It’s 11 am and I’ve already spent money in Warwick, but it’s not been with any independents yet. I needed some air in my tyres so the BP on the Coventry road had my first 50p! Rather steep I thought, but essential. I’ve parked for FREE in the Cape Road council car park. Despite it saying no parking Mon-Fri 9-5 I know that on a Bank Holiday this is not enforced (local knowledge).
Then my son and I wandered into town looking for a coffee and a snack.
Now then, first problem. I’ve passed two independent coffee houses and they’re both closed because it’s a Bank Holiday. It’s a common problem in Warwick I’m afraid. So it’s Neros to start, as I’m in the centre of Warwick with a 6-year-old in tow and walking any more is not an option (no patience!). I have to say though, this has everything I need. Great service, clean facilities and free WiFi. I’m afraid the corporates do this rather well, but I’ll be sure to test some of the great indie coffee houses this month too.
Next up is the Market Hall museum in the Market Square
What a fabulous place. I must admit I’ve not really looked around the Market Hall properly before but I’m very glad I did. There are some amazing fossils and prehistoric skeletons – great for kids! The upstairs is being renovated at the moment but is open and full of interesting displays and history. Price? Well it’s FREE, so we made a donation on the way out.
Lunch at the Rose!
Well on leaving the museum my son spots the Rose & Crown and immediately states we must have lunch there! I’m a big fan of the Rose and anyone who has met me for meetings will know this is my Warwick office. Again I’m writing this on my iPhone and it’s updating to my blog via the free WiFi. I mention this as I choose the Rose for many reasons; great service, fabulous atmosphere, amazing food, but a big pull in the day is WiFi for my meetings – as it is I’m sure for others! I had fabulous local sausages from Aubrey Allen with mash, and JT had chips to save arguments.
St. John’s House Museum
What a fabulous place, showcasing the history of the military as far back as the 1800s. A wealth of history and information and it kept JT amused for ages. Price? FREE entry, so we gave a donation on the way round.
Next up it’s time for some afternoon refreshment. We’re right on Smith Street, so as it was mentioned earlier on Twitter, I’ve come to Love Bread & Co. (@LoveBreadandCo) for afternoon tea. I am met with a warm welcome and offered traditional teas and cakes with an array of sandwiches and snacks all set in a traditional oak-beamed building. The cakes are baked on-site (next door) and there’s free WiFi (code on request) and I even found a plug point for my laptop – noted! Great service, attentive and knowledgeable and everything you’d expect from an indie. Great contrast with Nero earlier, playing the same game, but really well.
Time to buy a few bits for dinner, but then comes the announcement every parent dreads: “Daddy, I need the toilet… NOW!” So, as I’m in the middle of town, there’s nothing for it but to head to Costa and use their facilities. Once again it proves the worth of the corporates brands in our towns. I often use big brands like this, because they offer a service often better than the town facilities do.
Dinner was purchased at the rather useful and well-stocked One Stop at St John’s. Free parking again outside (2 hours max) with a good choice of food and supplies. No choice today as it’s a Bank Holiday so this fits the bill just fine, but I plan to stock up at the market on Saturday.
It’s worth pointing out that today in Warwick there was a large event on at the racecourse. The National Festival Circus attracts large crowds, but, reading between the lines (so don’t quote me), some of the Warwick businesses were closed today to avoid the atmosphere and crowds that this brings. This is worth mentioning in today’s post, as Warwick is a town constantly adding to its events calendar, and it’s not always good for businesses who rely on a steady local trade. That said, the Food and Film Festival looks like a great idea and a brilliant opportunity for the restaurants to show off their talents to new crowds.
So that was day one!
No problems so far and I didn’t struggle, or indeed pay to park! I thoroughly enjoyed my wander around the town, and as I write this I’m heading to a meeting with @pinky_princess ahead of a busy week, Warwick being the only destination on the cards!
Comments are welcomed as always…