Hull and East Yorkshire
Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire
With its mighty cultural heritage and revitalised public spaces, the maritime city of Hull is ready to take the crown as the UK City of Culture 2017.
Hull (formally known as Kingston-upon-Hull), in the East Riding of Yorkshire, has long been England’s premier northeast coastal port, its strategic position between the River Hull and the Humber Estuary granting its ships easy access to the North Sea.
Whilst the majority of cargo you see drifting in and out of Hull’s ancient harbour today is likely to be petroleum, rather than the wine, wool and whale blubber of yore, there’s a distinct sense of excitement and energy that hangs in the air in this bustling maritime city.
Hull is the gateway to Yorkshire and the North of England when travelling from Europe. Daily ferries from Rotterdam and Zeebrugge give easy access combined with seven direct train services a day to and from London.
Traces of Hull’s old fishing industry are everywhere you look. Follow the Fish Trail – a series of sculptures created by the artist Gordon Young – through the cobbled streets of the Old Town where Hull’s gentleman merchants lived and prospered inside grand Georgian houses during the late 17th and 18th century trading boom.
Hull’s Old Town is still the medieval heart of the city and brims with vibrant pubs, cafes and bars around its re-energised Market Square, which contains a continental-style indoor market.
The city also has an intriguing Museum Quarter, whose attractions are free to enter. Pay a visit to the former home of the famous politician and anti-slave trade campaigner William Wilberforce, then dive into Hull’s maritime heritage at the Maritime Museum, home to a number of fascinating artefacts including a full-size whale skeleton.
Hull’s most popular attraction, however, is its mighty aquarium The Deep, which appears to thrust its nose out of the River Humber like a massive shark. From here it’s a short walk along the waterfront to the old Fruit Market, the focal point for Hull’s independent, bohemian quarter of cafes, clubs and artist studios.
In 2017, Hull will proudly take on the title of the UK City of Culture. Hosting 365 days of cultural events, the eyes of the world will be on this waterfront destination, as national and international work is staged as part of an artistic programme rooted in the stories of this great Northern city.
Watch out for events cropping up in venues like Ferens Art Gallery, an art space dedicated to the city’s magnificent collections and large scale visiting exhibitions, including the Turner Prize in 2017.
Fancy a trip outside of the city? Walk, drive or cycle across the iconic Humber bridge, the world’s longest single-span suspension bridge when it opened in 1981. On crossing the waters of the broad River Humber estuary you’ll find Humber Bridge Country Park, a former chalk quarry that’s been transformed into a wildlife haven of trails, lakes and meadows.
At the end of a busy day, head for a night out and take in Hull’s atmospheric heritage pubs including Ye Olde Black Boy – Hull’s oldest pub, dating from 1377 – and Ye Olde White Harte – where the English Civil War allegedly started.