices.

Jump to Choice 1. Go up Regent Street (lots of great shops and excellent pubs and restaurants).

Jump to Choice 2. Carry on down Regent Grove to Pump Rooms and Jephson Garden entrance.

Jump to Choice 3. Walk down Newbold Street to charming Aviary Cafe entrance to Gardens.

The town that gout built

I think of Leamington as the Chelsea of the Midlands. It's where you go to live when you have made your pile. The architecture is a mixture of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian with fine old town houses everywhere, particularly in Newbold Street. Even on the outskirts as you approach Leamington, the houses are beautiful and imposing and well set back from the road.

Leamington video 1 houses on approach to Leamington and cut glass shop (6 minutes)

Wealth due to Spa water The impetus for Leamington's wealth and amazingly fast development in the 19th century was the spa water, with the Royal Pump Rooms opening in 1814. The water is saline and has a mild laxative effect. It was touted to relieve a great many rheumatic diseases, such as ‘stiffness of tendons’, ‘rigidity of the joints’, ‘the effects of gout and rheumatism and various paralytic conditions’. See Brief history of Leamington

Shops open on Sundays Leamington is always very busy on the weekends when people from surrounding towns and villages flock to do some retail therapy and eat in one of the over 100 cafes/bars/restaurants. All the shops, restaurants, pubs etc, except for those in Park Street, are open till 4.30pm on Sundays.

Farmer's market There is a Farmers Market in the Pump Room Gardens on the fourth Saturday of the month, 9am – 2pm I suggest looking at google maps for Leamington here If you zoom in close enough you will see that individual shops, restaurants etc. will appear. You can then click on one that interests you and see a profile with reviews and photos pop up and sometimes even a togglable 360 degree view of the establishment and 360 degree street view

For my customers only - secret postcode to park free! Use the special post code I give you in your information pack and you will arrive in a street where you can park your car free of charge. Then walk from this secret location which only my customers get to know about towards the fork of Regent Street and Regent Grove.

Walk down to fork of Regent Street and Regent Grove - 3 choices Choice 1: At the fork you may choose to turn sharp right and walk up Regent Street which is a gentle upwards incline, lined with clothing boutiques, restaurants and bars which continue as you cross over the Parade, the big wide, central boulevard which goes up another slight hill at right angles to the hill that is Regent Street. Regent Street is not pedestrianised but there is not much traffic and there are “traffic calming” humps. (Choice 2. Regent Grove or Choice 3. Walk down Newbold Street to Jephson Gardens, see further on)

La Coppola Italian restaurant in Regent Street and google street view of “lower part” of Regents Street

La Coppola 11,000 reviews on Trip Advisor

Paprika Club Indian restaurant with google street view of “upper part” of Regent's Street.

Leamington video 2 a “cleanbacklight” 15 mins

To 2.25, shops in the bottom, (east part) of Regents Street. 2.25 Entrance to Royal Priors in Regents Street. 2.50 At junction with the Parade, view up top end of Regent Street, then up and down the Parade. 3.25 shops at “top end” of Regents Street. 4.55 to 9.20, I bother a shop assistant in a wholesale shop. 12.56 view from the junction towards the top (north) end of the Parade. 14.20 Nicolini's (now defunct).

Choice 2. at "fork". Carry on down Regent Grove Choice 2. Alternatively, at the fork you could choose to carry on in the same direction you came from, down Regent Grove (flat), past some upmarket little jewellery shops, boutiques, cafes and restaurants to arrive at the Royal Pump rooms and a beautiful floral display opposite the Pump rooms at the entrance to Jephson Gardens.

Leamington Video 2b (14mins)

First 30 seconds shows view up Regent Street from fork with Regent's Grove. At 32 to 52 seconds, view from fork towards entrance to Newbold Street leading to Jephson Gardens. 2.42, view along Regent's Grove towards Pump Rooms (beautiful Victorian architecture). 2.42 to 5.34, shops and cafes in Regents Grove. 5.37, view of superb High Victorian town hall with statue of Queen Vick. (Shot from corner of Regent's Grove and Parade). 5.47 view, looking north, up the Parade. 6.00 looking down towards the Pump Rooms. 6.12 Pump Rooms Gardens. 6.26 typical Leamington floral display. 6.34, view towards main entrance of Jephson Gardens opposite Pump Rooms. 6.56 Pump Room gardens again with bandstand. 7.05 beautiful cast iron bridge. 7.15 to 7.25, some local goths. 7.25, beautiful Victorian houses on side of Pump Rooms gardens. 9.12 exterior of Pump Rooms 9.23 Pump Rooms cafe. 10.16 Art Galleries. 11.24, entrance to Jephson Gardens. 12.18 view south from Pump Rooms, over Parade towards Bath Street (“Old Town”) student quarter. 12.17 ornamental lake in Jephson Gardens. 13.22, view of Victoria Bridge over River Leam. 13.22, wedding in Events Centre.

Bellagio Italian restaurant and google street view of Regent's Grove

Choice 3. Yet another, third choice when you arrive at the fork would be to carry on down Regent Grove for around 20 metres then turn sharp left into Newbold Street and walk past those beautiful town houses (76 metres) I spoke about earlier leading to an entrance to Jephson gardens. About 50 metres to your right as you stand at this entrance you will find the Royal Spa Centre. This is not much use to my customers unless they stay overnight in Lem because all the shows are in the evening.

As you enter the park, the Aviary Cafe is right in front of you and 35 metres to the right are some toilets. More about this entrance to the park and what we will find if we go in, later on in my chronicle.

The Parade

So now, let's talk about the main drag in Leamington, the Parade. This is where the gout stricken Georgian gentry who came for the waters, used to parade up and down in their carriages, showing off to each other.

The Parade - and House of Fraser

Parade 3 quarters of a mile longThe Parade is a big wide boulevard which goes up a hill from the Pump Rooms (which we will talk about further on) and stops where Clarendon Avenue forms a T with it. I used google maps' excellent and accurate “right click/measure distance” feature to measure it. I've rounded it up at about ¾ mile. East and West of the Parade, two parallel streets on each side are where all the fun things are: shops, restaurants, cafes, two shopping malls, Apollo 8 screen cinema etc. North of Clarendon Avenue is all residential and of no interest to the day visitor unless you like looking at fine houses. There are only three antique shops in Leamington but plenty in the adjoining town of Warwick.

North of the pump rooms is posh (south not!) Everything north of of the Pump Rooms at the bottom of the Parade is very posh. South of the Pump Rooms, once you have crossed over the River Leam heading south, using Victoria Bridge, we are in the “old town” (pre 1814), a different world. Still Georgian but these are tenement buildings, mainly providing cheap accommodation for students. Victoria Terrace and Bath street are lined with fast food outlets, convenience stores, laundrettes and letting agencies. The first time I visited Leamington in a fleeting visit in my car, I ended up in this area and came away with completely the wrong impression about Lem.

So as we are posh ourselves, let's look in detail at all the things which line the Parade, going from South to North, up the hill, starting at the Royal Pump Rooms (Georgian Greek temple style). Inside, the Islamic style architectural features left over from the original Turkish baths are quite something, especially the stained glass windows.

Pump rooms – google

The pump rooms

Does the spa water really work? Try it and see! In the pump rooms you will find 4 galleries, a library, a small and quirky museum, a gift shop, the tourist information office (where you will find many interesting leaflets about Lem) and a cafe with an amazing selection of cakes, all £1.50 each. There is always an exhibition on at the temporary exhibitions gallery, sometimes it's some boring modern installation for pseuds but often it's something very interesting. You can find out what's on currently at the Pump Rooms here If you have a spot of rheumatism, the waters can still be sampled from a drinking fountain outside. Let me know if it works. (Remember, it's slightly laxative). By the way, maybe it wasn't just the placebo effect and maybe it did work and here is why it might well have worked.

Entrance to Jephson Gardens Exactly opposite the steps of the Pump Rooms, is the entrance to Jephson Gardens, with in sight: the ornamental lake and “Glass House” and Jephson Events Centre, an exotic plants hot house with a chi chi restaurant attached, overlooking the lake and the River Leam. Also in sight, just inside the entrance, there is always a beautiful floral display for most of the year. At weekends in the summer you will always see wedding parties milling about in front of the events centre.

Going up the Parade Instead of being tempted to enter the gardens we will turn left (and north) out of the Pump Rooms and begin our ascent of the Parade.

Apollo Cinema If we decide to go to the bijou, 8 screen Apollo cinema, (marked as “Vue” on google maps), we will take the first left into Dormer Place, then walk 138.10 ,metres to the second on the right, then walk 58.2 metres up Augusta Place, turn left into Portland Place East and walk 31.73 metres to the entrance to the flicks. (I just love Google maps “measure distance”!) The cinema is very plush and warm. Check out what's on here .

All national chains line the Parade We find ourselves blinking in the harsh daylight as we emerge from the cinema, emotionally drained from the roller coaster of a film and find our way back down to the Parade to continue our ascent. On each side, all the way up are big departments stores like Marks and Spencer (in the Royal Priors shopping mall), House of Fraser, Superdrug and H and M. Also lining the Parade, on both sides, along its length are all the banks and building societies. There are pubs and restaurants all the way up, on both sides. There are no Gordon Ramsay style kitchen nightmares in Lem. If you look at the reviews on Trip advisor, every single restaurant or cafe gets 4/5 stars and this from hundreds of reviewers.

Regent Court shopping mall - many places to eat! About 300 metres up from the Pump Rooms on the right is a very nice statue of Queen Vic (middle period embonpoint). Apparently a bomb dropped near it during the war and shifted it an inch on its plinth, where it has remained. Just past Vicky is Livery Street. (4th on the right from the Pump Rooms). Walk up Livery Street for 100 yards, passing Nando's on your left and you will come to the entrance to a deceptively large shopping centre called Regent Court. It gets 370 mainly 4 or 5 star reviews on google. Here are some of the reviews: “All chain restaurants but offers a great choice of food” … “Rosies tea shop, good cakes and drinks, lots of other places to eat”...“Some great restaurants, coffee shop, and vintage tea room”. Check out the website here Regent Court has Sky “The Cloud” Wi-Fi. (Android and Apple devices)

Suitably refreshed, we can walk back down and rejoin our ascent of the Parade. Walking for 100 metres bring us to the point where Regent's Street crosses over the Parade. An entire block to our right is taken up by the modern Royal Priors Shopping Mall bounded by the Parade, Regent Street, Park Street and Warwick Street. Remember when we parked the car and walked down to the fork with 3 choices? Well if we didn't choose to turn right into Regent's Street then, we can now choose to meander up and down it. There are clothes shops for all ages and all styles and more cafes, restaurants and bars than you can shake a stick at.

The Royal Priors (5 star toilets!) We can enter the Royal Priors from Regents Street or from Park Street or from an entrance on the Parade just past the junction with Regent's Street.

The three entrances to the Royal Priors. (Use the 360 degree toggle)

At this entrance on the Parade you will find the famous toilets which won a Platinum Loo of the Year award in 2016. The shopping mall has a polished white marble floor and glass roof and there are two floors, the lower mall and the upper mall. The Royal Priors has free wi-fi. EE and Vodafone customers that run iOS and Android operating systems.

Having explored the dozens of stores and cafes in the Royal Priors, if we exit back into the Parade, on the opposite side of the road is the House of Fraser department store (now owned by a Chinese oligarch).

Warwick Street and Park Street Carrying on up the Parade we come to the junction with Warwick Street which is wider, flat, and has more traffic than Regent Street so it has a little less charm. There are still lots of fun shops and pubs though. Before carrying on further up the Parade, let's turn right (east) into Warwick Street and carry on for 140 metres till the first right which is Park Street. Park Street (176 metres long) joins Warwick Street to Regent Street. There is very little traffic. This is an interesting street because it's a bit off the main tourist drag and is less frequented. The shops have an exclusive feel (no national chains here) and I think they cater more for the cognoscenti, the permanent residents of Leamington. (Remember though that Park Street shops are the only ones which are closed on Sundays).

Vinteas vintage tea shop in Park Street and google street view of Park Street.

In particular, about half way down when I visited to make the videos, in 2008, there were three shops adjoining each other which obviously belonged to an Italian family. One of the shops specialised in imported Italian menswear, one specialised in imported Italian womenswear and the third one specialised in imported Italian furniture. From consulting google maps at the time of writing this (Christmas 2017), I can tell you that in Warwick St. now, there is a musical instrument shop, an electronics retail and repair shop, 3 hair salons, 2 bridal wear shops, 2 photography studios, 3 upmarket jewellers, several clothes shops, a lingerie shop and as usual in Leamingon, several cafes and restaurants including a Cantonese restaurant. This is not the whole list – it's just to give you an idea. (Zoom in with google maps). So Park Street is well worth a visit. Just remember though, unlike the rest of Lem, Park St. is closed on Sundays.

Leamington video 3 (14 mins)

0.17 View down Park St. from corner of Warwick Street. 4.02 Alleyway leading from Regent Street to Royal Priors entrance. 4.24 Entrance to Royal Priors. 4.20 Commotion! Something happening on Upper Mall. 4.40 to 7.15 Girls from a Leamington Jazz Dance school show off their stuff. 7.15 Shops in Lower Mall. 8.08 Impressive glass roof! 9.12 , 5 star toilets in Royal Priors (video shot in 2008 – toilets have been refurbished in 2016). 10.26 Town Hall again (at bottom of Parade) 11.20 View of Pump Rooms from Town Hall. 11.39 Pump Room gardens again and bandstand. (overcast day in February). 12.13 pub at bottom of the Parade (they do Sunday Roast)

At the top of the Parade If you decided not to visit Park Street or you have made your way back after visiting it, there is still another 180 metres of the Parade to explore until you get to the very top and still plenty of shops and cafes to visit. At the very top of the Parade, turn left into Clarendon Avenue for 25 metres and you will come to the London Camera Exchange, an excellent camera shop selling both new and second hand photographic equipment.

Leamington video 4 (Jephson Gardens and boating hire)

0 to 1.13 Newbold Street viewed form the fork. (Regent St/Regent Grove).1.24 View of entrance to Newbold Street from “the fork”. 2.19 in Newbold St. 3.23 lovely old houses in Newbold ST. 3.46 Aviary coffee shop (first built 1899). 4.12 Toilets in gardens near coffee shop. 4.51 Island in River Leam in front of Aviary coffee shop. 4.58 Boat Hire spotted. 5.34 Don't go over the Weir in your kayak! 6.10 Tame squirrel .6.42 Crossing over the cast iron foot bridge over the Weir. 10.22 Kids' play area. 10.55 Entrance to Boat Hire. 11.24 Kids' party with barbecue 11.49 Intervies with Jenna, Boat Hire manageress. 16.19 to 16.42 fast forward 17.02 Jenna explains the birthday package for kids and 17.22 adults evening parties with music 18.47 Wedding party at the Events Venue

Jephson Gardens

Choice 3 at "fork: Newbold Street to Jephson Gardens. Now let's look at Jephson Gardens in detail. Do you remember when you parked your car in a secret location revealed only to my customers and I told you about the third choice at the “fork”? Go along Regent's Grove for a few metres then turn left into Newbold Street and onto the entrance to Jephson gardens? (32 to 52 seconds in my second video). Well let's pretend that you took the third choice right at the start or maybe you came back down Regents Street from the Parade after having a good mooch round all the shops. Just to your right at the entrance to the gardens is the Royal Spa Centre. Whats on. This is a theatre/cinema/auditorium run by the council. Of no interest to most of my customers unless they are staying overnight in Lem because most of the shows are in the evenings. Some Saturday matinees for kids though . So lets just march straight into the Gardens. Now is the time to switch google maps from maps to satellite. Notice how you are surrounded by lovely trees. All those trees are exotic trees from all around the world. If you are interested, the Tourist Information Office in the pump rooms have a leaflet/map showing which tree is what and where it is situated in the gardens. Go in and you come immediately to theAviary Cafe.

Lovely Aviary Cafe, Newbold Street entrance to Jephson Gardens Very late Victorian (1899) ornate cast iron and glass, nestled in amongst the trees. Can you imagine a more delightful place in warm weather to sit and have a drink or an ice cream or a a snack. One of the reviewers writes: “My secret place”. Turn right from the Aviary Cafe and either the path in front of cafe on the bank of the Leam or the upper path both lead you to the huge “Glass House”, housing exotic hot house plants. Here are two reviews: "..A nice place to walk in when the weather is bad outside in the main park..." and this “..Lovely building, with beautiful, interesting plants and wildlife!..” But we are heading for the boating lake so we walk down the Mill Passage path at the side of the Glass House leading to a beautiful cast iron foot bridge (1901-1903) over the Weir to the other side of the river. On this side of the gardens there is no demarcation between the gardens and the town and the gardens blend seamlessly into streets of lovely old houses. We turn left towards the boat hire building. Leam boat centre All kinds of boats can be hired by the hour. You are allowed to go one mlle up the Leam. Kids parties with a barbecue can be arranged. The place can also be hired for evening parties for adults (with music etc).

Wi-Fi in Leamington Spa

General Wi-Fi Page:

Sky “The Cloud” - Apple and Android devices

O2 – These devices

BT - EE and Vodafone customers that run iOS and Android operating systems

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