Sent To Coventry

Coventry Travel Blog

 › entry 53 of 67 › view all entries

After going, I truthfully understand the phrase 'being sent to Coventry'; in brief, it's not a city I'll visit again.  I only went this time as it is a stone's throw from the NEC, where Dora was working for the day.  I had to play taxi as the Sunday service wouldn't get her to work on time, and getting home would be a rather painful experience.  I did have the choice of seeing Birmingham, the Tolkeinn surrounds, or a few other places, but in the end I chose Coventry.  I'd driven up the M1 any number of times, and seen the 'Historic Coventry' signs, without actually stopping by, so I took the opportunity this time.

It was quite early in the morning when I got there, so first stop was a retail park for a cheeky MacDonald's breakfast, and the just s short hop further into the city.

 Parking wasn't difficult, though the mean streets looked meaner the once I got out of the car.  It was fairly run down to say the best.  I soon crossed over the busy highway (I say busy, but in truth, it was relatively quiet for a sizeable city) and on into the oldest park of the city.  The famed street was called Spon Street, and it's a bit of a city centre rarity in Coventry in that the timber framed building actually survived the repeated bombing of the city.  It's now home to a fair few restaurants and pubs/bars and a few small businesses, but sadly some of the buildings are unoccupied, clearly as a result of the recession.

From Spon street, I walked along the outside of the main city but didn't find much more of note, so I ventured inwards towards the cathedral, and soon found myself at the Transport Museum.

It was free entry (donations welcome), and I was pretty bored already by this stage, so I thought I could kill a bit of time in there.  It turned out to be a really good use of my time, as it detailed Coventry's transport history through the ages.  Coventry was a big industrial city and had several car manufacturers based there.  This is the reason why Coventry was targetted so heavily by the bombing raids in the war.  It has a clear walk route, which is simple to follow, and started with the old bicycles and first cars, and ends with replica models, and one actual super super car.  What I mean by that is one car which held land speed records for a time.  It has the appearance of a jet rather than a car and is just an incredible size.
 Anyway, before I get too far ahead, the museum presented the first cars to be built in Coventry, and they are stunningly preserved, and goes on to tell the stories of the manufacturing in the city right up until the war.  There is then a set up walk through of a bombing raid and some detail into what actually happened on those nights, and then it carries on into the post-war era where manufacturing picked up again in the city, and then slowly declined with several plant closures right up until Peugeot decided to close its manufacturing centre and relocate on grounds of cost.  Coventry's motor industry quite literally folded there and then, leaving several redundancies.  The museum then focuses on the modern era of cars, and there is clearly investment into the museum for it to own these vehicles!  There are some beauties to see.
 

It's fair to say I enjoyed the museum far more than I expected, and it did give me a new perspective on the city.  I continued my walk to the cathedral and ventured into the nearby art museum first.  I wasn't so impressed with this museum, but still found the area dedicated to Lady Godiva quite interesting.  I saw the picture that coined the phrase 'peeping Tom'.  It's basically a picture with a young fellow in a window in the background looking out at the naked Lady Godiva on the horseback ride into town.  

I'd managed to entertain myself for a few hours by this stage, and still hadn't actually seen the bombed out cathedral, so that was to be the next stop.  I found it actually quite depressing, and solemn, but certainly worthy of seeing.

 I didn't spend too much time strolling around the grounds as I was also quite hungry by this stage.  I decided I'd seen enough for the time being, so a brief walk past the council house and the Lady Godiva statue, and I was in the main hub.  I found a nice little stall and had a jacket potato for my late lunch, and then just simply killed the last hour with a Costa coffee.  I'd pretty much seen everything I wished to in the City (well, maybe the Sargent Bilko shop/museum would have been fun, but I couldn't find it), and so got back in the car for the short hop back to the NEC.

After picking up Dora, we drove to nearby Solihull for dinner, and that was quite a cute little town with a lot more affluence on appearance, but not something we chose to see much more of.  As it was a Sunday, most things were closed for the weekend anyway, so after our food, it was time to go home.  I doubt I'll go back again.

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Coventry
photo by: Hummingbird