Leamington has been a popular tourist destination for centuries, thanks chiefly to its famous spas, art galleries and gardens. But there is another feature to the town that might come as a surprise. Gaming is a leisure pursuit that is every bit as popular in the 2000s as visiting a hot spa was in the 1800s. Once seen as something of a fringe pursuit for “game nerds” with limited social skills, we are now in an age where everyone likes to play games, from retro titles to casino classics to online word games.
While many aspects of gaming are pursued online using your laptop or phone, there are some that take place at land-based facilities, and for these, Leamington is surprisingly well provisioned. Let’s take a look.
You hear a lot about online slots and casino games these days. These certainly have their place and are hard to beat when it comes to choice of games and generous bonuses. But still, there’s something special about playing a slot game using a traditional cabinet. Shipley’s Amusements is on Parade in the middle of town. A warm welcome is always assured, and the complimentary soft drinks are a nice touch. As well as all the latest slots, you’ll find bingo and reel games, so there’s something for everyone.
The Dice Box
More of a traditionalist in your choice of games? Stroll around to The Dice Box on Regent Street, but be sure to allow yourself plenty of time as it’s easy to lose yourself for an hour or two. Billed as Warwickshire’s first board game café, there is a library of around 700 games. The staff are super friendly and will help you choose your game and get started. The café has a good range of drinks and light bites, and there is also a shop so you can purchase any of the games, too.
Also on Regent Street, Warhammer effectively serves the needs of both video game fanatics and those who are still in the pre-internet era. The friendly and helpful staff are all passionate about what they do. The primary focus is on fantasy-style gaming with models, paints and so on. However, video gamers are also well catered for. Warhammer also serves as a Games Workshop outlet, so there’s a good choice of games for PCs, consoles and hand held devices.
The Games Den
Just outside town on Clemens Street, you’ll find The Games Den. Originally opened in 2016, husband and wife pair Pete and Mel took the reins in 2020 – right in the middle of lockdown. That should tell you all you need to know about their passion for gaming. As well as selling a wide range of board games and fantasy figures, they provide a friendly environment for people to hang out and play games, as well as hosting regular Warhammer and Dungeons and Dragons events.
Enjoy the games
Leamington definitely has a great choice of facilities for all sorts of gamers. Do look in next time you are in town and support these great community businesses.