Explore every angle of Hull City Centre and discover all that Hull has to offer, including historic gems, delicious food and drink and unique independent shops. The city has a lot of diverse and niche offerings that make Hull so special and unique.
Whether you are a regular or new visitor, there is always something exciting and different to see. The city centre is fully pedestrianised and a short walk takes you from the bustling new town to the cobbled beauty of the old town, with lots of interesting attractions along the way.
Hull's Museums and Art Galleries
Hull's museums are home to one of the best collections of Roman mosaics and penny farthings in the country. Here you can have a stagecoach ride and discover Hull's links with anti-slavery all for free and seven days a week.
Situated on Hull's historic High Street, in the Museum's Quarter, Wilberforce House is the birthplace of William Wilberforce, Hull MP and slavery abolishionist, whose campaigning made the establishment of Freetown, Sierra Leone, possible. The story behind William Wilberforce's campaign is told through fascinating items including his journal, plantation records and personal stories. There is also a section on modern slavery which explains how this horrific abuse is still allowed to go on today.
Experience the sights, sounds and smells of the past at Hull's Streetlife Museum on High Street. Step back in time with 200 years of history by taking a stroll down a 1940's high street and enjoying a carriage ride. There is a great collection of antique carriages, motor vehicles and bicycles, including one of the largest collection of penny-farthings. Lots of hands on exhibits and old fashioned games to play for adults and children alike.
Hull and East Riding Museum
Come face to face with a majestic mammoth, encounter a mysterious crew of wooden warriors and discover a unique iron age sword at the Hull and East Riding museum, which boasts some of the most spectacular natural history and archaeology displays in Britain. Walk through an Iron Age village, enter a Roman bath house and look at the stunning mosaics at this fabulous museum in High Street's Museum Quarter.
Visit Dinostar, the exciting, interactive Children's dinosaur museum in Hull. Highlights include a Tyrannosaurus Rex skull, Triceratops bones you can touch and a unique dinosaur sound box.
Hands On History Museum
The Old Grammar School, now the "Hands on History Museum", was built in 1585 replacing an earlier school endowed by Bishop Alcock in 1479. Pupils at this Hull school included politician and poet Andrew Marvell, and William Wilberforce, the leading light of the anti-slavery movement. Holy Trinity purchased the building in 1878 for a mission room and choir school but now its a museun where you can come face to face with a 2,600 year old mummy and see stunning replicas of King Tutankhamun’s treasures. Experience what life was like for Victorian children at school, work and play and get hands-on with Victorian displays designed for enquiring young minds.
Ferens Art Gallery
Opened in 1927, the award-winning Ferens Art Gallery combines internationally renowned permanent collections with a thriving programme of temporary exhibitions. The Ferens in Hull reopened in 2017 following a multi-million pound refurbishment. Highlights include Frans Hals, Antonio Canaletto, Stanley Spencer, David Hockney, Helen Chadwick and Gillian Wearing.
Hull History Centre
Hull History Centre brings together the material held by the City Archives and Local Studies Library with those held by the University of Hull. The city's archive dates back to 1299 and is amongst the best in the country with records relating to the port and docks of Hull; papers of companies and organisations reflecting Hull's maritime history; papers of notable individuals including Andrew Marvell, Philip Larkin, Amy Johnson and William Wilberforce; and over 100,000 photographs, illustrations, maps, plans, newspapers and special collections.
Explore Hull's old Dock Offices and discover superb ship models and maritime art. Learn about the whalers craft of scrimshaw, the famous Wilson shipping line, and find out what made Hull the place it is today - including the evolution of trawling and the city's docklands.
A veteran of the Cod Wars, Hull's Artic Corsair opened to the public in 1999 and has since had more than 20,000 visitors. Before each tour of the vessel starts, a short 10 minute action film of life at sea is shown in the Arctic Corsair Visitor Centre.
One of the first acts of defiance, which led to the English Civil War, took place in Hull in 1642 when the city's governor, Sir John Hotham, turned away King Charles I from Beverley Gate - the main entrance into the city. The excavated remains of the gate, between Carr Lane and Whitefriargate, can be seen here today.
Blaydes House and Blaydes Shipyard
Built around 1740 for the Blaydes family, Blaydes House is one of few surviving 18th Century Merchant houses on High Street in the Old Town of Hull. Following restoration, it is now owned by the University of Hull. The Blaydes family owned a number of shipyards, including High Street, Hull, Hessle Cliff and Scarborough. Blaydes Shipyward in Hull was in fact where the famous HMS Bounty was built. The Bounty began her career as the collier Betha. She was built in 1784, and was purchased by the Royal Navy in 1787.
Hull People's Memorial
The Hull People's Memorial is located on Whitefriargate in the centre of Hull's old town. Inside you can explore the things that made Hull the UK's most devastated city of World War 2 after London. Learn about the great war Zeppelin raids and handle real Wordl War 1 and 2 mementoes, documents, weapons and munitions. Visit the "Hull Trench and Officers Dugout", remembering to keep your head down in order to avoid the snipers!
Humber Street Gallery
Formerly the Shakespeare Hotel during the 1840s until 1941 when it suffered heavy bombing in WW2, 64 Humber Street has had a long history being part of a thriving area of Hull's Old Town. In 1948 the building was converted into a warehouse within the Fruit Market until 2009 when the area was regenerated as Hull's cultural quarter. It has now been given new life as home to Humber Street Gallery, presenting a range of contemporary visual art, design, film, photography and craft, with a cafe and rooftop bar for visitors.
Hull Old Town's High Street is home to the only National Trust property in Hull, Maister House. Rebuilt in 1743, this historical property has a superb Palladian staircase and hall, acting as an impressive symbol of Hull's 18th century heyday.
Queen Victoria Square
The heart of Hull City Centre. Head for Queen Victoria Square if you to visit Hull City Hall, the Maritime Museum or Ferens Art Gallery. The host is also host to several events during the year and the dancing water fountains are popular in the summer months.
Scale Lane Bridge
Linking the east bank of the River Hull to Hull's old town at Scale Lane is the impressive, state of the art swinging footbridge, which opened in June 2013. Designed to carry up to 750 people every time it opens to let a vessel through, the bridge has a contemporary artwork and soundscape installation, "From Mizzenmast to Sandstroke", recognising Hull's maritime history.
Built in 1922, the Spurn Lightship served for almost 50 years as a navigational aid in the treacherous River Humber. Now enjoying a leisurely mooring in Hull's attractive marina, she and her knowledgeable crew are prepared to welcome boarders who wish to explore.
Statue of King Billy
Less than 50 years after the king was refused entry into Hull, the city had its second brush with the house of Stuart. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 is commemorated in the city with a magnificent golden statue of the "great deliverer" in the Market Place.
The Old Pier, Horse Staith and Humber Ferry
Before the Humber Bridge opened in 1981, a ferry provided access to the south bank of the River Humber. The earliest ferries left from Hessle, but from 1315 a ferry was established from Hull. By the end of the 17th Century this South Ferry ran from the Horse Snaith at the mouth of the Old Harbour before a pier was built.
Situated next to the historic Hull Minster, with newly installed mirror pools creating a feeling of reflection, Trinity Square is the perfect place to watch the world go by. The square is also home to an eclectic mix of events throughout the year, including Farmers markets, International Hanse Day and the Freedom Festival. The square is surrounded by pubs, bars, eateries and the Hands on History museum.
With stunning views across Hull Marina and over the River Humber, the city's waterfront area is certainly worth a visit. Fantastic restaurants and traditional pubs provide the perfect place to eat out and nestled away in the cobbled streets surrounding the water, you will find quaint workshops and galleries, as well as museums and other independent businesses.
The disused warehouses and cobbled streets of Hull's historic Fruit Market have been transformed to make way for independent shops, galleries, new amphitheatre, restuarants and boutiques. This unique setting has become the heartbeat of Hull's cultural scene, playing host to many of Hull's cultural events including the hugely popular Humber Street Sesh, Folk Festival and Freedom Festival. Day to day, there's always something going on - from live music and performances to art exhibitions, stand up comedy and pop-up markets. Food is also on the agenda, from some of Yorkshire's finest restaurants, bespoke cafes, blended coffees or maybe a handmade sweet treat. All this plus fantastic views of Hull Marina and the Humber Estuary.
Churches in Hull
This magnificent building is more than 700 years old was officially granted minster status in May 2017. The marble font, which dates from around 1380 was used to baptise William Wilberforce and is still in use today. Outside is the beautiful Trinity Square, home to a statue of Hull legend, Andrew Marvell.
St Mary's Church
Dating back to the 14th Century, St Mary's church on Lowgate was restored in the early 1860's by Sir George Gilbert Scott, a key figure in the Gothic revival. Three members of the architect family, who were all called John, served as priests at St Mary's during the 1800s - inspiring the name of the pub that now stands opposite the church.
As one of the most spectacular aquariums in the world, The Deep offers a unique blend of stunning marine life, interactives and audio-visual presentations which together tell the dramatic story of the world's oceans. The Deep is home to 3,500 fish and their newest residents, a colony of Gentoo penguins.
Tucked away around the corner from Hull Minster is the revamped Trinity Market. Formerly known as the Hull Indoor Market, this recently regenerated space is brimming with independent stallholders selling a diverse mix of gifts and mouthwatering foodie treats. From vegan cakes and feshly made local sandwiches to locally roasted coffee and gourmet street food, Trinity Market is a real haven for food lovers.
Whitefriargate is one of the main shopping streets in Hull, situated next to Prince's Quay shopping centre. Host to a number of High Street brands, the name of the street derives from the site of the white robed Carmelite friars and the old Viking word for street - gate.
Situated on Ferensway, St Stephens is home to everything from fashion to beauty, sport and homeware. Upstairs there is a cinema and a range of eateries.
Princes Quay has a mix of independent shops and high street brands, as well as a cinema and bowling alley. Their newest addition is the Outlet Stores where bargains can always be found.
One of the few L shaped arcades in the country and one of Hull's most magical buildings. Marks and Spencer opened one of their first penny arcades in Hepworths arcade. Dinsdales joke shop is something of a local landmark.
Bonus Arena is the newest exciting addition to the city, opened in June 2018, a state of the art music and event centre hosting large scale national tours. The complex has a capacity of up to 3,500 people that allows Hull to attract large corporate conferences, exhibitions and trade tours as well as major touring concerts, stand-up comedy, family shows and sporting events. The building is owned by Hull City Council.
Hull New Theatre
You can see big touring shows straight from London's West End at Hull New Theatre. The theatre re-opened in 2019 after a £16 million refurbishment. The main bar and lounge bar offer a range of main meals and light bites available to order over the bar, no booking required.
Hull City Hall
Hull City Hall is a grade II listed building built in baroque revival style by Hull's city architect Joseph Hirst.
Hull Truck Theatre
The city's most famous theatre company gets its name from originally travelling round the country in a truck.
Other Interesting Things to See in Hull
The Mirror Pools in Trinity Square: A wonderful place of reflection close to Hull Minster.
George Hotel: Here in the heart of Hull's old town is England's smallest window (10" x 1"). It is said to be the viewing port for the boy to check out people before allowing them into the yard.
Humber Dock Street/Marina: The route of the town's medieval walls and Hessle Gate displayed by the red bricks in the pavement.
Scale Lane Snaith: The only bridge in the UK that you're allowed to ride on when it opens.
Paragon Street/Chariot Street: Look up above the shops at the back of City Hall, Hull, to see the display of artists highlighting the art gallery that used to be in there before the opening of the Ferens.
William de la Pole statue: The statue of the first mayor of Hull in 1332 and the man who lent money to the king.
Amy Johnson's plane: Look up in St Stephen's shopping mall to see a replica of Amy Johnson's famous plane, Jason, used to fly solo from England to Australia. You can also find her statue on Prospect Street, outside of the Prospect Centre.
Toad in the Hull: In 2010, a trail of toads lined the city's streets all in celebration of the poet Philip Larkin. One of the remaining ones "Toad in the Hull" can be found lurking near Hull History Centre.
Dead Bod: Originally painted on a shed in Alexandra Dock back in the 1960's, Dead Bod was a familiar sight for sailors and trawler-men sailing to and from Hull. Originlly painted by Len "Pongo" Road, potentially as a drunken prank.
Trinity Market: Among the hustle and bustle of the indoor market can be found Hull's oldest famous white telephone box.
The Guildhall: Be sure to look up at the Guildhall, where you'll see a huge statue to Hull's Maritime prowess in the form of a female figure standing on the bows of a boat drawn by seahorses and, at the other end, Britannia stands in her chariot accompanied by lions.
Hull Cheese: Hull's Cheese pub gets its name from an ancient ale: Hull Cheese. The expression "You've eaten some Hull Cheese meant that you were drunk."
Queens Gardens: This is the site where Robinson Crusoe set sail in William Defoe's classic novel. His adventure saw him shipwrecked on a remote island near Trinidad.
Beverley Gate: The remains of Beverley Gate where in 1642 Sir John Hotham refused Charles I entry into the city, an act of defiance which is widely as the spark that ignited the English Civil War.
Cock of the Walk: On Grimston Street, Hull's Saville Row trained tailor Gillian Long can be found in her charming workshop.
The Bee Lady: A black and yellow phone box in Carr Lane celebrates the achievements of charity fundraiser Jean Bishop, better kwown as the Bee Lady.
Wilberforce Statue: At the top of Queen's Gardens, in front of Hull College, stands a statue to William Wilberforce, a British politician, philanthropist and a leader of the movement to abolish slavery. The monument was built in 1834 before being moved to its current place in 1935.
Royal Hotel: Queen Victoris appeared on the balcony of the hotel in Hull's railway station in 1850 to be greeted by 10,000 children.
The Land of Green Ginger: Hull has one of the country's strangest and best loved street names. One of the addresses on the road is "Second Star on the Right and Straight On 'Till Morning".
The Coop Mosaic: The mural on the site of the old BHS building is made from 4,224 panels, each 1 foot (30 cm) square and made from 225 cubes of italian glass - over one million in all.
King Billy Statue: Located in the centre of the road in Lowgate stands the statue of King William III, William of Orange. Hull was the first large city in Britain to swear its allegiance to the new King when he deposed James II in 1685.
K2: Originally known as Kingston House, this mirrored building on the corner of Ferensway and Anlaby Road was opened as a modernist office development in the 1960's. Its redevelopment as the city's "first multispace concept of its kind" began in 2017. Head up to the top for an amazing panoramic view of the city.
Ye Olde White Harte: This pub just off Silver Street is believed to have played a key role in the start of the English Civil War. In the room now known as the plotting parlour, the decision was reputedly made in 1642 to refuse King Charles I entry to the town.
Hull Fish Trail: Find the fish, explore the city. Follow Hull's unique pavement of fish, an A-Z of fish creating a tour of the historic old town. 41 pieces of sculpture made from traditional materials by Gordon Young make up this impressive piece of public art.
A Brief History of Hull
Hull has a fascinating history and being aware of the major events over the city's lifetime will help understand how the city ticks.
1285: Holy Trinity Church (now Hull Minster) was built.
1296-1299: King Edward 1 acquired Wyke from the Monks of Meaux Abbey to establish a northern port which was renamed Kings Town upon Hull. Royal Charter (preserved in the archives in the Guildhall) was also issued granting the right to hold two markets a week and one fair per year - marking the beginning of Hull Fair, which still takes place to this day.
1332: Merchant William De La Pole was made the first mayor of Kings Town upon Hull.
1369: Trinity House was founded as a religious guild connected to Holy Trinity Church. It became purely a seaman's guild in 1456.
1583: The Old Grammar School was built. Its now the Hands on History Museum.
1594: The first whalers sailed from Hull after the discovery of Greenland by Sir Hugh Willoughby. Follow the story of these brave pioneers in Hull's Maritime Museum.
1621-1678: Poet and politician Andrew Marvell was born in 1621. He sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1659 and 1678. A statue of him can be found outside Hull Minster.
1642-1646: The siege of Hull was the first major action of the English Civil War.
1735: The revolution of 1688 is commemorated in the city with a mgnificent golden statue of King Billy.
1743: Maister House, a merchant's house from Hull's international trading heyday, was rebuilt after a fire. Although it's now occupied, the entrance hall and staircase are now open to the general public. It is a National Trust property.
1773: The Hull Corporation, Hull Trinity House and Hull merchants formed the Dock Company, the first statutory dock company in Britain.
1780: William Wilberforce became a member of parliament for Hull in 1780. He devoted most of his life to the abolition of the British slave trade. His birthplace, Wilberforce House, has been lovingly restored and is now one of the city's most popular museums.
1897: Hull attained city status.
1903-1941: Aviator Amy Johnson was born and raised in Hull. She was the first female to fly solo from Britain to Australia.
1914: King George Dock opened.
1939-1945: The Second World War saw 95% of housing in Hull damaged - making it the worst hit city outside of London.
1963: Humber Dock closed after more than 150 years of use and reopened as Hull Marina.
2007: St Stephens Shopping Centre opened, forming part of a 15 year, £2 billion city centre regeneration masterplan.
2017: Hull enjoys its year as the UK City of Culture 2017.
Hull is a great city to explore. It has a great history as you can see. Incidentally, the old own has recently played host to film crews for BBC Victoria and the feature film The Personal History of David Copperfield so you just don’t know who you might bump into when you're here. The city is also very forward looking. With many new industries here including wind turbine manufacturing, electronics, digital marketing Hull really is a great place to experience both the past and the future. A great place to include on your UK vacation.
As well as all these things to see, there are also events happening throughout the year in Hull, so keep an eye out for these. As a former resident of the city and a frequent visitor, I'm sure that you'll find lots of things to do in Hull when you visit next. Happy exploring.