Things to do in Coventry and Leamington Spa
Now that we’re into the final weeks of term and exams are (mostly) over, it’s the perfect time to explore the local area before going home for the summer, especially now that the weather is warmer. I wish I’d taken more time to explore the local area earlier in my degree, and there’s still a lot I haven’t seen even though I’m graduating soon, but here are some of the places I’ve visited recently:
Coombe Country Park – Although this place is a little difficult to get to—it’s only realistically accessible by car, unless you’re willing to walk a fair distance to the nearest bus stop—it’s beautiful! Acres of sprawling woodland trails, manicured gardens and fields set around an abbey that’s been converted into a hotel, it’s a wonderful place to spend a summer day. Car parking is affordable, there’s a café and bathroom facilities in the visitor centre, and also a Go Ape trail. The hotel also hosts formals and events; I went there in 2019 for the EQHO ball, and the food was some of the best I have ever had. The hotel also offers afternoon tea.
Shopping in Coventry – Central Coventry is the go-to place if you want to go clothes shopping. The Primark there is HUGE. I’m especially fond of the Waterstones (there’s a Waterstones in Leamington too). I may have spent over £100 in there last month…
Coventry is also the UK’s City of Culture at the moment, and there’s lots of art and decoration around to celebrate it. I’ve seen live music performances in the central square even on weekdays. The city centre has definitely felt more alive recently.
Coventry Cathedral – arguably Coventry’s prettiest landmark, it occupies a small corner of Coventry that feels like it’s from another world. The crumbling architecture is beautiful, and stands in stark contrast to the contemporary modern buildings that cover most of the city centre. Walking around, there are lots of small pieces of history to be found throughout the city. You may even come across some very friendly squirrels on the grass outside the cathedral.
Kenilworth Castle – only a short bus ride from campus, Kenilworth is a really picturesque town, giving off English country village vibes. The crumbling castle is one of its key landmarks. It’s managed by English Heritage, and you need to book in advance at the moment. Abbey Park is nearby, and it is ideal for a picnic or day out in the sun. You can walk through it when you get off the 11 bus to get to the castle.
Jephson Gardens – in central Leamington Spa, this is a really popular spot. Whether you want to stroll along the river, have a picnic, hang out with friends, or simply admire the plants and landscaping, it’s a lovely place to spend a couple of hours. The Parade is only a short walk away, as are many shops and restaurants.