At Avonlea we are proud to say that many guests return time and time again. As a result, they discover ‘hidden gems’ that are off the well-trodden tourist beat.
Two of our regular guests, Kate and Bob, have discovered that jumping on a train from Stratford-upon-Avon to Leamington Spa provides the perfect opportunity for a stunning 10 mile walk back to Avonlea….
Bob & Kate’s Leamington Spa to Hatton Locks Walk
One of our very favourite places to visit – and we try to visit two or three times a year – is Stratford-upon-Avon. And we always stay at Avonlea. We also love walking and this is one of our favourites to do.
So, first things first. A delicious breakfast – normally made by Rob and served with a smile by Clare who always keeps our coffee very well topped up. While everything offered is delicious, Rob takes great pride in his scrambled eggs. Top tip for you.
But I mentioned walking, didn’t I? As for kit, a waterproof coat never goes amiss and we’d certainly recommend walking boots as the towpath often has puddles along the way. We walk across town to Stratford-upon-Avon Railway Station and buy our return tickets to Leamington Spa for the journey which takes around 35 minutes. The trains are relatively regular but do check Trainline or National Rail Enquiries first.
I won’t describe the full walk as you all have Google Maps, I’m sure. Walk along the river (westbound) through Victoria Park – which is a good place to see local fun runs and charity events. At the end of the park, there is a main road. Cross at the crossing and take a narrow pathway just to the righthand side. A few hundred yards along and you arrive at the canal. Turn right and this takes you towards Warwick and then to Hatton.
Then all you have to do is stay on the canal towpath enjoying the scenery. You skim the edge of Warwick and then head onwards towards the famous Hatton Locks – a series of 21 locks known as ‘The Stairway to Heaven’ and which rise over a steady mile. It’s a rather nice feeling – as a walker – being able to easily overtake motorised vehicles as they patiently wait for the locks to fill or empty. We always think to ourselves “We’ll be in the pub before you are” as we pass.
At the very top, there is an excellent dragonfly sculpture created by Gideon Petersen in 1971. There’s also a large pub – The Hatton Arms. We’ve never called in but it looks nice. Our destination is always the nearby café – appropriately called Hatton Locks Café – which is just a short walk further up the canal. After 5.8 miles (which takes us around 1 hour 50 minutes), we need a rest and a cuppa. And, although we had our yummy breakfast, a freshly made cheese and ham toastie is just the treat. (There’s plenty of other things available on the menu, by the way, including sweet treats).
There’s seating outside and some seating inside which fills up when the weather is a bit British. They also have toilets. I know that bit of information is an important one.
Replenished, it’s just a case of getting our legs working again and retracing our steps back along the canal. The last few times we’ve done this walk, the return train time has been a bit too snug for us to get all the way back to Leamington. Hatton Station is only about a mile or so away so you can take a stroll to there. We prefer to walk back to Warwick. Once in Warwick, just after the hospital, we leave the canal and turn right along Coventry Road and then to the Station. This stretch is four miles and takes us around 1 hour 20 minutes.
It is a very picturesque walk and we have countless photos of narrowboats, heron and general seasonal prettiness. It also gives us the opportunity for a bit of exercise and to feel a little bit saintly before spending our evening enjoying a rewarding pint – or two – in The Stratford Ale House and eating in one of our favourite restaurants back in Stratford.