Hotels in Coventry, United Kingdom
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Coventry – the engine of England
The West-Midlands city of Coventry is more known as a centre for industry rather than tourism. After the city and most of its historical buildings were destroyed in the Blitz, you may wonder why you would wish to book into a hotel in Coventry at all. Well, the ninth largest city in England has reconstructed itself since as a centre for multiculturalism and industrial heritage and is a home for two universities. It is now only an hour away from London and close to Birmingham's International Airport and National Exhibition Centre, as well as the fabulous Warwick Castle.
In the heart of England
Coventry is located in central England near no less than four motorways – the M6, M69, M45 and M40 - linking it to all corners of the country. London Euston can be reached in an hour by train and the UK's second largest city – Birmingham in half that time. You can also get to Birmingham International Airport and National Exhibition Centre in just ten minutes, making it a convenient place to stop over and grab a meal before or after a flight, concert or exhibition. There are numerous bed and breakfasts, lodges and hotels near Coventry's railway station and a further concentration on the main road to Birmingham. Although much smaller than Birmingham's, Coventry also has its very own airport with flights to some popular holiday resorts.
The modern city centre is a nice manageable size – not overwhelming, yet with a good range of shops and international restaurants. With its high multicultural population, you'll find some authentic curry and Balti houses, as well as Caribbean cuisine. There are also a good few leisure and cultural attractions to keep you occupied.
Watch out for peeping Tom!
Coventry was one of England's most important towns in the middle ages and an important centre for the cloth trade. The city is also famous for the legend of Lady Godiva, the Countess of Mercia, who was said to have rode naked through Coventry with just her long hair to protect her blushes. The term “Peeping Tom” also apparently came about after one of the city's residents was supposedly struck blind whilst catching an eyeful of the bare noblewoman.
Coventry went on to become a centre for watch and clock production in the 18th and 19th century. Once the Swiss started to dominate this market, the city turned its attentions successfully to bicycle production. The main manufacturer Rover then evolved into Britain's leading car manufacturer as Coventry became the centre of the UK motor industry, as well as a major aircraft manufacturer.
One day at the start of the second World War, however, changed Coventry for good. On the 14th of November 1940, the city was flattened by German bombers in a devastating air attack during The Blitz. The majority of its ancient buildings were destroyed, including the majority of its centre piece 14th century cathedral of St Michael. The city had to be completely rebuilt from scratch.
A brand-new cathedral was constructed in 1962, becoming a symbol of hope, inspiration and reconciliation, in contrast to the ruins of the old cathedral, acting as a constant reminder of the atrocities of war. The haunting remains of St Michaels can be visited freely today and its spire, the third highest in England, still standing defiantly, can be visited for a small fee.
An eclectic identity
Coventry's new identity became intertwined with the cultures of Asian and West Indian communities who settled in the region in the 1960s, attracted by the flourishing motor industry. Although the UK car industry fell into decline in the late 20th century, Coventry proudly shows off its link to its industrial heritage to this day. The main high profile attraction is Coventry Transport Museum, which has the largest collection of British-made vehicles in the country from vintage models to formula one racing cars. The most exhilarating part being the land-speed record simulator as you feel what it is like to drive faster than the speed of sound!
Near Coventry Airport, itself steeped in aeronautical heritage, you can also visit the Midland Air Museum. Run by enthusiasts, this self-funded museum displays some vintage jets and bombers, including the legendary Avro Vulcan. Right next door there is also another small museum for rail enthusiasts – The Electric Railway Museum.
The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, opposite the cathedral, recounts Coventry's fascinating history in detail and shows a variety of exhibitions, whilst another unusual museum – The 2-Tone Village boasts about Coventry's little known contribution to the popular music scene with its 2-Tone sound – a blend of Ska and Punk influenced by the city's West Indian community. This authentic museum is a well-loved attraction and houses a well-renowned café and Caribbean restaurant.
Country attractions too
There are also many country and historical attractions around the city-limits, including Coombe Abbey Country Park, Bagot’s Castle, near Coventry Airport or the National Trust country house at Charlecote Park. The pretty town of Royal Leamington Spa with its lovely redeveloped Pump room and the majestic Warwick Castle are within half an hour's drive.
So, whether you're looking to stop in one of the bed and breakfasts or hotels in Coventry before taking a flight from the airport, stopping to visit family or friends, or are simply on business, Coventry may pleasantly surprise you with its diverse culture and fascinating heritage.