Coventry

For other places with the same name, see Coventry (disambiguation).

Coventry is a large city in the West Midlands region of England, part of the United Kingdom. It has a population of just over 300,000, making it the eleventh largest city in the country. Locally, the city is known as 'The Three Spired City', named for the church and cathedral spires that form the most striking aspect of the city's landscape. Coventry is perhaps best known for its association with the 11th century legend of Lady Godiva and for its two cathedrals, one of which is preserved as ruins after heavy bombing in the Second World War. Although an old city, visitors should not expect much in the way of medieval architecture or old-world charm. Extensive rebuilding of the city following the war in the 1940s and 1950s replaced much of the city's pre-war appeal with questionable concrete structures and a highly pedestrianised city centre.

Understand

History

The area that Coventry now occupies has been inhabited for over 1,000 years. The city's most notable claim to fame is its association with Lady Godiva, who rode naked through the city streets in order to gain a remission of the oppressive taxation imposed by her husband on his tenants. Lore has it that the term 'Peeping Tom' is derived from this tale, describing a man named Tom who did not cover his eyes as she rode through the streets. Coventry has been an economically important city in the past, being a hub for the cloth trade in the Middle Ages and for the burgeoning automotive industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The city's industrial prowess helped Britain's war efforts in the early 20th century; it also however made it an obvious target in the Second World War. A series of German bombing raids from 1940-42 (the Coventry Blitz) destroyed much of the city's infrastructure, although the single night of bombing in November 1940 dealt the largest damage, killing more than 500 people.

In the succeeding decades after the war, most of the old medieval dwellings were not rebuilt in lieu of more modern constructions, which at the time consisted of brutalist concrete structures. Coventry has undergone extensive remodelling in recent years, most notably within the city centre, making it more pedestrian-friendly. More recently, major regeneration projects such as the Stirling Prize shortlisted Phoenix Initiative have attempted to make the city a more attractive place.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 7 7 10 12 16 19 22 21 18 14 10 8
Nightly lows (°C) 1 1 3 4 7 10 12 12 10 7 4 2
Precipitation (mm) 61 44 51 49 51 57 50 66 59 59 58 62

See the 5 day forecast for Coventry from the Met Office

In common with most of the UK, Coventry experiences cool winters and mild summers with moderate annual rainfall. Winter temperatures seldom drop below -10°C (14°F) and the summer months rarely exceed 30°C (86°F). Moderate but occasionally disruptive snowfall is likely in January or February.

Get in

By road

Coventry is conveniently situated at the centre of the UK Motorway network. The M6 passes the north of the city. The M1 is easily accessible via the A45 towards london and the M69 northbound. The M40 is accessed along the A46.

To enjoy the drive into Coventry approach along the A46, exiting at Kenilworth. Drive through central Kenilworth and past the Abbey Fields park before turning right towards Coventry. The broad tree lined Kenilworth Road offers a beautiful boulevard into the city.

The city also provides a Park and Ride facility, see National Park and Ride Directory

You can reach Coventry from London using Megabus which starts at roughly £13 return, but it arrives in Cannon Park, near Tesco, not the city centre. National Express has buses arriving at the Bus Hub (Pool Meadow), which can sometimes be cheaper at some times, though on average, Megabus proposes more options that are almost as cheap as the cheapest, yet less common National Express's equivalents.

One possible problem visitors to Coventry City centre may encounter is the infamous Coventry ring road. It can be very confusing to first time users, with its single on/off ramps. Speed is limited to 40 mph, but don't be surprised to see cars pass by at [sometimes] much higher speeds, racing to get off at the next junction! If you plan to come to Coventry (and want to visit the city centre), it's advisable to have someone who understands the ring road drive you around first.

By rail

Coventry railway station

Coventry is on the main London to Birmingham rail route operated by Virgin. There are usually three trains to and from London Euston station every hour from platform 1. The journey takes about an hour and (as of July 2011) costs about £41 for an adult off peak return. Significantly cheaper advance single tickets may be found if booking far enough in advance, and Megatrain also offer tickets on a few of the emptier of these trains (generally Monday-Thursday only) for as little as £2.50 return, again if booked far enough in advance. Alternatively London Midland currently offer an hourly service to and from Euston that takes about 1 hour 45 minutes, but has cheaper off peak and super off peak tickets compared to those valid on Virgin's trains.

Trains to central Birmingham are even more frequent, with a 25 minute journey time. Birmingham International, serving the NEC and Birmingham Airport, is just 10 minutes away.

By air

By Taxi

Many firms operate within Coventry. Black Cabs can be flagged down on the street but private hire taxis must be pre-booked. Popular firms include:


By boat

The Coventry canal terminates just outside the ring road. It joins the Trent and Mersey and the rest of the main English and Welsh canal network near Lichfield. Operating a boat in the canal requires a licence from the Canal and River trust. Boats are available for hire from various providers on the canal network.

Get around

A typical Coventry bus passing in front of the Pool Meadow Bus Station

By bus

There are a plethora of buses serving Coventry all run by National Express, although first time users or those unfamiliar with city bus transport can find the sheer number of different routes intimidating. Cost within the city boundaries is standardised at £1.90 per journey, apart from single journeys within the ring road, which are £1. Daysaver tickets for unlimited travel within the Coventry area for one day are £3.70 for adults and £2.60 for those under 15.

If you plan on travelling frequently by bus, travelcards are available. Many are only available for purchase from participating agents, which are listed here, although some can be bought online.

By car

Coventry's city centre is not very car-friendly. With the pedestrianisation of large tracts of the central business district, travelling in the confusing patchwork of roads winding around the pedestrian quarters can be very frustrating. The ringroad surrounding the city centre is a very quick method of getting around, but its frantic pace and multiple sudden exits make it notoriously difficult for visitors. There is ongoing construction work outside the town hall and Herbert Art Gallery which will further restrict accessibility by car, narrowing the road down from two lanes to one.

In contrast, the city's suburbs are much better suited for car transport, although as expected of a city rush hours tend to be very busy.

See

Historic

The old Coventry Cathedral, preserved as a relic

Arts and Theatres

The Coventry Transport Museum

Museums

Parks

The War Memorial Park

Sports

The Whittle Arches

Other

Do

The electric main stage at the 2009 Godiva Festival

Learn

Part of the campus of the University of Warwick.

There are plenty of opportunities to learn in Coventry. The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum runs classes for adults in vocational subjects and sometimes in unusual topics. Classes in skills such as maths, English, and computing along with British qualifications such as NVQs are run in the city's central library. For slightly younger learners there are four further education colleges in the city: Henley College Coventry and City College Coventry (both in the north-east of the city), Hereward College (in the west) and Coventry University College (in the city centre).

Coventry is home to two universities:

Buy

Coventry has a variety shopping complexes in and around the area. These range from retail parks, to the pedestrian Coventry City Centre -one of the first of its kind. Shopping in Coventry mainly consists of the high street chain stores, although there are independent record shops and clothes shops dotted about here and there and there is also the large indoor Coventry Market, which are well worth the visit.

Shopping centres

Coventry's Lower Precinct during Christmas

Markets

Eat

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget £2 – £8
Mid-range £8 – £20
Splurge £20+

Coventry is host to a range of award-winning eateries. From cafés to restaurants, and from Thai to Italian, all can be found here. One particular cuisine that is overrespresented is Indian, and as such you can find a large variety in the quality of Indian food available. Most of the restaurants and establishments are located in the city centre, but there may be a few surprises in the suburban areas if you are willing to look and travel out.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Night Clubs

Bars

Coventry's bar scene is mostly concentrated along reconstructed medieval Spon Street on the western edge of the city centre. This includes the adjacent Skydome complex which includes popular nightclubs.

In the centre of the city you will find the usual pub chains as well as some new bars that have recently been established close to Millennium Place.

Towards the eastern side of the city centre close to the University campus buildings can be found another concentration of pubs and bars that are popular with students centred close to Jordan Well and Gosford Street.

For a more sedate experience, try Craven Street, set amongst Victorian-era watchmaker's cottages in the suburb of Chapelfields, has several traditional pubs.

There is an extremely limited gay scene in Coventry: the city is not very gay-friendly and lacks any real gay nightlife. The only option is Rainbows, close to the University, this is a fairly small establishment with a 'clique'-y crowd - expect to be treated like new meat on your first visit. For a much better scene, head out to Birmingham's Gay Village.

Sleep

Connect

Telephone

Coventry's landline area code is 024. Dial 024 from within the UK or +44 24 from outside the UK.

Internet

Free public wifi is available at all Coventry public libraries as well as the train station.

Stay safe

Like the rest of the UK, in emergencies you should call 999 or 112 with ambulance, fire and police services available.

For a city of its size, Coventry has a rather low crime rate, particularly in the city centre. This can be attributed to its well-lit pedestrian sections. Take general precautions as you would in any other city in the United Kingdom.

Go next

Take a short trip into the attractive Warwickshire countryside to:

Head north-west into the metropolitan West Midlands county to:


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, January 29, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.