Few places in the UK have undergone such a marked seachange in reputation as Hull – the port city in East Yorkshire, built where the River Humber meets the Humber estuary. Otherwise known as Kingston-upon-Hull, the ancient harbour was granted the royal charter (King’s Town) by King Charles I in 1299, and became a principal trading port for wool, wine, whaling and fishing on England’s east coast in the late 17th century. Sadly, post-industrial decline and World War II hit Hull hard; the second most bombed city in the country, huge swathes of the city centre were decimated. Famously derided even by one of its best-known residents, the poet Philip Larkin, it took Hull’s designation as the UK City of Culture 2017 to properly revitalise this proud Yorkshire city – its legacy a change in perception that has been gaining momentum ever since.
This boost to the local economy generated £300 million for Hull’s tourism industry across the year, both showcasing the city’s surviving historic gems and helping to facilitate proper regeneration. With organisations like Absolutely Cultured committed to placing arts at the heart of the city, the formerly derelict fruit merchants’ warehouses on the city’s marina have been converted into the Fruit Market cultural quarter, newly filled with independent shops, eateries and contemporary visual art space Humber Street Gallery. Today, visitors to Hull are rewarded with the nationally important collection at the Ferens Art Gallery, live music at the legendary New Adelphi Club, prestigious performances at the Hull Truck Theatre, artisanal food and independent shopping in a beautifully renovated Victorian arcade, and an astonishing aquarium that was busier in its first year than London Zoo. Additionally, the Freedom Festival – launched in 2007 to commemorate anti-slavery pioneer William Wilberforce – delivers an impressive line-up of theatre, dance, debate, exhibitions and community events to the city every year.
Explore our top places to visit, eat, drink and stay in Hull – and discover a place where an extraordinary maritime history meets modern hospitality.
Hull Minster, South Church Side, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1 1RR - Visit now
The UK’s largest medieval ‘town church’, Hull Minster was awarded £3.9 million by Highways England in 2019 for restoration and the addition of a heritage centre to better showcase the Minster’s history and place in the community.
Hull Maritime Museum, Queen Victoria Square, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1 3DX - Visit now
Housed in one of the city’s finest buildings, Hull Maritime Museum has been showcasing 800 years of maritime history since 1975 – including a 113-year-old 40ft whale skeleton and the largest collection of scrimshaw this side of the Atlantic.
Hull New Theatre, Kingston Square,, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 3HF - Visit now
With an inspiring history, welcoming acclaimed productions and legendary performers, the Grade II-listed Hull New Theatre reopened in 2017 after a £16 million refurbishment, creating more seats, a new café-restaurant, two new bars and an extra space.
Humber Street Gallery, Humber Street Gallery 64 Humber Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1 1TU - Visit now
Home to year-round events, performances and activities, Humber Street Gallery is a contemporary art space in the heart of Hull’s Fruit Market cultural quarter, open to everyone to experience free world-class exhibitions and events.
Wilberforce House, 23-25 High Street, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1NQ - Visit now
The birthplace of William Wilberforce, the British politician, abolitionist and social reformer, Wilberforce House tells the story of the transatlantic slave trade and its abolition, as well as dealing with contemporary slavery.
The New Adelphi Club, 89 De Grey St, Hull, Yorkshire, HU5 2RU - Visit now
One of the most unusual small music venues going, The New Adelphi Club was originally a three-bedroom terraced house with a garden, but now has legendary status, not least for being among the first places to host Pulp.
The Deep, Tower St, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 4DP - Visit now
One of the UK’s biggest aquariums, with over 5,000 different species across 50 different displays in a dramatic building overlooking the Humber estuary, The Deep is a multi-award-winning venue and an international player in marine conservation.
Hull and East Riding Museum, 36 High Street, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1NQ - Visit now
The Hull and East Riding Museum of archeology offers a detailed, immersive introduction to history, reconstructing ancient civilisations for visitors to explore – you can walk through an Iron Age village or enter a Roman bath house and look at the stunning mosaics.
Hepworth Arcade, Silver Street, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1JU - Visit now
Located in the Old Town, this beautiful Grade II-listed Victorian arcade is home to some of Hull’s best-loved and best-known retailers and, with vintage buys and legendary establishments, it’s as good for window shopping as it is for actual shopping.
Hitchcock’s Vegetarian Restaurant, 1 Bishop Lane, High Street, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1PA - Visit now
Strange, but highly rated, Hull’s very first vegetarian restaurant, Hitchcock’s, has been an unconventional spot for over 25 years, with a warren of rooms full of curios, the menu chosen by the first person to book and food served as an eat-as-much-as-you-like buffet.
See the most exciting emerging talent this autumn in Bloomberg Contemporaries 2022 at Humber Street Gallery and Ferens Gallery in Hull.