The chorus of a Victorian song goes, 'From Hell, Hull and Halifax good Lord deliver me'. A comparison with hell is perhaps a little unfair to Hull, a city which is beginning to embrace its past and reconceive itself for the future. The town centre has undergone major regeneration in the last decade and the project continues with dockside apartments, restaurants, bars and shops, museums and galleries designed to attract visitors.

Hull's history as an important maritime centre perhaps explains its number of famous sons - it was the excitement of Hull that enticed Defoe's Robinson Crusoe onto his fateful voyage. Two of Hull's famous MP's were the Restoration poet Andrew Marvell and anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce. In more recent years the city has produced the band The Beautiful South and, perhaps most famously, the poet Philip Larkin, whose writings often touch on Hull, though not always in a favourable light.

So, despite its poverty, Hull has always been an artistic, political, peculiar town, and the only place in England with white telephone boxes. And any city that has a street called 'The Land of Green Ginger' - nobody is quite sure why - has to have something going for it.


Hull has a number of very good museums introducing its past, including two on board ships which are moored in Hull's docks. On land, The Maritime Museum and William Wilberforce House are particularly good. The City Art Gallery houses a small, interesting collection of art, largely 19th and 20th century works which were left to the gallery by local benefactors.

The Deep aquarium is famous for its vast collections of strange sea creatures and can be visited at night for a spectacular tour of the backlit tanks.

Sportier visitors are attracted by Hull City FC, and by Hull's ice rink which regularly plays host to ice-hockey matches as well as having sessions open to the public.

One of Hull's main attractions is that - as Larkin dryly noted - it's nice and flat for bicycling. Consequently, the Green city council has brought in a bike-share system wherein visitors can, for a small fee, pick up and drop off bicycles around the city. Or, if you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can cycle out to the engineering marvel that is the Humber Bridge.


Hull's centre is dominated by characterless malls, department stores and chain shops. A new shopping complex, currently under construction on Ferensway, will elaborate on the theme.

However, the Trinity Quarter in the old town provides more exciting shopping opportunities, with vintage clothes and record stores in the arcades, and curiosity shops selling everything from antique toys and postcards to jokes and magic. Trinity Market at the heart of the old town sells fruit, vegetables etc.

Streets leading out of the centre into the suburbs can be exciting too, as the blend of large immigrant and large student populations makes for a curious mix of charity shops, exotic fruit stalls, specialist cafe's and the like.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Much of Hull's nightlife revolves around traditional pubs in the city centre. However, more stylish - and not always more expensive - bars are also cropping up around the dockside developments. An alternative Hull nightlife is livelier if, perhaps, seedier, with people traveling from all over Northern England to attend the justifiably renowned drum & bass and house nights that are put on by local DJ's. These club nights are organised in the clubs around the centre of town, rather than in the glossy dockside bars. Smaller, bohemian bars can be found on the outskirts of the city centre and particularly in the student quarters, and are invariably heaving during term-time, sometimes with live music.

Seafood has always been a tradition in Hull, whether in expensive upmarket restaurants around the docks or in the cheaper cafe's and restaurants in town. A considerable immigrant population makes for an exciting number of international restaurants and takeaways - curry-houses are particularly good. In the old town, pavement cafe's try to establish a continental feel, and pubs serve lunches, often with freshly-caught fish specials.

Tourist Information

Address: Tourist Information Centre1 Paragon Street,Hull,HU1 3NA Telephone: (01482) 223


Humberside International Airport ( is approximately thirty minutes' drive from Hull city centre across the Humber Bridge. The airport charts regular domestic flights and makes international connections via Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam.

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