I'm a freelance writer who has just moved to the West Midlands.
Published September 1st 2012
A park with more than just grass and trees
Victoria Park is a ten minute stroll from Leamington Spa town centre with several entrances from Adelaide Road or Park Drive.
21 acres of space means there's plenty of room to enjoy games of football, rounders or touch rugby without disturbing anyone. If you prefer the solitude of running over the rough and tumble of team sport then you may like to know that two laps around the oval shaped grass area are equal to one mile. This was a feature specifically designed for running by the borough engineer William de Normanville back in 1899. It's also a great path for scooters, skateboards and bikes.
Part of the grass area hosts ten well maintained tennis courts available for public use. As of August 2012, the charges are £2 for senior citizens, under 18's, disabled and unemployed and £4 for everyone else. The rate is per hour, per court and you also need to take your own racquet and balls. A schedule of lessons can be found pinned to the VP tennis club-house and it's wise to check this in advance to ensure courts are free.
The River Leam flows peacefully along the lower edge of the park allowing canoeists from the Royal Leamington Spa Canoe Club to practice their strokes. For ramblers on the Riverside Walk this is a convenient place to take advantage of the park benches and watch someone else do the hard work for a while.
On the other side of the path, a play park offers swings, roundabouts and climbing frames providing entertainment for little ones with a lot of energy. If you visit in the summer months then don't forget swimwear for the Under 12's who can enjoy the free paddling pool adjacent to the play area.
Throughout the summer, Victoria Park Bowls Complex gives the public the chance to try a spot of bowls. This is the official home for Women's Bowls in England and the lawns are preened to international standards. Believe me, this isn't a sport just reserved for OAPs.
There's no escaping the rich history which engulfs Victoria Park. The 'Avenue of Trees' lines the perimeter in honour of those in the town who lost their lives during World War 2. Their leaves offer welcome shade on hot days and a splash of vibrant colour as the seasons change. An information board displays black and white photos depicting the past grandeur that attracted royal shows, hot air balloons and coronation celebrations.
I'm pleased to say that over a century later the park has lost little of its splendour. It's a highly valued asset by the locals and well worth dropping by if you want a fun and cheap day out.