“Currently bidding to become the UK City of Culture in 2021, over £9 billion has already been invested in redevelopment projects across Coventry”
Situated in the West Midlands, Coventry is the 9th largest city in the UK and home to a diverse population of around 350,000 residents, with around one-in-five born abroad. With a large Indian community, Punjabi is the second most widely spoken language in Coventry after English, whilst Hindi, Urdu and Polish are also commonly spoken, meaning that residents who live here are part of a truly multi-cultural city. Similar to neighbouring Birmingham, Coventry was built on strong industrial foundations – one of three main UK centres for clock and watch making in the 18th and 19th centuries, the city was also the birthplace of the modern bicycle and the first British motor car by Harry Lawson’s Daimler Motor Company in Radford in 1897.
Currently bidding to become the UK City of Culture in 2021, over £9 billion has already been invested in redevelopment projects across Coventry. It is this ambition that shows that Coventry is as much a centre for business and innovation as it is a city of preserved historical significance. Over 60% of the population are of the working age and, unlike London, the city is largely self-sufficient with most people working inside Coventry’s own walls. For those who do choose to commute, however, favourable working areas include Warwickshire and surrounding regions in the West Midlands.
Despite Coventry’s appeal as a historical yet modern city with enthusiastic plans for redevelopment, there are still many areas of deprivation and crime continues to be an issue. 18.5% of residents currently live in neighbourhoods, such as the area surrounding Hillmorton Road, which is among the top 10 most deprived areas in the whole of England.
House prices in Coventry
As of 2017, the average property price in Coventry is around £180,000, currently lower than the UK average, although they are rising rapidly with an increase of 17% since 2014 alone. Properties here vary, with the heart of Coventry full of contemporary apartments and flats attracting commuters, students and couples looking to take advantage of the city lifestyle. On the other hand, quieter residences situated on the outskirts of the city, such as Bablake and Earlsdon, are favoured by an older community and families, with properties largely taking the form of traditional detached and semi-detached houses with period features and leafy green views.
“As of 2017, the average property price in Coventry is around £180,000, currently lower than the UK average, although they are rising rapidly”
Coventry has four train stations at Canley, Tile Hill, Coventry Arena and the main Coventry station. The city is also a stop on the West Coast Main Line which connects London Euston all the way to Birmingham New Street. For quick trips within Coventry itself, the city supports an extensive network of buses as well as a Park and Ride system. Alternatively, for something a little more international, from the main Coventry station, Birmingham International Airport is only a 15 minute journey away from Coventry Station.
For drivers, the Coventry Ring Road is an important track circling the city centre with major A-roads veining off towards other areas of the West Midlands.
From tempting dinnertime aromas wafting from the kitchens of The Mint Restaurant to the independent and multi-award winning Theatre Absolute, Coventry has one of the most active evening scenes in the West Midlands. If it’s fine dining you’re after, try Ninety One in the grounds of the University of Warwick, while nearby The Larder is a perfect spots for a relaxing lunch. Alternatively, for an eatery which is born out of Coventry’s rich history, The Establishment Bar and Grill restaurant on Bailey Lane began life as a courtroom in 1783 and includes many restored features, including the judge’s chair. Other food outlets include popular breakfast and lunch joint, The Deli on Earl Street and NOSH (formerly H & R Deli), both of which offer quality food which can be enjoyed outside in one of the city’s many green spaces on a particularly sunny day. With a large Indian population there are also plenty of excellent South Asian restaurants to be enjoyed, with local favourites including Tumeric Gold, My Dhabba and Nashaa.
Retail fans are also well provided for, with the grand circular structure of Coventry Market known as one of the oldest indoor shopping areas in Europe, having first opened in 1346. Over 170 stalls occupy the space, selling a vibrant mix of clothing, hot food, fruit & vegetables and more. Meanwhile for high-street favourites, Lower Precinct Shopping centre offers major brands such as H&M, Next and Clarks alongside coffee shops and restaurants. For alternative retail outlets, IKEA’s first city centre store, the Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre and the West Orchards shopping complex are also located nearby, with the latter hosting the best of Coventry’s retail scene. With the famous statue of Lady Godiva at its doorstep, and the tremendous structure of Whittle Arch close by, West Orchards offers locals a great range of outlets, from the fashion-forward attire of Miss Selfridge and Foot Asylum to the classic comfort offered by department stores like Debenhams.
However, Coventry’s retail scene is made up of much more than just mainstream outlets. Close by the city centre, especially in areas such as Foleshill, the streets are decorated with a tempting array of restaurants, and brightly-coloured store fronts filled with the latest in South-Asian fashion.
Coventry is home to all the supermarkets an ambitious home cook could need, including large branches of Tesco and Asda. A number of good international supermarkets can also be found here, such as Dhaliwal’s Asian supermarket on Foleshill Road.
Health & Sport
Coventry has a reputation as a sporty city, both for playing and watching sports, and as a result it boasts all the facilities to provide visitors and locals with an optimal experience of both. Home to the Wasps Rugby Team and Coventry City Football Club, the 32,500-seater Ricoh Arena in Longford is a world-class venue which hosts some of the most highly-anticipated sports, music and business events in the country. Meanwhile, closer to the centre of town, the SkyDome Arena hosts a number of thrilling ice hockey games and offers youngsters classes to help them master their first time on ice. Alternatively, for some quality time in the fresh, open air why not join the Godiva Harriers, one of the oldest running clubs in the world, which welcomes members of all abilities.
With many attractions packed into a small city, it’s easy to spend a whole day touring Coventry’s cultural and historical gems. Located at the heart of the city centre, the prized Herbert Museum and Art Gallery is one of Coventry’s most famous sites for history and art and hosts some 180,000 specimens from across the globe. Alternatively, for some sit-down entertainment the city is home to a number of theatres, with the esteemed Belgrade Theatre in Belgrade Square, one the biggest regional production theatres in the UK. Other attractions include Kenilworth Castle, St. Mary’s Guildhall, The Empire music venue and the view at the top of the St. Michael’s Church Gothic spire, where those who make it up are rewarded with panoramic views across the City.
“With many attractions packed into a small city, it’s easy to spend a whole day touring Coventry’s cultural and historical gems”
Schools and Education
Secondary schools here are better than primary schools in terms of their Ofsted rating and whilst 20% of all institutions still require improvement (the highest of any West Midlands area), those that are classified as good or outstanding regularly produce first-rate results. One such school is Finham Park School, on Green Lane, where 83% of pupils achieved at least 5 A*-C grades at GCSE. There are also a number of independent institutions, such as King Henry VIII Independent School, in the area.
Post secondary education, the city is fortunate to have two well-established and successful universities within its boundaries. The University of Coventry is situated at the heart of the city centre and s a result, the area is constantly buzzing with the energy of a thriving youth population, as students are attracted by the good shopping facilities, excellent transport links and lively nightlife.
Close by, the University of Warwick is another well-respected institution, regularly ranked among the UK’s top universities in national league tables. With 29 academic departments and more than 50 institutes and research centres, it is also the 45th most international university in the world. Students here often live in the enclosed space of the campus during their first year, before migrating out to the surrounding student towns of Leamington Spa and Kenilworth in their second and third years.
As of 2016, the average crime rate in Coventry was 64 crimes per 1000 people, similar to the national average, and as with most urban centres, crime in Coventry is largely concentrated in particular areas. In 2015, 7,456 crimes were recorded in Willenhall, Foleshill, Hillfields and Bell Green alone – more than double the number of crimes committed in the rest of the city.
The War Memorial Park is Coventry’s largest park and serves as a tribute to the soldiers from the city who were killed during the First World War. With an 87ft high memorial surrounded by lines from Laurence Binyon’s poem, ‘The Fallen,’ and commemorative plaques dedicated to those who lost their lives, the park is a quiet place to reflect and remember the past. Other popular green spaces include the family-friendly Allesley Park and Coombe Country Park, which covers 500 stunning acres of woodland, lakeside and gardens and attracts everyone from families with young children to wildlife enthusiasts with an interest in bird-watching. Both parks have won Green Flag Awards, with the latter gaining a Site of Special Scientific Interest Status (SSSI) and winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for consistently good reviews.
The city of Coventry was one of the worst hit UK areas during the Second World War. The result was a devastating combination of over 1,000 fatalities and a huge number of previously towering factories, religious buildings and homes reduced to piles of rubble. The 14th century gothic structure of St. Michael’s Cathedral was one such building destroyed during this period, however through the inspirational restoration efforts of residents, walls outlining the space of the Cathedral continue to stand to this day and are a major tourist attraction to the city.