Hull Ex City of Culture – Oh, The things you’ll see!

Hull Art

In Hull the thing that struck me was the Art, you just stumble on it walking down the streets. I had no idea that Hull was such a quirky place, with great outdoor spaces and amazing buildings.  We really loved the atmosphere in the old town.

Spending a weekend in Hull – the thing that really struck me was all of the Art! You just stumble on it walking down the streets! I had no idea that Hull was such a lovely and lively place with some amazing buildings.  We stayed in the old part of town – and really loved the atmosphere.

hull old town street
Iconic street in the old town.

On a sunny Sunday in May, Hull Old Town felt like a traffic free zone, there were no signs saying cars were not allowed to come down the streets, but very few seemed to.   The history of Hull is all around in the cobbled lanes and grand civic buildings, one of the most impressive being the Guildhall with the amazing statue of Britannia on it roof.

Britannia on Hull Guildhall
Britannia Statue on Hull Guildhall

The narrow river fronted houses look like they have been transplanted from Holland.  This seafaring history gives Hull an architectural style all of its own.

Hulls architecture inspired by holand Empress
The Empress in the Old Town

The medieval footprint of the city is still apparent, filled with Edwardian sea captains’ houses, classic old pubs and well designed recent modern developments.

Hull Marinia Modern architecture
Hull Marina shopping centre

Hulls “Kings Town” or Kingston Upon Hull, Hull’s full name, played an important part in British seafaring history.  It was the town where the English Civil War started and the birthplace of anti slavery campaigner William Wilberforce.  Built between two rivers, the tiny Hull and the two-mile wide Humber, Hull was once dominated by it’s fishing fleets and suffered with the collapse of the fishing industry.  Today it feels like a city on the up.

View from Trinity Hull Backpackers showing Holy Trinity Church reflected in the building oposite

We stayed at Hull Trinity Backpackers in the old part of town – and really loved the atmosphere. I knew that Hull was the City of Culture in 2017, but was really surpised by how much the city had embraced this. The start of our unofficial artfest was spotting a few murals, one of which we heard was a fake ‘Banksy’,  but fake or not – an excellent piece.

fake banksie close to Hull Marina

I then grew fascinated by finding the little fish that are in many of the pavements, some in silver and some in black. I later found out this was a Fish Trail you could follow around the old town revealing the city’s history as you go.

Hull Fish Trail

You really can’t walk down the street without seeing something fascinating. I loved the murals and the ‘one off’s’ that many pubs had hosted including the ‘Freedom’ piece on Wilberforce Street and the painted stain glass window on the Seaman’s Mission.  freedom art on Wilberforce street in Hull

Freedom artwork on Wilberforce street

The Misson painted window in back streets of Hull Old Town
Painted stain glass window on The Misson in back streets of Hull

The water feature outside Holy Trinity Church was quite mesmerising  on a very beautiful day.  We did not go inside the church, so that is a treat for the next visit.

You can of course visit the wonderful art gallery, I particularly loved the pictures of the ‘Blue People’ and reading the individual stories of this who took part, but mostly I liked wandering and just spotting random pieces and looking at the varied architecture.

Art in Hull Maritime Museum

The Maritime museum is also well worth a visit with its grand staircase and we were lucky enough to be there for  exhibition of Frank Hurley’s photographs of the Shackleton Antarctic exhibition, which was just fascinating.

Woke up on Sunday morning (not too early) to hear a local church playing Pet Shop Boys covers on their bells – not something you hear every day!

I will definitely re-visit Hull Trinity Backpackers as I now want to do the Hull Fish Trail with the kids!  Not to mention all the good memories of cafes on waterside terraces.

Here you can find out more about hostels in Yorkshire and Central England.   And here is a map showing the Backpackers Hostels of the UK.