From cruising down the River Avon to finding the perfect park to relax in, undergraduate student Chloe shares her favourite places to visit in the local area.
One of the things that I love most about The University of Warwick is that it is never too far from an area of natural beauty. So if you’re feeling adventurous one day, why not put on your Dora the explorer hat and check out some of the places I have come to love.
War Memorial Park – Coventry
Located just off the main Kenilworth Road, this park is only a 10-minute bus ride away from campus. The 12X bus will drop you somewhere along the main road, and from there, the entrance to the park is just a stone’s throw away. This park is perfect for a jog as there is a circular path that wraps around the entire park. At the moment, every Saturday morning at 9am there is a 5km run that you can join for free. The park is also a popular route for dog owners, as there are also many open and flat plains for dogs to have a field day. Of course, you can’t miss the war memorial that rises above the tree tops. This memorial (which gives the park its moniker) was built in 1927 and is around 90 feet high. So if you’re a self-pronounced avid photographer like me, this makes for an impressive photo. There are also various facilities in the centre of the park such as tennis courts, football pitches, a cricket pitch and a FootGolf course. As you can probably infer, the War Memorial Park is not a small park and definitely has no shortage of activities.
St Nicholas' Park – Warwick
Although this park isn’t as big as the War Memorial Park, it has something the War Memorial Park doesn’t – a water body. The River Avon runs along the bottom of the park parallel to a footpath perfect for jogging. One experience you definitely should not miss out on is renting a paddle boat or a kayak from Warwick Boats and paddling along the River Avon. Besides the benefits of a good work out, you’ll also be privy to a view you can’t get anywhere else. If you paddle southwest along the river and go under the bridge, you’ll be greeted by an unhindered frontal view of Warwick Castle. This is the only place from which you can get a clear view of the entire castle, ramparts and all. Unfortunately, even from the entrance of the castle, you won’t be able to get such an unobstructed view, so it’s definitely worth a go renting a paddle boat.
Newbold Comyn Country Park – Leamington Spa
Yet another park, but stay with me now, I promise that this one is vastly different from the previous two. While the last two parks are slightly more manicured and maintained, Newbold is a lot more natural and untouched. I personally really like Newbold because of its terrain. The park is on an altitude and is the very definition of ‘rolling hills’. The rest of Coventry and Warwick is pretty flat, but this gem tucked away from the crowds affords you the challenge of a climb. So if you get tired of the ever-present crowds in the more well-known Jephson Gardens, why not take a 15 minute walk to the entrance of Newbold? The park also makes for a very good place to lay down a picnic mat and bask in the evening sun.
Chesterton Windmill – Leamington Spa Outskirts
The last place on the list is also the furthest one away from campus. Chesterton Windmill stands at the top of a hill surrounded by acres of open flat land, which makes for a very impressive picture as you can see (thank you to my friend Adam Heng for letting me use his brilliant photo of the windmill for this blog!) The views from the windmill are also staggering and you can look out to the surrounding villages for miles. But because this is such a picturesque place, you often see quite a lot of photoshoots happening at the windmill. The only drawback to this place is that it is quite inconvenient to get to by public transport, as the nearest bus stop is a good 1.5 miles away and the walk isn’t one that is pedestrian friendly. But if you’re driving, there is a small car park not far from the windmill.
I do realise that all the ‘best places’ I’ve identified are areas of nature and natural scenery. I think that’s because, having moved here from Singapore, a country that doesn’t have a lot of green spaces, the areas of nature in England just take my breath away. There are, of course, other attractions worth visiting in the surrounding area such as Kenilworth Castle, the Royal Pump Rooms in Leamington and the Coventry Cathedral ruins. So if you’re feeling really adventurous, why not go out and explore and create your very own list of ‘the best places to visit in the local area’?
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