Coventry is a city which we feel is often overlooked as a place to visit - it was the UK's City of Culture for 2021/22 and is a great place to head to for young and old alike. We included a few mentions of Warwickshire things to see and do in this guide because historically, the city was part of Warwickshire. The fact that it isn't any longer is the subject of a little controversy, because although the city shares most of its borders with Warwickshire, it is considered to be part of the West Midlands.
Anyway, luckily that doesn't affect your enjoyment of the city, and there is still plenty of reasons to visit Coventry. We've outlined our favourites for 2023, let's get into the guide:
Where is Coventry?
We should start by quickly establishing where Coventry actually is - the city is in the West Midlands, on the River Sherbourne. The city is about 85 miles to the North-West of London, and about 20 miles to the East of Birmingham.
Let's now look at the top things to see and do in Coventry:
Generally considered to be one of the most iconic buildings in the UK, Coventry Cathedral attracts visitors every year from across the country and beyond, and is a must-visit attraction during your time in the city as far as we're concerned. The current site combines the ruins of the old cathedral which was destroyed by a bombing during the Second World War, and the new cathedral which was built after the first was destroyed - both are magnificent and impressive for different reasons. The visitor centre and Blitz Museum both do a good job of outlining the history of the cathedrals, but a tour guide is recommended.
It's easy to get to also - you'll find the cathedral only 100m from the bus stop and 300m from the multi-story vehicle leave at Salt Lane CV1 2GY. When by walking, set out toward Cuckoo Lane for the best entry into the Ruin. Particularly on your most memorable visit, you should always try to enter the New Cathedral by means of the Ruin for the most memorable experience.
Learn more and plan your visit here - coventrycathedral.org.uk
Coombe Abbey Park
With more than 500 acres to explore, you can't really go wrong with a visit to Coombe Country Park. This park is situated in Warwickshire and offers an amazing variety of terrain to explore - from beautiful gardens and woodland to lakeside walks, it has a little bit of everything and there's a lot to investigate.
Midland Air Museum
Right outside Baginton in Warwickshire, (adjoining Coventry Airport) you'll find Midland Air Museum, an absolute gem.
Unlike many of the stuffy museums out ther like this, Midland Air Museum is all about getting people actually involved - you can actually sit in many of the cockpits and you can sit in the crew area of a Vulcan, for example.
The little cafe serves up hot beverages and delicious bites, plus the staff members are lovely and supportive and it is even dog-friendly! Learn more here - midlandairmuseum.co.uk
Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve
Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve is the base camp of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, and is a must-visit if you're an avid birdwatcher. Set in 220 acres of land, the mix of rare and interesting birds is unmatched anywhere else in the area, and there are 7 bird hides you can use to get up close and personal with the amazing wildlife. If you'd rather view the wildlife on the move then there are plenty of footpaths around the reserve which you can follow.
On a good day expect to see kingfishers, otters, bank voles and badgers.The Visitor Centre here is also great and has plenty for kids to check out, learn more here - warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk
This is an exceptionally cool spot in Coventry - if record shops, street food and a bunch of other independent retailers sounds like your thing, then a trip to FarGo village is recommended. It's essentially a pop-up village in the middle of Cornwall, and if you're a fan of good beer it's a must-visit because the microbrewery serves up super drinks. Definitely best visited on a Friday night when there is a real buzz around the place, learn more here - fargovillage.co.uk
Coventry Transport Museum
With the largest publicly owned collection of British vehicles in the world on display here, a trip to the Coventry Transport Museum is a must-visit for petrolheads, although even if you're not mad about cars there is still plenty to appreciate here. Plus, the staff members really add to the experience and they're all super helpful at adding context to what you are seeing.
You'll also get to see the world's fastest car - Thrust SSC, which has held the world land speed record since 1997. It's an alien-looking thing but very cool.
Tickets are £14 for an adult but this actually gives you access for the rest of the year if you want to come back! Book tickets and learn more here - transport-museum.com
Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
If you're a fan of art and history then a trip to the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum is an absolute must during your time in Coventry. Packed with fascinating artefacts and exhibits relating to the history of Coventry, this is a great place to head if you're looking to learn more about the interesting (and often tragic) history attached to this city.
The building itself is a piece of art and is definitely worth a photo. Plan your visit and learn more here - theherbert.org
This quirky museum is an absolute gem if you're a fan of music, especially Two-tone music. It's also a great reminder that Coventry has produced some fantastic bands and other musical acts, and is generally a very underrated city for music. There is a huge amount of Two-tone/Ska-related memorabilia and exhibitions, as this music has always been popular in Coventry, but the museum also includes some really interesting memorabilia from other genres of music. A favourite is the iron seat which John Lennon and Yoko Ono submitted to sculpture exhibition at Coventry Cathedral.
At just £5 per ticket for entry, it's an absolute steal and definitely worth checking out. Learn more here - covmm.co.uk
War Memorial Park
This park is a fantastic place to head to for a walk with the kids or with the dog, as you've got more than 48 hectares of green space to explore. But it's also an excellent place to pay your respects at the large war memorial, which is both impressive and striking. At around 90 feet in height, it's impressive to look at from a distance, but there is actually a room inside the memorial called the Chamber of Silence, which is quite an eerie and emotional area to visit.
Fortunately, the park is split into 2 areas, the formal garden with the War Memorial and the sports areas, so if you want to head to the park for a quiet moment of reflection then you can do so without being disturbed. Both the park and the memorial are Grade II listed by English Heritage, and it's a very well-kept area. Learn more here - coventry.gov.uk
Lunt Roman Fort
Just outside Coventry in the village of Baginton, you'll find this interesting structure. The Lunt Roman Fort is a fascinating place to visit - if you're looking for a real hands-on experience which is great for kids, this is perfect. It's essentially a partially-reconstructed timber fort dating from the Roman age (60 AD) which can be explored. You'll often see the staff here dressed as Roman soldiers, which really adds to the experience. Learn more here - luntromanfort.org
Grab something to eat
Coventry has some great options for eating and features a wide spectrum of cuisines to choose from, with something for everyone. In the centre of the city, you'll find restaurants like Cosy Club, which has a down to earth atmosphere and is excellent for brunch, as well as Turtle Bay, a great place to head for Caribbean inspired dishes. If you're looking for something a little less formal then both Hummus House and Emmy's Pitta are excellent street food style eateries which won't break the bank but will really satisfy. The Green Dragon is excellent for a Sunday lunch, and Basement Browns serves up excellent pizza. Like we said, something for everyone!