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This little city should be on your next UK trip itinerary

This little city should be on your next UK trip itinerary

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!

Hull Marina

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.

White telephone boxes, Hull UK

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, UK

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 BoyWilliam HawkesThe Manchester Arms, and Ye Olde White Harte on the way.

Ferens Art Gallery, Hull UK

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 GalleryHumber 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.

Hull train station, UK

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!

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30 Responses to “This little city should be on your next UK trip itinerary”

      • Dave Bartlett

        You were slightly inaccurate when you said that Hull’s phone boxes are different because they USED TO BE on a different network to the rest of the country. It’s because across the years when Post Office Telephones (later to become British Telecom) had an (almost) nationwide control of business and domestic telecoms in the UK, they’d done by buying up the licenses of all the other private phone companies in the country. Hull argued that since their licence pre-dated the PO/BT’s one, that they were immune from takeover. They were successful, so telecoms within Hull we always run by the City Telephone Company (now Kingston Communications or KCOM.) This is STILL the situation today. BT have no special influence in Hull where KCOM are the main provider

      • Dave Batlett

        Unil the 70s/80s the phone boxes in Hull were green & cream coloured. (We just like to be different)

  1. Girl with a saddle bag

    If you love Hot Fuzz, you must visit the stunningly pretty little city of Wells where it was filmed. It’s about an hour or so from Bristol down in the West country and I couldn’t recommend it enough for lovers of beautiful old buildings and coffee shops. And thanks for the tips about Hull, sounds suprisingly good

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I’ve head good things about Wells! It’s definitely on my list of places to visit next time I’m in the UK. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Alice!

  2. Sarah

    I’d never thought to visit Hull despite it being Capital of Culture. It doesn’t have the best reputation in the UK but looks beautiful from your pictures! 🙂

    • Debra Cassar

      Please come Sarah .
      We are so proud of our city. Plenty to see and do and it doesn’t smell of fish (people still think it does!)

    • Andy Carr

      You’d be most welcome Sarah it’s probably the friendliest City in the UK and there is so much more than on this excellent blog

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thanks Sarah! It’s interesting that you mention Hull’s reputation – every time I told a British person that I was going to Hull, they would always act very confused about why I would want to go there. I guess it wasn’t always a nice place, but it must have come a long way since then as I found it a wonderful little city! Hopefully that reputation fades and changes to something positive with all the attention it’s getting as the UK City of Culture 🙂

      • Christina

        In response to your comment that you guess it wasn’t always a nice place, Hull is the same as it always was – quirky, unpretentious, down to earth, interesting, friendly…I could go on. Apart from nice new paving and street furniture, it hasn’t changed. What HAS changed though is people’s perceptions. The media relentlessly slagged it off for so long that people actually believed what was being said, the residents included. But since the start of 2017 the visitors who are arriving in their droves are amazed by what is here, much of it not even City of Culture related but simply part of of Hull. More importantly, those who live here have discovered a sense of pride and are falling in love with their own city, and the hurt of all those years of being put down is healing. We Are Hull!

        • Christina

          Correction. For “the residents included…” read “SOME residents…” Many of us knew that the portrayal of the city was an injustice.

        • Steve Harper

          You couldn’t have put it better, Christina
          Hull is a wonderful place with fantastic warm and friendly people. In spite of the massive blitz, which destroyed or badly damaged over 90% of the buildings, it has retained a beauty and dignity that is magnificent.
          You won’t regret your visit to Hull

        • Mary

          Nice one Christina I complete agree with you. I have always been proud of my city and could never understand why the media continued to give us such a bad reputation.
          Every town, city has problems Hull is no different but the majority of people are friendly and helpful from our young to our old. We have lots to be proud of. I think people including those who live here should stand tall raise your head, look around and you might be surprised at what you can see

    • Dave Bartlett

      Come and visit us all in Hull, Sarah. There’s still a lot of ‘City of Culture’ stuff going on until Coventry takes over in 2021.
      I think you’d like the people of Hull, we have a good, kind of self-deprecating sense of humour.
      For example: the offical 2017 City of culture T-shirt bore the slogan “Everyone Back To Ours” which was a little boring, so some wag in the city produced the UNOFFICIAL T-shirt which bore the mesage: “Come To Hull – It’s Not Shit Anymore”.

  3. Michael Taylor

    If anyone visits Hull, they must find time to visit Molly Malones fish shop on hessle road, don’t be put off by the plain looking shop front !
    The fish n chips are to die for !
    And you can sit down in the back!

  4. Jane Dee

    A nice little write up of my home town. Just to add that The Deep entrance fee is for a ticket that lasts all for 1 year! Also a small correction, we still do have a separate telephone system called Kingston Communications and there are cream phone boxes all over Hull.

  5. Gaynor

    Kingston upon Hull always has been a fantastic place to visit even before city of culture was thought up! Come and enjoy the delights and like every visitor without exception sing the praises of our beautiful friendly city. The only bad part of this city was the wrongly condemnation of it by the media so come and make your own mind up you’ll find it’s the friendliest place ever and I’m willing to give you a personal tour if free!

  6. Lauren

    I feel you with those mobile tickets! South African domestic airlines have just started scanning boarding passes from travellers phone. It’s the best and way more environmentally friendly 🙂

    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Oh, that is great news! I used a mobile ticket on my British Airways flight, too – worked like a charm. I really can’t wait until all airlines are doing mobile tickets!

  7. Helga

    Christine – great blog – I am Hull born and bred but lived away for most of my life – I came back here on 2005 to a City on the brink of rejuvenation. The power of City of Culture has not only encouraged those from ‘outside’ to see us in a different light it has also reminded us who love living and working in the region what great folk we are – you will always have someone to talk to on the bus or at the stop; people will stop and chat (not like London) AND we welcome all – come and see us again – and tell your friends! For me – best fish, chips and pattie is always Bob Ramsden’s in the Old town. You also missed the great nightlife in The Avenues – one for your next visit…….?

    • Nikki

      Bob Carvers. Great blog, definitely visit Princes and Newland Avenues and the new places on Humber Street – lots of lovely food, drinks and restaurants

  8. Gina

    Hull is a lovely place. I like the Avenues area especially the independent shops, one in particular is a little hardware shop on Chanterlands Avenue. Its like going back in time, good old fashioned friendly and polite service and you get your stuff in a plain brown paper bag ! Typifies Hull, a bit different, independent, friendly and worth going back too.

  9. Badri Mahmoud ali

    I am a teacher of English from Egypt.
    I was really lucky to go on a school mission to Hull in 2014.
    I stayed for three months in kingeston upon Hull .i stayed in the pacific court near the marina.Honestly l was lucky again to visit Hull in the best season ( summer) from April to August.
    Hull is so wonderful and the people are so friendly and kind.
    It was like a dream for me.
    I missed everything in Hull especially the shops and the Sunday and Wednesday market.
    I wish I could visit this amazing city again before I die.

  10. Tony Rignall

    A great write up on Hull but why does the article refer to Hull as a ‘little city’ I wonder? Hull in area and population is as big as Newcastle Upon Tyne! Unlike many UK cities it does have very tight boundaries which statistically distort its population down to around 250,000, but if Hull’s green suburbia is included the figure is more like 600,000. Anyway it’s a great place and well worth a visit or three!

  11. Dave Bartlett

    Until the 70s/80s the phone boxes in Hull were green & cream coloured. (We just like to be different)


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