“ City streets, markets, shopping malls, large retail parks... „
I did the review on Coventry as a whole and then saw this one so I'll do one on the shops in particular.
I think Coventry's good for shopping, most of the car parks are the same price and there's plenty to choose from, I've always found a space during the week, I'm not sure what Saturdays' are like these days as I rarely go in on a Saturday.
Coventry was the first city to pedestrianise the city centre, after the war when many of the town was bombed Coventry was re-built so many of the city centre buildings are 1950's style although round the outside every now and then will be older buildings. So when they pedestrianised it and re-did the whole city centre they made it into a cross roads so in the centre is a fountain.
The main car parks are Lee Mills which is now Belgrade Plaza I think, there's the Barracks which is over the market and also a multistorey, There's West Orchards which is about three floors about the shopping centre. In fact this is a link to all the car parks with tarriffs which is useful http://www.visitcoventryandwarwickshire.co.uk/information/parking_info.asp. There is also an NCP car park near Ikea which is 50p an hour at the moment. Ikea also has a car park but you need to spend over £10 in there for it to be free. Most of the car parks are within easy walking distance of the town and once you're in town it's all pedestrianised which is nice.
I will start at the very centre where there's a fountain as mentioned above (it's not a tall fountain! in case you go looking for it! it's the sort with lots of little fountains in it!)
The Lower precinct has been revamped and is actually quite nice, it's covered with a new polished floor, there are air gaps at the top which let the air in so it is fresh and not stuffy. There are shops like New Look, H&M, Next, Faith shoes, Lush (soaps), Entertainer (toy shop), Co-op, TJHughes, there are also a couple of food places where you can sit outside the shops under cover. Off the lower precinct is an undercover walkway to the indoor market, in the walkway there's a fantastic card shop with decent cards from 29p! opposite that there's Home Bargains which sells all sorts of named brands cheaply - it's one of those shops if you see it get it because they don't always have the same stock.
The Market is a good market, all undercover and has been there for over 50 years, it won the indoor market of the year award recently. You can buy anything from clothes, material, cake making, gifts, cards etc to fruit, vegetables and fish. In the centre is the old merry go round which used to be outside for children to ride on.
Back to the fountain and from there the upper precinct has Marks & Spencers, River Island, Monsoon, BHS there is also a new shop just opened called Hawkins Bazar which sells lots of stocking filler type things and gadgety stuff. From the upper precinct there's an escalator that takes you up into West Orchards. Or if you were to carry on up the upper precinct it brings you out at Broadgate where opposite is Cathedral Lanes shopping centre with the statue of Lady Godiva outside, you do have to cross a road at this point but it has a crossing, the main shops in there are Waterstones & Wilkinsons where many bargains are found, there is also a jewellers, sports shop, a games shop and a few others. There is also a lovely cookie bar where you can buy gorgeous cookies!
Also in Broadgate to the left is Primark and more shops this also takes you down to the Bus station area, I don't have a need to go down there all that often there are more shops but that part isn't pedestrianised. To the right at Broadgate takes you to shops such as Claires Accessories, 2 poundland type shops, Bargain books, it's also where the main postoffice used to be but that has closed. HMV is also down this way.
Also from Broadgate if you are looking at Cathedral lanes to the righthand side of Cathedral lanes are most of the big banks.
Going back to the centre where the fountain is, if you're looking at the new lower covered precinct to your left is towards Shelton Square and the arcade where you will find shops such as Superdrug, Clarks, card shops, Bakers Oven, Thorntons, you can also access the market from Shelton Square. In the arcade are shops such as a drop in the ocean a good health food shop, Wesley Owen books, a chinese shop, cafe, wool shop, newsagents and at the bottom Argos.
Back at the centre fountain looking at new lower precinct to the right is Oscar's coffee bar, Millets, another access to Cathedral lanes, WHSmiths, Body Shop, shoe shop and a few other shops. This is also where the main central library is - it is an excellent library with massive resources.
I should also mention as I'm often in need by the time I've done a bit of shopping and had a coffee that the main public toilets are in the library they are very clean and well kept they were moved there so that they could be kept well and looked after - obviously they are shut at night. There are also toilets in West Orchards and Cathedral Lanes and the lower pricinct they are near the entrance to the indoor market.
All in all I can usually find everything I need in Coventry, there are the big named shops but also the smaller unique shops and the bargain shops. It takes hours to go round the whole lot so I would suggest stopping off for lunch somewhere the main places are West Orchards which has a selection of shops within in on the food floor it's a shared eating area so if one person wanted McDonalds and one wanted a sandwich you can eat together. You can choose from McDonalds, Subway, BB's coffe & Muffin shop, Harpers, KFC, Cafe Napali, Simply Spuds & Vite Cafe. There is also a Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Pasty shop and many more cafe's and restaurants as you walk round.
Well I think I've covered just about everything! Oh there's one little area I've failed to mention although I haven't been there myself for sometime so I don't know how it's doing but it's a quaint street to visit anyway! Near Ikea and New Look there's a pub with an old building to the right of it, the road that's on is all old buildings which have been taken down and placed there to be preserved. Many of them have been turned into shops, last time I went up there was unusual shops such as crafty/gifty type places and a picture framers. Just worth a mention at the end.
Overall Coventry shopping is good - I have always managed to find what I have been looking for.
However there seems to be an awful lot of stores closing e.g. MK One has always been here I used to shop here as a teenager, I went in last week and they were being taken over by a new supplier and putting out all new fresh ranges then I went to go today and they were gone, no warning etc.
I asked around to be told they went into administration, I understand with the current CC that it must be hard for smaller businesses to keep afloat especially when there are competitors close by like Primark etc.
We have seen an influx however of new shops in the last 3 weeks
Diamonds and Pearls
2 x Shoe shops
And a Home range store.
We have the local market that has got smaller in the last few years however celebrated its 50th anniversary last month!
The market is fantastic for Material and fresh Meats then you have the Shopping centre where there is a fantastic food court on the 2nd floor with
Home cooked foods
And a new Deli
There are many good pound/99p shops for those who love a bargain and then in the lower precinct there is a Home Bargains store which is fantastic - all your high street brands at reduced prices. I.e. hair products, smellies and even toys (Great for Christmas)
Definitely recommend shopping here.