You might have noticed….Hull is UK City of Culture 2017. Occasionally, I have spoken to first time visitors on their return. And when asked, it seems they sometimes missed the good stuff to do. So today’s blog aims to provide the first timer with an overview of what not to miss, and some extra suggestions if time allows. This is for a two-night break.
Hull is just two and a bit hours from London Kings Cross by direct train. There is a good range of hotels, with an average room rate of £50-70 a night.
After arriving in the city and checking in, I suggest a walk to the Old Town and Museum Quarter, centred on the High Street. Do not miss Ye Olde Black Boy and White Hart pubs, brimming with mystery and atmosphere. There are history walking tours you can do. The Minerva pub on the waterfront does food and has amazing views. Walk by the Deep and gaze over the Humber, where you can see the Humber Bridge one way and the ferries the other. For a special meal try 1884 or if you book ahead, eat by the sharks inside the Deep after hours! Humber Street is up and coming and has great places to eat. Stroll around the Marina. Check out Hull’s city centre, Queen Victoria Square and the striking 1950s architecture of the BHS mosaic and House of Frasier. I find the post-war architecture at its best in the stairwells of this department store. If you are still in the mood, take a taxi or bus to Princes Avenue, with a range of vibrant pubs including Pave.
The First Morning
Enjoy brunch at Thieving Harry’s on Humber Street and then explore the museum quarter. The Wilberforce House, and the Street Life Museum are both excellent and side by side. You can usually go onboard the Arctic Corsair, a real trawler! Walk along the river Hull, check out the industrial heritage. In the new year, the wonderful Ferens Art Gallery will re-open. Visit the Maritime museum in Queen Victoria Square. Stroll through the Victorian Hepworth Arcade. Don’t miss the pretty Prince Street and Holy Trinity, England’s largest parish church.
The First Afternoon
Take a bus or taxi to the Avenues. This is an area of Hull near the university, brimming with atmosphere. It is centred on Newland Avenue. Browse the second-hand shops for bargain Hornsea pottery and vintage, retro fashion. Enjoy coffee and lunch in the many cafes along this youthful street, including the English Muse and many others. Afterwards explore the Victorian architecture of the Avenues themselves, the network of streets that make this neighbour special. Do not miss Park Avenue, Westbourne Avenue and Marlborough Avenue. Check out the fountains and wooden sculpture. Worth a wander is Newland Park, a wonderfully peaceful and opulent street of large villas. Ella Street is known as the Street of Birds and Shadows, I won’t spoil the artistic surprise. There is an ancient Jewish cemetery here.
As daylight fades, take a train or bus to Hessle and walk down to the shores of the Humber, under the Humber Bridge. The views at dusk are amazing and there is a pleasant pub here. Or why not take the train to Beverley, just 10 minutes away, and enjoy an evening stroll in this achingly pretty market town, bursting with Georgian gems and full of places to eat and drink, including the unique and ancient White Horse pub (AKA Nellies)?
It is probably time to go home. But time permitting, why not visit one last place? Perhaps East Park and the Garden Village, Edwardian suburbia at its best. Or the deliciously creepy columbarium in the cemetery in the shadow of the prison. Pearson Park and Pickering Park both have their charms. Hessle Road and the now derelict St Andrew’s Docks are worth exploring too, with their connections to the Headscarf revolutionaries and struggle for trawler safety. And as you leave, take a moment to enjoy the lobby of the Royal Station Hotel.
A weekend is not really enough. I return to Hull regularly. It inspires my art. It evokes memories of childhood. It is a wonderful city. I hope you will buy a train ticket, book a room and just come and see. But remember to visit all the places described above! Check out my art, including many Hull-themed works at https://www.artfinder.com/andrew-reid-wildman