Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Visiting Coventry

Coventry is the nearest city to the University of Warwick and home to many of our students who live off-campus. Famous for its Cathedral, Lady Godiva, and the devastation bought to the city in World War 2, Coventry is an ever-developing city steeped in history.

Distance from campus:

3 miles (to City centre)


A night out in Coventry is handy and makes a change from visiting the Student Union, particularly for those students who live off-campus. There are a number of pubs, clubs and restaurants with various venues offering special promotions to students of both Warwick and Coventry University. Some of the clubs also feature special 'student nights' - the most popular being Ignite at the Skydome on a Wednesday night.

As well as nightclubs and bars, the Skydome complex also contains a 9-screen cinema and an ice-rink, all of which make Coventry a popular place for students to go out for the evening. The Skydome is easily reached on the bus from central campus and a special bus is provided by the University on a Wednesday night for those who want to go to Ignite.

If you prefer a more cultured night out, the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry offers a mixed programme of comedy, theatre and pantomime as well as conference facilities.


There are a couple of shopping areas in Coventry and a large range of high-street shops including H&M, New Look, TopShop and River Island. The West Orchards indoor shopping precinct houses several major high-street stores including Miss Selfridge, Debenhams, Marks and Spencers and WH Smiths. Just outside of the city centre, opposite the train station and on the main bus-route from the University of Warwick campus, is a retail park known as Central Six, home to a number of larger retail stores, including GAP, Boots, Next and several other clothing stores.

Historical Interest:

One of Coventry’s most famous landmarks is its cathedral. The original cathedral, St Mary’s, was built in the 11th century although very little now remains. The Cathedral of St Michael, Coventry’s second cathedral, was begun in 1373, but was famously destroyed when it was bombed during the Second World War. The cathedral was later re-built and consecrated in 1962. The old and new cathedrals now stand next to each other in the heart of Coventry and are both popular visitor attractions.

By 1334 Coventry was said to be the fifth largest town in England, and the first mayor, John Ward, was elected in 1348. Ranulf Meschines, the Earl of Chester, built Coventry Castle at the end of the 11th century but by the end of the 12th century, the castle had fell into disrepair following years of fighting in the area. No outward signs of the castle remain as it is believed to have been sited in Broadgate, now the city centre.

The town wall and gates were completed by 1538, having been built over the course of almost 200 years. During the 17th century Civil War the people of Coventry sided largely with the Parliamentarians. When Charles II, son of the executed Charles I, came to power under the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 he ordered that Coventry’s walls and fortifications be destroyed. The order was carried out in 1662 and thus all that remains of Coventry’s walls are two gates.

Coventry’s development was steady over the next few hundred years, adopting new industries, such as ribbon weaving and watch making. In 1838 the London to Birmingham railway was opened, passing through Coventry. The line still remains and operates a regular service between England’s major cities.

The city became a centre for the manufacture of bicycles in the latter half of the 19th century and moved on to become one of the major car manufacturers in the United Kingdom, and remains so today. Coventry has been home to around 130 motor manufacturers over time.

The extensive bombing of Coventry during World War 2 has impacted greatly on its history and landmarks, forcing much of the city to be rebuilt in the post-war years.

Access from University:

By car: From central campus the easiest way to drive into Coventry City centre is by heading up the Gibbet Hill Road, then turn left on to the Kenilworth Road which heads straight towards the city centre.

By bus: There are three bus operators that run locally: National Express Coventry, Stagecoach and Travel de Courcey. Information about times can be found on their websites. The journey to into Coventry City Centre takes 20-30 minutes.