Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
An affluent town that’s just the right size for a good day out, and it’s very attractive, with lots of Regency architecture, big white buildings that always make you wonder who lives there, wide boulevards and open parks that lead on to picturesque riverside walks.
The town centre has a vibrant mix of high street names and dependent shops, among them some very good boutiques and swanky beauty salons; if you’re in need of a bit of pampering it’s definitely the place to come.
What can you do here? Well, all sorts, really, whatever floats your boat. You can get to know the town better on one of the self-guided trails, or pick up The Elephant Trail, a more curious one that will lead you to all the places in Leamington where a famous elephant trainer called Sam Lockhart trained and showed his animals. You could go to the Royal Pump Rooms Art Gallery and Museum for a leisurely browse around and maybe join in a workshop; you might make something nice to take home. You could spread out a family picnic on the grass in Victoria Park, or take an amble around Jephson Gardens and see the subtropical glasshouses where palm and banana trees grow. If there’s time, hire a boat and set off on the River Leam; within minutes you’ll be deep in the green and glorious countryside.
If you’re here at the right time you’ll catch some of the lively events that the town hosts throughout the year - like Leamington Music Festival, the Peace Festival, Lantern Parade and the popular Food & Drink Festival.
If you find yourself in need of sustenance in Leamington, well, it’s where to begin really. If you prefer pubs go to House or the Drawing Board, for cafes try Parsis Café and Dining Room or Angelica’s Tea and Cake, and if you’re up this way for dinner, book a table at Oscar’s French Bistro, run by Aubrey Allen, no less than butchers to the Royal household.