7 day trips from Coventry, The Midlands

7 day trips from Coventry, The Midlands

Late 2017, I did my study abroad program at the University of Warwick, which is based in Coventry, the Midlands of England. During my term abroad, I tried to do as many day trips during the weekends as I could and managed to explore a lot of the UK. In this post, I’ll give you my 7 favourite day trips from Coventry.

Day trips from Coventry

1. Stratford-upon-Avon

Stratford-upon-Avon, located in the West Midlands, is the town where William Shakespeare was born. Obviously, this makes it a very popular tourist destination. One of the main attractions is visiting the house where Shakespeare was born. Also included in the entrance fee are Mary Arden’s Farm, Anna Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s New Place and Hall’s Croft. All these houses have a connection with Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's Birthplace
Shakespeare’s Birthplace

In the Holy Trinity Church, Shakespeare was baptised and buried. I won’t lie to you, I simply had to visit this church simply because I wanted to see Shakespeare’s grave. The church is small, but very elegant. The church itself is free, but you need to pay a small fee to visit the grave.

Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon
Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon

Along the river Avon, you can also find the Royal Shakespeare Company, a theatre that is dedicated to William Shakespeare. In this theatre, you can often watch plays by William Shakespeare. Click here for more information about plays that are currently on.

2. Bristol

Bristol is one of the most vibrant places in England, the vibe is great. Famous landmarks include the Clifton Suspension Bridge. This bridge is 76 meters high and spans the Avon Gorge. There is a nice walking path that allows you to have a great view of the bridge. Walking from the city centre to the bridge leads you through the Clifton area, a really nice neighbourhood with lots of trendy cafes.

bristol harbour
Colourful houses in Bristol

Another must-do activity in Bristol is walking alongside the river bank. There is a path next to the river. If you follow this path, you’ll also pass the M shedBrunel’s SS Great Britain (a massive ship from the 19th century, and some nice places for a drink or a quick bite.

Sunset in Bristol one of the best day trips from Coventry
Sunset in Bristol

Another must-do when you’re in Bristol is admiring its street art. There is a walk that takes you to some of the street art of Bristol’s world-famous artist Banksy.

3. Birmingham

Birmingham is easily accessible from Coventry by train, making it one of the easiest day trips from Coventry. It’s England’s largest city after London. Although I don’t think Birmingham is a very beautiful city, there are enough things to do and see in Birmingham that will keep you busy for a day.

Firstly, make sure to visit the Bull Ring. Nowadays, this is a very large shopping centre. However, already in the Middle Ages, there has been a market on this place. One of the most spectacular buildings of the Bull Ring is the Selfridges Building. Completed in 2003, the building’s facade is curved and contains 15,000 aluminium discs.

The Selfridges Building in Birmingham
The Selfridges Building in Birmingham

If you’re into modern architecture, I recommend a visit to the Library of Birmingham. Designed by Dutch architects, it was completed in 2013. On the seventh floor, you can find the secret garden, which is an amazing spot and has nice views over Birmingham. Moreover, another attraction that is worth a visit is the Birmingham Museum of Art. Don’t miss the sculptures by Rodin and Dalí.

4. Warwick

Initially, when I knew I was going to study abroad at the University of Warwick, I thought I would be studying in Warwick. However, that was not the case. Warwick is 15 kms from from the University of Warwick, which is located in Coventry.  The castle is mostly famous for its stunning Warwick Castle. If you’re a fan of historical romances, you may recognise the name Warwick: Warwick Castle was the seat of the Earls of Warwick, who played an important role in the Wars of the Roses. William the Conqueror started the building of the castle in 1068. With its medieval towers, it’s one of the most formidable castles I’ve ever visited.

Warwick Castle
Warwick Castle, one of the perfect day trips from Coventry

I visited Warwick Castle the weekend of Halloween. The castle was open during the evening and was transformed into a very spooky castle. Moreover, there were several shows and activities going on for children and adults. I would certainly recommend going to Warwick Castle at Halloween. You don’t need to go on 31 October. The castle is decorated in halloween style for 2 weeks around Halloween.

Halloween at Warwick Castle
Halloween at Warwick Castle

Other things to do in Warwick include the Lord Leycester Hospital, a timber-framed set of buildings dating from the 14th century, and the Mill Garden, which is situated on the bank of the Avon and has the best view of Warwick Castle. Moreover, make sure to have afternoon tea at Thomas Oken Tea Rooms. It was delicious and we kept wanting to go back (which we eventually did).

The streets of Warwick are just as charming as those of Stratford-upon-Avon. In addition, there are less tourists around in Warwick. Therefore, I probably prefer Warwick over Stratford-upon-Avon. If you’re short on time, you can also combine the two.

5. Leicester

A few years ago, I learned about Leicester for the first time. It was when the remains of king Richard III were discovered. The highlight of a trip to Leicester is therefore a visit to the Leicester Cathedral, where the remains of king Richard III were reburied in 2015. In addition, a visit to the King Richard III visitor centre is also definitely worth it. Whether you know Richard III from Shakespeare, historical novels about the Wars of Roses, or have never heard of it, the exhibition will teach you a lot about Richard III and his portrayal. I also enjoyed the exhibition about the archaeology and how it was determined that it might be the remains of Richard III that were buried under a parking lot in Leicester.

Interior of the Guildhall, Leicester
Interior of the Guildhall, Leicester

Other things to do in Leicester include the Guildhall, one of the best-preserved timber framed halls in England and over 600 years old. It is also known as a haunted house. Apparently, there are at least five ghosts, among which a mysterious white lady that you can find in the library. You have been warned.

6. Oxford

Oxford is home to the world-renowned University of Oxford, which is also the oldest university in the UK. A day trip to Oxford is probably one of the most magical day trips from Coventry, also because several locations in Oxford have been used as filming locations for Harry Potter! For example, the Divinity School in the Bodleian Library was used as Hogwarts’ Infirmary.

Another filming location of Harry Potter is Christ Church College, one of the colleges of the University of Oxford. This stunning college is one of the largest colleges of Oxford. Make sure to visit the Great Hall. You might recognise the staircase leading up to the Great Hall from the Harry Potter movies as well. Other colleges that are worth a visit in Oxford include Merton College, Magdalen College and New College.

The Radcliffe Camera, one of Oxford's landmarks
The Radcliffe Camera, one of Oxford’s landmarks

However, there are also several famous landmarks in Oxford that you cannot miss. One of them is the Radcliffe Camera. Built between 1737 and 1749, the Radcliffe Camera is the oldest round library of the UK. Furthermore, you should visit the Bridge of Sighs, not to be confused with the one in Venice. The bridge is a skyway and joins the Old and New Quadrangles of Hertford College. If you like nature, you can also visit the University of Oxford Botanic Garden, the first botanic garden in the UK.

7. Bath

Bath is known for two things: the Roman Baths and Jane Austen. As a student of Classics, the main goal on my day trip to Bath were the Roman Baths. However, they are also very interesting if you’re not that into history. In the 1st century AD, the Romans built a temple above Bath’s hot springs. In the second century, a bathhouse complex was added. The heart of the bathhouse is the Great Bath: a pool filled with steaming, geothermally heated water. In the museum, you can see several foundations and artefacts of the site. You can also taste the water of the spring! It tastes horrible, but you should nevertheless try. Especially, visiting the Great Bath is spectacular. Moreover, the steaming water gives the place a bit of a mysterious feel.

Roman Baths
The Roman Baths

Adjacent to the Roman Baths, you can find the Pump Room, a very elegant Georgian building. It’s the perfect place for afternoon tea. Jane Austen used the Pump Room as a setting Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. Other Jane Austen related attractions in Bath include 4 Sydney Place, where Jane Austen lived from 1801-1804, and the Jane Austen Centre.

Other things to do in Bath include eating a Sally Lunn Bun.  Located in one of the oldest houses of Bath, Sally Lunn’s is the place where the original Bath Bun was born. I had the Bath Cream Tea, which included tea and half a toasted Sally Lunn Bunn topped with Cinnamon Butter and served with clotted cream. The bun tasted less sweet than I’d imagined, but it was really nice.

Public transport tips

Having lived in the UK for 1.5 years in the last two years (and relying solely on public transport), I have slowly gotten more familiar with the way public transport works in the UK. When you’re trying to visit a place by train, booking your tickets in advance is key! So here are some tips:

  1. If you book a ticket more than a month in advance it can be 4 times as cheap as when you buy it on the day. Of course, this means you loose a bit of flexibility.
  2. Get a railcard! If you’re below 25, getting a 16-25 railcard means you’ll save 1/3 on train tickets. The railcard costs 30 pounds for a year or 70 pounds for three years. From experience, I can say that this is definitely worth the money if you like day trips. Over 25? Don’t worry. There are various other railcards that offer discounts, too.
  3. If you’re travelling low-budget, check whether there is a bus instead. Buses are often cheaper than trains.

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7 best day trips from Coventry
day trips Coventry

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