Leamington

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Last week while I was working in the Midlands I stopped overnight in Royal Leamington Spa. It’s somewhere I’ve only passed through in the past and even on this occasion I didn’t spend much time there. However I was able to get a flavour for the place .

Leamington Spa developed during the late Georgian, or Regency, period, as a spa resort in the early 19th Century. The town centre is dominated by grand buildings from this period.

This is the Royal Pump Rooms and Baths, built in 1814, where visitors could “take the waters”. A neo-Classical design dominated by the portico with it’s row of Doric columns along the main road. The building now houses an Art Gallery and Museum, a public library, a Tourist Information Centre, cafe and assembly rooms where public events are held.

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There are pleasant gardens behind the building and also across the road (Jephson Gardens). Unfortunately I didn’t take any photographs.

Many of the buildings in the town centre and around are built in the very grand Regency style. A variant of the Neo-Classical Georgian buildings, but usually a more simple design, many of then are covered with a bright white stucco and embellished with decorative wrought iron balconies and verandas.

The Parade, the main thoroughfare in the town centre is particularly grand. These three photos were taken in the early morning on a bright sunny day as I made my way to the train station.

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And these were taken the previous evening after sunset, so the quality isn’t so good.

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There are some very grand houses too, particularly on Lansdowne Crescent

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And Landsdowne Circus. I didn’t manage to get any photos of the latter as by the time I got there it was too dark, but here’s a couple of pictures of some of the houses on this very pleasant, exclusive, residential round “square” from Wikipedia

File:Lansdowne Circus, Royal Leamington Spa - geograph.org.uk - 29415.jpg

The town hall is architecturally rather different than the other buildings on the Parade. Completed in 1884, it is very Victorian and a real mix of styles with Classical, Baroque, Italianate and even Tudor features.

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On the way to the train station I spotted this interesting building with the statue of a woman holding a globe firmly planted on top – a real Art Deco type feature. There were other Art Deco elements too, particularly the windows and doors.

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A little research revealed that this was the Bath Assembly Hall which was built in 1926 as a “Palais de Danse”.  Apparently, like many other similar buildings from the period, the interior was originally Art Deco in style.

My impression from my very short visit was that Leamington is an extremely pleasant town with some interesting shops and with particularly interesting architecture. I’d have liked to have spent more time there and it would definitely be worth another visit , perhaps combined with a trip to nearby Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick,

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5 thoughts on “Leamington

  1. I have driven once through RLS and was amazed at all the Georgian buildings. Having seen your pictures I really want to visit and must work out a way of doing so. We did head in that direction one afternoon from Astley last November but only got as far as Kenilworth. That’s trouble with trying to please too many people ;-). Barbara

  2. I live in Leamington, and it’s every bit as good to live in as it is to visit. The park with the bandstand next to the Pump Rooms hosts a free music festival in June (the ‘Peace’ festival), and there’s been a Food and Drink Festival in September for the last couple of years. Other parks in the town have Saturday Parkruns, cycle races, and the English National Bowls competition. The Assembly with the lady on top was restored to its Art Deco finery and is now one of the best music venues I’ve been to. There’s a leisure centre and swimming pool and a Vue cinema that you might not have spotted as they’re a little way off the main Parade; there’s a canoe club and usually a homemade raft race annually on the river. All of this within walking distance – it’s a cosmopolitan jewel in the gritty Midlands, and my only complaint is that it’s as far away as you can possibly get from the seaside…

    I wrote about it a few years ago, and the sentiment is still the same: http://newlolablog.blogspot.co.uk/2008/06/i-love-leamington-spa.html. Come and visit again!

  3. Thanks for your comment Lola.
    You’re very lucky to live in such a lovely town. I certainly intend to visit again and have a proper look round rather than just a flying visit.

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed your short stay in Leamington. And I agree with everything Lola says about living in the town – I’ve lived in Leamington for over 30 years and I just love it. Wonderful restaurants, four parks that connect with each other, and the Peace Festival is a real treat every summer.

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