The Lansdowne is a creeper-covered Regency house in the heart of Leamington Spa - just as well there is double-glazing, says our reporter, who liked it not for its location but its food. David Allen (a Swiss-trained chef) and his wife Gillian concentrate on quality and value
    On a menu that changes each evening, dishes might include new seasons Cornish lambs kidneys, lardons of bacon and caramelised red onions in a red wine cream sauce, marinated herring fillets with apples, celery and walnuts in sour cream, and prime barbary duck breast, oven roasted and served with a blueberry and cassis jus.
    The Allens have combined home with hotel. The public rooms are elegantly decorated in vibrant colours; the bedrooms, comfortable and cosy with pine furniture and pretty fabrics. Readers comment on the friendly, relaxed atmosphere, and our reporter thought the Allens charming hosts.
    Leamington's heyday as a popular spa town might be over, but the Royal Pump Rooms were reopened to visitors in 1999 as a cultural complex, and there is still much to see in the neighbourhood. The Lansdowne makes an ideal base from which to explore Warwickshire sights.