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City Wall and Gates (inc. Cook Street)

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Prof
Gloucester
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181 of 191  Fri 6th May 2022 11:06am  
: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1649

Forum image From Rob's pics.
Buildings - City Wall and Gates (inc. Cook Street)
Helen F
Warrington
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182 of 191  Fri 6th May 2022 4:40pm  
Moderator, : Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:3192

That's a nice one Prof. There are some outstanding photos of the creation of the garden including the demolition of the south side and clear images of the north. I've got my fingers crossed that they get copied onto Digital Coventry.
Buildings - City Wall and Gates (inc. Cook Street)
Helen F
Warrington
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183 of 191  Mon 30th May 2022 12:04pm  
Moderator, : Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:3192

I mentioned that my next visit to Coventry was going to involve a stay at the gatehouses and so it happened. What were they like? SWANSWELL GATE The area is fairly busy and waiting for the key drop off wasn’t worrying at all. I could set the time and location for drop off and pick up and it went to plan at the Swanswell. Those who had visited the building before the plans to refurbish it, may have entered via the external stairs but those have been blocked off and entry is through the ground floor doorway in the front arch. You enter into the kitchen dining room, which is a good blend of modern and old. The ceiling has been lifted, so those who remember the old version, no longer need to fear hitting their head. There are all the important things for a kitchen, including a dishwasher and a modest coffee machine. The fridge has complimentary milk, butter, preserves and scones. A very nice loaf of sliced bread means that breakfast doesn’t have to involve a dash to the shops. The floor is made of slightly uneven bricks but is heated from below and in keeping with the space. The first floor is accessed by the old spiral staircase, with some care needed for even someone my height. The floor layout isn’t much changed from pre refurb days with the exception of a boxed in cupboard area around the external doorway and a light well looking down to the front of the ground floor. This was a great feature for me because it meant that I could see the old grooves for the portcullis and it meant the ground floor was day lit from both ends. There is the addition of a modern wooden spiral staircase going up to the bedroom and bathroom. The furniture was comfortable and suitable for the space and the obligatory TV plus internet connection were there. That said the TV operation was mostly incomprehensible and I struggled at both properties to find recognisable channels. The big downsides to this floor was the lack of blinds, which meant that there was no privacy from the buses on one side and blue spiral walkway on the other, especially once it went dark. The top floor was all new and opened up all the way to the roof. The bedroom was at the back (inside the city), served by the windows installed after the gatehouses were turned into homes but also the original gate window, too high up to be looked through from the current upper floor level. The front was divided into a small dressing area and the shower room. There are no frosted windows, so attention was needed when turning on the lights to ensure that the blinds were dropped. The mechanisms on all the blinds in both properties are flimsy and will need to be replaced quite quickly. The main issue with the property was the noise. Revellers on the street on three sides and buses on two. Uneven paving clunked up and down until pedestrians thinned. A few times people knocked on the door. It didn’t bother me much as I fell asleep in front of the TV very quickly after I’d eaten my dinner and didn’t wake until three in the morning when the astonishingly loud dawn chorus started. Birds apart, it was quiet enough at that time in the morning and I stumbled off to bed. It was probably quieter there than the lower two floors but I don’t remember how much. I think the external noise would be exhausting after a very few days.
Buildings - City Wall and Gates (inc. Cook Street)
Helen F
Warrington
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184 of 191  Mon 30th May 2022 12:12pm  
Moderator, : Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:3192

COOK STREET GATE The visit to this gate did not start off well as the key delivery was about an hour late. Not good at all for a lone woman in a relatively quiet spot. The area has been improved as they have sealed off the seating in the arbour and discouraged the tramps. The myriad types of paving are lethal and they must sort it out as someone is likely to seriously injure themselves before long. The entry to the building is up a modern staircase which is protected by fencing and a locked gate. It’s a mishmash of materials and not very even under foot. Visually and for safety they’d have been better to put in a basic metal industrial staircase but at least once you were inside the locked gate it felt very secure from attack. The old doorway had two doors, both lockable, and once inside I suspect it was as safe as the original gate house. The main problem with this gate is the lack of space. You enter at the side back, in the mini kitchen and it really is mini. There is no hob, the sockets and most of the cupboards are too hard to reach. Even the microwave oven needed to be more accessible. The property is a place to sleep in and eat out. Even to make toast I had to move the toaster into the bedroom but that was fine for me. The only place to sit was the bed, which encourages toast in bed and I suspect I wasn’t the first to enjoy the luxury. The bedroom was at the front (outer wall) and extends wall to wall. The shower room was at the back, on the other side of partition to the kitchen. Those two rooms share half of the familiar window on the city side of the building while the bedroom is served by the arrow slots on the three walls that would have defended the gate from invaders. The property is essentially a rather spectacular hotel room with a few extras but no hotel amenities. Despite being close to the ring road it was quiet enough and in the morning that area felt reasonably safe. Which is just as well as the key collector was also late! OVERALL I thoroughly enjoyed myself, give or take already being exhausted from unrelated issues. I learnt a lot about the buildings and took many measurements. I think that the places have issues that let them down but some are solvable. I do worry that they will struggle to attract guests and they need to seriously rethink how people access the keys.
Buildings - City Wall and Gates (inc. Cook Street)
Dreamtime
Perth Western Australia
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185 of 191  Mon 30th May 2022 1:15pm  
: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:2338

One good point, Helen, no need to paper the walls - ever. I rather fancy the natural brick. Thumbs up
Buildings - City Wall and Gates (inc. Cook Street)
lindatee2002
Virginia USA
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186 of 191  Mon 30th May 2022 1:25pm  
: Joined Apr 2015  Total posts:146

We thought about renting one of these later in the year but I see that they wouldn't be good for arthritic people, the stairs particularly. My main concern, originally, was parking but I see that there are other things that might be problematic. They do sound lovely, Helen, thankyou for letting us know about your experience. I wonder what Trip Advisor has to say.
Buildings - City Wall and Gates (inc. Cook Street)
Helen F
Warrington
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187 of 191  Mon 30th May 2022 2:07pm  
Moderator, : Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:3192

Hi Linda, in some ways the easier property to spend the night in is the Cook Street Gate, because it's all on one floor, but I'd recommend walking to where I took the external photo and then across the grass to the stairs (in both directions). The cobbles and the path are uneven, with an odd camber and dirt plus pea shingle has been kicked over the steepest part making it slippery even when dry. The stairs have a good handrail and the person who dropped off the key carried my case up. You can arrange to get the key from somewhere more sociable. The actual steps aren't bad but as you can imagine there are more than a normal staircase. To avoid going up and down the stairs, it would be best to arrive after you've eaten or shopped. A taxi could easily drop you off behind the gatehouse and the walk into the town isn't far. A food delivery to the gate at the bottom of the steps would be fairly simple. The Swanswell Gate is very easy to get to but it's spread out over three floors. As it was just one night I left my suitcase downstairs and took up the essentials, including drinking water. The spiral stairs aren't tight, have good handrails and only the first part of the kitchen staircase has restricted headroom. I'm not very mobile at the best of times and was very stiff but I didn't struggle. There is a dining table and chairs in the kitchen. There are plenty of places nearby to eat (and visit the facilities) before facing the stairs. I wouldn't want to put people off but having a plan before booking (eg earplugs) would make it a better visit.
Buildings - City Wall and Gates (inc. Cook Street)
Gilly
Melbourne Australia
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188 of 191  Tue 31st May 2022 12:42am  
: Joined Jun 2011  Total posts:131

Hi Helen. Thank you so much for the wonderful pictures and description / experience with both properties (I was so hoping that you would). I think it may well have just been added to my bucket list next time we are in Coventry. Thank you. Gilly Wave
Buildings - City Wall and Gates (inc. Cook Street)
Prof
Gloucester
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189 of 191  Mon 13th Jun 2022 8:58pm  
: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:1649

In Rob's pics: Forum image
Buildings - City Wall and Gates (inc. Cook Street)
Helen F
Warrington
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190 of 191  Mon 13th Jun 2022 11:10pm  
Moderator, : Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:3192

I've been there, Prof! I was looking out of the window on the right of your photo.
Buildings - City Wall and Gates (inc. Cook Street)
Helen F
Warrington
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191 of 191  Mon 27th Jun 2022 4:30pm  
Moderator, : Joined Mar 2013  Total posts:3192

I had another peak to see how bookings are going and the price has gone back up to stupid levels. Bookings are minimal. To compare, the gatehouse of Canterbury Cathedral in prime picturesque surrounds and relatively low noise, plus continental breakfast, is £10 to £20 cheaper for one night.
Buildings - City Wall and Gates (inc. Cook Street)

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