A love letter to living in Canley
Canley. The unloved area for second and third year accommodation at Warwick. Often hailed as the choice for students willing to sacrifice their social life for quick commutes to campus. The forgotten option. And whilst I certainly don’t regret choosing to live here, maybe there is reason for it being forgotten…
When it comes to choosing where to live after the bright lights of on-campus accommodation in first year, the choice usually is between Earlsdon (a suburb of Coventry which is around 15 minutes by bus to campus) or Leamington Spa (the most popular choice, despite it costing students around 40 minutes to arrive to campus every morning before a 9am). You can also throw Kenilworth in there too, a quiet village/ town between Campus and Leamington…
Then there is Canely, the tiny section of Coventry right next to Warwick’s campus (as shown in blue on my lovely diagram below…)
I realise at this time of year, most freshers have chosen their accommodation for next year and it’s not very relevant to discuss “Why Canley?”. But lockdown three negativity has meant I am struggling for blog topics, and having lived in Canley for around seven months now, I feel it is time for me to express my gratitude and frustration for this choice. Like all great love stories, Canley has given me my fair share of ups and downs.
I’m not the best at discussing the differences between the various choices for off-campus accommodation, simply because my history of living at Warwick has been:
- On-campus accommodation (Heronbank) ->
- Year abroad ->
- On-campus accommodation (Lakeside)
- and now Canley.
So I’ve never lived in Leam or Cov. However, I was very determined to live in Canley in my final year, simply because of the distance. I walk for around 10 minutes to get to campus, which is pretty similar to the time it took me when I lived in Lakeside. As a sad finalist with many deadlines and job applications to do, I really didn’t want my first year of living in Leam and dealing with the buses to be the most stressful year of my degree. I fondly remember talking to a finalist last year who regretted living in Leam, saying all she does there is sleep.
The thing with Canley, however, is that you need to be careful with where your house is actually is. You can see on the map that it stretches right into the start of Earlsdon, so what is often described as a “quick walk to campus” can actually be 30 minutes, meaning that the main benefit of living here is lost. And let’s be honest, it is true that you’re sacrificing fun for the sake of proximity to campus when choosing Canley.
Naturally, a global pandemic has changed many people’s outlook on the pros and cons of their accommodation, and I suppose it has highlighted the problem of variety in Canley. Whilst some people were complaining about living in Leam this year because of the lack of things to do now that everything is closed, I have found that the rows of terraced houses and occasional off-license have been a bit boring for my daily government-sanctioned walk. Canley is not the most beautiful place, and it is quite industrial, so the only thing nearby to really “do” is visit the beloved Cannon Park shopping centre for a trip to Aldi and Wilko, or walk a bit further to the nearby fields surrounding campus. Moreover, now that my lessons have been online for the last four months, I have felt a bit locked-up in Canley, something that the Leamington students have smugly recognised, now that they don’t have to face the commute every day and can enjoy their takeaway coffee from a variety of cafes or restaurants.
But in normal times, I would say try not to overlook Canley. Quite a lot of people around here are Warwick students, and for the time saved in not taking the bus to campus more than makes up for the lack of nightlife here. Prior to lockdown two, my house had really nice evenings socialising with other houses nearby. What’s more, Leamington and Coventry are only a bus away, and for someone like me who doesn’t go out all that often, it is perfect. Had the pandemic not happened, I would have very much embraced the opportunity to have the occasional sleepover with a friend if I needed to avoid taking the last bus home from Leamington! And for those brief two weeks of normality at the beginning of the year, going out for the occasional dinner in Leam was a lovely break. But overall, I really don’t mind Canley, and I am happy I chose to live here.