Leamington Spa is an attractive spa town notable for its fine Regency architecture and parks. Like Bath and Cheltenham, Leamington owes much of its grandeur to its development as a fashionable resort in the early nineteenth century, catering for those who believed its spring waters could cure or ease their ailments.
Leamington was laid out as a new town in the early to mid-nineteenth century, with features characteristic of modern planned towns including wide streets based predominantly on a north/south aligned grid. It was built on the site of a much smaller and older village called Leamington Priors, from which 2 buildings still remain - situated just East of the parish church.
Modern Leamington serves primarily as a commuter town for Coventry and Birmingham, with its population boosted during term time by students from the nearby University of Warwick.
Birmingham International Airport (IATA: BHX), is larger and not too far away and serves the region with frequent domestic and international flights. There are several direct arrivals a day from all major UK and European destinations, and one or two from more far-flung places such as Delhi, Dubai (twice daily), Islamabad, Luxor, New York and Toronto.
Leamington is on the line between London Marylebone and Birmingham, and is a relatively short distance from Coventry, which is on the main line between London Euston and Birmingham New Street. It is also on the Cross Country Bournemouth to Scotland/Northern England line giving it good North/South connections.
Leamington Spa is well served by buses. The No. 12 bus travels between Sydenham-Leamington Spa-Kenilworth-Coventry, including Coventry City Centre, Coventry Rail Station, the University of Warwick and Kenilworth on its route.
Visitors by car beware: the centre of Leamington features a perplexing traffic system which forbids turns onto or off the high-street. This can make navigating the centre of town by car very tricky to those unfamiliar with the town's layout.
The centre of Leamington is compact and easily walkable, but the Parade in particular is well served by local buses.
- The Pump Rooms. A recently renovated historic building housing an Art Gallery and Museum, Library and Tourist Information Center, along with a cafe.
- Art Gallery and Museum. Open Tu,W,F,Sa 10:30AM-5PM; Th 1:30PM - 8PM; Su 11AM - 4PM; M closed. Free admission.
- Cafe. Open M-Sa 9:30AM-5PM, Su 10AM-5PM. Self-service cafe with a terrace.
- Leamington Library, +44 1926 742721. Open M 9:30AM-8PM, Tu 10AM-8PM, W 9:30AM-5PM, Th 9:30AM-8PM, Fr 9:30AM-5PM, Sa 9:30AM-4PM, Su 10AM-2PM. Once the large swimming hall of the baths, this part of the building is now home to a modern library.
- Tourist Information Centre. Open M-Sa 9:30AM-5PM, Su Noon-4PM.
- The Royal Spa Centre, ☎ +44 1926 334418. Entertainment venue featuring various shows, from concerts to wrestling.
- Jephson Gardens
Jephson Gardens is well worth a visit. There is a large pond, ducks, geese, a cafe, a restaurant, boating and lots of flowers and trees. You could combine it with a walk past the library, through the pump room gardens, over the bridge and into Victoria park.
Leamington's shopping area is focused on the Parade and consists mostly of the same retail chains found on any other British high street. The elegant facades of the Parade on the eastern side at the northern end conceal Royal Priors, a smart modern indoor shopping centre, with lots of brand name shops.
There is a new development of shops between the Town Hall and the Travelodge Hotel. On the other side of the Town Hall there is a tree lined avenue with new shops, cafes and restaurants.
Park Street and Regent Street have many small independent shops and it is well worth having a wonder round to find out some hidden gems. Also, Bedford Street is home to several small fashion stores.
Leamington has a good choice of moderately priced upmarket restaurants, including a wide choice of British Indian restaurants
- Kismet, 11 Spencer St., ☎ +44 1926 428533. Very good Indian food at reasonable prices. The "buffet" is really a prix-fixe, but recommended.
- Ali Curry House, 21 Bath Street, ☎ +44 1926 429405.
- Amors Restaurant, 15 Dormer Place, ☎ +44 1926 774744.
- Bombay Tandoori, 38 Regent Street West, ☎ +44 1926 420521.
- Phoenix Chinese Restaurant, 11 Euston Place, ☎ +44 1926 424479. Upmarket Chinese resataraunt
- Paprika Club, 22 Regent Street West, ☎ +44 1926 428272.
- Royal Buffet, 16 High Street, ☎ +44 1926 772222.
- Wildes Restaurant, ☎ +44 1926 336732. 7 Parade. Food and tapas in atmospheric basement wine bar.
- The Restaurant In The Park In Jephsons Gardens
- Food to go, 47 High Street, ☎ +44 1926 313017. The tastiest baps and baguettes in town with a great choice of filings.
Leamington has a small but vibrant nightlife scene. There are many pubs and bars and 3 small nightclubs. Most of the bars are around Bedford Street and Warwick/Regent street.
Bars and Pubs
- Bar 44, 126 Warwick Street East, ☎ +44 1926 888444.
- Moo, 24 Russell Street. Fairly expensive, trendy bar at the top of town.
- Tavistock Inn, Tavistock Street.
- Voodoo, 35 Regent Street West, ☎ +44 1926 422685. Kitsch bar popular with young people on the corner
- TJ's Bar & Bistro & TJ's Sports Bar, 45-47 Bath Street, +44 1926 312568
- Robbins' Well, A Scream Bar associated student pub opposite the Parish Church at the bottom of town, overlooking the river, notable for its impressive high-ceilinged interior.
- Satchwells the local Wetherspoons, in the centre of the parade
- White Horse, 4-6 Clarendon Avenue, ☎ +44 1926 426892. Relaxed traditional pub in central Leamington with outdoor courtyard
- The Jug & Jester (Weatherspoon), Beside the Parish Church at the bottom of town.
- The Clarendon,
- Smack (at the top of bedford street / tavistock street). Very popular with many student nights. Dingy and cramped despite recent refit. Often there are drinks promotions associated with Moo bar
- Evolve. Set in an old-cinema building, this light and airy club caters to the student population.
There are a number of Bed and Breakfasts in Leamington, as well as a large number clustered together in Warwick less than 2 miles away on Coten End/Emscote Road (the same road).
- Best Western Falstaff Hotel, 16 Warwick New Road, ☎ +44 1926 312044, fax: +44 1926 450574. Rates between £60 and £105.
- The Adams Hotel, Avenue Road, ☎ +44 1926 450742, fax: +44 1926 313110. 14 en-suite rooms. £66 - £85.
- Holiday Inn, Olympus Avenue, Tachbrook Park, ☎ +44 1926 425522.
- Thomas James Hotel, 45-47 Bath Street, ☎ +44 1926 312568. 17 en-suite bedrooms, conference facilities, bars and restaurant. pick-up from local airports. From £45 - £90.
- 8 Clarendon Crescent, 8 Clarendon Crescent, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire (just a 3 minute walk off the Upper Parade), ☎ +44 1926 429840. This is a lovely B&B where guests are warmly welcomed by Christine and David. Each room has an ensuite bathroom and the breakfasts will keep you going through the day. single £50; double £80.
Trains leave regularly from the station at the bottom of town and go direct to Birmingham, London, (and Edinburgh a few times a day). Anywhere else and your best bet is to go to Birmingham or London (depending on whether you're going north or south) and get a train from there
Take a bus to Warwick and visit Warwick Castle