It is a commonly known fact that in Britain, all swans belong to the Queen. It is not however a commonly known fact as to why. Apparently several centuries ago, swans were considered a delicacy and were regularly poached. By making them possessions of the sovereign (king/queen), anyone poaching them was effectively stealing from the monarch and could be punished.
Another popular story is that a swan's neck is incredibly strong and can break a mans arm. This makes them sound quite aggressive. However I have only ever found swans to be extremely gentle unless someone hassles them when they have young (or more particularly a dog does).
The Swan here is a very young one (you can tell from the 'dirty' colouring it still has - adult swans are pure white). Young swans are called cygnets.
Jephson Gardens are a good example of an early Victorian park. It has a lake and numerous fountains. A lot of money has been spent on them recently getting them looking good again. In 2004, the gardens were voted the "Best Park in Britain 2004" by the Royal Horticultural Society
Directions for Visiting: Jephson Gardens are at the south end of The Parade, opposite the Royal Pump Rooms.
Opening Dates and Times: All year Daily Open 8am to dusk
Public Admission: Entrance free
Favorite thing: You don't normally see Hibiscus plants growing in England, the temperature is far too cold for them to survive the long winters. They are more associated with Malaysia (the national flower I believe), Spain and other warm weather climates. The reason this one survives is that it is kept in a glass house and kept artificially warm, as you can see, it looks pretty happy. This can be found within the Jephson Gardens and has a cafeteria adjacent to it. It is free to go inside.
Favorite thing: "The Parade" was the center of Leamington's tony society in the 19th century. It was built up between 1820 and 1835, and still retains its patina of comfort. I especially like the fine wrought iron that decorates many of the terraces.
Favorite thing: In 1801 Leamington Priors was a small village of 310 people, comprising about 67 houses, things changed when Leamington began to develop as a town and after the discovery of a spring and its associated healing properties. The town was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Lamintone, although its name came from Anglo-Saxon Leman-tūn or Lemen-tūn "farm on the River Leam”. An influx of people arrived to take the waters and, with a visit from members of the royal family giving its seal of approval the town was now truly on the map.