Mention Coventry City to people and the image most have is a city almost destroyed by bombing in WW2. Rebuilt with some interesting design choices, there is so much more to this midland city. Located in the centre of the UK – it is one of the easiest places to travel to. Journey by train, road or air, and you’ll be surprised to find a place full of hidden treasures. After all, legend reports that this is the birth place of St George – Patron Saint of England and slayer of a dragon!
Not only does Coventry have one cathedral – it actually boasts three! Admittedly two are in ruins but equally fascinating. St Marys wall and foundations can still be seen today walking through Priory Gardens. Dating back to the 12th Century it was destroyed in the 16th Century. Next is St Michaels. After being bombed in WW2, the remains are impressive to see. Right next door to the ruins is the third cathedral – the new St Michaels. A wonderful modernist design. It has a magnificent tapestry measuring 75ft x 38ft. It’s a truly peaceful and fascinating visit.
To travel to Coventry, you cannot overlook its incredible historical links to transport. The motor industry has its roots in Coventry and the transport museum is a must visit. Boasting over 500 different vehicles it includes Thrust SSC and Thrust 2 – both of which broke the land speed records. From vehicles used by royalty and military, to tractors and motorbikes – there’s always something new to catch the eye.
Not to be forgotten is the city’s art and culture. The Belgrade Theatre, Herbert Art Gallery and Warwick Arts Centre are very worthy of a visit.
What do you like best about your city?
When I enter Coventry I like to drive along the Kenilworth road. For nearly two miles, this straight road has the most beautiful trees lining the route. A memorable entrance to the city, especially in the autumn, when the trees change colour – it also passes by the War Memorial Park (an oasis of green). Another personal favourite is the ring road in Coventry. Drivers either love it or hate it! It is not for the faint hearted as traffic merges and exits on the same junction, but if you miss your junction just stay on – you’ll soon be back to it!
My personal favourite starts in the walled garden of Allesley Park and meanders to Coundon Wedge. The footpath will lead you through meadows, and a woodland burial ground. A quiet route, it’s hard to believe that you can enjoy fresh air, and the countryside, while still being within the city.
A great way to see more is to walk the Coventry Way. This is made up of circular walks around the city in a 40 mile loop. Don’t let that put you off – they break down into walks varying from 2.5 miles to 12.
Depending on the time of the year, the bluebell woods in Eastern Green are also worth a visit, as is the canal basin.
Best Restaurants in Coventry
With Coventry being so multi cultured there is an wide range of restaurants. Turmeric Gold for a good curry, Sultan Restaurant for Turkish, Leave it to Esmie for delicious Caribbean. Finally The Golden Cross is great if you enjoy traditional British food. A great place to visit – as it’s the oldest pub in Coventry and has wonderful Tudor features.
Best Hotels in Coventry
The Godiva Festival is held every summer. Every year a three day, musical festival is held in the War Memorial Park. It’s a family based festival with two different fields – the main and the family. Big names and independent acts have all played it. There’s an acoustic stage, a rock and rhythm tent, a fairground and market. The family field also has attractions like a petting farm, and community stage. It’s fantastic fun for all ages.
For anyone under 21 or who is a student – Kasbah is the Nightclub for you. It boasts the best drink prices in Coventry (meaning the cheapest!) The Empire is a music and club venue – hosting live acts – great to catch some Ska. Catch Twenty Two is slightly more sophisticated and also hosts live music.
Best Day Trip Out of the City
Depending on your mood the choices are endless. Stratford upon Avon is a great day out for all things Shakespeare and oldie worldie buildings! Alternatively take the train from Coventry and 20 minutes later you’re in Birmingham – ready for some retail therapy! Finally I would definitely recommend Coombe Abbey (on the outskirts of Coventry). acres of park, Go Ape and afternoon tea. A fun day out!
Something that not many travellers would know about Coventry
Many famous people have come from Coventry – poet Philip Larkin, and jet pioneer Sir Frank Whittle – but one very famous person is Lady Godiva. An Anglo Saxon noblewoman, she rode through the streets naked (only covered by her long hair), to stop her husband from imposing high taxes. She asked the people not to watch but one “peeping Tom” did and was then struck blind.
There is an impressive statue to the Lady in the City Centre – but what’s worth looking out for is the central clock. On the hour a statue of Lady Godiva rides out of one door while Peeping Tom pops out from a window.
To travel to Coventry is easy and well worth it. The City Centre may feel concrete in some areas but then you’ll find the most amazing pockets of history. Travel within the City (very cheaply and easily from its central bus station) and you’ll find green spaces, sport venues, and art. Coventry has been named UK City of Culture for 2021 – a title it is keen to embrace. The phrase “Sent to Coventry” may have come from the Civil War but today being sent here will only bring enjoyment.