Friday 28th October 2016
Another leisurely day started as usual with a cup of tea in bed followed by showers and as we were moored right by a tap water wasn’t a problem Next we were then off to find the bus stop. Not having been on a bus for many years we were surprised how comfortable they were; this one had leather seats, leg room and a very pleasant interior, though we did wonder if the Driver was a frustrated Grand Prix driver; fast or what?
We arrived in Leamington’s main shopping street right outside Greg’s, (the bakers) and being mid morning, decided to have our mid-morning coffee with a couple of Belgium buns: this made a change from Costa!!
We wandered around, in and out of several shops and eventually made our way to the Royal Pump rooms and Baths, a rather impressive building where folk from all over the country came to take the waters. Though there has been some sort of settlement here, probably since Roman times, it was first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 though the re-discovery of the Spa waters in 1784 and the commercialization that followed, put the town on the map, so to speak.
There was also a magnificent park and as we wandered around we saw some fantastic old trees that must have seen all sorts of things over the last couple of hundred years or so; if only they could talk! There was the customary large, round, duck pond, a kiddie’s area and, a set aside area where everything is left to nature.
The town, much of it Regency and Victorian, was bestowed with its Royal Prefix after Queen Victoria visited, first as Princess in 1830 and again as queen in 1858.
I was also interested to re-visit the Regent Hotel, built 1818/19 where, in its heyday; this Hotel was where the visiting aristocracy, landed Gentry, and the wealthy stayed whilst “taking the waters”. It was here where Princess Victoria stayed in 1830 and it was described as one of the largest in Europe at that time, having 100 bedrooms.
My main interest in seeing the Regent again was to see what they had done to it after renovations. Back in the 80’s and 90’s we (Tesco) used it for annual national negotiations with the Trade Unions as the hotel had the space, and was comparatively cheap, due to it being very run down: a far cry from its heyday. As I said, it was being re-furbished and what a surprise, it is now a Travel Lodge, In disgust we didn’t go in!!!!
Lunch time beckoned and we found a branch of Zizi’s so in we went: Italian 2 days running though Zizi’s wasn’t in the same class as yesterday, still very nice and we enjoyed it. We didn’t stop and linger though; there was a family with a baby, sleeping peacefully in the pram, but a little boy sitting at the table who looked old enough to know better, was screaming incessantly, annoying everybody in the restaurant and parents who didn’t appear to stop him. We skipped Desert and Coffee, paid the bill and left
After lunch we made our way back to the bus stop and joined the queue. Again we had a very comfortable seat, though the bus was full this time. We did have another Lewis Hamilton type driver trying to set records, but we got back without any mishap. We were back on the boat after a very enjoyable day and put our feet up and read: no TV again!!!!
We also decided to stop over a third night and visit Stratford Upon Avon tomorrow as we are so close and instead of using the bus, we thought we would catch the train, by way of a change.