First laid out in 1831 as informal riverside walks along the River Leam, the original Newbold Gardens were developed into formal pleasure grounds after 1846 in honour of Dr Henry Jephson, who had promoted the town as a spa.
Jephson Gardens gained renown for its band concerts, archery and tennis, illuminations, trees and flowers. It is listed as Grade II on the English Heritage register of historic parks and gardens.
Originally the settling beds for the town’s water supply, Mill Gardens was created as part of improvements to the River Leam in 1901-03, which created one riverside landscape. Mill Bridge and the boat house were also constructed at this time.
Like many parks, Jephson Gardens fell into slow decline after World War II. It was restored by Warwick District Council in the early 2000s thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of over £3 million. The Victorian gardens are now complemented by a modern Glasshouse and restaurant.
Things to enjoy in the gardens
- Glasshouse – interesting tropical plants and goldfish pond
- The Aviary Café – beautifully restored Victorian tea pavilion
- The Restaurant in the Park – lunches, dinners and functions
- Boating on the River Leam – from Leam Boat Centre, Mill Gardens
- South Lodge – history display showing the Gardens in times past
- Flowers – beautiful floral displays from spring to autumn and mixed borders for year round colour
- Trees – fine collection of beautiful and unusual specimens
- Sensory garden – plants to touch and smell
- Memorials to notable past citizens of Leamington
- Feed the ducks on the lake
- Play area in Mill Gardens. Ship theme and sand play.
- Field for ball games.
- Ranger service
- Toilets, disabled toilets and baby change;
- All areas accessible by wheelchairs and pushchairs.
Dogs welcome but must be kept on a lead in Jephson Gardens. Dogs are not allowed in Mill Gardens play area; No cycling in the Gardens.