An Insider’s Guide to Royal Leamington Spa

The River Leam at dusk, The Jephson Gardens, Royal Leamington Spa, England.

Leamington Spa – or Royal Leamington Spa, to use its full name – is a great place to head to if you’re looking for a day trip or a weekend break in England! It has been said that Leamington is like a mini London, with its vibrant central Parade and busy atmosphere. Great food, great shopping, great nightlife – and nothing is too far away. Everything is easily reached by train and there is good, regular transport around the town, as well as between neighbours Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon and Coventry to name a few.

One of the towns popular attractions is the All Saints Parish Church, with impressive gothic architecture that would make you believe it was built long before the 19th Century, especially as Leamington was named in the Domesday Book in 1086!

View of All Saints’ Parish Church clock tower, Royal Leamington Spa, England.

Slightly further up the town, you’ll find the famous Royal Pump Rooms, a spa in the late 18th Century. People all throughout Europe would flock to bathe in Leamington’s waters, which were considered healing. For any Mick Jagger fans, the video for his song ‘Sweet Thing’ was filmed in the Roman-esque bathhouse. It now houses Leamington’s library, museum and art gallery, all free to enter.

Directly across the road from the Pump Rooms sits the Jephson Gardens; a must-see if you’re in Leamington! The Victorian gardens make for a pretty walk and retain a grand, gothic style throughout, with the Hitchman Fountain, the Jephson Memorial (pictured below) and the Alderman clock tower square. There’s also the Free Czechoslovak Army memorial fountain, which commerates a group of Czech soldiers who assassinated a leading Nazi figure during World War II.

The Jephson Memorial, Jephson Gardens, Royal Leamington Spa, England.

The Jephson Gardens is the historical hub of the town, with the rushing River Leam running through it and the adjoining Mill Gardens. If you’re looking for something active to do, you can head to The Leam Boat Centre there and kayak or boat along the river. You can also find a slipway, referred to as the ‘Elephant Walk’, where travelling circuses would use the river to wash the elephants they kept. It’s bizarre to imagine beautiful, wild creatures such as elephants walking the paved, polished streets of Leamington, unimaginable today.

Bridge over the River Leam marking the end of the Mill Gardens, Royal Leamington Spa, England.

Nature reserve Welshes Meadow (just across the road from the East of the Mill Gardens) makes for a good hike along the river, though you should beware of the dreaded mosquitos as this place is full of them in Summer. If you’re not quite a fan of biting bugs, head to Newbold Comyn, Leamington’s largest green space. It offers 300 acres of great hiking and panoramic views over the town.

For a small town, all kinds of travellers will find plenty to do, from dining (lots of choice for vegans), shopping, nightlife, art, culture, sport and history. Keep Royal Leamington Spa on your agenda for a less-known English getaway!

The River Leam, the Mill Gardens, Royal Leamington Spa, England.

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