Hull Maritime Museum
Hull Maritime Museum

Things to do in Hull

Polly Checkland Harding

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.

Discover our top picks

  • 1. Hull Minster

    Courtesy of Hull Minster

    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.

  • 2. Ferens Art Gallery

    Courtesy of Ferens Art Gallery

    Ferens Art Gallery, Queen Victoria Square, Carr Lane, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1 3RA - Visit now

    Opened in 1927, Ferens Art Gallery houses a superb collection, including masterpieces by Stanley Spencer, David Hockney, Helen Chadwick and Gillian Wearing.

  • 3. Fruit Market Hull

    Courtesy of Fruit Market Hull

    Fruit Market Hull, Queen Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1 1UU - Visit now

    Fruit Market Hull is the name of Hull’s vibrant cultural quarter and the revitalisation of a historic area next to the city’s Humber Dock Marina – featuring places to visit, shop, eat and live, it’s a must visit.

  • 4. Hull Maritime Museum

    Hull Maritime Museum
    Courtesy of Hull Maritime Museum

    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.

  • 5. Hull Truck Theatre

    Hull Truck Theatre

    Hull Truck Theatre, 50 Ferensway, Hull, Yorkshire, HU2 8LB - Visit now

    Celebrating its 50th birthday in 2021, the Hull Truck Theatre is dedicated to putting on high-quality productions of both intimate and epic scales.

  • 6. Hull New Theatre

    Hull New Theatre
    Hull New Theatre

    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.

  • 7. Humber Street Gallery

    Humber Street Gallery, Hull
    © Chris Pepper

    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.

  • 8. Wilberforce House

    Wilberforce House
    Wilberforce House Museum

    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.

  • 9. The New Adelphi Club

    The New Adelphi Club

    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.

  • 10. The Deep

    The Deep

    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.

  • 11. Hull and East Riding Museum

    Wooly mammoth Hull and East Riding Museum
    Hull and East Riding Museum.

    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.

  • 12. Paragon Arcade

    Paragon Arcade

    Paragon Arcade, Paragon St, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 3PQ - Visit now

    This beautiful Victorian shopping arcade dating back to 1896 is now home to a raft of innovative local retailers, each with their own specialism to offer Hull’s residents and visitors alike.

  • 13. Hepworth Arcade

    Hepworths Arcade

    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.

  • 14. Form Shop & Studio

    FORM SHOP AND STUDIO

    Form Shop & Studio, 62 Humber St, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1TU - Visit now

    Part of Hull’s vibrant Fruit Market cultural quarter, Form Shop & Studio is an independent shop selling affordable art prints, cards and stationery.

  • 15. Hideout Apartment Hotel

    Hideout Apartment Hotel

    Hideout Apartment Hotel, 9 North Church Side,, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1RP - Visit now

    Independent and run by a small family team, Hideout Apartment Hotel offers 15 contemporary and stylish self-contained self-catering apartments in the heart of Hull Old Town.

  • 16. Hull Trinity Backpackers

    Hull Trinity Backpackers

    Hull Trinity Backpackers, 51/52 Market Place, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1RU - Visit now

    If you’re looking for affordable accommodation right in the heart of Hull Old Town, the highly rated, independent hostel Hull Trinity Backpackers is hard to beat.

  • 17. Kingston Theatre Hotel

    Kingston Theatre Hotel

    Kingston Theatre Hotel, 1-2 Kingston Square, Hull, Yorkshire, HU2 8DA - Visit now

    Overlooking the quiet seclusion of Kingston Square Gardens and opposite the Hull New Theatre, Kingston Theatre Hotel is a small family-run four-star Victorian hotel in the heart of Hull Old Town.

  • 18. Ye Olde White Harte

    Ye Olde White Hart
    Ye Olde White Hart. Image courtesy of Visit Hull.

    Ye Olde White Harte, 25 Silver Street, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1JG - Visit now

    A pub with two well-stocked bars and a large beer garden, Ye Olde White Harte is an incredible historic gem, constructed in 1550, and Grade II*-listed.

  • 19. The Old House

    The Old House
    The Old House

    The Old House, 5 Scale Lane, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1LA - Visit now

    The Old House by name, old house by nature – this award-winning gastropub in Hull Old Town is at 5 Scale Lane, the city’s oldest domestic building, dating from the 15th century.

  • 20. Thieving Harry’s

    Thieving Harry's

    Thieving Harry’s, 73 Humber Street, HULL, Yorkshire, HU1 1TU - Visit now

    Thieving Harry’s is a community café serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, booze and coffee in a converted warehouse with a down-to-earth vibe, overlooking the marina.

  • 21. Humber Street Distillery Co.

    Humber Street Distillery Co.
    Humber Street Distillery Co.

    Humber Street Distillery Co., 18 Humber St,, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1TH - Visit now

    With over 100 different varieties of gin, including its own brand, this gin-obsessed cocktail bar in the heart of Hull’s Fruit Market area is the only bar in Yorkshire with a distillery on site.

  • 22. Hitchcock’s Vegetarian Restaurant

    Hitchcock's Vegetarian Restaurant

    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.

  • 23. Butler Whites

    Butler Whites

    Butler Whites, 2-3 Humber Street, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1TG - Visit now

    This casual bistro restaurant occupies the carefully transformed warehouse of local fruit merchants Butler & Whites, the functional interior given a sophisticated update.

  • 24. Gusto da Gianni

    GUSTO DI GIANNI

    Gusto da Gianni, 26 Newland Ave, Hull, Yorkshire, HU5 3AF - Visit now

    Multi-award-winning authentic Italian restaurant Gusto da Gianni showcases the freshest ingredients and finest produce and cooking techniques from across Italy, creating some extremely appetising dishes.

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