England: Coventry & Warwickshire...

Paying attention to a region that isn't far from my current location, I have been working my way through three places in the English county of Warwickshire. Exploring Coventry had to be done, I had visited many times before 2014 but had never explored properly. Warwick had been visited before but nothing beyond the castle. That Shakespearean birthplace needed my attention! Go!

Coventry is a city that is seriously misunderstood, I kept my opinions to myself and trusted the city of Lady Godiva. Once the manufacturing powerhouse, this Warwickshire city faced serious hardship during WWII. Coventry took a battering by the Nazi German intruders, leaving the 14th century cathedral in ruins! Cov had the ammunition on hand! Upon visiting the remains of Coventry's original cathedral, I had respect for the city of Coventry during that bleak time of destruction. If truth be told the new cathedral didn't impress me much! Famed as England's motor-city, I paid a visit to the Coventry Transport Museum to be enlightened about Coventry's rich past, present and future contributions to the automotive trade and manufacturing. Since 1896 Coventry has been working in the motor car industry like many other central regions in England. I noticed that Muriel Hind became the first woman to own and ride a motorcycle! She must have been Coventry's 19th century female boss during her time? Cov, start your engine!

Talking about female role models, Lady Godiva rode her horse completely naked through Coventry's city centre in the 11th century because she didn't agree with a tax charge her husband had introduced to the county. In my book Lady Godiva is another female boss! I got out of the city limits! I had been to Coventry many times before so I had a place in mind that I wanted to explore. I chose to visit the Foleshill area of Coventry for some Indian food, I tell you the Foleshill Road showed me a variety of grocers and interesting looking eateries. Doing my research before my visit I had the 'Panjab Sweet Centre & Curry Hut' in mind. I left my comfort zone! I saw Broadgate, Coventry's main shopping realm where I saw the statue of Lady Godiva, I loved the concrete appeal that Broadgate served to me! To be fair, concrete isn't the most appealing of materials! Could regeneration be the key to Cov's future? I reckon the concrete facades will be replaced with a futuristic plan! You should be 'Sent To Coventry!' I'd visit again!

Stratford-upon-Avon must be one of the most famous places to visit in the whole county? Being the birthplace of playwright William Shakespeare, it is a clear winner for foreign tourists! Those foreign visitors seeking out that culture! Let's face it, we have some great people and places to thank for bringing some serious cash money to us! Yes! Tourism may be the biggest draw for Stratford-upon-Avon, but I was just looking for an alternative day out. Yes to taking in the Shakespearean tones of the town, but one must laze beside the River Avon. Have you seen the birthplace of William Shakespeare? Well, I have! Chill your beans because we all can do that! Like Coventry, it is quite easy to reach Stratford-upon-Avon due to convenient and fairly priced day return tickets from Birmingham Moor Street and Snow Hill Stations. We live in a very celebrity orientated world but was Shakespeare himself ever hounded by medieval paparazzi in the 1500's? Did they have 'OK Magazine?' I highly doubt it! Come on, let's get Shakespearean! 

There's Anne Hathaway's Cottage & Gardens, which is a fair walk from the centre of Stratford-upon-Avon's town centre. It is definitely worth the trip, I found it to be really something special. I didn't play the fool by purchasing the 'Shakespeare Pass'. I was only there for the afternoon, plus it didn't agree with my student loan either. Me and a friend rented a rowing boat but it looked easier than it actually turned out to be for us! Pay your respects at the Church of the Holy Trinity, the resting place of William Shakespeare. Yes, he may have been buried there on the 25th of April 1616 but it's still a place of  great significance today. I took one day in the town of Shakespeare's birthplace but you could easily spend two days there nonetheless I was impressed! New Place & Noah's House were places that I didn't get to during my whistle-stop Warwickshire day out. For next to nothing, me and my former friend had a great day in the town of William Shakespeare. We were feeling extremely cultured indeed! Warwickshire had me looking around! 

Who's got that castle? That must be Warwick? Yes! I took a chance on Warwickshire's most famous castle because I wanted to know more! Managed my Merlin Entertainment, the modern day castle gives America's wide-eyed tourists the chance to see what a real castle looks like! Of course, I was more interested to know more about Ethelfelda's mound! That Anglo Saxon princess slayed here corner! That was no lie! Yes, I appreciated the castle, I had been there twice before but just wanted a simple day out in Warwick. The main castle building's have been mindfully preserved, sure the showcase staterooms make it look somewhat like Downton Abbey! Yes, I could live in a house like that! Get to the castle early because those tourists do drag their feet, plus nobody likes to wait in line! No, I do not! What else is there to be done in Warwick? I enjoyed the castle nonetheless. Warwick Castle served up everything that I had wanted it to, aside from the cream tea that was part of my promotional ticket. I wasn't mad. Maybe, I was?

Aside from Warwick Castle the town of Warwick deserved a look in, so I took some knowledge from the Market Hall Museum in the centre of Warwick to learn about the Great Fire of Warwick. The 1694 blaze started from one spark, hurtling through the town at a great pace, destroying a large part of the town centre at a rapid pace. The Sheldon Tapestry showed me the expanse of the four counties aside from Warwickshire. I also learn that the city of Coventry was once spelt 'Coventrie' and was walled city that was protected by the River Sherbourne! The river was later paved over to make way for the modern layout of Coventry. The Lord Leycester Hospital showed me something different, once a military hotel that was used during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The hospital was used to house certain injured military to aid their recovery. To learn something different about Warwick was worth finding that hospital, I visited more the castle! It was to be that Coventry and Warwickshire had never looked so good! Would I lie? No!

Who Said 'Royal Leamington Spa?'

Joseph Harrison 


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