Coventry is the second largest city in the West Midlands behind Birmingham, which lies 20 miles away to the east. To the north are the mining towns of Nuneaton and Bedworth, to the east is Rugby, and to the south is the county town of Warwick and Leamington Spa. The Coventry Road links the city to Birmingham through Solihull with a journey time of only 20 minutes. Nearby motorway links include the M40 that runs all the way to London.
Coventry also possesses multiple rail links – a main station from which it is just over an hour to the capital city, and stations in the western suburbs at Tile Hill and Canley. From the central station it is around 25 minutes to the centre of Birmingham.
Coventry is a historic city, known for the legend of Godiva, believed to have been the wife of an Anglo-Saxon king of Mercia. The city is twinned with Dresden and Stalingrad, or as it then was, Stalingrad, both of which had suffered similarly terrible destruction following bombing campaigns in the Second World War. Coventry Cathedral is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city. Originally built in the 14th century, the cathedral was largely destroyed during the Second World War, before being rebuilt by the great modernist architect Sir Basil Spence, with artworks and sculpture by Graham Sutherland and Jacob Epstein.
Much of the economy of Coventry was built in the 20th century upon the fabric, automotive and aerospace industry. Manufacturers that had large factories in Coventry included Courtaulds, Peugeot, Triumph, Massey-Ferguson, and Jaguar Land Rover. Jaguar still has their headquarters in the city and operates the engineering plant at Whitley.
The city is home to various educational institutions such as Coventry University and the University of Warwick and to the leading independent schools Bablake and King Henry VIII, Coventry, amongst whose alumni was the poet Phillip Larkin.
Coventry boasts various sports teams that compete on a national level – in football, ice hockey, Rugby, and speedway. The city also possesses several major entertainment venues: the Ricoh Arena has been used for football, exhibitions, and music from artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Oasis, and Coldplay, and other venues include the SkyDome, the Belgrade Theatre, and the Warwick Arts Centre. The recently refurbished Herbert Art Gallery and Museum holds collections of Old Master paintings, natural history exhibits, and temporary exhibitions provided by organisations such as the British Museum and the V&A.
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