Coventry.. place of my birth, still here 38 years later, most of my years have been happy here, but recently visited the birth place of my father. Always loved the coast always felt loved by the sea, enchanting, loving and mysterious, Should i wait for global warming to ensure Coventry is a seaside town?, sorry city, No i should not. South Shield (up North) is beuatiful, never experienced anything like it, same as Wales (North and South), or Devon, or Cornwall, or Norfolk, or many of hundreds of coastal places i have been. So Coventry.... not for me,My dreams are on the edge of this wonderful country, but for some? you could do worse, Student heaven, great pubs, good luck!!!, Coventry has history, coventry has glamour, (Warwick uni is in Coventry), dont know why its called Warwick uni but it is??, Dont settle here, live here for a short a time as you can then move on,
Review from a Cov kid, bless you all
I wonder if Coventry's one of those places you either love it or hate it! I love it! I've lived here all my life, my mum and dad moved here for work in the 70's.
One of the best things is that it's in the midlands it's so close to all the main motorways and it's within easy reach of the north, south, east & west! of course as it's the middle! Meriden is actually the middle of England hence Meriden (Meridian) it's about 2miles from the outskirts of Coventry on the West Side.
Coventry is becoming more cosmopolitan and it's trying to lift it's image, we have the Transport Museum which is free and the Herbert Art Gallery which is also free they have exellent and unusal exhibitions and usually interactive, the history library is also based there.
I love the mish mash of old building in Coventry, we have the old Cathedral with the new Cathedral built right next to it and complimenting it - if you've never been you must go and look round it's so interesting. Coventry is known for it's three spires they are the spires of the three main churches; Holy Trinity, the Old Cathedral and the New Cathedral.
Coventry as was said in previous review was the first to be twinned with another City Dresden in Germany. Coventry is also first for having a ring road which although may not look fab actually works and is a brilliant idea. I can't say I've ever had to que to get across town, it gets busy at times and if you're new to the area it takes some getting used to but it's a fab idea for avoiding congestion found in a lot of city's.
Coventry also has an Olympic size swimming pool which was built for when the Olympics were last in UK. It's a great pool with splash facitilities, it's within a whole sports complex which is if you view it from one particular direction on the ring road built in the shape of an Elephant the emblem of Coventry. (I'm not sure where the elephant came from)
And then of course there's lady Godiva! she is the woman who rode through Coventry naked in protest. If you find Cathedral Lanes Shopping centre you will find a statue of her and also if you wait around till an O'clock time you will see her appear out of the clock on one of the buildings and peeping tom peeps out at her! my girls love it and I remember loving it as a child, now I'm older it looks a bit taky but they think it's great!
The city centre is all pedestrian access only which makes it nice for shopping and we have all the main shops such as; Next, H&M, Debenhams, Marks & Sparks, Primark, New Look and lots lots more. It's in the shape of a cross and in the centre is a fountain so it's fairly easy to find your way round.
For evening entertainment there are plenty of bars and restauarants, there are a few near the ikea which incidentaly is the first town Ikea of it's kind, you can park in ikea it's free if you spend over £10 it has a cafe and restaurant. Anyway back to bars and restaurants; there are also some restaurants near the Transport Musuem in a new area called Priory Place it is where time team uncovered new evidence of a really early Cathedral.
The main industries of Coventry were originally watch making and bikes and then cars were a huge part of Coventry. many of the factories have been knocked down now and replaced with housing estates, many of them named after particular cars that were built on those sites.
I just think it's a great city for all ages.
Medieval Spon Street Coventry
Spon Street just down from St John's church is rich in history. But how many people know that some of theses building once stood in other parts of the city.
Number 14 & 15 however are a part of the original Spon street and was the Recruiting Sergeant pub in the early 19th centaury
Number 16 (previously numbers 142 & 143) however built in the 1700 but on the opposite side of the road originally. until 1971 when it was then moved and rebuilt in 1975 Number 20 & 21 which today is bar 1450 used to be number 122 & 123 Much Park Street, Coventry The The courts at the rear of the Shakespeare pub are the only reaming court houses in Spon street, originally there would have been at total of 50 courts in Spon street alone. This remaining court would have had 27 houses but only this row standing today. The row of courts is now a part of the watch makers project, the museum is not open as of yet as it is a ongoing project but it does however open on Heritage week end normally held in September.
To give you an idea of how many people occupied these 3 court houses in1891 19 people in all. In number 22 the Smart family occupying 4 rooms 2 adults & 5 children. In number 23 the Thompson family 4 rooms 2 adults & 5 children in number 24 again 4 rooms the Clarke family 3 adults & 2 children.
Court 7 was named Shakespeare Yard, directly after the Shakespeare pub. The windmill public house is an example of another 16th centaury building which used to be known locally as Ma browns after one of the land ladies.
Number 159-162 are original Spon street buildings
Number 163 a large building originally stood in much park street, moved in 1970's over a 3 year period.
Number 169 is original to Spon street and built around 1400's restored 1969-1970
Not forgetting Rotherham's this is the only remaining building of the world famous watch & clock manufacture.
For once Coventry council did something good, and saved some stunning buildings, so some of them are not in their original locations but so what. It makes a nice change to see some beautiful buildings instead of concrete buildings in the town centre.
So what can Coventry offer you as a visitor?
History! Those devilish Huns air-conditioned Coventry during the 1940's (sorry, some of us are still a bit bitter about that) and you can still see the after effects of that in Coventry Cathedral. Our old Cathedral that is. Yep, we've got 2 Cathedrals! Well at the football we do sing "If you want a Cathedral, We've got one to spare" and we can actually mean it! Technically we've actually got 3 Cathedrals, as Tony Robinson & the Time Team discovered the first and earliest Coventry Cathedral in the only programme where they actually dug for longer than 3 days in 1 place. You can also see the City wall (or whats left of the bits of it) and 2 of the original city gates which still exist.
So why are we called Coventry?
You'd have to blame a bloke called Cofa. There's various stories behind the TRY part of Coventry though. Stories like Cofa's tree was where he sent his enemies to be executed by hanging which is where the phrase "Being sent to Coventry" alledgely comes from as your pretty damn quiet when you've just been hung. There's also a civil war version of that story as Coventry was used as a prison for that English Civil War. No-one really knows if Cofa's tree did exist though.
All of our Cathedrals exist for sure and you can go and see the worlds tallest tapestry in the new Cathedral (called Christ In His Majesty), its in the Guiness Book Of Records! Its got some seriously excellent stained glass windows as well. Their huge! Or you can go up the Old Cathedral Tower and have a good look over the city.
If you don't fancy churches we've got a nice Art Gallery (The Herbert Gallery) which constantly has different stuff in it, We've also got a Toy Museum (worth seeing just for the Dougal!)and an excellent Transport Musuem. In fact its possibly THE best Transport Museum in the world. Why's that then? You think Longleat is better? Your having a laugh! Does Longleat have the FASTEST car on the damn planet? NO! Because Thrust SSC is in Coventry's Transport Museum? Why is that I hear you all asking?
Because it was built In Coventry by Coventry Motor Panels & Maganeze Bronze Holdings (the people resposible for the black cab - yep, I bet you didn't know we built THEM in Coventry did you?), thats why! And we've got Thrust 2, the former world Land Speed record holder. And that was built in Coventry as well!
Charlie Boorman's Motorcycle used on his "Long Way Round" global journey is also in the Transport Museum with his leathers he wore on the journey with Ewan McGregor.
Ok, you don't care for record breaking motor vehicles or motorbikes owned by tv & film stars? How about places that were on telly then? You like Doctor Who? (You know you do, you big fibber!) Go visit Ford's Hospital which featured in "The Shakespeare Code", part of Coventry pretending to be Stratford. If your lucky you can still smell the essence of David Tennant. Bits of Coventry also featured as locations on BBC1's "Keeping Up Appearances". I actually live near Onslows house! Not impressed by that? Ok, Coventry is part of classic British cinema history. Why's that then?
The Italian Job (The original version!), that's why! Go on, say "It was filmed in Italy and Pinewood". WRONG! The sewer chase was filmed in Coventry (As Micheal Caine would say "not a lot of people know that") and I live very near where the mini's were lowered into the sewers!
You can also enjoy our shops, our cinema's and our pubs. We've invented things as well, The sewing machine (was invented in Coventry by Starley who also invented one of the earliest bicycles!), The Jet Engine (Frank Whittle) and if you've driven a Peugeot in the last 20 years then the chances are it was probably built right here in Coventry.
Of course if you still fancy a bit of history you can go and ogle at Lady Godiva or watch Peeping Tom come out of the town clock every hour on the hour. If its working ;-)
If sport is your thing we've got our own Ice Hockey team, Coventry Blades who play at the Skydome. We've also got a pretty decent Speedway team in Coventry Bees who ride at the Brandon Stadium. And if your completely mad you can go watch Coventry City play Football in our nice new Ricoh Stadium that the club doesn't own. That's if its footy season and their not hosting a pop concert (We've had Jon Bon Jovi & Rod Stewart there!) or a convention there. Yep, their now nicking business from The NEC.
Or you could go see something at the Warwick Arts Centre (very confusing name, but its in Coventry. It totally confused The League Of Gentlemen who got the shit booed out of them for thinking they were in Warwick a few years ago during their live UK tour), they host live music, plays and comedy.
We're the town that brought you 2-Tone from The Specials & The Selecter and Terry Hall can strongly deny Ghost Town wasn't written about Coventry all he likes but "Friday Night, Saturday Morning" & "Stereotypes" both certainly were. You can still visit the Locarno he sings about but its Coventry's Central Library now.
We also gave you 80's punk singer Hazel O'Conner and the vocalist of 90's band All About Eve Julieanne Regan, 80's band The Primitives, Clint Mansell lead singer of Pop Will Eat Itself. We're also the city that gave you Hollywood Superstar Clive Owen. He's me cousin! Well, me step-cousin but I'm still related to him!
That's why you should go to Coventry. The natives aren't bad either ;-)
Hello, Iam a 35 year old woman who has lived in Coventry all my life. Iam using someone else's dooyoo name to write this review, just incase you got confused. In all my life of living in cov ive never noticed a bad thing about it. the best thing about cov is the 2 cathedrals they are so beautiful and so interesting. Along time ago when i was 5 years of age i visited the new cathedral with my family and i completely fell in love with the gorgeous tapestry,even now i go to visit the tapestry once every fort night. Also i am a big fan of coventry city football club,even if their in the 1st division their always determined. You probably think im saying this because i live in coventry,well im not because ive visited alot of other cities in my life,and i'll have to say that this is the best. In 1940 coventry was blitzed it was in a terrible state.And look at it now,with all the hard work everyone put into it they've made cov a better place.People always say the phrase i'll send you to coventry,well thats a good thing. When I was younger I went to Coventry University I studied animal welfare and animal rights and now I am a sucessful vet,all thanks to the wonderful teachers and lecturers there. I certainly recamend that university to anyone. Shops in Coventry are fabulous,from supermarkets to clothes shops,from homeware shops to electrical shops and I could go on, there all fantastic.Anyway ive talked for too long and theres still loads more good things to say about cool Coventry.BYE!
I went to Coventry University for three years and have visited it a few times since then. I didn't enjoy my time at university that much. The university is in the town centre. Warwick university is on the edge. The town is full of windy concrete buildings after the town was nearly destroyed in the war and it's frankly very depressing. Apart from a small patch of grass on the way to the station, a small park in earlsdon and a park in stoke there's no greenery in the centre whatsoever. Hardly even a tree. There's the memorial park further out but it's a long walk. I lived in Earlsdon which is a fairly good suburban area, but there's not much in the way of pubs or nightlife. Stoke isn't too bad either. There's some terrible housing estates to the north of the city. When we were asked to do a survey of the city as part of my university fieldwork we were told to just look at the north of the city from afar and fabricate the results, and under no circumstances go in. This was during the day time! The city is very badly designed for crime. The shopping centres and most of the centre is deserted after 5pm and you have to access the city through terrifying subways to get under the ring road. All the ethnic groups live in clusters which does not encorage good relations. I was mugged three times in 3 years, attacked 4 times , burgled twice and saw many other attacks too. Most attacks are unprovoked, they were on me anyway. I once saw a huge pool of blood in one of the subways in the morning. Nightlife in the city is not too good. There's a few student pubs which are ok (despite being pretty similar and uninspiring) The varsity, the cambell. But there's a lot of pubs you wouldn't set foot in. Some pubs are expensive with horrible bouncers (Browns)There's a few clubs - the Collesium is pretty good and the planet was OK. A lot of clubs opened and closed down within the three years I was there. All the clubs have an
inherent cheesiness. It's allways very charty and trendy, even on a dance or indie night. Some big names played here (sasha,) but most people play in Birmingham instead. Mr G's is a good example of a typical Coventry club. It's a meat market with many drunk people. But I heard that it's been knocked down with the lower precinct development. Gosford street does good food takeaways. There is a cinema and bowling alley but they are all on the edge of the city so you have to drive. It's no good for people with no cars. There is no cinema in the town centre anymore. I pity anyone under 18 in Coventry. All the clubs are 18+ only so all teenagers do in hang around the lady Godiva statue. They can't even drink cider in the park because there is no park and there's a fashist "no drinking" law which means all homeless street drinkers are arrested every day. Shopping is fair. The circle market is good and there's a range of shops in the windy dirty precincts. Birmingham is just 20 mins away on the train. There is very good transport links to Birmingham and London to help you leave Coventry (why would you want to do such a thing?). In fact after the first year I never went out in Coventry apart from a quick drink occasionally- I just got the train to Birmingham or Wolverhamton or occasionally London. I had some great times once I discovered how easy it was to leave Coventry and found all this great life in Birmingham just on my doorstep. I feel honestly sick when I think of my time in Coventry. Part of it was that many bad things happened with the crime and all. I've fallen out of touch with everyone I knew there and so it's very unlikely that I will go back there again. They are in the process of redeveloping the centre - they had started to knock down the lower precinct just when I left. If they redesigned most of the centre to be cleaner and more friendly it would improve matters. In 20 years Coventry will probably b
e a clean and modern city. But when I was there I hated it. It's horrible.
Ever been sent to Coventry? If you have then I pity you. This has to be one of the worst cities in the UK. I can say that quite honestly having lived in several cities over the last 28 years. THE LOCATION. Just off junctions 2 and 3 of the M6 and just 15 miles South East of Birmingham, Coventry is in the heart of England. It is very central to most areas of Britain and commutable from London. THE BUSINESSES. Coventry's location and the cheapness of the land have made it a haven for new businesses over the last few years. Since the Car industry has died off in the city, new industries have sprouted up on the business parks to the North and South of the city. Some of these businesses include major internet and telephone banking centres for major banks, and the Head Office of a giant Pharmaceutical company. The car industries that remain include London Taxis in Coundon, Jaguar in Coundon Wedge and Peugeot Cars in Stoke. Massey Ferguson also have a factory there. There are many shops in Coventry, as well as the famous indoor market. You can get most stuff there. For disabled people there is a good Shopmobility service and access to City Centre shops is fairly reasonable. THE MAJOR SIGHTS. Coventry is famous for its cathedral, which was bombed during the second World War. The new cathedral is attractive and has a tapestry above the altar that has caused much controversy over the years. (People either love it or hate it!) The Ring Road is notorious as it has exits and entrances at the same point. This Ring Road is enough to put the fear of God into the most hardened London driver. The university is also quite attractive. Especially now the old Odeon cinema has been converted into another university building. The University of Warwick is also based in Coventry near to the town of Kenilworth. The Arts Centre here has some great shows and Simon Rattle has been known to conduct th
e BBC Philharmonic orchestra there on occasion. The new Skydome Ice Rink and Cinema complex is the lastest attraction to Coventry. The bars and night clubs contained therein are over priced, but very trendy. LIVING THERE. Coventry is a dump. The main housing areas are shabby, under-priced and dirty. The council estates can be dangerous and unpleasant. The different ethnic groups are socially segregated. The central area is populated by Asians and Black people live in Hillfields. Hillfields is known to have a serious drug, gun and prostitution problem. I am mixed-race so I?m not being racist. When a friend of mine had a bedsit in Hillfields (she'd been on the homeless list) she escaped being shot outside her tower block by just 10 minutes. I have lived in Holbrooks/Whitmore Park and Little Heath. These estates are on the North side of the city. In 4 years, I found it very difficult to get to know other people. The doctors were excellent but the hospitals were disorganised and shabby. As far as Coventry areas go they weren't too bad. In Little Heath we only got burgled 3 times in a year. Racism is rife in Coventry and after a while you get hardened to it. You stop being scared walking down the street, because you know when and where to walk at certain times. The police force is unhelpful. They don't try to help the public if they can help it. CONCLUSION. I wouldn't recommend Coventry to anyone. The best thing I did was move away in April 2001. I have to go back on occasion to see family and I hate it. The atmosphere is dank and smelly. It's certainly no friend who sends you to Coventry!
Coventry is a lovely city situated in the Midlands just south east of Birmingham. It was badly bombed during the Second World War and so much of it has been rebuilt. The most famous landmark, or should I say landmarks, is Coventry Cathedral. I mention the plural because technically of course there are two cathedrals. There is the new one, built in pink grey sandstone in 1962, with its beautiful stained glass and that powerful sculpture of Christ defeating the Devil as you enter. It also houses the huge tapestry of ‘Christ in Glory’ by Sutherland. But for me the old cathedral ruins are the best. The atmosphere there is something special. The remains of the altar where there is a cross made from remnants of the roof beams of the old cathedral is very poignant. I was once lucky enough to be taken to a candlelight carol service held in the ruins of the old cathedral and that is something I shall never forget. There is also a tower remaining from the old cathedral, which I climbed to the top and I was rewarded with a magnificent view of the surrounding area. There are other historic buildings that survived the bombing raids. St Mary’s Guildhall dates from 14th century, Holy Trinity Church from 13th century and the timber framed Ford’s Hospital which dates back to 1509. The Toy Museum is housed in part of the 14th century friary. There are walks along the canal past the canal museum and the former buildings of the Daimler Motor Company, which opened in 1896, and the old weaving works. It isn’t just history at Coventry though. The shopping centre is a haven for shopaholics with its airy shopping malls and wide variety of shops. Added to this, there are plenty of cafes to provide a cup of tea and a sit down before finishing the last of the shops! Public transport links make a visit here easy, with the London trains through Birmingham stopping at Coventry en route, every half an hour.
I lived in Coventry with my parents for the first eighteen years of my life. I won't pretend that it is the most beautiful of cities, but it has some wonderful characteristics if only you look for them. Obviously WW2 decimated the town centre, but the city fought back from this. Okay, the taste of some of the buildings is questionable, but the regrowth after such suffering has to be commended. The town centre still has some wonderful sights. The Lady Godiva clock on Broadgate, which has the lady herself riding out as it chimes, is perhaps a little twee, but it really is something to stop and smile about! The much-maligned Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre does not seem to have ever found its feet, with many shops still empty: it suffers from the proximity of West Orchards. However, the best bit about the centre is the wonderful canopy which covers Lady Godiva's statue, and offers a seating and meeting area. This attracted a great deal of controversy when it was built, however I think it really adds character. The two cathedrals obviously are the higlight of the centre. The old cathedral simply is incredibly beautiful, and one can only imagine its majesty when it was intact. It is a very peaceful and reflective place to visit, but holds occasional reminders of its dark past. The most amazing thing to be was always the little remnants of stained glass still left in the windows, which you can see if you look hard enough. It prompts you to think of the scraps of beauty still left, and be thankful for them. The new cathedral, whilst not pleasing all, is breathtaking. From the moment you walk in through the magnificent West Screen, made of glass and decorated with images of angels, you can really feel nothing but awe. What catches your eye immediately as you walk in is the tapestry of Jesus on his throne, the focal point of the whole cathedral. When this was made, it was the biggest of its kind: it had to be made on
antique looms as no modern equipment could cope with the task. Its size and detail are truly staggering: between Jesus' feet stands a man, who looks tiny, but is in fact six feet tall. Combine this with the wonderful majesty of the statue of St Michael and the Devil outside, and you have the most fitting monument to the spirit and faith of those who went through this terrible war. Coventry also offers a perenially struggling Premiership football team (at least their heart is in the right place!), varied shopping in what was Europe's first pedestrian precinct, and an excellent location at the centre of England. Most importantly, I believe Coventry offers hope. Although the war and then the decline in the motor industry have done much to dampen the spirits of Coventrians, a sense of pride in the heritage it has to offer, and a feeling of optimism about its bright future mean that this is a wonderful city to visit.
I spent three years as a student at Coventry University (didn't live their mind, stayed at home in Solihull). Before I went, Coventry had the reputation for being the stabbing capital of the world and I had visions of getting mugged every time I set foot outside after dark. In my time at Coventry, I never had or saw any trouble on a night out. There are so many CCTV cameras around the city centre that any trouble that does start to materialise seemed to be jumped on straight away by a van load of coppers. The shopping centre is pretty good. There are most shops you could want and the night life is all right unless you want anything different (not sure what). One of the main talking points of the city seems to be the Cathedrals. The new one sitting alongside the old one. Some people describe the new one as an eyesore, some say it's marvellous. I prefer the old one myself (even though it doesn't have a roof!) The other main thing about Coventry is it's ingenious ring road. This consists of a large concrete road raised many feet above the city centre and joined to the ground by on and off ramps ingeniously combined into one. The entry and exit points on the ring road are one and the same thing. This means that you have cars doing 60mph heading at the same gap in a concrete wall from opposite sides. Whoever designed this thing had a great (if twisted) sense of humour. Location wise Coventry is pretty good. Stratford-upon-Avon, Leamington Spa and Warwick are within about 20 miles away, and Birmingham is about 15 miles away. And that also seems to be Coventry's biggest problem. It struck me as a city that desperately wants to come out from the shadow of Birmingham. Coventry is, at first glance, cold, unwelcoming, dirty and unfriendly - just like Birmingham. But get to know it and you'll find out that it isn't all that bad. It's not exactly Shangri-La but then where in this co
untry is? I wouldn't go out of my way to visit Coventry, but I wouldn't go out of my way to avoid it. I spent three and a half happy years studying and working in Coventry (even though I never lived there) and I don't regret it at all. I'm not in a hurry to go back there either though.
Coventry is an ugly, damp, grey city. However, underneath this mish-mash of badly planned 60s and 80s municipally constructed structures lies a city both culturally and socially vibrant. If you want to make your visit get off to a good start try to drive into the city up the Kenilworth Road (from Kenilworth, just of the A46). This drive into the city centre has been called one of the most beautiful roads in Europe and is reminiscant of a Paris boulevard. The city centre is fenced by an almost impassible ring-road which is dangerous to drive on and ugly - avoid at all costs. The train station is a gem of minimalist 60s architecture and is light and clear. Other places of interest are the Foleshill Road in North Coventry which is a vibrant, multicultural street running around Indian Temples, restaurants and shops. The Cathedral designed by Sir Basil Spencer is another example of splendid design as is the sometimes critised Public Library. Coventry isn't just about decaying classic 60s buildings, it has a good nightlife scene with clubs as Diverse as the Indie-Punk Colosseum Night Club in Primrose Hill (as frequented by DJs such as Mark&Lard and Scott Mills) to the Purple Planet and the 7million pound Ikon nightclub - one of the midland's best. Coventry is ethnically diverse, interesting and above all quirky. It is close to Birmingham, on route to London and at the centre of the nation's transportation system. It is a city you'll either love or hate - if you don't like it you can always move to Leamington Spa, Kenilworth, Stratford-upon-Avon, etc, etc...... MIGSEU.
Coventry is a city which will always carry the scars of the night of 14th November 1940. The torrential German bombing raid that flattened many areas of the city, most famously the beautiful Cathedral, changed the city's history and landscape forever. Today, the remains of the Cathedral still stand as Britain's most touching, and haunting, reminder of the horrors of the Second World War. I'm not aware of any other building, or site, which has been frozen in time so starkly. There are no entrance fees, no turnstiles and no security guards to move you along. As you walk freely, within the shattered remains, you must have a heart of stone if you are not gripped by the cold realisation of war. We can only imagine the terror the citizens felt that night, as the first city to suffer such complete destruction in this way. As you stand beside the remains of the altar, and slowly look around at the earthy red colour that surrounds you, you start to feel the fire, heat and light of that night. The proud walls, which still stand, suddenly become symbolic for the sufferance and eternal strength of the human spirit. As well as the stupidity of war. The new Cathedral, which stands within a short series of steps, carries none of the old Cathedral's style or latent emotion. In fact, you could say it is a monstrosity! I wouldn't go quite that far, but it does feel like something of a lost opportunity. I admire the desire to create a new kind of Cathedral, to juxtapose so bravely the old with the new, but I'm not convinced this has been successfully achieved. Maybe it was designed too fashionable for its day, which has now passed, leaving it to look a little tired and old fashioned now. Nevertheless, it remains an impressive building and, if you visit the old Cathedral, it would be churlish not to also visit the new one, to make up your own mind. The city centre has improved dramatically over the last 10 years. From being a
decaying relic of the 50's and 60's concrete boom, it now boasts a whole range of shops. The West Orchard Shopping Centre is as spacious, and comfortable to shop in, as any I have seen. Coventry is based far enough away from the sprawl of Birmingham to make it its own city. If you were based in Coventry, then places of interest, like Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick Castle, are no more than a 30 minute ride away. The Warwickshire countryside is amongst the most beautiful in the country and this is real 'Heart of England' country. The city can also boast Premiership football, with Coventry City FC having enjoyed top division football since 1967. A record which only Liverpool, Everton and Arsenal can better. The ground is currently only a 10/15 minute walk from the centre, although plans are already in place to move to a super new stadium closer to the M6, within the next 2 years. There are plenty of pubs and clubs situated within, and just outside, the city centre. The large student population, with their site and accommodation right in the centre, ensures that there are always pubs open! Whether you wish to stay in the city and venture out, or stay in Stratford or Warwick and venture in, the city is well worth a visit. In fact, I would say that everyone should visit the old Cathedral at least once in their life. To see, to feel and to remember
Coventry is perhaps best known for the night in November 1940 when it was almost blasted off the map by the Luftwaffe. Sizable chunks of the city centre and surrounding residential areas were razed to the ground. Coventrys' suffering did not end there! Another thirty years of mindless destruction by the town planners turned a wonderful historic city into a concrete jungle. The Thatcher years saw the manufacturing industries that had drawn waves of immigrants to the city collapse, with nothing to replace them. Coventry is now finally getting back into its' stride. The city centre finally has some good shopping, and the pubs are pleasant and safe in the daytime. Coombe Abbey and the War Memorial Park provide safe family friendly play areas. The 'Sky Dome' boasts a multi screen cinena and ice skating rink, complete with ice hockey team. The more beastly nightclubs have closed, to be replaced with Jumping Jacks - a jazz bar, Ikon - a 18-30 club, and Diva, a club for the 25+ group. Good restaurants like Da Vincis, have gone from strength to strength, and there is no home in the city that is more than a short walk from a decent Balti. Two Universities, Warwick and Coventry, are supplemented by two colleges and a school for the performing arts making the town student friendly. Earlsdon offers a home to students and graduates, including hippies who still remember getting a grant you could live on. Every visit should include a trip to the Citys cathederals. The old, bombed out one stands next to thenew one as a statement of reconciliation. Archeologists are working on uncovering St Marys Cathedral which was mercilessly crushed by Henry VII. Whilst you are in that quarter of town take time to visit Browns, a bar built on the site of the old municipal toilets. It offers fantastic solid Irish cooking without pretending to be an 'oirish pub', and caters well to veggies offering at
least ten choices daily. Forget the past and give Coventry another try - you'll be pleasantly surprised.
The problem with Coventry, as with quite a few other cities in Britain, is that it simply doesn't look very nice. In most other cities, though, the problem is confined to a few small areas where the dreaded concrete has encroached - whilst here it is the rule rather than the exception. Step into the main shopping precincts and you feel as if you have been transported back thirty years, and are standing amidst a sea of very badly designed Seventies buildings. I will admit that the actual shops are pretty, good, varied and well-selected. You could spend quite a lot of time there visiting them - but the general feel is of an aggressive, hostile environment that you simply want to get out of as soon as possible. I have been living in the area for a year now (at Warwick University) and the only reason I have willingly gone there is to go to the cinema, which is the best for miles around. Most other needs can be fulfilled by visiting Leamington instead, and it is my opinion that most people would much rather go here than Coventry. Go and visit it if you like. It may be to your taste - I realise that this opinion has been fairly subjective in the taste and aesthetics department - but, frankly, I wouldn't mind if I never had to go there again.