Top places to live in Warwickshire Leamington Spa
With Regency architecture to match that of Cheltenham's or Brighton's, this studenty spa town is a player in the global computer gaming industry. There's indie retailers, cool places to eat and drink, plus leafy riverside parks. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.
Known as Silicon Spa, Leamington is a global gaming cluster with around 32 video gaming companies, including some of the biggest names. It’s a compact but alluring historic spa town with grand Regency architecture – particularly The Parade, Clarendon Square and Lansdowne Circus and lovely parks which run along the River Leam. A popular Warwick University student hang out, there’s laid-back coffee shops a-plenty, cocktail bars with live music and even a Temperance bar for non-drinkers.
An eclectic mix of independent restaurants, laid-back cafes and cool bars stand out among the chains. They include quirky and fun Hart & Co, a cafe bar and grill run by a young female entrepreneur and effervescent Fizzy Moon Brewhouse, a Muddy award-winner with its own microbrewery and selection of 150 gins! One of our favourite coffee shops is Blue Basil with its vintage-inspired Hague blue interior and famous gourmet brownies. Two places stand out for afternoon tea: Whittles at Binswood, inside a magnificent Grade II Victorian hall, and the 4-star Mallory Court Country Hotel, under talented Liverpudlian head chef Paul Evans. He was recently awarded 3 AA Rosettes for The Dining Room. Head to the nearby rural village of Hunningham, where you can take in the glorious countryside setting from the riverside beer garden of destination pub, The Red Lion.
You’ll find specialist boutiques, indies and high street retailers, ranging from quality wine merchants Slurp and the Leamington Wine Company to national lingerie and swimwear specialist Bravissimo‘s HQ and first ever shop. There’s also one of 32 national Farrow and Ball showrooms, independent gift shop Berylune, independent lifestyle retailer Parkinsons and the Boot Room and award-winning national ‘master butcher’ Aubrey Allen. Check out 2019’s Muddy award-winning newcomer – the eco-friendly Zero Store, which this year opened a shop in Russell Street, a Neal’s Yard Remedies store full of organic blue-bottled beauty products and pop-in pampering at day spa, The Spa. Fable is an interior design studio led by founder Harriet Sinclair-Wilson who has a wealth of experience in renovating listed buildings, and also runs a Scandi-inspired interiors store in the Royal Priors.
The iconic Royal Pump Rooms, which attracted visitors to the famous spa baths up until the mid-19th century, including Queen Victoria now incorporates Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum. There’s live comedy, talks, panto and cinema at the Royal Spa Centre. Lovely leafy parks on the River Leam include award-winning Jephson Gardens and Victoria Park. Annual events include Art in the Park, Leamington Comedy Festival, Leamington Food & Drink Festival and a Christmas lantern parade. A much-photographed scenic spot for walks is Chesterton Windmill.
The National Trust’s beautiful heritage properties in Warwickshire including Charlecote Park, a Victorian country house and landscaped deer park, are all an easy drive. Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park, with brilliant bijou exhibitions, is close too – Canaletto, Magnum Manifesto and a Lucas Cranach digital tour to name but a few. Summer exhibition On Colour has been postponed until 2021.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
£351,612. Semi-detached houses are most popular, selling for around £318,525 with terraces averaging at £331,213, and flats fetching £277,723. Good local estate agents in the area are Fine & Country Leamington Spa, Hawksford, Wigglesworth, Peter Clarke and EBHresidential.
Independent Kingsley School for girls from 3-18, and boys aged 3 – 11, founded by Rose, the daughter of Victorian author Charles Kingsley. Other fee-paying options include Arnold Lodge School in Leamington Spa, Princethorpe College, a mixed co-educational independent secondary school in the nearby village of Princethorpe and Warwick Prep, Warwick School and King’s High School for Girls, Warwick.
Children can also attend also attend the two Stratford-upon-Avon girls’ and boys’ grammars. ‘Outstanding’ state primary schools include St Anthony’s Catholic Primary and Sydenham Primary with secondaries including North Leamington, Campion, Myton and Trinity Catholic School each rated ‘Good’.
BEST KEPT SECRET
Leamington is closely associated with the founding of lawn tennis. The first tennis club in the world was formed in 1872 and the modern rules of lawn tennis were drawn up in 1874 at Leamington Tennis Club.
It’s 3 miles (5 km) to the M40 motorway which links it to Birmingham and London. The art-deco Leamington Spa railway station is served by the Chiltern Main Line, which links London Marylebone – a 1 hour 15 minute journey.
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