Food Festival expands into Town Centre

Food Festival expands into Town Centre

One of the UK’s largest free food and drink festivals will cook up a storm with the addition of a new exhibition area at the event.

Foodie fever will spill into the town centre throughout the weekend of the two day event, with nine independent and national chain stores getting in on the action to provide a fringe-style event with Q and A sessions, food sampling, freebies and discounts.

Town centre retailers and restaurateurs will be serving up a treat in Regent Court as part of the annual Royal Leamington Spa Food and Drink Festival, which takes place in the Royal Pump Room Gardens on September 10 and 11.

Businesses involved include Turtle Bay, Gusto, Rosie’s Tea Room, LK Bennett, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Prezzo, Lille Perle and Jaeger, with entertainment provided by jazz band, the Sheila Fawkes quintet, who will be performing live.

Warwickshire food blogger and journalist Ellen Manning, of Eat With Ellen, will also join the line up to host a live Q and A session with local chefs in Regent Court. Ellen regularly reviews eateries across the region and will be offering her best culinary tips and advice on both Saturday, 10, and Sunday, September 11.

Stephanie Kerr, executive director of BID Leamington which organises the festival, said: “After nine years, the Food and Drink Festival is seen as a highlight in the town’s event calendar and we know thousands of people visit from all over the country.

“With so many visitors in the town centre it is great to be able to show off our fabulous food and drink offer to the fullest, so we are very pleased to have the Regent Court businesses supporting our first ever ‘Fringe Food Fest’.

“This year we have over 50 town centre businesses involved – be it on stalls, demonstrating on the Live Kitchen, judging competitions or offering tasters, so there is going to be something for everyone.”

Visitors to this year’s festival can expect to sample exotic cuisines from more than 150 exhibitors, ranging from Italian breads and pastries to Indian street food, Zimbabwean preserves, alcoholic liqueurs and healthy smoothies.

A host of other activities will also take place in the Pump Room Gardens, which Stephanie said will make for an exciting programme of demonstrations, cooking and baking competitions, live music and entertainment.

She added: “As with every year, we will be hosting a number of popular activities in addition to the many delicious eateries exhibiting.

“Action over the course of the weekend will include the return of the Great Leamington Bake Off, which invites bakers to enter cakes and have them judged by the town’s best local chefs, as well as the Home Cook Of The Year competition.

“Organised by Leamington butcher’s Aubrey Allen, it’s been running since 2014 and will judge entrants on a three course cooking challenge, with the winner being crowned Leamington’s finest amateur chef.

“This year’s festival will also see children encouraged to get involved, with a kid’s cookery school hosted by Gusto Restaurant, Nandos, Pizza Express and Yo! Sushi.”

For more information on the fringe event in Regent Court and to find out what offers are available, visit

Tapping into Our Strong DNA

Tapping into Our Strong DNA

Summer is just around the corner and once again we will be tapping into the town’s strong DNA and working together to create fun and opportunity in the town center this summer.

This can be seen in our incredible entrepreneurial history, beautiful architecture, stunning gardens and strong mix of small and large businesses. Over the last five years we have nurtured and built on this foundation to create a culture of working together to foster loyalty and offer customers a spectacular experience.

There is also an exciting calendar of events – some of which are delivered by BID Leamington but many delivered by hard working volunteers in the community. These events attract thousands of visitors to the town centre every year.

All this combined means that the town centre and its community is resilient and well placed to navigate change. However, there is no doubt that there still uncertainty and we know that even small changes to footfall, spend and currency can impact businesses, particularly our smaller ones. That is why we will be working hard to support local businesses to continue to ‘play to your strengths’ – buying smartly and offering fabulous products, service and experiences.

We will also be supporting and encouraging businesses to stay nimble and to act in new ways where needed. Things that can be considered include embracing new technologies, building unique bundles of products and services, utilising your email databases creatively, promoting your expertise and supporting each other to work together in imaginative ways.

With a number of activities and events coming up, here are a few ideas about how to capitalise on the captive audience they bring …

Making the most of events, marketing & promotions …

  • Would you would like to feature in the next photo shoot … just let us know?
  • Do you have any news or offers for the – just email them through to anytime.
  • Host a themed event in your shop. We will promote it on the ‘Royal Leamington Spa’ website and in the local papers.
  • Give us flyers or offers to distribute at events. We often have a stall and staff on standby to help you get involved in some way.
  • Tweet it Up! Look out for the relevant hashtags –  #LoveLeam #LeamFoodFest etc.
  • Help us bring the town alive with fabulous themed window displays

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you would like to know more.

Stephanie Kerr
July 2016

Leamington Food and Drink Festival 2016

Leamington Food and Drink Festival 2016

The hugely popular Royal Leamington Spa Food and Drink Festival is set for another record year after vendor space sold out in just ten days.

Returning for its ninth year, it will be taking place over the weekend of September 10 and 11 at the Royal Pump Room Gardens in the heart of Leamington’s town centre.

The FREE, family-friendly event, which is organised by BID Leamington, has attracted over 150 businesses who have signed up to tickle the taste buds of an anticipated 25,000 visitors from across the UK.

News of the festival has now spread far and wide, and this year there were a record number of applications from past exhibitors as well as many new ones from the town and surrounding area. Based on this visitors will find an exciting variety on offer, with exhibitors who will be displaying culinary skills and selling exotic cuisines from Italian breads and pastries to Indian street food, Zimbabwean preserves, alcoholic liqueurs and healthy smoothies.

Alison Shaw, of BID Leamington which organises the event, said: “The festival is now one of biggest event in the town’s calendar and we are proud that it is has an enviable reputation as one of the best autumn food festivals in the country, so it’s no surprise that it sold out in record time. “We are really pleased to see many of our favourite local traders return as well as some exciting new comers. It really is an exciting showcase of the wonderful diversity and quality of food and drink found in and around the town. Once again there also will be an exciting programme of demonstrations, cooking and baking competitions, live music and entertainment drawn from local talent in the area”.

Various competitions will encourage amateur foodies to join in the action such as the Great Leamington Bake Off which invites keen bakers to enter cakes and have them judged by local chefs, Jenny Hudson, of Sweet As Cakes, Laura Hamilton, of Queans, and Peter Knibb, of Restaurant 23.

The Home Cook of the Year, which was launched in 2014 and is organised by Leamington butcher’s Aubrey Allan, also returns and the crown for Leamington’s finest amateur chef will be judged on a three course cooking challenge.

Children can also get their hands dirty and try cooking some scrumptious dishes at the kid’s cookery school, with sessions hosted by Gusto Restaurant, Nandos, Pizza Express and Yo! Sushi.

Ravinder Aujla, who runs a health food business ‘Pure & Raw’ which launched one year ago in Regent Street, is among the new businesses to join this year’s food and drink line-up for the first time.

She said: “Since we opened in Leamington, Pure & Raw has had such a warm welcome, so we are excited to be exhibiting at the Leamington’s Food and Drink Festival – it will help us to raise awareness of our offer not just in the town but to a wider audience too.

“Throughout the two days we’ll be offering a host of healthy smoothies and snacks. I’m on a mission to make Leamington Spa the healthiest town in the country, so the festival will be a great way to meet new people and to help them find out about the benefits of healthy eating so we can achieve it!”

Live music will return to the Royal Pump Room Gardens’ bandstand to entertain visitors.  New this year will be four piece acoustic band Behind the Settee and country music from Honky Tonk Rose, along with The Wap Waps, Tom Kirkpatrick and The Rock Bottoms who have been booked for repeat performances.

For more information, visit  Admission is free.

Gusto set to open its first restaurant in the Midlands

Gusto set to open its first restaurant in the Midlands

Gusto will swing open the doors of its eagerly-anticipated new restaurant in the beautiful Royal town of Leamington Spa in June.

The Premium restaurant brand has invested more than £1 million in the 4,000sq ft restaurant and bar, which follows hot-on-the-heels of hugely successful openings for Gusto in Leeds and Lytham. Refurbishment work is now well underway to create the new 160-cover restaurant, which is located within the town’s buoyant ‘food quarter’ in Regent Court on Livery Street.

Gusto Leamington Spa – the brand’s first restaurant in the Midlands – will officially open its doors on THURSDAY JUNE 9 at 5PM. 

The company is currently recruiting for 60 newly created jobs at the restaurant, further boosting employment in Leamington Spa’s booming gastronomy scene. Managing Director of Gusto, Sue Crimes, said: “This is a very exciting time for Gusto – we are delighted to be opening in the historic and scenic town of Leamington Spa. Our restaurant ethos meets with the demographics of the town and surrounding areas appealing to a variety of clientele.

“The stylish restaurant will be packed with aspirational touches and beautiful décor, a place where you can feel welcome and special that is perfect for so many occasions.” The lavish refurbishment will see the building sumptuously transformed, complete with an outside terrace to seat 40 people.

Gusto, which opened its first site in Cheshire’s Alderley Edge in 2005, will boast a real sparkly vibe with its fashionable décor and a choice of more than 50 stylish cocktails. The classic and contemporary menu uses fresh, carefully selected, simple ingredients to offer a wide choice of premium British and European dishes. A lunch and brunch option, comprehensive worldwide wine list and a selection of unique specials with a family focused Children’s Menu served until 6pm.

For more details about how to apply for various roles with Gusto please email

Wilko creates 40 New Jobs in Leamington Spa

Wilko creates 40 New Jobs in Leamington Spa

New Store to Open in the Royal Priors Shopping Centre

Wilko, one of Britain’s best loved value home and garden retailers, is opening a new store at Royal Priors Shopping Centre in late June, creating 40 jobs.

The new 8,000 Sq ft store will offer ranges across homeware and furniture, garden and outdoor, DIY and decorating, making it the perfect one-stop-shop for local people to run, repair, maintain, improve and live in their homes. Wilko Leamington Spa Branch manager, Steve Kibble said: “Leamington Spa has a strong retail offering but we’ve spotted a gap in the market for Wilko’s range of great quality products at everyday low prices.

“The town has a diverse range of shoppers, who will be well catered for with our product range and store layout.” “The excellent public transport links and nearby parking at Royal Priors make it a prime location for us to open in and we’re really excited to serve local shoppers when we open in June. “2016 is a big year for Wilko. We have an exciting expansion programme in place which will see us open new stores across the whole of the UK.”

Royal Priors manager, Gerry McManus said: “ We can’t wait for the arrival of the new Wilko store and believe this will be a great asset to the existing retail mix we have here at Royal Priors, we are also thrilled to be creating so many employment opportunities for the local area.’’

Founded in 1930 as Wilkinson Stores by J K Wilkinson, Wilko is one of the UK’s largest and best-loved retailers. Wilko Leamington Spa will be the family business’ 387th store in the UK. For more information please get in touch with Alex, Hugh, Beth or Rebecca at Brazen PR – 0161 923 4994. Alternatively email the team at