With its recent reign of City of Culture, Coventry has had a revamp. Think flat streets: the silver lining to a a rebuild after the World War II bombings. There’s chic retro restaurants and the viral sensation that is Binley Mega Chippy, too. We went along to see what it was all about. Our first stop was St. Mary’s Guildhall, a former prison to Mary Queen of Scots, and once a theatre for Shakespeare. Here in the Cathedral quarter of Coventry we found the ecclesiastical building has recently reopened after some work. Paul loved the accessibility that had been considered in the renovation and I loved the elephant icon that had been restored, too – you have to look closely around the building for little elephant signs! Around the corner you’ll find The Reel Store, part of a renovation of the former Telegraph Coventry newspaper site and The Telegraph Hotel’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery. We immersed ourselves in a digital exhibition by artist Refik Anadol that sees soothing projections of space imagery on the walls, floors and ceiling slowly moving around and covering all in the space. After taking in the culture we stopped for cocktails at the neighbouring Telegraph Hotel, another part of the former newspaper building’s empire. Think luxury and Fifties glamour straight out of the Mad Men TV series. We both enjoyed the Forme & Chase restaurant, bar and lounge here especially the wide entrance complete with black marbled facade that harks back to the days of Fleet Street. To end our stay we inhaled a refreshing cup of afternoon tea at Coombe Abbey Hotel set in a nearby 500 acres of parkland and formal gardens in the Warwickshire countryside. The site dates back to the 12th century and was surrendered to King Henry VIII during the dissolution of the monasteries and the future Queen Elizabeth I even lived there as a child – something to ponder with our cups of Earl Grey as the sun sets upon us. – By Erica Crompton
- Erica and Paul stayed at the Brandon Hall Hotel and Spa, set in 17 acres of grounds and gardens: brandonhallhotelandspa.co.uk. For more information on visiting Coventry and it’s accessibility log-on to www.visitcoventry.co.uk.