Enjoy a regal break in Royal Leamington Spa

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Recommended for:
Cultural, Shopping, Short Break, Mid-range

Royal Leamington Spa truly is a right royal blast. Whether you're into culture, shopping or a night on the town, it won't disappoint

It was Queen Victoria who put the 'royal' into Royal Leamington Spa. On her visit in 1838, she was so impressed by the town that she added the prefix. Queen Victoria, of course, wouldn't recognise the place today but this splendid Regency town is still sure to delight.

The Pump Rooms

To get to the real heart of the town, you need to pay a visit to the famed spa. When Leamington's springs were discovered in 1784, the town was quick to capitalise on their potential, opening the baths in 1814. Visitors flocked to Leamington to take the waters, believing that they would cure a range of illnesses from gout to rheumatism. We don't expect such miracles today, of course – but you can still taste the spa water.
The Pump Rooms remains an impressive building at the top of the Parade. It is free to enter although the baths are no longer there. Today it houses a cafe, art gallery, an exhibition on the development of the spa plus the town's library and tourist information.

A walk in the park

The Jephson Gardens are the next logical stop on a tour of Leamington, as they're just across the road from the Pump Rooms. The park is a Grade II listed area, which was restored in 1999 after a £3 million grant from the Heritage Lottery fund. From spring to autumn there are spectacular floral displays and the Temperate House at the bottom of the gardens contains some more exotic plants. The gardens are open from 8am to dusk every day, and are the perfect place for a picnic. In the summer you can go boating on the lake, and there are also occasional free open-air concerts from a variety of local bands.

Shopping

Leamington won't disappoint if you're after some retail therapy. Whether you're looking for chocolate or clothes, you'll be able to find it on the Parade, which runs through the centre of the town and is the main shopping street. Just off the Parade is the Royal Priors Shopping Centre, which contains a range of high street shops. For those looking to splurge, Livery Street offers a more upmarket range of retailers.

Arts

Film fans are well-catered for, with a choice of the Apollo cinema at Portland Place or the Royal Spa Centre on Newbold Street. The Spa Centre is also a venue for comedy nights, dance shows and music events, so it's well worth checking what's on during your stay. Theatre lovers can visit the Loft Theatre on Victoria Collonade. It's an independent community theatre offering a variety of productions, from comedy to classics.

Nightlife

With a population of around 45,000, Leamington is small but vibrant. A lot of the students from Warwick and Coventry universities live in Leamington, and that means the nightlife is buzzing. Trendy bars such as Mumbai Blu and Voodoo attract a young crowd, while those looking for a more traditional pub should head to the White Horse or The Fox. For clubbing, check out Evolve, Rios or Kokos.

Peace festival

Every summer, Leamington hosts the Peace Festival. The biggest free festival of its kind, it draws a crowd of hippies, alternative therapists and students to the gardens of the Pump Rooms. There's the chance to try out activities such as yoga and Indian head massage, you can browse the stalls and a range of delicious food is on offer. See www.peacefestival.org.uk for details.

Dining

Leamington boasts a fine array of places to get some great nosh, ranging from Nicolini's tasty Italian food to Oscar's French cuisine. For atmosphere, visit Wildes, a bar/restaurant at the top of the Parade which is based in a cellar. If you just want a snack, Ben's Cookies serves a range of scrumptious hand-made biscuits and milkshakes which kids (and adults!) will love.

Hotels

The Best Western Falstaff hotel is on Warwick New Road. If you're up for some fun, the hotel hosts murder mystery weekends and also currently offers a package of two nights plus entry to nearby Warwick Castle for two adults and two children for £199.95.
The Episode hotel on Holly Walk is a lively hotel with a champagne and cocktail terrace, and it does a wicked crème brulee with raspberries and shortbread.
For a cheaper option, try the Buckland Lodge Hotel on Avenue Road which provides conveniently-located rooms in a Victoria villa.

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More information on Enjoy a regal break in Royal Leamington Spa:

Author:
Theone Wilson
Traveller type:
Travel Enthusiast
Guide rating:
0
Total views:
318
First uploaded:
18 September 2009
Last updated:
5 years 36 weeks 15 hours 27 min 15 sec ago
Destinations featured:
Trip types:
Cultural, Shopping, Short Break
Budget level:
Mid-range
Free tags / Keywords:
shopping, nightlife, arts, peace festival

Theone recommends

Hotels

Price from Rating
(out of 5)
1. Falstaff Hotel
£65
N/A
2. Episode Leamington
£62
N/A
3. Buckland Lodge Hotel
£36
N/A

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