When you think of UK city breaks where do you think of? Cambridge for the architecture? Manchester for the bars? Glasgow for the Art? Well I have a new suggestion for you….Hull. You might be surprised by my suggestion, but I bet you in a few months time you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t go sooner.
I’ve just had a wonderful trip there myself, and it’s ticked so many boxes I’m kinda embarrassed I already had this set vision (wrongly) of what Hull was like. So let’s see the reasons why you need to add it on to your list.
- It’s the UK City of Culture 2017
Hull is 2017 City of Culture for the UK, the second city ever to receive the accolade. What does this mean you ask? Well the term itself means that one location in the UK will be specifically promoting arts and culture as a means of celebration and regeneration and as such may host events such as the Turner Prize which Hull is indeed doing this year.When you walk around Hull there’s a large number of art installations, open air theatre spots and interactive street pieces such as a box you speak into that projects your words onto a nearby building. (Swear words not allowed, despite my initial amusement that it might just be curse after curse!)
- There are an unbelievable amount of drinking establishments
Hull has a lot of pubs, and I’m not talking about your chain pubs (although of course they have snuck in), I’m talking about unique boozers, with scores of craft ales, local brews & horse shoes on the walls. The kind of pubs that you see in UK travel guides but have been all but eradicated in London and replaced by imitations of the same. Somehow Hull has managed to find a wonderful middle ground, between keeping these old establishments authentic but equally making them a little more friendly for city-folk like me and making sure they stock a range of gins and slimline tonic.
- It’s London cool without the pricetag
Humber Street looks like Williamsburg in NYC. With it’s brick buildings, re-purposed furniture and vintage shops it’s a pretty cool hang out. However, the price tags haven’t reached Southern levels yet and you can search for vintage designer label clothes without breaking the bank, or try 2 giant artisan chocolate brownies plus two coffees from Cocoa Chocolatier with plenty of change from a tenner. Try doing that in Shoreditch.
- You can have so many days out for free!
Hull has an entire museum quarter where virtually everything is entirely free of charge. The Wilberforce Museum, Streetlife Museum, Ferens Gallery (where the Turner Prize is exhibited) and many more don’t change for entry and you could spend whole days looking round. There’s plenty there to entertain kids too!There are tours of Hull Old Town for only £4 per person, which while not free is pretty cheap! (Read about the tour here.)
There’s also the Fish Trail, part street art installation, part self guided tour, that takes you round many of the sights of the City passing by some great pubs and bars.
Plus there’s the marina, whilst not necessarily a full day out, is certainly a lovely area to explore and take photos of, whilst being home to a number of lovely bars and restaurants.
- It’s easy to get to.
We got the train from London, quick, stress free, and much cheaper than a lot of the West Coast routes.
- The Deep
I remember The Deep being advertised when I was a kid on the buses on my way to school. Yet despite being well established in Hull, through regularly updating The Deep has managed to stay ahead of the game and has continuously been one of the most impressive aquariums in the world. On top of it’s wonderful range of aquatic life it has an incredible lift that takes you up through the aquarium in a Charlie & The Chocolate Factory style glass elevator.
7. It’s so friendly!
I’ve put out quite a few tweets since I’ve been here and everyone has been met with replies from locals welcoming me to the city. Equally, in cafes and restaurants I’ve had the staff politely offer me a piece of paper with their own suggestions for favourite bars or places to visit. When I stopped to ask for directions I didn’t get the usual wave in a vague direction, the passer by asked if I’d like them to show me exactly where my destination was, as a Northerner myself I’ve always believed this but trust me, it is more friendly ‘Up North’.