A day in Royal Leamington Spa

Royal Leamington Spa or Leamington Spa or Leam, as the locals call it, is a town in Warwick district and lies along the river Leam. The mineral rich springs transformed a small village, Leamington Priors, into a bustling urban centre. And the queen accorded the town its Royal status.

Leamington Spa is a beautiful town with its Regency architecture – so well kempt and peaceful, that your first thoughts are, I could totally live here! And why won’t they be, this town was named the happiest place in the UK!!

I had the good fortune to spend a month living here, experiencing life first hand and it was some of the best days I have spent in a new place! I still dream about being back here, walking down the parade to shop, sip on some delicious hot chocolate at one of the numerous cafes and just be. If you are in Warwick, spending a day in Leamington Spa would be ideal. The town is well connected to both London and Birmingham via trains.

The Parade (the bottom)

Here is what you can explore in and around Royal Leamington Spa in a day:

Chesterton Windmill: Start your day early and take one of the buses from Parish Church Stand B to a nearby beautiful village called Harbury. Once you get down here, you have to walk a couple miles to reach the windmill. The road from the bus stop to the windmill does not have a pedestrian footpath and is a busy one, so be careful.
At Chesterton Windmill, you can enjoy a stroll or a picnic. It is a beautiful spot and well frequented by locals. If you have more than a day in Warwick, sunset here would be amazing view.
Also, don’t forget to note the time of a return bus, I did that and was stranded (in a beautiful village, so no complains) for 2 hours. There are a few pubs and restaurants in the village.

Chesterton Windmill

Jephson Gardens: Head back to the center of the city and walk to Jephson Gardens nearby. With the manicured gardens and flower beds, this is a beautiful space to spend some time. It is generally busy on weekends with families enjoying a day out. The garden also have a Sensory Garden and Greenhouse within its premises and a cafe that serves a mind blowing hot chocolate and delicious food.

Jephson Gardens
The Sensory Garden (Jephson Gardens)

The Parade: Take a stroll down the parade and shop to your heart’s content. Head to the Royal Priors mall while you are at it. At some of the streets near the parade, you find exclusive boutiques and stores and a whole array of cafes and restaurants.

This store on Regent Street has some amazing collectibles and great offers

Royal Pump Rooms: Browse around the exhibitions here. They also house a museum showcasing the building’s past and host an art gallery.

Riverside: Walk along the river side or eat at one of the many riverside pubs like The Waterside Inn or The Moorings.

The Loft Theater Company: Watch a production at this independent community theater, one of UK’s leading.

Leam Boat Centre: Hire a rowing boat and marvel at the town from the waters.

Enjoy a pop quiz or live musical at the pub Clarendon’s. They also serve some really good desserts. You could also pop by at The Leif Tea Rooms and play the piano.

Take a tour of Foundry Wood, an eco park or a stroll in Victoria Park and enjoy a game of bowling.

Warwick Castle: The castle is a few mins away by bus or an hour’s walk from Parish Church Stand B. The castle also has some attractions and art shows among other events for a full fledged experience. Check various websites for discounts on the tickets.

Two spectacular resorts in Cherrapunjee that will win over your hearts!

Cherrapunjee, famed for being one of the wettest places on earth (Mawsynram being the wettest) is breathtakingly beautiful and serene. The beautiful roads and the lush valleys and the forever foggy landscapes made us fall for them right away. Over the next three days, this love only grew stronger. Although the heart has no reasons, we can definitely tell you that these two places – Café Cherrapunjee Resort and Sa-I-Mika Park & Resort – had a huge role to play.

We drove from Guwahati to Cherrapunjee and had already booked our stay at Café Cherrapunjee a couple of days ago, but there was a certain anxiety, probably stemming from the fact that our stay in Guwahati had been not so great. We drove for a couple of hours to reach Sohra, the historical name of Cherrapunjee, and driving through the Sohra-Shella road, I saw a beautiful scene – stone-walled cottages with strikingly green coloured roofs and just as I was about to whisk my phone out to click a picture, we took a turn towards the cottages!

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This was our stay! This was our actual stay!! Yes, we had visited their site and booked the stay but images on the internet are not meant to be taken seriously, right?

We were overwhelmed by the beauty of this place! The clear blue sky behind the beautiful cottages, tall and lush green pine trees, smoke coming out of the chimney in the central cottage, this was a scene out of an old movie based in Scotland…but only, it was real. I vividly remember jumping around like an overjoyed kid as soon as the car came to a halt! The moment still makes me smile.

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Our room was in this cottage

Café Cherrapunjee had stolen our hearts and we were happy it had! Based in Mawdok village, midway from Shillong and the main Cherrapunjee Market, this quaint and beautiful place will make you want to stay back forever. The cottages are cozy, outstandingly clean and have a rustic charm. Tents are also available if you want to be adventurous. The age-old Dak Bungalow is converted to a restaurant/café where the staff (more hospitable than anyone you have met) whips up some delicious and heart-warming food. The cell reception is weak here and the resort has no WiFi, giving you the perfect opportunity to disconnect with the world and reconnect with your self and your travel partners.

When at Café Cherrapunjee Resort, remember to carry cash to make the payment (you will be making part payment via net transfer) as they do not have a network and can’t accept cards. You can always transfer the amount but the weak cell reception is a pain.

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Places Nearby: Dympep village is a ten-minute walk from the resort so you can visit some picturesque places here along with the Duwan Sing Syiem Bridge.

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Duwan Sing Syiem Bridge

After having checked out of Café Cherrapunjee, we did not think any other stay can make us this happy but found another beauty hidden amidst the meadows and mountains of Sohra – our second stay at Cherrapunjee – the Sa-I-Mika Park and Resort.

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Sa-I-Mika Park & Resort

A place designed to help you experience simplicity. This resort is much bigger in expanse and has a charm of its own. The various cottages here are all designed to replicate the simple Khasi lifestyle. Some cottages have hardwood flooring and stone walls while some other resemble the architectural style of the time when corrugated sheets were used to make houses. Fireplace, comfortable beds, khaats and muddas, and cleanliness mark the very spacious rooms here.

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The resort does not provide WiFi or televisions and yet we were not at a dearth of things to do. Explore the vast landscapes around, play with the dogs, go hiking or watch the stars under the clear beautiful sky – and we did all of these. And even ran inside our cottages at crazy speed when the rain started hammering down on us that evening! The next morning we headed to the common room for a simple but hearty breakfast and found out that many live gigs are hosted there. If only one was on when we were here…. but that just gives us an excuse to go back, right?

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Breakfast at Sa-I-Mika

Places Nearby: Mawsamai Caves, Seven Sisters Falls, Nohkalkai Falls, Mawlynlong Village and Living Root Bridges to name a few.

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The Orange Roots Cherrapunjee Resort is nearby and you can head here to enjoy a pocket-friendly and lip-smacking vegetarian meal prepared by the local Khasi women.