Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Stratford to Coventry

The Stagecoach 16 bus service provides a convenient way for visitors to Stratford to visit Warwick Castle, Kenilworth Castle and Coventry (and for visitors to Coventry and Warwick University to visit Stratford).

There's a full timetable, and route details here: Stagecoach Service 16

This picture shows the Service 16 bus at its departure point in Wood Street, Stratford. (The bus may often be a single-decker bus).

All the remaining pictures on this page were taken from the top of the bus.


This is the A439, Warwick Road, as it leaves Stratford.  

From the A439, there are some good long distance views to the right, looking across the Avon valley...

The countryside is flat and open here (this was called the Feldon). It becomes more wooded as we get North of Kenilworth (the Arden).

The photo above is taken near Snitterfield, the childhood home of John Shakespeare, Shakespeare's father. But the 16 bus does not pass through Snitterfield itself. If you want to visit Snitterfield, then you would need to catch a different, less frequent, local bus service.

Approaching Warwick, along the A46, near Coplow Hill, there is a good view of the town straight ahead.

You can very easily see St Mary's Church, Warwick. The towers of Warwick Castle are just visible, but these are largely obscured by trees. The tower of St Mary's Church is much higher than the towers of Warwick Castle.

Before we reach Warwick, we need to cross the Longbridge Island. 

The Longbridge Island is a major junction where 3 main routes intersect:
The M40 Motorway, which links London with Birmingham.
The A46, which links Stratford to Coventry.
The A429, which links Warwick to Cirencester and the Fosse Way.

This is a view looking along the M40 towards Birmingham, taken from the bus as it passes over the flyover at the Longbridge Island. 

Coming into Warwick, this is West Street.

The main entrance for cars to Warwick Castle is indicated by the red arrow. It isn't very well signposted. If you are on the bus, then there are also alternative entrances for pestestrians further around the castle.

We pass by the main car entrance to Warwick Castle.

You can't see anything of the castle towers from any part of the bus ride (except the view from Coplow Hill).

The tall stone building at the top of the hill is West Gate, one of the gates around the old town.

There's also an East Gate, on the opposite side of the town, which the bus will pass by. And there was a North Gate, which no longer exists.

The centre of Warwick consists of some narrow and winding streets, on top of a small hill. The bus makes it's way, tortuously, to the small bus station.

This is the market square. The building in the centre of the picture is the former Market Hall, which is now used to house the Warwickshire County Museum.

The bus station is just round the corner.

The bus may wait for several minutes at the bus station. 

Leaving the bus station, the bus passes around the hillside, and passes the end of Northgate Street.

Looking up Northgate Street, we can catch a brief glimpse of St Mary's Church, and The Shire Hall (County Council administrative offices).

The bus leaves Warwick along Smith Street.

At the bottom of Smith Street the bus turns left. This is where Warwick railway station is. There is a bus stop outside the railway station.

On its way to Kenilworth, passing through the small village of Leek Wootton, mid-way between Warwick and Kenilworth.

There are a number of thatched cottages in this village, which the bus passes very swiftly.

Coming into Kenilworth, we first see St John's Church. 

Kenilworth has a long straight main street, called Warwick Road.

This is a view looking down the length of Warwick Road.

At the far end of Warwick Road is Kenilworth Clock. The bus travels up the road at the right, and then does a right left.

Kenilworth Clock, shown in the picture, is point to get off for Kenilworth Castle.

Service 16 only goes through Kenilworth town centre, so there is a short walk to the castle. Walk up the road on the right, and then take the left turn, or walk through the park, to the castle.

The tops of the stonework of Kenilworth Castle can just be seen over the trees (red circle).
At this point you can walk along the road, or through the park ahead (at the right in the picture).

The park is known as the Abbey Fields, and the contains the remains of Kenilworth Priory.

The three pictures, immediately below. were taken from the road walking towards the caste. The Service 16 bus doesn't pass down this road...

This is known as Kenilworth Ford.

At times of very heavy rain, perhaps once or twice a year, the road can come under several inches of water. Just a small puddle is visible in this picture. 

The entrance to the castle is just on the left, exactly at the spot where I was standing to take this photo.

Following this road a bit further and bearing right, is a tea shop and a public house.

Directly opposite the pub and the tea shop, is a small village of half-timbered thatched cottages. This hamlet is known as Little Virginia.

Resuming the service 16 route, and leaving Kenilworth, there are a couple of miles of open countryside between Kenilworth and Coventry.

The countryside here has a different character from the countryside around Stratford.

This is the region of the old Forest of Arden. Although the forest was clear long ago, this area still has a wooded feel to it.

This is a view of the approach to Coventry along the Kenilworth Road.

The bus doesn't go directly into Coventry but takes a short detour through the the University of Warwick.

This picture is taken with the bus, stopped at a cross roads, at the top of Gibbet Hill. The bus turns left here, along Gigget Hill Road, which runs through the University of Warwick.

Student Halls of Residence, and numerous teaching buildings, are visible through the trees, on both sides of the road.  

Gibbet Hill Road, as it runs through the University campus.  

The bus makes a complete circuit around the University campus.
On the left is Rootes Hall, the University students' social centre.

These pictures are all taken from the top of the bus.

On the right, directly opposite Rootes Hall, is Warwick Arts Centre.  

Leaving the University, the bus travels along the A45 to Coventry.

Before the M40 or M1 were built, the A45 was the main road between London and Birmingham. The A45/M45 joins the M1 near Rugby, and still provides an alternative route to London.

Approaching Coventry along the A429, the road passes over a bridge over the London to Birmingham railway line, and Coventry station.

There is a bus stop on the bridge which provides convenient access to and from the station.

There is train service between here and London, every 30 minutes, and the journey to London takes 70 minutes. There is a Virgin express from London in the station in this picture.

Approaching Coventry City Centre. 

On the left we pass the church of St John the Baptist, in Corporation Street. 

Approaching Millennium Place and the Whittle Arch, where the journey terminates. 

The bus at its Coventry arrival/departure point, which is outside the Coventry Transport Museum. 

The most direct route to the Old and New Cathedrals is up an alley way, just opposite where the bus stops. 

Up the alley way, the red brick building is the building that was built over the foundations of the medieval priory. At ground level (to the left and just out of the picture) there is a large window where you can look down onto what remains of the old foundations. The walkway on the right leads to the visitors centre and to the New Cathedral.