After reading so much negative press about Hull recently (especially an article of utter rubbish from ‘Vice’), I decided to write my own experiences of Hull – from someone definitely not from Hull but with a real, honest perception of the city.
My first experience of visiting Hull was some six years ago when I was studying in Lincoln and drove over for the day to go to The Deep. My first sights of Hull were from the Humber Bridge and took my breath away. The estuary is huge, the city is laid out infront of you, and even seeing the ports and ferries gave the place a sense of adventure, and gritty reality of working life and industry.
The Deep itself was a good enough reason to visit Hull. It’s an awesome aquarium (the locals call it a submarium – not entirely sure that’s a thing) which has penguins and even a cool lift you can go in which goes up through a pool of sharks – it’s a pretty great attraction.
I was lucky enough to start going out with a fella from Hull almost five years ago so have visited many times since. I may not have found the best bars and pubs, like the ‘Vice’ reporter, if I’d been there on my own but my boyfriend and his friends showed me around the town and where the best places were to go.
The marina is fantastic. Being from Manchester, all I know of the sea is Blackpool, so a classy marina area is a treat! Visit Hull is September and the ‘Freedom Festival’ is in full swing in the marina area with pop up stalls and bars, stages, bunting and buskers. The atmosphere is great, the people are friendly and it feels like a community – which is fantastic for the fact that this is a city – not just some small town.
The old town around the marina may seem sleepy, but once you find the right pubs, you’ll find a good selection of drinks behind the bar and a relaxed but chatty atmosphere. London seems to labour under the misunderstanding that a pub needs to look pretty for people to want to come in (gastro central) but Hull, like most northern pubs, knows it doesn’t matter what a pub looks like as long as you’ve got good company, for a good night out. And if you’re up for a night out in Hull, some of my favourite nights out there have been at Welly – and I can recommend a lot of takeaways for when you stumble out in the early hours (!)
Maybe the ‘Vice’ journo did go on the wrong day weather-wise for a walk around the city but you can easily explore Hull on foot and be impressed. Walking along the estuary down Victoria Docks and through the Old Town into the City Centre is a picturesque walk, as is the trudge over the Humber Bridge (be careful on a windy day!), try the ‘Fish Trail’ or even taking the short drive out to Spurn Point and wandering the coast. Hull has a peaceful serenity that I, for one, miss when I’m back in London.
The city centre may not be the prettiest place ever – thank WW2 for that – but Hull isn’t about rocking up and finding the best of the city in a couple of pubs and restaurants. It’s about the adventures, the spontaneous evenings out and the people you meet. If you come with an expectation of comparing it to London, go back to London, but if you love a piece of ‘proper northern’ British culture, try a visit to Hull. Said by someone definitely not from Hull.