Despite its idyllic country surroundings, the West midlands city of Coventry is marred by its gloomy industrial facade, but scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find the city teeming with historic charm. Nicknamed the ‘cathedral city’, Coventry’s key landmarks are its historic churches, including the 12th-century Holy Trinity Church, one of the largest medieval churches in England. The crowning glory of the Holy Trinity is the 600-year-old Doom Painting, an elaborate restored mural adorning the Chancel Arch. With the prevailing themes of judgment, blessing and damnation, the artwork is one of the finest of its kind in the country, showing Christ, the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist and the 12 disciples. Next up is the late 14th-century Church of St Michael, a gothic cathedral mostly destroyed by German bombers in the Second World War but preserved in remembrance. Next door is its replacement, the modern ‘Coventry Cathedral of St Michael’, built in the post-war years and proudly displaying its contemporary stained glass windows and striking tapestries. Also worth a visit is the striking St Mary’s Guildhall, secreting an illustrious history that features Henry VI, Mary Queen of Scots and William Shakespeare.
Coventry is also home to some important museums including the Midland Air museum, featuring some of the country’s earliest air-crafts; the Herbert Art Gallery housed in one of the city’s most unique buildings and the Coventry Transport Museum with cars, motorbikes and bicycles dating back to 1869. Motor fanatics can also head to the nearby Heritage Motor Centre housing the world’s largest collection of British cars – everything from the 2002 Aston Martin Vanquish driven by James Bond in Die another day (complete with machine guns) and Lady Penelope’s limousine from Thunderbirds, to a 19th-century car.
Time for some light relief? Coventry has an impressive array of shopping malls, bars and restaurants to keep visitors occupied, and the city center’s small size makes it easy to wander around on foot. If you’d prefer to escape to somewhere more scenic, there are plenty of pleasant spots to enjoy the city’s greenery – best of the bunch is the pretty war memorial park, complete with walking trails, tennis courts and a football pitch.