If you’ve seen the movie Hot Fuzz, you might know that it’s set in a fictional UK town called Sandford.
In the film, the town is once again striving to win the title of “Village of the Year” which it regularly achieves due to the unorthodox efforts of the town’s residents to keep it crime-free.
When I travelled north from London to visit Kingston upon Hull, I was reminded of that little movie town (without all the cult stuff, of course). I found everyone in Hull to be very passionate about their little city, which has just been named the UK City of Culture in 2017.
What on earth is the UK City of Culture, you ask? Well, back in 2008, Liverpool was declared the European Capital of Culture. The area saw huge economic benefits as people flocked in to visit the city, and so the UK decided to establish their own city of culture title.
So far, only two cities have become the UK City of Culture. In 2013, Derry/Londonderry (in Northern Ireland) took the title, and Hull (which is in East Yorkshire) has claimed it most recently in 2017.
Seeing as I’d never heard of Hull before this trip, I wondered what had made it worthy of all this attention. Two days of exploring the city made it perfectly clear why everyone is raving about it – here’s some footage from my trip followed by a few reasons why Hull should be on your next UK trip itinerary!
Where I stayed:
I stayed at the Holiday Inn Hull Marina. This place is great for budget travellers, and the location is absolutely perfect as it sits right on the pretty marina and is only a 10 minute walk to anything in the city center. The rooms were fairly basic, but had everything I needed for a short trip. I’d definitely stay there again.
Hull is the only place in the UK with white telephone boxes
Telephone boxes in the UK are usually red, but not in Hull – it’s the only place in England that has white telephone boxes!
The reason for this is that the city used to have its own telephone network which was separate to the rest of the country. Most of the white boxes have disappeared now, but you can still spot a few scattered around the Old Town.
Hull has one of the best tour guides in the country
Almost every day, Paul Schofield takes walking tours around Hull’s Old Town from the Tourist Information Centre. Paul’s in-depth knowledge of Hull is one of the reasons that he has been nominated as one of Visit England’s Top 10 Tourism Superstars of 2017.
I was lucky enough to take one of his tours, and even though the weather was awful, there were about 15 of us who braved the wind and rain to learn about Hull from this amazing guide. It was 100% worth it – Paul really does know how to show his little city in the best light.
Hull old town is both historic and photogenic
I had no idea that Hull would have such a pretty historic area! A large chunk of my time was spent walking through the Old Town with my camera pointed at all the pretty streets and buildings. And the best thing is, I had the whole place to myself – there was no need to wait for tourists to get out of the way before I took each photo.
Hull dates back to the 1100’s as a military port, fishing and whaling center, and trading hub. These days it acts as a major ferry port for travel between the UK and the European continent.
There are a few interesting hidden attractions to find in the Old Town, including the Fish Trail (a walking route with an A-Z of fish engraved in the pavement) and the smallest window in England. This sliver of glass is located on the exterior wall of the George Hotel, and beside it you’ll find a plaque on the wall commemorating it.
Hull Old Town also is also known for having a large number of pubs within close proximity. If you want to spend a day drinking pints in British pubs (who wouldn’t?), then start at the Lion and Key on High Street and pub-hop your way to the George Hotel, stopping in at Ye Olde Black Boy, William Hawkes, The Manchester Arms, and Ye Olde White Harte on the way.
Most of the museums in Hull are free!
Free museums? Yes please! I’m always tempted by destinations where I can see most of the attractions for little or no cost. In my 2 days of exploring, I managed to see the Streetlife Museum, Ferens Art Gallery, Humber Street Gallery, and Maritime Museum. I paid a grand total of zero pounds for all of these.
There is one museum in Hull which has an entry fee. The Deep is an aquarium and ocean learning center on the waterfront which costs only £12.50 for adults and £10.50 for kids. It’s hardly going to break the bank.
Hull also has some public art about the city, with more appearing as part of the UK City of Culture celebrations. When I was there, the poppies that had spewed out of the Tower of London in 2014 were being placed on the exterior of the Maritime Museum building on Queen Victoria Square. I’m positive that they will look spectacular once finished.
How I got there:
I took a train from London to Hull, which took just over 2 and a half hours. My tickets were purchased through the Trainline app which compares ticket prices within the UK and allows you to use mobile tickets to board. I honestly don’t know why every company doesn’t use mobile tickets yet, they make travel about 1000X easier.
*My trip to Hull was sponsored by Visit Britain + Hull 2017, who invited me to see how much of the city I could see on a small budget. I’m proud to be an honest and transparent blogger, so every opinion expressed on AGWT is a true review of my experience!