Things to do in Hull
The recently transformed Old Dock is a beautiful place to visit, day and night.
Art, culture and heritage
Hull is the only waterfront city in Yorkshire and its maritime history resonates to this day. From the popularity of The Deep to the transformation of The Old Dock, the city is proud of its heritage. Many of its museums are free to enter, including the Maritime Museum in Queen Victoria Square, where you can explore the evolution of trawling and Hull’s historic docklands.
There are four museums in the attractive Museums Quarter in the Old Town. The Hull and East Riding Museum delves deeper into the history of the city (as far back as prehistoric times), Arctic Corsair is a converted deep-sea trawler berthed between Drypool Bridge and Myton Bridge, Streetlife Museum explores 200 years of transport, and Wilberforce House tells the story of William Wilberforce and the UK’s abolition of slavery.
In the city centre, there is the nationally renowned Ferens Art Gallery. It will host the Turner Prize later this year, and has had a £4.5 million refurbishment to prepare for the occasion.
There are new gallery spaces like the Hull International Photography Gallery at Princes Quay, and a £700,000, 350-seat outdoor theatre rising from a disused dock, opposite The Deep.
For city centre events there is Hull Truck Theatre on Ferensway, Hull New Theatre in Kingston Square (soon set to reopen after an exciting refurbishment) and Hull City Hall, Queen Victoria Square – where you’ll find year-round programmes of contemporary arts, theatre, dance, films and stand-up comedy. What more could you want?
Trees, street furniture and lighting will decorate King Edward Square, between Jameson and King Edward streets. The new square – the city’s first in 100 years - will provide a central point for events, street theatre and entertainment
Transport in Hull
The beach or beautiful countryside; either are just an hour away when you live in Hull.
A well-connected city
Hull is well-connected with good and improving roads and public transport. The M62 and M18 provide fast access to the A1 and motorway network south, or west towards Leeds, Bradford and beyond. In terms of commuting, there are many industry bases along the M62 and M18, as well as the off-shot M180. With Doncaster, Leeds and York around an hour away, Hull is closer than you think.
What’s more, you’re at the beach or in beautiful countryside within the hour. Head northwards to the rolling Yorkshire Wolds, made famous by Hockney’s paintings, and historic Beverley with its Minster and Racecourse. Head east and the seaside towns of Withernsea and Hornsea are a 35-minute drive away. The imposing cliffs of Flamborough Head and its famous nature reserves are just over an hour.
Trains from Hull Paragon Interchange connect you to Leeds, Manchester, York, Sheffield and London. While the city’s waterside location means you can catch a ferry to mainland Europe, with regular P&O Ferries to Rotterdam, Europort in The Netherlands and Zeebrugge in Belgium.
There are four international airports within two hours - the closest is Humberside at around a 30-minute drive. Robin Hood Airport in Doncaster is easy to get to, as are Leeds Bradford and Manchester Airports.
“Hull’s city centre is compact which means you can walk from one end to the other taking in everything as you go, including the Marina, the Old Town and many of the key shopping areas.” - Chantal Stewart-Jones, former student at Hull University
Shopping in Hull
If you enjoy browsing alternative and independent stalls, Trinity Indoor Market is full of hidden gems.
A place to shop
Hull has two large shopping centres in the city (St Stephen’s and Prospect), as well as the huge North Point Shopping Centre, around 20 minutes away in Kingswood. The £20 million extension of Princes Quay, built on stilts over Prince’s Dock, will include 24 new stores and a waterfront dining hub.
The cobbled streets of The Old Town include Whitefriargate which is lined by high street stores. Walk a little further towards the river and you’ll find the impressive Hepworth Arcade, and its collection of independents including Myton Gallery, Fanthorpes Hifi and Dinsdales Joke shop.
The Grade-II Arcade is where Mr Marks and Mr Spencer set up one of their first penny bazaars. It’s also home to Beasley’s, the city’s earliest vintage clothing store. Beasley’s has been importing from America for the past 30 years and clothes with its logo are in high demand.
Towards the Marina is The Fruit Market – once home to the city’s fruit and vegetable trade - an £80 million regeneration is transforming the area of disused warehouses and cobbled streets into a thriving cultural venue with live music, art galleries and stylish places to eat and drink.
It hosts Humber Street Market every third Sunday of the month. Entry is free and you’ll find dozens of local traders and stalls, all within easy reach of Hull’s Old Town, Marina, The Deep and the city centre.
"I like to nip into Trinity Indoor Market – it’s packed with history and hidden gems, including lots of independent and alternative stores. One of my favourites is Spin It, a really cool record shop.”- Rose Butler is a PhD student and a resident in Hull for 18 years
Food in Hull
Hull is bursting with flavours from around the world.
A food and drink haven
Newland Avenue, north of the city centre, is great if you're looking for somewhere to eat or meet friends for a drink. There’s Roots Bar for spicy Caribbean food and cocktails, and Sleepers Café - a laid-back place to enjoy great food, wine and locally-brewed beers. It’s also home to The Hull Pie – wrapping everything in pastry since 2011. For Spanish tapas, there’s El Toro on Princes Avenue, which also has a range of independent bars and restaurants.
Get to grips with the city’s best brews on the Hull Ale Trail. It’ll take you to some of the area’s most notable pubs, including the George Hotel in the mysteriously named Land of Green Ginger at the bottom of Whitefriargate (which also happens to be where you’ll find the smallest window in England!) Refuel at the Lion and Key, on High Street, one of Hull’s oldest licenced premises and home to some traditional pub grub.
Kardomah94, on Alfred Gelder Street, has a simple but tasty menu offering salads, grilled meats and fish, and its famously unusual pizzas (duck and hoisin, anyone?) But it’s also a great venue hosting live music, performance, theatre and film screenings, often free.
If you order chips in Hull, don’t forget to ask for chip spice. This salty condiment was introduced by John Science at his restaurant Yankee Burger in 1979, and has been part of the city’s culinary landscape ever since.
Local Area in Hull
Since launching in 2002, The Deep is now even busier than London Zoo
First for family entertainment
The Deep is one of the world’s most spectacular aquariums, and the only place to see and find out more about its 3,500 marine inhabitants. The not-for-profit attraction gets thousands of visitors a year, with daily touch pool sessions, penguin feeds and presentations where you can watch the divers feed sharks and stingrays. Family passes start from £36.90 and all proceeds go towards vital research and conservation.
There’s a rich sporting heritage in Hull. Whether you’re a Hull FC supporter or you’re cheering Hull Kingston Rovers on from the stands, you can catch regular rugby matches throughout the city. Standard tickets cost between £20 and £30. Alternatively, Hull City Football Club are now back in the Premier League.
There are plenty of ways to ‘get away from it all’ too. Pearson Park (around one mile north west of the city centre) has beautiful Victorian gardens to explore. Poet Philip Larkin once lived in a house overlooking the park, so head along to see the scenery that inspired some of his most notable poems.
Queens Gardens are also worth a look. They’re a perfect example of the city’s regeneration over the years – the area was once the first dock to be built in Hull, but is now being transformed into an outdoor venue with a new pedestrian entrance and new paving.
“I’d definitely recommend a wander around Queens Gardens. In the summer, you might be lucky enough to catch one of our brilliant festivals like the Freedom Festival, Yum! Festival of Food and Drink, and Humber Street Sesh.” Becky Read, Hull resident for six years and City of Culture volunteer