First laid out in 1831 as informal riverside walks in Leamington, the original Newbold Gardens were developed as more formal pleasure grounds after 1846 in honour of Dr Henry Jephson, who had promoted the town as a spa. The Jephson Gardens gained renown for their entertainments, military bands, promenading, croquet and tennis, fountains, illuminations, trees and flowers. They are listed as Grade II on the English Heritage register of historic parks and gardens.
Improvements to the river through the Victorian era culminated in the construction of Mill Bridge, Mill Gardens and boathouse, 1901-03, creating one riverside landscape. Like many parks they fell into slow decline after World War II but since 1999 have been restored and renewed by Warwick District Council thanks to a grant of over £3 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Victorian gardens are now complemented by a subtropical glasshouse, restaurant and teaching studio.
The Temperate House
The Temperate House, teaching studio and new restaurant are on the site of a redundant nursery. Today the Temperate house represents plant evolution from approximately 500 million years ago to the present day.
Things to enjoy
- Flowers! Colourful floral displays from spring to autumn
- More flowers! Varied beds and mixed borders for year-round pleasure
- Lawns for informal relaxation. Spacious upper lawn. Quiet area by the river
- Wheelchairs and pushchairs – all areas accessible
- Trees – fine collection of beautiful and unusual specimens.
- Sensory garden – plants to touch and smell
- Glasshouse – exotic plants from around the world
- The Aviary Café – lovingly restored Victorian tea pavilion
- The Restaurant in the Park – lunches, dinners and functions.
- Memorials to notable past citizens of Leamington
- Fountains – crowns, a parachute, and a geology lesson!
- Feed the ducks and swans on the lake and by the river.
- Boating on the river or the boating pond – from Leam Boat Centre, Mill Gardens.
- Open every day, 8am – dusk. Ranger service. Toilets, disabled toilets and baby change.
- What, no play area? Cross the suspension bridge to Mill Gardens. Ship theme. Sand play. Field for ball games
- Dogs welcome but must be kept on a lead. Dog waste bins provided
- No cycling in the Gardens
How to get there
- Town centre – walk or cycle
- Bus – most services stop at the Lower Parade or the Parish Church. More on buses to parks
- Rail – 10-minutes from Leamington Spa station via Pump Room Gardens.
- Car and motorcycle – parking and disabled parking in Newbold Terrace. On-street parking in Dormer Place. Nearest pay-and-display is St Peter’s multi-storey car park.
- Royal Pump Rooms – award winning art gallery and museum, tourist information, café, public library, events and functions. Open daily.
- Mill Gardens across the suspension bridge – play area, boating link, riverside stroll.
- Churches – All Saints and St Peter’s, two magnificent Victorian interiors.
- Regency town centre – shopping, pubs, restaurants.
- Old Town trail, self-guided walk from the Royal Pump Rooms.
- Guided walks by the knowledgeable Leamington Guild of Guides.
- Riverside Walk, upstream to Newbold Comyn Park, downstream to Victoria Park and Warwick.