Mr ESLT: Guess what?
Mr ESLT: Rough Guides have listed Hull as number 8 on their Top 10 Cities: The Best Places to Visit in 2016 list.
Me: SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! (*or words to that effect*).
After grabbing my iPhone and checking out what I thought was a preposterous lie for myself it turned out to be in fact – FACT. The city I was born in and have lived all my life has actually made the 10 Ten list of places to visit in 2016 in THE WORLD. Not just Yorkshire, not just England but in THE WORLD. That being said I would put money on people, especially people from outside of Britain, not having a clue where the city is. Well here I am to tell you (and boast a little bit) about the place I call home!
So Hull – firstly, it’s technically Kingston upon Hull, but we’ll let you call it Hull, we do. The name Hull actually comes from the River Hull that runs through the city and divides it into East and West. It is located in East Yorkshire which is “up North’ in England.
Over the years we, the people of Hull, have constantly been told we live in the worst place in England. Hearing and reading people slate your hometown has been pretty hard to swallow. I’ll be honest someone slagging off Hull is like someone slagging off your mum – it’s alright for us to do it because it belong to us, but the second you do it – you get our backs up and we won’t stand for it! Us Hullensians have civic pride!
Over the years we have been told that Hull has the lowest education levels, the highest rate of teenage pregnancy, it’s the least romantic place in the UK and it’s crap – yes crap! In 2003 it was actually crowned ‘The Crappest Town in the UK’. Comments based on facts or figures, I can swallow as they can be worked on (and they have been) but the public opinion ones really get my goat! How many people who voted in one of the polls have actually ever visited this great city?
Well now the tides have turned (being a city with it’s roots based firmly in maritime heritage – that pun is very much intended) Hull has not only been named one of the Top 10 Cities: The Best Places to Visit in 2016 by Rough Guides but it has also been named the UK City of Culture 2017 which means that funding has been made available to develop the city which in turn will hopefully bring further investment reaffirming that it is definitely a city on the up and up.
So what has Hull got that can tempt you to visit, here’s a few tidbits to wet your appetite, you’ll have to visit for yourself to find out more:-
Transport links – it’s pretty easy to get here. We have direct trains to and from London via Hull Trains throughout the day and if you are on the ball and book 12 weeks in advance this can cost you as little as £25 return. Hull itself doesn’t have an airport but the handy Humberside Airport is a mere 20 miles away. There are also daily sailings to and from both Belgium and The Netherlands offered by P&O and from the 1st day of October to the last day of March each year minicruises are offered on a 2 for 1 basis. It also has motorway links which makes getting here by car pretty easy too plus the first thing you’ll see of the city is the magnificent single span suspension bridge – the Humber Bridge which joins Hull’s neighbour Hessle to Barton upon Humber on the other side of the Humber Estuary.
Sport – a great sporting city with a (hopefully soon to be again Premiership) football team – Hull City who play their games at the magnificent KC Stadium. Two Super League Rugby League Teams – Hull FC (West Hull) who also play at the KC Stadium and Hull KR (East Hull) who play at the KC Lightstream Stadium. There is nothing better than the atmosphere and friendly rivalry around the city on Derby day. Boxing is a big thing in the city too highlighted in recent years by Luke Campbell who won the Olympic Gold medal in the bantamweight division in London in 2012.
Food – probably one of the best things to come out of Hull is the pattie – a what? I hear you cry! A pattie – the rare delicacy that you can only find in the fish and chip shops of Hull. It’s basically mashed potato with a few herbs mixed in, shaped like a fish cake, battered, deep-fried and served with chips – yes we, the people of Hull, eat meals consisting of only potato! Another thing you can only find in Hull and coincidentally also from a fish and chip shop is – chip spice! Tradition dictates that you put salt and vinegar on your chips in England, well not in Hull, we coat them in chip spice (basically paprika salt). You have not tasted heaven until you have had one too many at 2am and treat yourself to chips with chip spice from a local takeaway! It’s so versatile I use it to coat chicken before I cook it, my cousin puts it on salad and I even know someone who put it on their Christmas dinner!
Nightlife – ok not as much choice as other cities in Northern England but still a great variety of bars and restaurants for you to choose from. If you are a young wild thing who enjoys dancing the night away then I suggest the town centre where you will find the usual chain bars. If you are a bit older (like me at 32 (and I said older, not old)) then I would advise you take a trip down Princes Avenue a short walk from the Town Centre which is basically a street of cafe bars, pubs and restaurants which comes alive on a Saturday night especially in summer (the 3 days of it we get in England) when people make the most of the beer gardens. Newland Avenue (which is just round the corner) is an up and coming area with again a great selection of cafe bars, previously considered the ‘student area’ of the city it is now appealing to a wider audience.
Shopping – with two large shopping centres (St Stephens and Princes Quay), a smaller one (Prospect Centre) and numerous retails parks I’m sure you will find something to spend your cash on, I know I do on a regular basis. At the moment you will only find high street and independent shop but hopefully as more and more people visit this will bring cash into the city and we may find ourselves with more designer brand department stores and shops. Unfortunately, at this time I don’t think there is a need (or desire) for them. But never say never!
So have I convinced you? I hope so and that’s before I have even mentioned The Deep which is one of the UK’s most spectacular aquariums, with over 3,500 fish, stunning marine life and plenty of activities for all the family. The museum quarter which consists of four museums – Hull & East Riding Museum, Arctic Corsair, Streetlife Museum and the Wilberforce Museum, all of which are free. Or the fact that within 30 minutes one way you are submerged in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside and 30 minutes the other way you can paddle to your heart’s delight or build a sandcastle on one of the many beaches nearby.
So what’s stopping you? Come and see what Hull has to offer for yourself! Hull’s bid for the UK City of Culture 2017 was based on Hull ‘coming out of the shadows’ and after a lot of work it looks like it is! If you are planning a visit to Hull and would some tips/advice or recommendations please don’t hesitate to get in touch and I’ll do my best to help. Although you might need to learn our language first (read this for a laugh) 🙂