Hullis for many Dutch holidaymakers no more than a port city, where they arrive by ferry from Rotterdam. Hull is a good base from which to explore the North of England, with cities such asManchesterinLiverpoolat a mere distance. But you can stop for a few days in this charming town, which is officially classified asKingston upon Hullknown. You can also put Hull on your list for a city trip, because it is by no means boring.Hull is never dull: there is plenty to see and do!
Hull, located on the North Sea in the Yorkshire region, is over 700 years old. The city was founded in 1292 and has always been dominated by the sea ever since. It was a gritty harbor town, strong in fishing and whaling, where daring sailors exchanged their adventures in eccentric pubs. The sea air also proved to provide inspiration, because Hull was home to countless poets. It has been called 'the most poetic city in England'.
Travel in comfort to Hull by ferry
►Book your ticket for the ferry from Rotterdam to Hull here
The industrial edge has now disappeared and Hull is a thriving coastal city with an abundance of art and culture. It was even the 2017 Capital of Culture of Great Britain, a title that is only awarded once every four years. Arriving here by ferry now offers world-class attractions, a thriving music scene and fascinating history. Want to spend a few days in this quirky harbor town? Here you will find 10 tips what to do and see in Hull!
Stroll through Hull's Old Town
Start your trip to Hull with a walk through the beautifulOld Town districtof Hull, which is surprisingly well preserved. The center is one of the few parts of the city that was not hit by heavy bombing during World War II. Hull's medieval town center is a treasure trove of Stuart and Georgian architecture, picturesque quays, trendy boutiques, art galleries and pubs full of character, linked by winding cobbled streets.
Be sure to keep walkingPrince Street, the prettiest street in Hull. With its cobblestones and gorgeous Georgian-era pastel buildings, you're sure to get some Instagrammable shots here. Also funThe Land of Green Ginger, a street with a Dutch touch. The street name would refer to the surnameLindegreenfrom a Dutch family. In the George Hotel on this street you will find 'the smallest window in England'. It's really just a small crack. In the 17th century, hotel staff watched through the window for stagecoaches to welcome their new guests.
Take the kids to The Deep aquarium
If you want to do something in Hull with kids, this is itThe Deepan absolute top attraction. This is one of the most beautiful aquariums in the world, with 5000 fish and marine animals from more than 300 species. You can see sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, gentoo penguins and colorful tropical fish. The aquarium tells the compelling story of the world's oceans through interactive displays and audiovisual presentations.
The Deep is housed in a futuristic and angular building on the River Humber. The main basin is 10 meters underground, making it the deepest aquarium in Europe. When it opened in 2002, it was heralded as the only "submarium" in the world. Address:Tower St, Hull HU1 4DP, United Kingdom. Website:www.thedeep.co.uk
Walk or cycle across the Humber Bridge
Do you like architectural delights? Then you canHumber Bridgenot missing! Built between 1973 and 1981, the 2,220-foot manual bridge spanning the Humber River has won acclaim for its harmonious blend of technology and aesthetics. When it opened it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, a record it held for 16 years. It is still the world's longest suspension bridge that can be crossed by bicycle or on foot. The concrete towers are 155 meters high. A walk or bike ride offers beautiful views over the Humber Estuary. If you take the car, you have to pay toll. The bridge is located a few miles west of Hull. Website:www.humberbridge.co.uk
Streetlife Museum of Transport
In theStreetlife Museum of Transportsee what Hull looked like before the advent of cars and modern public transport. The museum presents 200 years of transport history in the city, with a fine collection of old bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, trams, trains and antique vehicles. A street from the 1940s has also been recreated, with houses and shops. You can also take a ride in a vintage tram or a rocking carriage that once transported mail from Hull to the city of York. Entrance is free. Address:High St, Hull HU1 1PS, United Kingdom. Website:www.hcandl.co.uk
Various walks have been set out in Hull to see and discover the city in a different way. One of the nicest is theFish Trail, almost literally following in the footsteps of Hull's rich fishing history. The 3.8-kilometer route passes through 41 fish sculptures that were incorporated into the sidewalks and streets in 1992 by artist Gordon Young. The fish are shown at their actual size, from a school of 36 tiny anchovies to a 10-foot-long ray. In creating the art project, Young also allowed himself a few jokes. For example, you see an image of a shark at a bank and an electric eel at an electricity house. You can do the Fish Traildownload here.
Bringing Art Gallery
A cultural crown jewel of Hull is theBringing Art Gallery, one of the most important art museums in the north of England. The museum has paintings and sculptures by old European masters as well as modern British artists. Highlights include masterpieces by Frans Hals, Lorenzetti, David Hockney, Helen Chadwick and Antonio Canaletto. In 2016, the museum received a multimillion-pound facelift to be ready for the 2017 Cultural Year. Admission is free. Address:Queen Victoria Square, Carr Ln, Hull HU1 3RA, United Kingdom. Website:www.hcandl.co.uk
Another captivating museum in Hull isWilberforce House, dedicated to one of the city's most famous heroes. William Wilberforce (1759-1833) was an English parliamentarian representing the district of Hull, but he mainly made his name as an advocate against the slave trade. He was the initiator of the Slave Trade Act in 1807, which officially banned the transatlantic slave trade. The beautiful brick home where he was born is now a museum about the abolition of slavery and Wilberforce's role in it. In addition, there are exhibitions about West African culture and contemporary slavery. Like many other museums in Hull, entry is free here too. Address:23-25 High St, Hull HU1 1NQ, United Kingdom. Website:www.hcandl.co.uk
Relax in East Park
Want to do something relaxing in Hull? Relax and stretch your legsEast Park, Hull's largest city park to the east of the city centre. The Grade II listed park is one of the most famous in the north of England and was opened in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. There is something for everyone in this vibrant green space. You can walk along flowers and ponds with fountains, cycle, fish, row and take a ride on a boat that splashes in the water. In the Pavilion Café you can enjoy aafternoon teaand for children there is an animal enclosure with deer, wallabies, ostriches and emus. Address:Holderness Rd, Hull HU8 8JU, United Kingdom. Website:www.hcandl.co.uk
Naval history in the Maritime Museum
One of the finest buildings in Hull city center hosts itMaritime Museum, where you can discover everything about the 800-year maritime history of the port city. Exhibitions focus on whaling, fishing in the North Sea, expeditions to the North Pole and maritime trade, among other things. You see a whale skeleton of 12 meters long, but you can also dress up in fishermen's robes. For now, you have to postpone a visit to the Maritime Museum. The museum closed its doors in January 2020 for a major three-year renovation. Address:Queen Victoria Square, Hull HU1 3DX, United Kingdom. Website:www.hcandl.co.uk
Check out cream-colored phone booths
Everywhere in England you see the well-known iconic redphone booths— except in Hull! In the port city, telephone booths are white or cream, as you notice as you stroll through the streets. Hull is the only city in England where the telephone boxes are not red. It's a separate story, because Hull had its own local telephone company for a long time.
From 1921, the General Post Office (then responsible for telephony) installed cast iron red telephone boxes throughout England, just as the post boxes were red. Hull's telephone company did not want to go along with this trend and installed white and cream telephone boxes. This is maintained to this day and the people of Hull are proud of their cream telephone boxes, even though they are hardly used anymore. As an important landmark and heritage, many of these are still visible in the streetscapephone boxesto find. ThePhone Box Trail, that youcan download here, guides you past 12 of these unique phone booths.
What to do in Hull: practical tips
Travel to Hull
Hull is easily accessible by water, because shipping company P&O Ferries provides ferry services from Rotterdam and Zeebrugge in Belgium. The crossing from Rotterdam takes 12 hours, where you spend the night on the ferry. Cabins can be booked with two to five berths. The night crossings from Zeebrugge to Hull also take 12 hours. ►Book your ticket for the ferry from Rotterdam to Hull here
The nearest airport isHumberside Airport (HUY), a small international airport about 36 kilometers south of Hull. KLM flies direct from Amsterdam Schiphol to Humberside every day, a flight of 1 hour. Flight tickets are on sale from €148. ►Book a flight ticket with KLM to Humberside here
From the airport you can take the bus (1 hour) or taxi (30 minutes) to Hull. From Monday to Saturday you can take the bus service known asHumber Flyer. Airport website:www.humbersideairport.com
Another international airport is Leeds Bradford International Airport, 119 kilometers west of Hull. You can also fly to Leeds with KLM. Railway company trainsHull Trains(www.hulltrains.co.uk) drive from London to Hull in 2½ hours.
Overnight in Hull
Partly thanks to the ferry terminal, there are countless possibilities to spend the night in Hull. The city has hotels and apartments in different price ranges. Located in a convenient downtown locationHoliday Inn Hull Marina, within walking distance of the main sights and the Museum Quarter. It is a 3-star mid-range hotel with harbor views, modern decor and friendly staff.
For backpackers and budget travelers it isHull Trinity Backpackers Hostelin the old town a good option. It is housed in an early 19th century building that was home to a theater for many years. You can stay in dormitories and single or double rooms. There is a kitchen on the top floor (overlooking the rooftops of Hull) and you can hire bicycles. Suitable for solo travellers. You can get a bed in a dormitory from €35.
Are you looking for cheap accommodation for your trip to Hull?
►Book a hotel in Hull online at the lowest prices
Eating and drinking in Hull
You come to Hull for the pubs! Hull was once England's third largest port city, so you stumble across the pubs. A special place to knock back a pint isYe Olde White Harton Silver Street. In 1642, the decision was made in this building to deny King Charles I access to Hull, which started the first English civil war. It's a pub where history seeps out of the crooked walls, with dark oak panelling, hanging beams, open fires and stained glass windows (look out for the human skull behind the bar). Also worth mentioningYe Olde Black BoyMarket Place, Hull's oldest pub, opened in 1729.
For a typical local delicacy from Hull, order onepatty butty. It is a crispy patty with fried mashed potatoes, flavored with sage and onion. It is usually served in a sandwich with chips. Originally, Hull residents ate this as a cheaper substitute for fish, but today it is popular as a snack. The patty butty is available in fish and chip shops all over the city, with many snack bars having their own 'secret' recipe. A well-known address to try isEast Park Chippy(www.eastparkchippy.co.uk).
For more information on what to do in Hull, check out the official tourist office website:www.visithull.org
More useful tips for a trip to Hull
Last updated on 19 August 2020. If you have any additions, tips or comments about what to do in Hull, England, please let us know via theContact Form. Foto’s © depositphotos.com/eyematrix; Pixabay; P&O Ferries; Hull Tourism/Chris Pepper.