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There are a handful of things that I particularly love when I travel: cities with lots of cool history, places with beautiful landscapes, and going to destinations that haven't been written about to death by other bloggers.
This last point is what made me say yes to a trip to a fairly unconventional destination:Kingston upon Hull.
Normally just known as “Hull,” this English town in East Yorkshire isn't likely to be found on many UK travel itineraries. It's a maritime-turned-university city that struggled for a long time to get back on its feet after being heavily bombed during WWII (and when I say heavily, I mean it – Hull was the second-most war damaged city in the UK after London).
And the collapse of the local shipping and fishing industries in the '70s further challenged people trying to make a living in Hull.Just a couple years ago, Hull was votedone of the worst places to live in the UK.
But things are swiftly turning around for this almost-coastal city: in 2017, Hull has the distinction of being the UK City of Culture.
And the city is going all-out in celebration.
I spent four days in Hull earlier this month, hanging out witha local bloggerand getting to know all the reasons why Hull ISN'T one of the worst places in the UK. In fact,Hull surprised me with just how coolit really is.
I wasn't sure what I was expecting of Hull, but after a day of walking around its Old Town streets and wandering around its marina, I found myself exclaiming, “This isn't what I was expecting at all!”
In fact, I was pleasantly surprised by my entire visit to Hull. I ate great food, visited some cool museums, took some nice photos, and got a taste of the history that I lovediscovering when I travel.
After my time spent in Hull, I decided that I want to share with you some things that you probably don't know about the city – and therefore reasons why it's worth visiting!
6 Reasons to visit Hull
1. It has history
I mentioned the WWII history that Hull suffered through, but the city's history goes back much further than that. Originally founded by monks as a port in the 12th century, Hull was an important thoroughfare for centuries, first in the wool trade and later in the fishing/whaling industry.
It's also cited as possibly being the spot where the English Civil Wars first kicked off. In 1642,KingCharles I was denied entry into Hull through the old Beverley Gate, which is often seen as the trigger for the start of the war.
The remains of the infamous gate were excavated in the 1980s, and you can see them today in Hull's Old Town.
2. It has free museums
Free museums are typical throughout the UK, but in Hull ALL the museums are free. And there are some pretty good ones, too, like the Ferens Art Gallery, theHull and East Riding Museum (full of history), and theWilberforce House, where you can learn about William Wilberforce and his contribution to ending the slave trade in the UK.
My favorite Hull museum was the Streetlife Museum, which is part transport and part history museum. Inside you'll find Victorian-style street scenes, as well as old trolleys, buses, cars, and even bicycles.
3. You'll find art everywhere
Hull has always had lots of art and culture, local guidePaul Schofield told me. But, with the city being the Capital of Culture this year, now it'sabsolutely bursting with it. There are small gallery exhibits as well as large art installations all over town.
When I was there, they had just removed a large wind turbine blade fromQueen Victoria Square and were installing a work called the “Weeping Window” on the outside of the Maritime Museum, which consists of hundreds of ceramic poppies cascading down the side of the building.
4. It has good pubs and food
Yes, I'll say it: England DOES have some great food! (Don't pay attentionto all those stereotypes about British dining…) And I found Hull to be absolutely bursting with great pubs, cafes, and restaurants.
Some of my favorite eats and drinks included:
- Tea atLiquid Jade
- Fish and chips at theLion & Key(I LOVE the inside of this pub!)
- Burgers and huge milkshakes atFurley & Co.
- The best chips (fries) atHead of Steam
What I think I liked best about eating in Hull was that there aren't a ton of huge chains. It's easy to find a cool independent cafe or restaurant here.
5. It's incredibly affordable
The UK is not necessarily known for being a budget-friendly destination. But I found Hull to be extremely affordable – and not just because the US dollar is so strong right now. Meals were usually under £10, and I got a movie ticket on a weekday evening for just£4!
We also went for afternoon tea at the Royal Hotel, which only cost£13.95 per person. Whilelocal Hull blogger Courtneysaid this was actually pretty pricey for Hull, you certainly won't find ANY high tea for even close to that price in places like London.
6. It's close to lots of other cool places
Lastly, even though you might not visit Hull exclusively like I did, it's actually close to a lot of other cool places to visit in this part of the UK.
A 10-minute drive will get you to the Humber Bridge, which is a massive 1.4-mile-long suspension bridge spanning the Humber estuary.
A 15-minute train ride will take you to the adorable market town of Beverley.
And in just an hour by train you can get from Hull to York, which IS a city many people visit in the UK.
RELATED:A First-Timers Guide to York
Where to stay in Hull
I stayed at theRoyal Hotelin Hull, which is right in the city center and actually connected to Hull's main train stations (this is SUPER handy, since arriving by train is the easiest way to get to Hull from other parts of England).
The hotel is old and retains a lot of its Victorian charm. The rooms aren't really anything special (though I found the bed really comfy), but the lobby is gorgeous and the breakfast buffet is tasty. The hotel also gets a thumbs up from me for the free cocktails and desserts that they hand out on Tuesday evenings!
Or, you cancheck out the best hotels in Hull here.
My must-dos in Hull
So what are the things that I consider to be must-dos in Hull? Here's my list:
Take awalking tour with PaulSchofield.This guy knows his stuff, and more importantly really loves Hull. He does history tours, pub walks, and more.
Visit a couple free museums.The Streetlife Museum is my favorite!
Check out funky Humber Street.Here old fruit warehouses have been transformed into cafes and small galleries. Grab a brownie atCocoa Chocolatier & Bakery – you won't regret it.
Eat ALL THE FOOD.Speaking of food, check out as many of Hull's cool independent restaurants, cafes, and pubs as you can! (My favorites are all listed earlier in this post.)
Go to The Deep.This aquarium is the symbol of Hull, and is a great place to visit on a rainy day. The Deep has everything from sharks to penguins, and is dedicated to education and conservation as a nonprofit. If you visit on the weekend, you can evenhave dinnernext to the largest tank.
See the Humber Bridge.Make the drive (or call a taxi) to see the Humber Bridge. When it was built in 1981, the bridge was the longest of its kind anywhere in the world.
Take a half-day trip to Beverley.Lastly, I highly recommend taking a half-day trip to Beverley from Hull. There's a big market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but it's fun to shop and cafe-hop and visit churches any day of the week.
Want to follow in my footsteps in Hull?See my itinerary for this trip on HipTraveler.
So what do you think? Would you visit Hull?
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Hull is the only place in the country not to have BT provide its telephone services. The Hull Telephone Department was launched in 1904, later becoming Kingston Communications. For 115 years, they have set Hull apart – and been a symbol of the city's determination to do things differently.What is Hull UK known for? ›
Not only did Hull spark the English Civil War, but it's also the birthplace of slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce, aviatrix Amy Johnson and rock legend Mick Ronson. It also has unique cream-coloured phone boxes and hosts Europe's oldest and largest travelling fair. 'Rich in history' is an understatement.What are some facts about medieval Hull? ›
Hull was a medieval wool port that passed from the monks of Meaux Abbey to Edward I, king of England, in 1293. Edward renamed the town Kingston upon Hull. It prospered as the chief seaport for the shipping on the inland waterways that converge on the estuary of the River Humber.Is Hull England worth visiting? ›
Hull has an abundance of museums in what is now known as its museum quarter. Explore the city's history in the Hull and East Riding Museum for archaeology and local history. Lovers of art should stop by the Ferns Art Gallery. Hulls rich fishing heritage is celebrated in the city's Maritime Museum.What food is Hull famous for? ›
With our maritime heritage, fish and chips are a big deal in Hull – not to mention chip spice and the Hull pattie. Bob Carver's and East Park Chippy are two popular choices.What are Hull people called? ›
Citizens of Hull may technically be called Kingstonians, but it is more common for the people of Hull to be named “Hullensians” or “Hullians” – the more contracted, the better.What was Hull originally called? ›
They chose a place at the junction of the rivers, Hull and Humber, to build a quay. The exact year Hull was founded is not known but it was first mentioned in 1193. It was called Wyke on Hull.Why is the Hull so important? ›
The hull is a ship's watertight enclosure, engineered to provide sufficient protection for the cargo, machinery, and passenger accommodations. Its most basic purpose is to safeguard against weather, flooding, and/or structural damage.What famous people came from Hull? ›
Actors with strong Hull links include; Maureen Lipman CBE, Debra Stephenson, Reece Shearsmith, Marjorie Rhodes. The Movie Mogul Lord J Arthur Rank was also born on Holderness Road in Hull. The Movie Director behind the English Patient that won nine Oscars was Anthony Minghella who went to Hull University.What invention came from Hull? ›
Charles Hull is the inventor of stereolithography, the first commercial rapid prototyping technology commonly known as 3D printing.
On the 1 April 1299 the free Borough of Kingston upon Hull was created by Royal Charter of King Edward I to determine the form of government of local affairs in Hull.Who founded Hull? ›
The University of Hull was founded in 1927 – originally as University College Hull. The foundation stone was laid the following year by the Duke of York (later King George VI, of The King's Speech fame) and we opened for business with 39 students and 14 'one-person' departments. We've come a long way since then.What is the famous street in Hull? ›
The calm, sheltered waters of the Haven or Old Harbour, the lower portion of the River Hull, provided such a place and by the fourteenth century merchants were building their houses along the west bank of the River Hull to form the High street.What is the nicest part of Hull? ›
- Victoria Dock.
- Anlaby Park.
- Western Avenues (Chanterlands Avenue area)
- Sutton Village.
- Willerby Road.
- Garden Village.
- Fruit Market.
Princes Street in the city centre is iconic with its colourful Georgian homes and is one of the most photographed streets in Hull. Built in the 1770s, it is hard to believe that the picturesque thoroughfare was pretty much derelict as recently as the 1970s.Why are Hull City called the Tigers? ›
They have played home games at the MKM Stadium since moving from Boothferry Park in 2002. The club's traditional home colours are black and amber, often featuring in a striped shirt design, hence their nickname, The Tigers.Did Hull start the Civil War? ›
The siege of Hull is variously described as commencing from either 10 July or 15 July and a sally made by Meldrum is often attributed as the "first blood" of the First English Civil War.When did McDonald's come to Hull? ›
Queues went out the door and tills didn't stop ringing when the first McDonald's opened up in Jameson Street. It was in October 1986 that the golden arches became a fixture in the city centre – creating around 100 jobs - and Tracey Boland was in the thick of it.Do people from Hull have an accent? ›
Like cream-coloured telephone boxes, the Hull accent is unique. Even in Yorkshire dialect circles, it's regarded as being completely different to what is generally considered to be official regional twang associated with God's county.What ethnicity is Hull? ›
If the surname Hull is of topographical origin, it may derive from the Old English hyll, denoting a "dweller on or by a hill" (making it a Middle English West Country and West Midlands variant of Hill), or from a Welsh term for a rough, uneven place.
Although little remains of Hull's Viking heritage, it was once a Viking settlement known as Vyke – the Norwegian word for an inlet or fjord.What was Hull called in Viking times? ›
Hull was originally a little settlement called Wyke which belonged to the Cistercian abbey of Meaux near Beverley. In 1293 King Edward I purchased Wyke from the abbot of Meaux and built a town here that he renamed Kingston-upon-Hull.What is Hull short for? ›
Kingston upon Hull, usually abbreviated to Hull, is a port city and unitary authority area in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England.Where is the Hull family from? ›
The Hull family in America Table of Contents. Traces the descendants of George Hull (around 1590-1659) of Crewkerne, England, who emigrated to New England around 1629/1630.What are the three basic hull shapes? ›
ROUND BOTTOM: A displacement-hulled boat. Its round shape gives a soft ride, but rocks back and forth more than a flat-bottomed boat. FLAT BOTTOM: A planing-hulled boat that is flat from front to back and rides on top of the water. V-BOTTOM: Used on boats operated in wavy water, or on boats that go farther offshore.What hull shape is fastest? ›
Deep v-shaped boats are designed to plane on top of the water at higher speeds and provide a smoother ride through choppy water.
A limber hole is a drain hole through a frame or other structural member of a boat designed to prevent water from accumulating against one side of the frame, and allowing it to drain toward the bilge.What singers were born in Hull? ›
|Artist||Active||Genre & Styles|
|The Mustangs||1960s||Pop/Rock, British Invasion|
|The Odds||1970s - 1980s||Pop/Rock, Mod Revival, Alternative/Indie Rock, Ska|
|The Paddingtons||2000s||Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock|
|The Silkie||1960s||Pop/Rock, AM Pop, Early Pop/Rock|
Hull is a hub for exchange of ideas and people and is one of the country's largest ports, with strong trading links to northern Europe. The city has been a centre of free thinking, bold ideas and radicalism throughout history.Who lived in Hull houses? ›
The residents of Hull-House formed an impressive group, including Jane Addams, Ellen Gates Starr, Florence Kelley, Dr. Alice Hamilton, Julia Lathrop, Sophonisba Breckinridge, and Grace and Edith Abbott.
Wilberforce House. Wilberforce House is one of the oldest buildings in Hull. Remembered as the birthplace of Hull's abolitionist pioneer William Wilberforce, the house as it stands now was built in the 1660s and was originally owned and designed by Hugh Lister, the son of a wealthy merchant.What was Hull original name? ›
They chose a place at the junction of the rivers, Hull and Humber, to build a quay. The exact year Hull was founded is not known but it was first mentioned in 1193. It was called Wyke on Hull.When was Hull invented? ›
Hull was established at the end of the 12th century. The Meaux Abbey monks required a port where they could export the wool from their lands. They decided to construct a dock where the rivers Hull and Humber converge. Hull's first recorded reference dates back to 1193, however its precise founding year is unknown.What is the tallest building in Hull? ›
Hull Royal Infirmary - The Skyscraper Center.How long has Hull been a city? ›
|Kingston upon Hull Hull; Wyke|
|Region||Yorkshire and the Humber|
|Ceremonial county||East Riding of Yorkshire|
England: The first recorded spelling of the surname of Hull was found in the country of England in the year 1199.Was Hull a Viking settlement? ›
Although little remains of Hull's Viking heritage, it was once a Viking settlement known as Vyke – the Norwegian word for an inlet or fjord.What does Hull mean in Old English? ›
From Middle English hul, hulle, holle (“seed covering, hull of a ship”), from Old English hulu (“seed covering”), from Proto-Germanic *hul- (compare Dutch hul (“hood”), German Hülle, Hülse (“cover, veil”)), perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *ḱel- (“to cover, hide”); or possibly from Proto-Indo-European *kal- (“hard”) ( ...What food was invented in Hull? ›
1) The boiled sweet
Enjoyed by millions of people across the world, the humble sugary treat was born right here in Hull. Sweet manufacturer Needlers, founded in the city in the 19th century, was the first to produce the confectionery, which can now be found on the shelves of stores all over the globe.
We're part of the East Riding of Yorkshire, which means that our bustling city is a stone's throw from some of Britain's loveliest countryside as well as expansive coastlines ... the best of all worlds.