Hull city centre has seen its fair share of investment in the past few years with City of Culture and other developments. It’s very quickly become one of our favourite places to go for a day or night out, and here’s why…
1. The activities and things to do
Everywhere you turn there is something to do in Hull city centre. Whether it be knowledge and culture at the variety of museums and galleries, or something fun and exciting like trampolining, rock climbing, laser tag, bowling or amusements; there’s plenty for the whole family.
Queen Victoria Square is the host of Ferens Art Gallery and Hull Maritime Museum, two staples of Hull’s culture. With the Maritime Museum offering the history of the whaler’s craft of Scrimshaw, and housing a full sized whale skeleton, alongside superb ship models and stunning artefacts from Hull’s whaling, fishing and merchant trade; and Ferens Art Gallery hosting a magnificent collection of paintings and sculptures, including works by European Old Masters, portraiture, marine painting, and modern and contemporary British art.
Located just off High Street in Hull’s Old Town, The Museums Quarter consists of four different museums focusing on Hull’s history and heritage; Hull & East Riding Museum, Streetlife Museum, and Wilberforce Museum.
The fastest way to see all of this, is Hull’s very own Land Train. Running every Wednesday to Saturday, it’s the fastest and most memorable way of getting around and taking in the sights of the city centre. The Land Train is great fun for the kids and is a joy to see, with everybody waving at its passengers.
And if you need to catch your breath, the city centre hosts a range of beautiful places to relax and take a breather. Whether it’s taking a rest in Queens Gardens, Hull’s (almost) 10-acre green which is perfect for a relaxed lunch, or the benches surrounding Queen Victoria Square Fountains, you won’t be pressed for beautiful sights in a relaxed setting. On many hot days you’ll find the little ones’ favourite way to cool off is running through the new dancing fountains in Queen Victoria Square.
Once you’ve cooled off why not check out some more fun attractions like ice skating at Hull Arena? Housing an Olympic size ice rink, Hull Arena offers a comprehensive skating programme, offering a variety of ice skating, figure skating, and ice hockey sessions which are all open to the public.
2. The restaurants & bars
After all that excitement, you’re probably going to be a little peckish. So check out the city centre’s large selection of restaurants including the nation’s favourite chains, and local, homegrown eateries.
Whilst shopping in St Stephens, tuck into a Nando’s, Zizzi, Prezzo or KerbEdge for a perfect quick sit-down meal. Or if you’re in a rush, you can grab a Subway, Burger King, Bagel Nash, or Greggs.
On the other side of the city centre is Princes Quay and Quayside which also offer some of the nation’s favourites such as Pizza Express, Nando’s, Ask Italian, Baskin Robbins. But there’s also a range of bistros and bars including Furley & Co, Bar 82, Leonardo’s, McCoy’s and Blue Water.
Move further east and you’re met with Hull’s Old Town with a range of bars to catch your thirst including Rift & Co., Dirty Dicks, Jaz Bar, and Wetherspoons as well as a large variety of old pubs that offer a more authentic Hull flavour.
Hull’s Marina offers a fine-dining experience in its gorgeous setting; with restaurants such as Tapasya, Wellington Pizza Pub, Ambiente Tapas, Butler Whites, and 1884 Wine and Tapas Bar.
3. Top shows and entertainment
For evening entertainment, Hull is completely stacked with places to catch a show. Home to two major theatres, three multi-screen cinemas and two large concert venues, the city centre is the perfect place for an evening’s entertainment.
While Hull New Theatre hosts a broad range of UK travelling tours, Hull Truck delivers powerful, independent productions showcasing new talent. West End musicals including the Rocky Horror Show, Blood Brothers, Madagascar and Kinky Boots are all on the way to Hull in 2019.
In terms of cinema, you have the choice of Vue, Reel, and Odeon Luxe. Vue and Reel are both located in shopping centres, so it’s convenient for entertainment in between shopping and dining. The newly refurbished Odeon Luxe at Kingston Retail Park allows you to have the luxurious cinema-going experience for a fraction of the cost of any other city.
Also located in the city centre is the stunning new 3,500 capacity Bonus Arena. Alongside that, the grand Hull City Hall is one of the city’s premium live concert and entertainment venues; both bringing top UK comedy and music tours to the city of culture.
4. Great shops
With three major shopping centres alongside the arcades and Trinity indoor market, you’ll have plenty of choice for a shopping day out.
Conveniently located next to Hull Paragon Station, St Stephen’s is home to some great eateries, entertainment and, most importantly, a large selection of top quality high-street brands. With names such as Topshop, Flannels, H&M, Next, Boux Avenue, Clarks, Foot Asylum and many more, it’s the indoor high street you need for the best fashion and accessories.
Over at Quayside, Princes Quay’s new third floor offers dedicated outlet stores for Next, Ben Sherman, Suits Direct, Cotton Traders and more. And if it’s variety you’re after, you can pick up almost anything you need at Prospect Shopping Centre with fashion, health & beauty, electronics, jewellery, homeware stores and more. Boots, Game, H. Samuel, Bodycare, Iceland, WHSmiths, Wilko, Poundland and Bon Marche are all inside while the great ‘strEAT’ food court offers a mix of food choice upstairs.
Trinity Market, Paragon Arcade and Hepworth Arcade are all great places to frequent more local and independent retailers. Trinity Market, located in Hull’s Old Town, is an indoor market with a varied selection of goods from local independent traders offer fruit and veg, fresh meat and fish, handmade chocolates, coffee, pizza, cooked meats and pastries, cafes. There are stalls that sell records, music, handmade soap, bags, printing, jewellery, vintage, alterations, cards and even shoe repairs.
5. Spectacular events
Large scale outdoor events are now a regular occurrence in Hull city centre. From monthly food events to annual music festivals, there is always something going on.
Every month throughout the spring and summer, Hull Trinity Square hosts the incredibly popular Street Food Nights inspired by London’s Covent Garden. With a huge choice of high-quality street food and drink from all over the world, alongside free entertainment, you can dine with family and friends in a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere.
If you catch a taste for Hull’s local street food, then you could also check out Hull Trinity Farmers’ Market. Situated in Trinity Square, the market provides an all-round shopping experience, with a selection of the best local craft and gift stalls, locally-brewed beverages, farmed produce and homemade baked goods.
There is also Yum! Festival of Food and Drink; a three day festival celebrating fresh local produce and tasty street food around the Rose Bowl and Queens Gardens. With over 90 stalls of delicious hot and cold food, a variety of alcoholic and soft drinks, as well as free children’s entertainment ranging from face painting to cupcake decorating and healthy cookery classes.
Music is also at the heart of Hull’s city centre, playing host to both Freedom Festival and Humber Street Sesh. Freedom Festival was launched in 2007 to commemorate anti-slavery pioneer William Wilberforce and has since established itself as the city’s annual festival celebrating creative expression and community. More than a decade later, it continues to be the jewel in Hull’s cultural crown. From homegrown musical talent to legendary New York hip hop bands, it would not be Freedom Festival without the music.
Showcasing the best of local talent to upcoming international artists, The legendary Humber Street Sesh is attended by over 30,000 people and provides a platform for emerging musicians and artists from the region and beyond. Sesh is back and will be bigger and better then ever, returning to Hull’s Fruit Market and Marina in August 2019 with 2 days jam-packed with over 200 local bands and musicians.