Update: December 2019
Since our visit in 2016 I’ve now been advised that the Museum of Transport now charges for entry.
Last month we decided to head to a city I’ve never explored before. I’d been to Tile Hill College with the Institute of Export many years ago but had never ventured further. We discovered a number of things to do for free in Coventry City Centre, and headed up the motorway to check them out.
We parked in the shopping centre’s multi-story car park and made the short walk to the first of our things to do for free in Coventry City Centre. The Coventry Transport Museum is really easy to find, right in the heart of the city, and until 19th September Tractor lovers can enjoy their Tractors: From Factory to Field exhibition too.
Monkey was eager to find out what the museum had to offer, and I have to say, we were all rather impressed by the range of vehicles on display. It really is worth a visit if you are in the area.
The exhibition features a number of tractors, including a three-wheeler! There’s even a vintage combine harvester on display. Monkey was a very happy boy. We spotted some activity tables too, but my son was on a mission to see as much as possible.
The main museum displays feature a range of Coventry manufactured transport, through the ages, from bicycles and motorcycles, road cars, Formula One cars and even land speed racers. The exhibits are well laid out and easy for all to enjoy.
There is a cafe on-site, but they’d stopped serving hot food at 1.20pm on the day we visited and the remaining sandwich selection was sparse, so we headed into the shopping centre for refreshments.
It is worth stopping outside the Coventry Transport Museum to admire the Whittle Arch, celebrating Sir Frank Whittle, the Coventry based jet engine inventor.
No visit to Coventry City Centre can be complete without meeting Lady Godiva. Monkey was highly amused to learn that the famous 11th Century noblewoman had ridden through the city naked. Cue lots of giggling.
We said our goodbyes to the fair lady and continued our walk to visit the ruins of Coventry Cathedral. My son is obsessed with bombs at the moment, so it was a poignant way to explain to him the devastation that they caused to this city. Even standing in the rain, you can’t help but feel some sadness as you survey the remains of what must once have been a beautiful building.
The old and the new stand together, and you can visit the new Coventry Cathedral for £6 per adult (kids in a family group are free). I did quite fancy climbing the Cathedral Tower (£2.50 per adult, again, free for kids) but Monkey couldn’t be persuaded on this occasion.
Right next door to the old cathedral ruins you can find the rather magnificent St Mary’s Guildhall, which is open until 2nd October this year. It’s a really rather beautiful medieval building, and even a 6 year old Monkey was in awe.
You can wander around the rooms over 3 floors and we were all captivated by the place. I was so impressed with Monkey, he took time to explore each room and look at the details all around him. From the huge tapestry to the intricate wooden carvings, to the stained glass windows. He enjoyed this little gem as much as we did. The Great Hall and it’s ceiling is quite something.
Close by you can also find the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum. We’d heard a number of good reports about it, but we simply ran out of time. We will be returning in the future though as they are holding the Brick Wonders exhibition from 22nd July 2016-15th January 2017, a must for any Lego fan!
Even in a big city there’s always a moment to enjoy a bit of nature. This little squirrel kept us entertained for a few minutes with his acrobatics.
We had a full day in Coventry and felt like we’d only touched the surface of what the city has to offer.
Why not pin this for later?
We will return! Anywhere you’d recommend?