5 free things to do in... Coventry

Date Posted: 13/06/2013

Coventry Transport Museum - Group Travel Ideas

Pictured: Coventry Transport Museum is home to over 240 cars, commercial vehicles and buses.

Once the centre of UK car manufacturing, witness to three English Civil Wars and a co-host Olympic city; groups can explore Coventry’s wealth of history and heritage with a visit to these five free attractions.

1. Coventry Transport Museum

Coventry Transport Museum boasts the largest collection of its kind in the world and is home to over 240 cars, commercial vehicles and buses, 94 motorcycles, 200 cycles, 25,000 models and around one million archive and ephemera items.

The collection is themed around many galleries and includes a temporary gallery at the front of the museum which is used for a variety of exhibitions. The latest exhibition, entitled War Effort, reveals the British motor industry’s contribution to World War Two.

The museum also has a popular cafe which sells - amongst other things - the revised Coventry godcake. 
 
2. St Mary's Guildhall

Perhaps Coventry's greatest treasure, St Mary’s Guildhall was built in 1342 and has continued to be used ever since.

Visitors have included Mary Queen of Scots, William Shakespeare, George Eliot - who set the trial scene of Adam Bede here - plus many other distinguished guests including kings and queens.

The huge tapestry and great north window in the Great Hall is dedicated to King Henry VI and commemorates ‘Henry and Margaret’ and Henry’s ancestors respectively, having been in position since the late 1490s.

The Guildhall is open from April to October, Sunday to Thursday.
 
3. Priory Visitor Centre

The first cathedral in Coventry was St. Mary's Priory and Cathedral, which lasted until 1539 when it was caught up in the dissolution of the monasteries.

It was built to a length of 425-feet, making it one of the longest in England. Next to it was a Benedictine Priory, home to a community of monks for 500 years, until it was closed down on the orders of King Henry VIII.

Coventry at Night

Pictured: Coventry by night.

The site has been excavated to reveal the remains of Coventry’s first Cathedral and the Priory Undercrofts and has been featured on two Time Team television programmes.

The Priory Visitor Centre is open from Monday to Saturday.

4. Coventry Cathedral

It’s well worth spending some time admiring the architectural exterior of St Michael's Cathedral.

Built next to the remains of the second cathedral, it was designed by Basil Spence and is considered to be one of the most iconic buildings of the 20th century.

At the time it was built, it was felt the old cathedral should be kept in ruins as a garden of remembrance and that the new cathedral should be built alongside; the two buildings together forming one church.

The foundation stone was laid by Queen Elizabeth II on 23rd March 1956 and was consecrated in May 1962.

Groups wishing to explore inside the cathedral will be charged an admission fee.

5. Coventry Festival of Motoring

The popular Coventry Festival of Motoring takes place once again in 2013 on the 24th and 25th August at Stoneleigh Park.

It will, amongst other things, feature a craft fair, trade stands with a ‘Future of Transport’ Expo, plus much more.

Group travel organisers planning to visit on the Sunday morning can watch as the drivers of 600 cars and motorbikes are waved off at the start of the Historic Vehicle Run around the south Warwickshire countryside.

This 5 Free Things feature was provided by Roger Bailey, a Heart of England Blue Badge Tourist Guide and Coventry Green Badge Tourist Guide. Group travel organisers can book Roger’s guiding services by telephoning: 024-7669 1212 or e-mailing bluebadgecov@aol.com.

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