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Our favourite things to do in Coventry

How to spend a weekend break in Coventry

Don’t think Coventry is city-break worthy? Think again. Just a 20-minute train ride from Birmingham and under an hour from London, the city has always been a symbol of rebirth and this year, we see it dust off its industrial roots to emerge as 2021’s UK City of Culture. But what does that mean exactly? It means a packed programme of events including film screenings, workshops, live theatre and even a floating market along the canal. If you needed any more convincing, here are our top picks for places to visit and things to do in Coventry.

With restrictions easing across England, please continue to follow government guidance and remember to plan ahead and check attraction websites before travelling. Take a look at our top tips on how to escape the everyday responsibly to see how you can make the most out of your day trips and breaks. 

1

Taste food from around the world at FarGo

FarGo Village

Man smiling at Coventry's independent Fargo Village

Coventry’s food scene brings together some of the most exciting flavours from across the world and nowhere showcases this better than FarGo Village. This repurposed industrial space is also home to an array of creative businesses, from coffee shops to jewellers to upcycled furniture stores, and of course, plenty of top-notch eateries and street food vendors. Drop by Factory – packed with street food, beer and cocktails – and don’t miss Gourmet Food Kitchen, a chef’s table-style experience (and one of the top-rated restaurants in Coventry) which seats up to 12 people and serves the likes of celeriac veloute, home-smoked haddock and petit fours. For authentic West Indian family recipes, drop by Leave it to Esmie for flavoursome salt fish fritters and jerk chicken burritos.

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Not far from FarGo Village is Habibi, a middle-eastern restaurant decorated in wares from Egypt, Morocco and Palestine. Local favourites include the Habibi chicken shawarma, flavoursome tagine and traditional shisha (not food, we know) in the Bedouin tent. A few minutes’ walk from Coventry Cathedral is Jinseon Korean BBQ, a unique dining experience where you can grill your own grub on a live charcoal fire at your table. Order the bulgogi beef – marinated strips flavoured with soy sauce and sesame oil – with a side of KFC (Korean Fried Chicken – yum) and a glass of sake. Or slice into some good old steak at The Artisan Bar and Grill. Set in a Grade 2-listed building and former watchmakers, this date-worthy restaurant is a must-visit for carnivores.

Find more places to eat in Coventry
2

Explore Coventry’s cool art scene

Herbert Art Gallery & Museum

Person looking at paintings in Herbert Art Gallery

Whether you’re into contemporary art, local history or the natural world, the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum has it covered. Coventry’s leading gallery is an open and inviting space where you can immerse yourself in world-class art – from modern works to the Old Masters – archaeological artefacts and interactive displays while admiring the building’s eye-catching architecture. Be sure to have a nose around the George Eliot collection to see a range of items belonging to controversial Victorian novelist Mary Ann Evans, the author behind the male pen name. Best of all, many of the exhibitions are free, meaning you can save your cash for a keepsake from the gift shop.

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From the In Paint We Trust street art festival and Roundabout's pop-up-and-play theatre, to hosting the Turner Prize 2021, Coventry is hosting an array of lively arts events, exhibitions and productions to celebrate its City of Culture status. Like your art alfresco? For a more laidback exploration of Coventry’s artistic side, take a stroll along the Canal Basin walk, an art trail that stretches five and a half miles from Hawkesbury Junction to the City Basin. Dotted with 39 sculptures, mosaics and murals, this outdoor art gallery is inspired by local history and culture.

Find out more about Coventry’s art scene
3

Stay in a newspaper office turned swish hotel

Telegraph Hotel

Hotel room at The Telegraph Hotel

For more than 50 years, 157 Corporation Street was home to the city’s newspaper. Today, the iconic Telegraph building is now one of Coventry’s most stylish hotels. Walk the halls that once were abuzz with journalists and machinists producing four printed editions every day before slinking into your chic, headline-grabbing bedroom that’ll whisk you back to the 1950s with its retro design. If you really want to indulge, book one of the Telegraph Hotel’s duplex suites – the most luxurious is the Lord Iliffe Suite, which features its own hot tub and terrace! And if you’re in the mood for a late-night tipple, ascend to the Telegraph’s rooftop for a cocktail at Generators Bar, which overlooks the iconic Belgrade Plaza.

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Or why not stay in a 12th century Cistercian Abbey and the former childhood home to Queen Elizabeth I? Coombe Abbey has been lovingly restored into an elegant hotel, filled with extravagant bedchambers where you can drift off in four-poster beds and soak in Victorian bathtubs. Sitting amongst 500 acres of parkland just a few miles from Coventry city centre, the hotel is perfect for couples and families alike with its wide range of characterful rooms and packages. Enjoy a scrumptious afternoon tea in the beautiful Garden bar before exploring the gardens and lake, home to magnificent birds and even a GoApe course.

Find more places to stay in Coventry
4

See two of the fastest cars on the planet

Coventry Transport Museum

Car at Coventry Transport Museum

Petrolheads, this one is for you. The Coventry Transport Museum is home to the largest publicly owned collection of British vehicles in the world, the museum tells the story of a city that revolutionised transport. Explore an array of captivating displays, galleries and exhibitions, alongside 300 bicycles, 120 motorcycles and 250 cars and commercial vehicles, and look out for two of the fastest cars on the planet, the ThrustSSC and Thrust2. There are even 4D simulator rides for those who have a need for speed.

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Delve into the history of Two-Tone music (Jamaican ska music fused with elements of punk rock and new wave music) at the award-winning Coventry Music Museum. As well as Coventry’s musical legacy, this dinky museum tells the story of musical development through the ages, all the way back to the Roman era! Explore the interactive studio room, step inside a mock record shop booth and sit in the actual car seen in The Specials’ Ghost Town video. True crime fans, however, may prefer a trip to the Coventry Police Museum. Pencil in an appointment to this exclusive exhibition where you can immerse yourself in some of Coventry’s gruesome past (some parts of the museum are even restricted to over 18s) including the tale of Mary Ball – the last woman to be hung in Coventry, back in 1849.

Find more museums in Coventry
5

Stand where medieval meets modern

Coventry Cathedral

 Coventry Cathedral in the county of Warwickshire England

English cities are characterised by the presence of a cathedral and Coventry is no different. The Cathedral of St Michael, voted one of England’s most popular 20th-century buildings, is a place where medieval history meets modernist architecture. Explore the magnificent New Cathedral, which features works by some of the greatest artists of the 1950s and 60s before navigating the stone and brick remnants of the neighbouring Ruined Cathedral, which was destroyed in the Coventry Blitz during World War II. Internationally recognised as a beacon of hope, Coventry Cathedral embodies a spirit of peace and reconciliation in a truly unique setting.

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Continue your time travelling at St Mary’s Guildhall. Walk in the footsteps of Henry VI, whose court was based here during the War of the Roses, and Mary Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned here in 1569, admiring the impressive stash of paintings, centuries-old armour and magnificent stained-glass windows. Or seek out the Coventry Doom, a 14th-century mural depicting The Last Judgement hidden underneath the tower at the Holy Trinity Church. Don’t leave without visiting Spon Street, lined with handsome timber-framed buildings. Once a hub for the city’s textiles industry, today you’ll find shops, restaurants and pubs nestled inside higgledy-piggledy medieval structures. Pay a visit to The Weaver’s House for a glimpse into how homes would have looked in Tudor times.

Find more heritage attractions in Coventry
6

Have a pint in a spire

Twisted Barrel Brewery

Exterior of Twisted Barrel Brewery

If you’re into craft beer, you’ll find no shortage of micro-breweries and tap houses to visit in Coventry. One of the city’s newest alehouses (and the go-to pint for locals) is Twisted Barrel Brewery. Based in FarGo Village, this uber-cool brewery is a fun way to spend an afternoon. Book onto a daily tour where you’ll be shown around and learn about the brewing process before being guided through a tasting session by the brewers themselves. If you’re not bothered about how the beer is made, simply bask in the lively atmosphere at the brewery’s onsite bar, The Tap House, where you can pick from 23 beers and make friends on a long bierkeller-inspired table.

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Carry on your beer tour at Dhillon’s Spire Bar, a brilliantly atmospheric space, housed inside Coventry’s iconic Christchurch Spire. This multi-award-winning brewery creates beautifully crafted ales with a slight hint of madness using a combination of traditional and modern brewing methods. Like live music with your pint? Head to The Phoenix, where you can challenge your mates to a game of pool or sway along to the live bands in the garden. It’s even got a 5 am alcohol license, so you could be there all night.

Find more bars and pubs in Coventry
7

Make a splash at an indoor water park

The Wave Coventry

People in lazy river at The Wave

It’s not a real holiday if there isn’t swimming, so make sure to pack your costume as The Wave Coventry is a must-visit. Located in the city centre, this landmark water park is jam-packed with a mix of high-octane slides and relaxing activities for all the family. Ride The Cyclone, where you’ll be sent whirling around a funnel before dropping into the pool below; take on the colourful twists and turns of The Cascade; brave the disappearing floor of The Torrent; and drift along the lazy river, before doing it all again. Young splash seekers will love The Reef with its jets and mini slides, while the adults can take turns in the luxurious Mana Spa, offering a selection of relaxing treatments.

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Get some fresh air in the War Memorial Park, Coventry’s largest city park. It opened back in 1921 as a tribute to the local soldiers who lost their lives during the First World War and now attracts thousands each year to enjoy a peaceful stroll, picnic, bike ride or a round of pitch and putt. During the summer there’s also a Splash’n’play water park for the little ones as well as Coventry’s biggest event of the year, the Godiva Festival. Or delve into Roman life at the Lunt Roman Fort which dates back to around 60AD. Have a nose around the granary, gatehouse and gyrus (a ring used for livestock or horse combat training) and explore the small museum. The fort is only open during the school holidays and usually puts on events and activities like Roman-themed scavenger hunts.

Find more things to do with the kids in Coventry
8

Get your musical fill at Belgrade Theatre

Belgrade Theatre

Local Comprehensive - Billionaire Boy The Musical

End your evening with a bang with a show at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre. The theatre is one of the largest regional producing theatres in Britain. Settle down for musical productions hailing from the West End, cult classic sing-along screenings, traditional pantomimes, live music and critically acclaimed plays all in one building.

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For fringe theatre that pushes boundaries, book one of the 55 seats at Theatre Absolute, an independent company hosting radical and experimental works alongside writing workshops, live events and talks. Or head to Warwick University to pay a visit to the Warwick Arts Centre. Here you can see the best UK and international theatre, prestigious orchestras and big-name comedians, music concerts, films and accessible shows for families. If you arrive early, take a wander around the acclaimed Mead Gallery, a distinctive space exhibiting works by the UK’s best contemporary visual artists.

Find more music and theatre in Coventry
28 Jun 2021(last updated)

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  • 1

    FarGo Village

  • 2

    Herbert Art Gallery & Museum

  • 3

    Telegraph Hotel

  • 4

    Coventry Transport Museum

  • 5

    Coventry Cathedral

  • 6

    Twisted Barrel Brewery

  • 7

    The Wave Coventry

  • 8

    Belgrade Theatre

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