Walking around Hull is a fantastic way to get to grips with the city, its remarkable maritime history and current renaissance. The cultural attractions, restaurants and bars here are, for the most part, concentrated within the city centre: start at Wilberforce House for a heritage themed walk that links the birthplace of abolitionist William Wilberforce with the Hull and East Riding Museum and the spectacular Hull Minster. Take a tour of Hull’s most historic places to eat and drink, including a Grade II listed pub that dates back to 1550 and a gastropub in Hull’s oldest domestic building. Or wander around the Fruit Market, a thriving independent quarter filled with shops, eateries, and Hull’s only contemporary art space, Humber Street Gallery.
The gallery is part of the legacy from Hull’s year as City of Culture in 2017 – a designation that generated £300m for Hull’s tourism industry across the 12 months. The catalyst for regeneration in the city, the year has had a lasting impact on perceptions of the city; once derided by Philip Larkin, Hull now registers as the home of Paragon Arcade, a beautiful Victorian building turned into a hub for independent businesses. This, and Hull’s Hepworth Arcade, are perfect for wandering around; discover specialist coffee shops, eateries and ethical gift shops at Paragon, and some of the city’s longest-running businesses at Hepworth, as well as multi award-winning visitor attraction Hotham’s Gin School. Alternatively, delve into Hull’s chequered maritime history at Hull Maritime Museum before walking to The Deep for an enthralling encounter with the ocean’s aquatic inhabitants.
The city’s best cultural gems can easily be connected on a walking tour of the city centre: Hull New Theatre and Ferens Art Gallery are only a seven minute amble apart. That said, not all of Hull’s unmissable venues are so local; if you’re after a longer walk, make for the legendary New Adelphi Club out past Pearson Park. Read on for more of our top walks in Hull.
Here are our picks
Fruit Market Hull, Queen Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1 1UU - Visit now
Fruit Market Hull is the city’s thriving cultural quarter – a collection of independent shops, restaurants, bars and more that are part of the revitalisation of an historic area next to the Humber Dock Marina. It’s perfect for exploring on foot: the fruit merchants’ warehouses that were built here in the 1940s and ’50s are now home to the likes of Form Shop and Studio, which sells affordable art prints, cards and stationary, Plant and Paint, which pretty much sells what’s in its name, bespoke contemporary jewellers Oresome Jewellery and more. There’s Hull’s only contemporary art space, Humber Street Gallery, which hosts exhibitions, events and performances year round – as well as places to eat and drink including casual bistro Butler Whites, gin-focussed cocktail bar Humber Street Distillery Co and community café Thieving Harry’s. Discover all this and more while strolling around this historic area.
The New Adelphi Club, 89 De Grey St, Hull, Yorkshire, HU5 2RU - Visit now
Originally a three bed terraced house with a garden, built as part of the northern expansion of Hull’s city limits, The New Adelphi Club is a legendary small music venue located around a half hour walk outside the city centre. This was the venue where Pulp had some of its earliest gigs, a limited capacity club that has long been intimate and unusual – playing host to up and coming bands, including newcomers who couldn’t find a stage elsewhere, and garnering patrons that include Philip Selway from Radiohead, Idles and This is the Kit along the way. Make the journey on foot to go and see a gig, or just to stand outside one of Hull’s longest standing musical institutions.
Paragon Arcade, Paragon St, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 3PQ - Visit now
Like the Fruit Market cultural quarter, Paragon Arcade is the reinvention of one of Hull’s best historic assets – this time, a stunning Victorian arcade that dates back to 1896. The building, with its high glass roof and beautiful shop units, has been transformed into a hub for independent businesses, meaning that a stroll around the site is an opportunity to enjoy a specialist brew from Two Gingers Coffee, a sandwich from Marla’s, authentic cantina style street food from The Hispanist, or a sweet treat from White Rabbit Chocolatiers. There’s shopping on offer, too, with ethically-sourced goods, local art, clothing, independent publications and more at Homestead Store, bespoke furniture and lighting at Koda Studios and music and memorabilia at record shop Out of the Attic Music to name a few. What better reward for a wander?
Hull New Theatre, Kingston Square,, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 3HF - Visit now
The Grade II listed Hull New Theatre, with its reputation as one of the leading touring theatres in the UK, is as worthy a starting point as any for a walking tour between Hull’s cultural gems. The theatre, which reopened in 2017 after a £15.9m revamp, has played host to performances from the likes of Laurel and Hardy, Margot Fonteyn and Sean Connery over the years, and now stages touring shows, tribute acts, comedy and more. It’s also only a seven minute walk from Ferens Art Gallery, which houses a national significant permanent collection of sculpture alongside artworks from the medieval period to the present day – including works by Sickert, David Hockney, Gillian Wearing and Francesca Woodman. For a more contemporary selection of pieces, head for the Fruit Market cultural quarter and the Humber Street Gallery, a nine minute walk away. Here you’ll find events and activities as well as cutting-edge temporary exhibitions that are developed up to two years in advance.
Wilberforce House, 23-25 High Street, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1NQ - Visit now
Start at Wilberforce House for a heritage-themed walk around Hull city centre, and an introduction to some of the key moments in Hull’s history. Now a museum with eight permanent galleries occupying its rooms, Wilberforce House was the birthplace of William Wilberforce, social reformer, MP and leading figure in the abolition of the slave trade. The museum tells story of Wilberforce’s life, the transatlantic slave trade, its abolition, and the persistence of slavery today. It’s also very close to the Hull and East Riding Museum, which covers 235m years of history, including Hull and East Riding during the Jurassic period, through interactive galleries and reconstructions. For an encounter with part of Hull’s medieval history that still stands today, continue on to Hull Minster, the UK’s largest medieval ‘town church’. With its stunning stained glass windows, luxurious gold leaf and historic font, it’s a fantastic site to explore.
Hull Maritime Museum, Queen Victoria Square, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU1 3DX - Visit now
Hull’s fortunes were once defined by its ancient harbour – a trading port that first brought prosperity to the area, but later saw the city fall victim to post-industrial decline. This extraordinary maritime history is reflected in two of Hull’s cultural institutions, which can be connected by a 14 minute walk: Hull Maritime Museum charts the city’s seafaring activities from the late 18th century to the present, its 50,000 exhibits housed in a magnificent, Grade II* listed building that was once the Hull Dock Offices. Currently closed for transformational improvements, the building is still well worth a look. Right on the River Humber, meanwhile, is The Deep, a multi award-winning aquarium that showcases the remarkable natural riches of the body of water Hull borders; the 50 different displays here range from tropical lagoons to conditions echoing the ocean’s depths, and are home to more than 5,000 animals. Busier in its first year than the London Zoo, The Deep has proved to be the most commercially successful of the Millenium projects.
Ye Olde White Harte, 25 Silver Street, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1JG - Visit now
Several of Hull’s best restaurants and bars are housed in historic buildings with incredible backstories – a fact that’s inspired us to recommend a food-themed walking tour between them. It begins with a drink at Ye Olde White Harte, a Grade II listed pub that dates back to 1550. Inside, there are wood panelled walls, beautiful fireplaces and two well-stocked bars; outside there’s a large beer garden with abundant flower pots. It’s an atmospheric setting in which to enjoy a pint. For food, wend your way to either Hitchcock’s Vegetarian Restaurant, which offers a mildly eccentric dining experience above the centuries-old Dunswell Forge (find out more here), or to The Old House, an aptly-named gastropub in Hull’s oldest domestic building. Run by award-winning catering and events company Shoot the Bull, the menu here features freshly prepared food with a loose, ‘street food’ theme. Last but not least, enjoy a cocktail at laidback bistro Butler Whites, which occupies the carefully transformed warehouse of local fruit merchants Butler & Whites.
Hepworth Arcade, Silver Street, Hull, Yorkshire, HU1 1JU - Visit now
The slightly more retro of Hull’s two arcades, Hepworth Arcade is no less worth exploring: the shops here are among the city’s best loved and most widely known, including Dinsdales Joke Shop, a fancy dress and joke emporium passed down through the family for nearly a century. Also here are Beasley’s clothing store, purveyors of vintage wares from America and a resident at the arcade for over 30 years, Fanthorpes HiFi, the longest established electrical retailer in the city, and Hotham’s Gin School. The latter is a multi award-winning visitor experience – a four hour class in which you’ll be taken through the process of distilling your own gin, and enjoy four G&Ts along the way. Hepworth Arcade is also connected to Trinity Square Market, where you can grab a bite to eat, sweet treats and drinks to take away at one of the various stalls.