It’s no surprise that Coventry, city of culture 2021, offers visitors an abundance of creativity. With nearly a dozen museums, cheese, beer and jazz festivals and excellent galleries showcasing local and international art, Coventry has enough culture to satisfy a city twice its size.
Culture in Coventry
The art scene is dominated by the ever impressive Herbert Art Gallery and Museum.
Named after famed Coventry industrialist Sir Alfred Herbert, the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum is the main hub for exhibitions in the city. Home to a museum, art gallery and creative arts centre, the gallery space hosts exhibitions featuring sculpture, old masters paintings and an impressive costume collection dating back to 1800. Alongside these, it hosts rotating shows, including watercolours, tapestry studies and works relating to Lady Godiva, and Picasso portraits.
With a rich history that can be traced back centuries, Coventry’s museums bring the city’s vivid story to life. The Coventry Transport Museum is the very definition of speed, with carefully curated exhibitions detailing the fascinating story behind the rise of bikes, motorbikes and cars. The Herbert Alp Gallery and Museum is also worthy, if only for their archaeological work which traces the city’s history through the Roman and Anglo Saxon periods. And if you’d rather let your imagination soar, then head to the Coventry Air Museum – also known as the Midland Air Museum – and take in its Wings Over Coventry exhibit, but hang on tight in the wind-tunnel!
Head to our dedicated Coventry museums page to find out more about these museums and several others.
As you’d expect from a transport hub with hundreds of car, motorbike and bicycle companies over the years, the Coventry Transport Museum has a range of exhibitions. With shows detailing the rise of cycling from the 1800s to the present day, wartime transport and even looking ahead to future technologies – hello, flying cars – the rotating exhibitions are always fascinating.
The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum opposite Coventry Cathedral is another action hub, with guest exhibitions several times a year, including recent collections of Picasso artworks and South Asian art.
Herbert Art Gallery
If you’re into cheese, Lady Godiva and beer, then Coventry is the city for you, thanks to its array of exciting events throughout the year.
We love cheese and we love Coventry, so it goes without saying that the Coventry Cheese Festival – held at the Coventry Cathedral – is udderly brie-lliant. A one-day affair hosting a gouda collection of cheeses every August, the festival brings together cheese traders, halloumi fries, cheesy popcorn and more, making this a real crowd-cheeser.
An annual festival held at the start of March at the Coventry Rugby Football Ground, Butts Park Arena, the Coventry Beer Festival is a two-day event showcasing over 80 beers and ciders, as well as dozens of bottled beers and country wines. It runs until 11pm both nights, or until the beer runs out (as has occurred in previous years!).
An award-winning, multi-stage festival that attracts almost 200,000 guests every year, the Godiva Festival weekend dates back to 1998 at its present War Memorial Park location, but with a historical lineage that stretches back to 1190. The UK’s biggest free family festival, it’s hosted big-name acts like Kasabian, Happy Mondays and The Human League as well as showcasing local bands, comics, kids entertainers and acoustic acts across its various stages and tents. Held across three days, it’s free entry to everyone (a fact well worth repeating). All you need to do is turn up every July with a smile on your face.