Sent to Coventry
This resilient city, which rose from the ashes of bomb devastation during the Second World War, is now neatly positioning itself as a hip, thriving arts hub – with The Turner Prize soon taking up residency and the opening of the hip new Telegraph Hotel providing a very stylish place to kip.
The yearlong city cultural celebration runs until May 2022, with a jam-packed schedule of pop-up exhibitions, music and dance events, theatre runs and large-scale installations. With so much going on, here’s Junior’s round-up of the best Coventry must-visits for families this year:
The UK City of Culture 2021: 8 Great Things to do in Coventry with the Family
VISIT: Coventry Transport Museum
Transport-loving kids should hotfoot it to this awesome specialist museum, which runs the gauntlet of the history of British transport manufacturing. Many of the models on show were made right here in Coventry, including the traditional London taxi cab – who knew?! The collection includes everything from penny-farthing bikes to the world’s fastest supersonic car.
- Open Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm.
- Adult ticket £14, junior ticket £7.
STAY: The Telegraph Hotel
Fresh off the press, this newly opened hotel is set in the former newsroom of the Coventry Telegraph newspaper. Inside, the interiors are very Mad Men chic, with mid-century furnishings and plenty of original features from the hotel’s former life. Families are well catered for, with spacious suites featuring pull out sofa beds. The onsite restaurant offers a hearty breakfast and the hotel is also positioned right in the heart of the action, so the cultural sights of Coventry are within walking distance.
- Room rates from £50 per room: www.telegraph-hotel.com/
SHOP: FarGo Village
This creative hub, just a short walk from the centre of Coventry, is the place to find unique gifts and crafts from independent businesses in the local area. Made up of restored warehouses and former shipping containers painted in a rainbow of colours, you’ll find everything here from vintage clothing and up-cycled furniture to bowls of steaming hot noodles, plus a micro-animation studio called Let’s Animate that runs workshops for children.
EAT: Commonground Art Space and Restaurant
Also situated in the FarGo Village is Commonground, a gorgeous multi-purpose art space which a cool gift shop, dinky print studio, exhibition space (free entry) and dining area, serving up coffees and small plates. This welcoming space is run by enthusiastic young creatives and is an ideal spot to drop by for a bite to eat and to view some local artwork.
SEE: Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
This contemporary gallery is just steps from Coventry Cathedral and has won awards for its family-friendly offerings. There are plenty of hands-on displays for younger kids in the collection, which spans from the medieval times to the present day, via Lady Godiva. The gallery also has a fantastic temporary show on until September 2021 highlighting Coventry’s 2 Tone music scene, which included local legends The Specials.
From late September 2021 until January 2022, the Turner Prize will be taking up residency in the Herbert Gallery, showcasing this year’s four finalists.
- Entrance the Herbert Gallery is free and the gallery is open Mon-Sat 10am – 4pm, 12-4pm Sunday.
VISIT: Observations on Being Installation
This mostly alfresco exhibition is situated in Coventry’s listed cemetery and arboretum, with seven immersive artworks dotted across the grounds. Expect to recline under trees while listening to mind-expanding soundtracks and see some large-scale video installations within the chapel. This is probably one for older kids, as it tackles all the big themes and does at one point involve being led around whilst blindfolded!
- Observations on Being runs fro 15thJuly 2021 to 15thAugust 2021. Tickets from £10.
VISIT: Coventry Cathedral
This awe-inspiring cathedral is worthy of a Coventry trip in its own right. There are actually two parts to this visit; the original cathedral building that lost its roof in the Blitz, and the new cathedral, a modernist masterpiece crammed with gallery-worthy art works and stained glass windows.
- Entrance is free and the cathedral is open from 10am – 4pm Monday to Saturday, 12 – 3pm Sunday.