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Ruins of the old cathedral
Transporting Thrust 2 to new gallery in the Transport Museum
Coventry Transport Museum
Fargo village, Live Escape Game, Herbert Museum and Art Gallery, Motor Museum with Thrust 2 simulator
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- Fargo village (mini Camden Market)
- Live Escape game
- Herbert Museum and Art Gallery
- Coventry Motor Museum: 240 cars and commercial vehicles, 100 motorcycles, 200 bicycles plus Thrust 2 world land speed record car and simulator
- A fascinating (and confusing) hodge podge of old and new. The then vibrant historic city centre of Coventry with its medieval street plan inside the city walls, was flattened during the second world war by the Luftwaffe in several raids but mainly by one devastating raid on 14th November 1940.This hour long BBC timewatch documentary tells the harrowing story of the raid on 14th November 1940:
- Click here for this 6 minute slide show video which shows pre-war and present day views of the same locations.
- Like many town centres that suffered war damage, it was rebuilt after the war with some questionable architecture and town planning, mainly still following the old medieval street plan where some buildings had survived.
- A ring road. click here for story, (“the Ringway”) was built around the historic centre between 1962 and 1974, following the line of the old city walls. It's 2¼ miles long and has 9 (!) junctions. This google maps view shows the ring road circling the maze of streets in the city centre.
- How to drive the “Ringway” (You won't be doing this if you follow my instructions carefully and look at my videos). Personally, I think that before the advent of satnav, trying to get in and out of the city centre by car would have been absolutely terrifying. It still frightens me but Coventrians says it's perfectly easy to navigate as long as you keep to a speed of 40 mph and stay in the right hand lane until you need to turn off for a slip road. This 5 minute video shows you how to drive on the ring road.
- Shopping precints Coventry town planners used large precincts, including Europe's first shopping precinct to be built after the war to fill the bombed out empty spaces. From the 60's onwards around a third of the City Centre area became Coventry Poly, then University, campus and most of the pedestrians in Gosford Street and Far Gosford street are students.
- Easy to get lost Due to its history, the city centre is a confusing hodge podge and it's very easy to get lost. However – it's very interesting to see how Coventrians have used their native practical know how and ingenuity to rebuild the city. If you do get lost, bear in mind 2 things: a) you will always come across something interesting while lost and b) Coventry council has put sign posts everywhere so all you have to do is look for the nearest sign post which will always be close to hand. Click here to see my 40 second video of a beautiful door I found when lost. 1 minute later I found a signpost and was on my way again. You will find an A4 sized laminated map of the City that you can take round with you in the courtesy car. Or use your smartphone to refer the to the videos on this page which I made to guide you.
- With this page to hand you will not get lost. Use my videos and instructions on this page to make the most of Coventry's great attractions without getting lost and without having to use the frightening ring road!
- Google maps showing route from premises to Gosford Street car park
- Close up of destination
- No need to use the Ringway. My proposed tour of the 4 attractions gets you in and out of the centre without having to use the Ringway. You can miss out one or more of the attractions but I would still recommend my plan of parking in Gosford Street car park. All of the 4 attractions are within minutes of walking distance. Set your satnav to CV1 5DT for Gosford Street. This is a generic post code for everything in Gosford Street so make sure you watch my video (coming up) in order to find the car park. This gets you in and out of the city centre without having to use the Ringway. Click here to see my 7 minute video which shows the approach to the city centre and Gosford Street car park from Binley Road. Make sure you watch it so you don't get lost and end up on the Ringway! As you approach the city centre you will be on the A4600 Sky blue way. Go straight over a first roundabout and it will be obvious that you are approaching the city centre and the Ringway as you come up to a second roundabout. Take the first exit on that roundabout into Gosford Street. Carry on till you are under the flyover and Gosford Street car park is there, on your left. Make sure you click on the video above
- Jump to Return
- Jump to Return to see instructions for your safe, Ringway free return and a video at the bottom of the page. (Did I mention “Avoid the Ringway”?)
Planning your visit – my 4 (6?) attractions
- I propose 4 main attractions well worth visiting in Coventry, all within easy walking distance of Gosford Street car park. 5 if you include the cathedrals and 6 if you count the Thrust simulator in the Transport Museum as a separate attraction. You don't have to visit all my proposed attractions but please stay out of trouble and park in Gosford Street car park.
- Live Escape game and Fargo Village. The first two attractions are really just one. This is the Live Escape Game which is part of Fargo village which is a sort of a mini Camden Lock. Park in the car park in Gosford Street. Don't try and park nearer to Fargo because I promise you that you will regret it. This is easy to reach and does not entail using the ring road. From that car park, all 4 attractions can be reached on foot in a few minutes. Just make sure you have your mobile phone handy to access google maps or use my portable, laminated map or even better, follow my videos of the routes, because the street layout in the city centre is confusing. Remember that you have parked in the Gosford Street Car Park in case you need to ask someone for directions back to it and remember there are signposts everywhere. To get back to Gosford Street car park just follow the sign for “University”. All 4 attractions are within easy walking distance of Gosford Street car park.
- A studenty vibe. (Coventry University buildings are all around). This was first opened in 2014 and has a strong flavour of Camden Lock in London. For me it also has a hint of Roman road in London. (The Eastenders answer to the King's Rd) because there is also a row of higgledy piggledy Georgian/Victorian/Edwardian/Tudor, half timbred (!) terraced shops fronting it in Far Gosford Street with some funky little shops.
- Carpet Wharehouses. The village is housed in what used to be carpet wharehouses and there are also some little units made from shipping containers. Click here for an arial view on Google maps satellite. (In the satellite picture there appears to be a car park but this is private. You will also see cars parked in Grafton Street. This is permit holders only. Also Far Gosford Street is a one way street for Taxis and Buses and permitted vehicles. There is a camera. Drive up it and you will get a £60 fine!) There are 45 businesses and 25 events a year. It's open 7 days a week from 10 am to 6pm. Some businesses don't open on Mondays and Tuesday.
- Click here for Fargo village website
- Regular Events. There are regular vintage markets and vinyl record fairs (buy and sell) and lots of other events. You can find dates for the next ones here
- google maps again, showing the entrance in Far Gosford Street. (This is what you are looking out for as you walk from the Gosford Street car park).
- There are 463 reviews on google maps and hundreds of photos. Trip advisor reviews
- Route to Fargo Village. To see my video of the route from Gosford Street car park to Fargo Village. Click here This was shot from my car to show you the route to walk>. I got a £60 fine for doing this! So don't even think about trying to drive up to or park around Fargo. Just walk ok? (Around 8 minutes walk). My videos of Fargo village were shot on a quiet Monday when a lot of the businesses are closed. It's very lively on week ends. It's near to the University and lots of student residences. This google map shows the route
- Fargo Village videos:
- Click here for part 1. (11 minutes – Entrance to Live Escape at 6 minutes 50)
- Click here for part 2. (14 minutes – includes Bilko museum)
- Click here for part 3. (7 minutes – container shops)
Escape Live Coventry
- A very successful concept. The “Escape Live' concept appears to be taking the UK by storm, with new franchises opening all the time. At present there are Escape Live places in Birmingham, Southend, and Stratford on Avon. There is also a competitor called “Escapism” using a similar same concept in Nuneaton. There are 12 very enthusiastic reviews on google maps
- and 401 x 5 star reviews on Trip Advisor
- From Escape Live website:
- “....Working in a team of between two and six people, you will have just 60 minutes to escape from a locked room before it is too late. With the clock ticking, there is no time to argue. Everyone must work together to find the clues and solve the puzzles so you all make your way out in time....”
- In Coventry, the two themes are “Prison Break” and “Casino Heist”. The cost is £14 per person. For same day availability, phone 02477 674 646 or book online here:
- To find “Fargo Studios” where the games are housed, walk through Fargo village, past Fargo Scooters and Roman Records, turn right out of Fargo onto Grafton Street and the entrance to Live Escape is immediately on your left. (see 6.50 on my first video)
The Herbert museum and Art Gallery
- Click here for the Herbert official website
- 4 minutes walk from the Gosford Stret car park. Click here to see my 1 minute 40, speeded up video of the walk. The Coventry Transport Museum is just a quarter of a mile further on from the Herbert, 8 minutes walking time. Coventry Cathedral – both the new one and the ruins of the old one are on the way to the transport museum if you want to look at those as well. Gosford Street car park gives easy access to all four attractions.
In Herbert Art Gallery and museum Lady Godiva
- Who was Hertber? The museum and art gallery is named after Sir Alfred Herbert who owned one of the worlds largest machine tool companies, based in Coventry. He donated £100,000 to build the museum on a site owned by the council in 1938. Only the basement was finished when war broke out and building was suspended. After the war, new plans were drawn up and Herbert donated a further £100,000 in 1954. The museum opened in 1960. Forty five years later a two phase refurbishment was carried out. The first £3 million phase was completed in 2005 and a further £14 million phase was completed in 2008.
- Entry to the museum is free. This is a large and very serious museum and art gallery with 32,000 objects. Do a little homework on the Herbert’s website and wikipedia before you go so that you can head for the collections that particularly interest you and check out my own HD videos further on. There are always visiting exhibitions and events. Check what’s on or coming up here Craft workshops open to the public are held.
- Here are 50 highlights from the collections
- Wikipedia entry for the Herbert
- 594 reviews on Trip Advisor
- 182 photos on google maps (shows Jacquard silk weaving loom – precursor of computers)
- My videos of the Herbert
- Click here for Part 1 video (9 minutes). Highlights: Jacquard loom in ground floor entrance (from 46 seconds to 2 mins). Invented in 1804. Uses punch cards, just like a 1960's IBM mainframe! Coventry was a centre for silk ribbon weaving in the 19th century. Check out the exquisite ribbons and the punch cards used to make them from 5 minutes to 7 minutes. See the display of watches made in 1850 in Coventry at 3.41. Many other exhibits from Coventry's wonderful industrial heritage and social history.
- Click here for Part 2. video (2 mins 27) “Discover Godiva” gallelry. Highlight: beautiful, large scale pre-Raphaelite influenced picture of a red haired beauty. (16 to 25 seconds). (Pre-Raphaelite painters had a thing about red hair).
- There are several more galleries which I didn't film including the “Old Masters” and “Natural History” with a beautiful collection of shells and mineral rocks. (I recommend)
Coventry Transport Museum
- Click here to see my 12 minute video of the walk in real time from the Herbert to the Transport Museum (It's an 8 minute walk)
- Click here to see the 2 minute speeded up version.
- Click here to see the Museum on google maps
- Directions from the Herbert to the Transport Museum Walk from the entrance to the Herbert diagonallly right to a lane which goes between the ruined cathedral and the new cathedral. This cobbled pedestrian lane emerges from the cathedrals as St. Michael's Avenue and continues for 70 yards to Trinity church then for another 85 yards along the side of St. Trinity's church. You will emerge from this footpath into a large plaza. As you come out of the lane, immediately to your left is Wilko supermarket (bright red and white logo and panels). Turn right to face: at the bottom of the square, on the left, a grey and red chequered building and on the right a huge black and white half timbered building. Head down the path which bisects the lawn of the square for 70 yards to Trinity St. which you will see starts between these two buildings and bears off down a gradient to the right. Walk another 160 yards down Trinity street. You will see a huge white “Unite Students” building at the end of Trinity street and this is a good landmark to follow because three quarters of the way down the street, the Frank Whittle arch will come into view and then as you reach the bottom of Trinity street, off to the left of the Frank Whittle arch is the Transport Museum.
- Click here to see the walk BACK from the Transport museum to the Herbert and back to Earl Street which becomes Jordan Well which becomes Gosford Street.
- Click here to see the speeded up version of the walk BACK to the Herbert.
- As you arrive BACK in Earl Street from walking along the side of the Herbert, turn to your left and in the far distance you will see the flyover which is the landmark for Gosford Street car park where you should have parked my courtesy car (under the flyover).
- Admission to the museum is free. There is free Wifi in the Musuem's cafe. The Transport Museum is just 8 minutes walk away from the Herbert Museum.
- Huge Collection. There is huge and eclectic collection of vehicles and the two Thrust Land Speed Record cars as well as a 4d thrust simulator.
- Made in Coventry. Cycles, motor bikes, cars, commercial vehicles and buses made in and around Coventry tell the story of manufacture in Coventry from the Victorian period with the arrival of the first boneshaker from Paris at the Coventry Sewing Machine Company in 1868 up until the present. There is an extensive collection of Jaguar cars. There is a “Blitz experience” where you can experience what it would have been like in a Coventry street during a bombing raid. There are visiting exhibitions and classic car meets. Just as you enter the museum, after the reception desk, look out for the display case containing a manufacturer's sample book of beautiful silk ribbons made with a Jacquard loom (easily missed).
- There is a superb collection of Jaguars including at least 3 Jaguar SS cars. See my part. 2 video.
- Click here for 5 minute video. Part 1. First part of Museum: vintage cars
- Click here for 7 minute video. Part 2. Jaguar collection, first 3 minutes. Technology collection to end.
- Click here for history of cycles video (3 minutes) near entrance.
- Click here (2 minutes) to see a stand with an SS Jaguar and 3 contemporaries for comparison (including a beautiful Alvis). An example of how fantastically well the museum is curated and the immense collection they have which gives them the scope to do this.
- What I didn't film? There are many galleries and exhibits which I didn't film including buses, commercial vehicle and some military vehicles in the last hall. My videos were intended as just a quick walk through to give you an idea of what is on display and to whet your appetite for an actual visit to see the exhibits in real life.
- Child friendly. If you look at the reviews on google maps or Trip advisor, it quickly becomes obvious that the museum takes great pains to make the museum child friendly, with a children’s corner in the cafe with children’s games and books, and lots of interactive exhibits and touch screens aimed at kids. There are also special, family oriented, activity days throughout the year. I saw lots of kids in the museum and they all seemed to be having a great time.
- You should allow around three or four hours or perhaps more to visit the museum.
- My tip: It's easy to lose your way as you go through the galleries and go round in circles so follow the arrows which show you which way to go. If in doubt ask one of the attendants who are discretely positioned. If you have gone the right way you will come out at the end at the Thrust display and simulator.
- 1,500 reviews on google maps
- 3,00 reviews on Trip advisor
- Youtube videos:
- 1 minute) Mike Brewer: why you should visit
- (2 minutes) Jaguar gallery opens
- (4 minutes) “Breakfast Club” meet for classic cars and bikes every 2nd saturday from April to October
- (4 minutes) First Boneshaker arrives in Covenry – birth of an industry
- 4.30 minutes WW1 Maudsley lorry started for first time in 40 years
- 9 minutes Maudsley driven for the first time
Thrust Land Speed Record Car and simulator
- The Thrust 2 land speed record car, whose development was initiated and project managed, and also piloted by Richard Noble, broke the land speed record in 1983. (633 mph). Richard Noble also project managed Thrust SCC, which, piloted by Wing Commander Andy Green, broke Richard’s record in 1997, becoming the first car to break the sound barrier, at a speed of 763 mph. Both cars are displayed at the Coventry Transport Museum . Richard Noble is currently project managing a third attempt with Bloodhound SCC, which again will be piloted by Andy Green. The attempt is currently scheduled to take place in Summer 2018.
Thrust SSC on display at the museum
- Thrust 2 and Thrust SCC on wikipedia
- Richard Noble on wikipedia
- 52 minutes documentary on Thrust SCC
The new 4d Thrust SCC simulator
- The existing, 3D simulator was retired in 2014, to be replaced by a new, 4D simulator. In case you are wondering (like I was) what 4D means, it means a 3D film augmented by physical effects. 4D \
- (10 minutes) Thrust Simulator
- Thrust simulator on CTM’s website:
- When you are ready to return, just set your satnav to my address: CV23 0PS. You can't go wrong if you keep following the signs for "Coombe Abbey". In my 7 minute, real time video, (coming up), which shows you the first part of the journey to get you safely back on to Binley Rd, at 3 mins 30, my satnav tells me to turn left into Walsgrave Rd. Override your satnav at this point and keep straight on to Binley Rd. Just keep following the signs for Coombe Abbey. Watch this video carefully for the first part of the return. Tip. Use youtube controls to speed up by x 2. Around a mile along Binley Rd, on your right, is a Gulf filling station where you can fill up. (Not shown in video)
- 7 minute real time video - return to my premises
- Here is the same video speeded up by x 6. 1 minute, speeded up version.
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The “Whittle Arch” outside of Coventry Transport Museum (named after the local inventor of the Jet engine – Sir Frank Wittle)
The Godiva Festival
Statue of Lady Godiva
Car and Coffee morning at Coventry Transport Museum Mike Brewer