Time flies when you’re having fun and that’s guaranteed at Coventry’s wonderfully eclectic museums, which cover topics as wide-ranging as watches, aviation and transport, as well as giving an insight into Coventry’s historical past.
Museums in Coventry
Home to the Coventry Transport Museum, one of the largest of its kind in the country, the city takes its museum offering very seriously. Boasting six wonderful museums all worth your time and showcasing everything from air travel to the region’s rich musical heritage, there’s a museum with your name on it in Coventry.
A diverse museum, the Herbert Art Gallery and Museum covers everything from Bronze Age archaeology to the evolution of children’s toys through the decades. Its archaeology department is fascinating, with objects and exhibits from Anglo Saxon, Roman and medieval periods, as well as artefacts dating back to the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic eras.
If you’re after something a bit more modern, the museum also offers a George Eliot collection, a social and industrial history review of Coventry and a fascinating collection of watches and Coventry-made clocks.If that doesn’t satisfy your time, you can try the Coventry Watch Museum Project in Spon Street, which is open from 11am to 3pm Tuesday–Saturday. Telling the history of watchmaking, which was first recorded in the 1680s, you can view some stunning timepieces that help trace the watch’s wristy history.
Now 50 years old, the Midland Air Museum is an independent, self-funded aviation museum that houses a Vulcan bomber, Argosy freighter and a Sea Harrier jump jet. With planes and exhibits stretching back to 1946 and dedicated exhibits recounting the region’s rich aviation history, including its part in WWII, the museum is a fascinating and comprehensive look at how time flies.
If you prefer your museums to focus on ground travel, head to the Coventry Transport Museum; one of the largest and most impressive transport museums in the world. Recently redeveloped and reopened, the museum consists of 300 bikes, 120 motorbikes and 250 cars, including the Thrust SSC, the British-designed and built car that broke the world land speed record of 763mph in 1997. And no, sadly, you can’t have a go, but you are welcome to try out the on-site 4D simulator, which lets you experience the thrills and none of the spills of driving at over 760mph.
You might know about Coventry’s special place in musical history, thanks to ska and two-tone bands like The Specials, but the Coventry Music Museum charts the city’s musical heritage even further, venturing as far back as Roman times. The museum also covers the 50s and 60s rock and roll explosion, punk, bhangra and even opera, and has also released two books and started its own record label.
Located in the middle of the city’s historic Cathedral Quarter, St. Mary’s Guildhall dates back to medieval times, replete with stunning stained glass windows, intricate stonework and a ceiling of carved angels. Memorably, the Guildhall has welcomed Mary Queen of Scots and Shakespeare through its doors, meaning you could be following in some very illustrious footsteps.