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Royal Leamington Spa >  Google™ Map Nov 2017  Warwickshire Coat of Arms

leam Unknown river name + tūn Old English (a) farmstead, village. Population - 49,491.

England-Warwickshire Flag UK > England > Warwickshire

Nov 2017

Warwickshire Coat of Arms

There's no 'I' in team just like there's no 'ee' in Leam. It's pronounced as in Remington™ and it's so good, you'll want to buy the company.  Ki-am joking, of course, and while that transaction isn't technically feasible, a second night here is having seen enough during a quick reccy to justify one, it's hoped.

As for the 'Royal', they're one of only three in England with such a charter. Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire in recognition of the military funeral processions and Kent's Tunbridge Wells for some connection or other going back to the House of Stuart.

It was granted here in 1838, eight years after Princess Victoria visited as an 11-year-old and no, that makes no sense to SlyBob, neither.

Her familiar form stands outside of the town hall, which wasn't even fully finished in 1830, and she narrowly missed a bomb on the bonce during you-know-when.

Royal Leamington Spa - Town Hall
Royal Leamington Spa - Regent Hotel

She did, however, stay at the Regent Hotel although that would be doubtful today. Not unless the uniform rooms of a Travelodge™ with the option of a Wagamama™ for your supper both warrant a Royal Warrant of Appointment, these days.

  Victoria Park Lodge (Adelaide Road)

Proper old-skool lodgings just 10 minutes from town. They won't, however, be able to accommodate for a second evening so you'll have to seek out something more Premier-like.

With Royal and Leamington covered, that just leaves the dangling Spa, which simply means the town looks somewhat Regent and not a little unlike this.

Royal Leamington Spa - Parade

Unlike the posh part of Cheltenham or the whole of Harrogate, say, people here don't seem to be just a bit too pleased with themselves even if Leamington was ranked, in 2017, as the happiest place to live in the UK[1].

It's also handy for quite a few of the Ms, the 1, 6 and 40, actually, and if you do pull off, pull in and park up, you'll be, like... 'WHOA! Who put this here?'[2]

[1] Good links to Birmingham - right? Access to the countryside - left and right and a rich-looking centre full of cafés, bars, restaurants and independent traders - right on!
[2] Followed by a quick... 'How come SlyBob didn't know about this?'

Benjamin Satchwell had a hand, apparently, for it was he who discovered the original spring around which all of this was built.

Royal Leamington Spa - Next to the Pump Rooms
Royal Leamington Spa - Pump Rooms

That includes the Pump Rooms and although the spa is fairly recently gone, the building's now the centre for culture and tourism with an art gallery full of watercolours and everything bathed in light, probably.

  The Benjamin Satchwell (The Parade) wetherspoon

The Spoons have a tradition of naming their pubs based on the history of the town or the old building they invariably inhabit. The inevitable offering in a town of this size is called the Benjamin Satchwell, the 'Father of Leamington Spa'.

There are no awards for their nearly-out-of-date ale but the Director of Contrived Waterhole Naming gets a generous (2/5) because it's not too hard to Google™.

  Parsis (14 Parade)

Old Bombay period style dining, whatever that means. Seems it means the Iranian immigrants who influenced the cuisine in West India in the 1920s, which means it's more Persian than poppadoms and a pickle tray.

Royal Leamington Spa - Parsis

Not that you'll get to sample, this now belongs in the permanently closed category. A good example, however, of early 20th-century ethnic transmigration all rooted in the Muslim conquest of Persia in the 7th century, it says here.

There's more, quite frankly, showing off in the Jephson and Mill Gardens, a formal, Victorian area of shrubbery in which to spend time. Henry Jephson was a wealthy but charitable quack whose early work in PR sold the life-enhancing benefits of the waters to large numbers of visitors.

Royal Leamington Spa - Jephson Gardens Clock Tower
Royal Leamington Spa - Jephson Memorial

The town's traders rewarded him handsomely and not just financially but with a monument and yes, that's the same one you'll find on the cover of, get away, only the 33rd greatest album of all time, Ocean Colour Scene's Moseley Shoals, no less.

The well-tended flora is up there every year for some blooming prize or other and there's even a small glasshouse where things are more typically tropical.

Royal Leamington Spa - Jephson Gardens Glasshouse - EXT. DAY
Royal Leamington Spa - Jephson Gardens Glasshouse - INT. DAY

They've had to up the humidity in here because them bananas wouldn't last five minutes outside.

  Habano Restaurant (Warwick Street)

SlyBob's really in the mood for a Cuban, it's been 17 years since the last one and who doesn't enjoy a plate of pork and black beans? Looks like the luck is in except it's tapas only tonight, which has turned off at least four punters but not the lively table of Spanish speakers to which the sole chef spends most of his time talking.

Because of that, the dishes come timed more like a tasting menu and were, quite frankly, fantastic including a piece of hake that's been cooked down to the right second and that grassy, peppery olive oil that you normally save for best.

It's more coffee shop-come-café by day but he says they're trying something a bit different in the evenings and it's hoped to have caught on although advising trippers are recently silent.

With nearly 15 acres worth, there's a full afternoon in Jephson Gardens, nearly, including the Hitchman Fountain.

Royal Leamington Spa - Hitchman Fountain

John Hitchman was another practitioner of the general who himself promoted Leamington's benefits. He was rewarded with this ornate spouter but it's suspected he wasn't so fond of the waters since Jephson outlived him by nearly 20 years.

Following the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Nazis in 1940, the Free Czechoslovak Army ended up in Leamington, obviously. Several of them were selected and parachuted back to cause some, erm, disruption including the successful assassination of the senior SSer Reinhard Heydrich.

Of course none of them made it back and they're commemorated on this little geyser next to the Jephson.

The River Leam flows east-west through here with paths either side into that countryside.

Royal Leamington Spa - Bridge Over The River Leam

Not that you'll need to head too far for some badly cropped and blurry wildlife, which is included here mainly because other words for a fountain have been exhausted.

Royal Leamington Spa - River Leam
Royal Leamington Spa - Jephson Gardens Pond and Fountain

Either way, these are some of the best gardens ever seen although those hanging ones in Babylon were never got round to.

  Regent Court (Livery Street)

Quite a few of your major chains in a courtyard that concentrates on the restaurantorial and the retail.

Royal Leamington Spa - Regent Court

It's convenient and popular but even with the faux-Regency, sorry Leamington, this could just about be anywhere.

Before you start thinking this is one big Regency theme park with Victorianaland in the middle of it, it's not all quite so genteel. The road down to the train station gives a hint of the workaday and is home to what looks like most of the town's takeaways.

Royal Leamington Spa - Bath Street
Royal Leamington Spa - Brandon Parade
Royal Leamington Spa - Royal Spa Centre

Some attempts to preserve the period feel have been more successful than others while the Royal Spa Centre, home to Leamington's cinema and theatre, is brutally honest.

Meanwhile, back up around Regent Street, things are a bit more boho in a Banksy™ kind of way and it's the sort of area that you might get 'inked' in between artisan coffees.

Royal Leamington Spa - Augusta Place
Royal Leamington Spa - Regent Street

The World Famous, in Leamington, Murphy's Bar & Emporium catches the eye and for one lad later, he'd nearly get a black 'un. It looked like he knew the girl in question but whatever he'd said or done, he got a right good slap round the chops that Randolph Turpin, local legend and 1951 world middleweight champion, would have been proud of.

You know it was said earlier this was ranked, in 2017, as the happiest place to live in the UK? Good links to Birmingham - right? Access to the countryside - left and right and a rich-looking centre full of lively bars with live music - right hook! Oof!

  Fizzy Moon Brewhouse (Regent Street)

They like their live music here and this one has the best beer garden in Leamington with ringside seats for the boxing outside of Murphy's.

The Fizzy Moon was also the unanimous winner with a fiddly take on U2 winning out over Murphy's Guns'n'Roses sound-a-likies. Their beers are decent too and you might recognise some of the staff on the hand pull clips.