Top places to live in Warwickshire Gibbet Hill/Earlsdon
From ghost town to city of culture, ‘Cov’ is the birthplace of poet Philip Larkin, author of Jack Reacher Lee Child and The Specials. A vibrant, forward-looking city, with a diverse youthful population and many historical gems. Part of our Top 200 Places to Live series.
With the City of Culture 2021 fast approaching, Coventry will soon be the place where we’ll all want to be. This is a vibrant, multicultural and youthful city, still in a process of regeneration. Home to two top UK universities – Coventry and the University of Warwick – it’s famous for its 1950s brutalist architecture and 2-Tone ska bands, including The Specials. Pauline Black, BBC6 Music presenter and lead singer of The Selecter, still lives locally.
Historically, Coventry was part of Warwickshire. Victorian novelist George Eliot lived here in the 1840s and based Middlemarch on the city. One of the most beautiful (& prestigious) tree-lined avenues – Kenilworth Road – is within walking distance to the University of Warwick campus, near to Earlsdon, Gibbet Hill, Styvechale and Kenilworth. The train station, War Memorial Park and city centre are also in close proximity.
For scenic surroundings, special occasions and afternoon teas head to Coombe Abbey. It’s next to a country park and Go Ape tree top high ropes trails. Birmingham’s own Michelin Star chef Glynn Purnell is set to open a new fine-dining restaurant in one of Coventry’s most historic buildings, Chapterhouse. Birmingham’s award-winning Digbeth Dining Club has started hosting street food events in Coventry Cathedral ruins and FarGo Village, home to a range of small indie food outlets including Esmie’s Caribbean Kitchen. The Pod Cafe caters for vegans, Street in family-friendly/studenty suburb Earlsdon offers Pan-Asian cuisine, craft beer and clever cocktails. The Botanist in the city centre is also a good cocktail stop. Like curries? You’re in luck as there’s some fine Indian restaurants in Coventry including Turmeric Gold. Celebrating Coventry’s musical history are the 2-Tone Cafe and Simmerdown Caribbean Restaurant.
There’s Lower Precinct and West Orchards Shopping Centre in the city centre, with out-of-town retail parks at Ricoh Arena and Central Six for big retailers and fashion stores – Top Shop, Primark, M&S , Lush and H&M, etc. Earlsdon high street is more eclectic with a welcoming organic food shop, Down-to-Earth. Lots of independents and artists have set up shop in boxed outlets at FarGo Village – Coventry’s answer to Birmingham’s Custard Factory including Choc n’ Roll, Twisted Barrel Ale Brewery and Tap Room, the Big Comfy Bookshop and Fargo Scooters. Interestingly, indie cult festival fashion brand Elsie & Fred was set up by three Coventry-born siblings Natalie, Leanne and Ryan Haynes in 2015.
Sir Basil Spence’s post-war cathedral – a modernist masterpiece – stands aside the ruins of St Michael’s Cathedral, destroyed during The Blitz and opposite Coventry University. For more great heritage and culture check out The Belgrade Theatre, The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, the Coventry Transport Museum housing the largest public collection of British-made road vehicles in the world, Warwick Arts Centre on University of Warwick campus and award-winning independent Theatre Absolute & UK’s first Shop Front Theatre, in an old fish and chip shop restaurant.
Celebrating the city’s music scene is Coventry Music Museum, The Tin Music and Arts with big gigs held at the Ricoh Arena, the former Coventry City FC stadium (now home of Wasps). Kids will go mad for the city’s new multi-million pound indoor waterpark, The Wave. To find out more about Coventry’s historic buildings check out Historic Coventry.
Just outside of the city centre is the 500-acre Coombe Abbey Park with Go Ape high ropes and the Lunt Roman Fort in Baginton. Ten minutes by train is Resorts World Arena for big concerts and Bear Grylls Adventure centre. Birmingham is 20 minutes away via the fastest rail link.
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE
Gibbet Hill Road had an overall average price of £1,020,000 – the majority of sales were detached properties, selling for around £647,875. Semi-detached properties sold for an average of £413,833. Properties in Earlsdon had an overall average price of £248,402 over the last year but this depends on location. In certain streets like Southleigh Avenue, the average price increases to around £702,267; and in Woodland Avenue, opposite Memorial Park, £561,550. Good local estate agents in the area are Payne Associates, Wiggleworth, Connells, Loveitts and Brian Holt.
Poet Philip Larkin was famously a pupil at King Henry VIII School, an independent co-educational school for 3-18s; Bablake is another leading UK co-educational independent dating back to 1344 and Pattison College for children with a talent for the performing arts. The majority of state primaries are rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted with Eden Girls’ School, an Islamic faith-based secondary, Finham Park and Sidney Stringer Academy all rated ‘Outstanding’. Also within reach of ‘Outstanding’ Kenilworth School and Sixth Form. There are several ‘Good’ secondary schools nearby.
BEST KEPT SECRET
The Grade II-listed War Memorial Park is a vast expanse of green 2.5 miles outside of the city centre. Stunning avenues of trees are dedicated to local soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War. A 1.6 mile-path around the perimeter is great for cycling, jogging and walks. Other facilities include a children’s play area, 10 floodlit tennis courts, 12 football pitches, a skatepark and summer waterpark. In July, the park is transformed into Godiva Festival – the Midlands’ biggest free festival.
The quickest rail commute is 1hr 8mins direct to London Euston from Coventry’s main train station.
View the full Top 200 Best Places to Live