It was always going to be difficult to get back into the rhythm of regular life after spending three days in a row exploring new places, and enjoying the familiarity of locations long-visited. So after a long day of much-needed coffee on tap and job applications, we were both looking forward to our next day out, in a city which has personal connections for both of us.
Today’s trip saw us travel little over an hour by train to Hull, a coastal city. Once just a tiny settlement with little over a few streets and one pub, its prosperity grew, as did its important, due to its practicalities of being a perfect location for ships to dock their goods. It still has a marina to this day, and you can travel to European destinations including Amsterdam via ferry. Hull is perhaps most well-known now for once being the UK City of Culture – the city centre was completely transformed before and throughout 2017 due to the funding the prestigious title brought, and saw several cultural events held in the city, including Europe’s formally biggest free festival – Radio One’s Big Weekend.
(Going to try out a different format for this day trip review – writing about the cleanliness etc of each place meant I could not write about the days in the free-flow chronological way I wanted to, so I want to change things up a bit).
Time in Hull: 6 hours
We arrived early at around 10:15 (miraculous for Northern) and straight away got a breakfast Subway. The interchange is great in Hull; the train and bus stations are linked together and unlike most pitiful stations in Lincolnshire, there are plenty of functions inside including Subway. As I mentioned way back in my first blog post, one of our goals for our day trips was to fit in free activities.
Today we decided to pay a visit to one of the museums at the Museum Quarter. Yet again another of the museums we had been speaking about going to beforehand, the Maritime Museum, was closed for refurbishment, so we decided to look around the Wilberforce Museum. This was rather unique as well as it was set around his childhood home. William Wilberforce spent much of his adult life campaigning tirelessly for initially the abolishment of the slave trade, then for Britain’s involvement in slavery altogether – an Act placing the latter into law had just been agreed to in 1833, days before he passed away. The slavery trade itself concerned the three passages of movement of goods around the globe during the 15th and 19th Centuries, with the second movement specifically involving the shipment of slaves from the African nations they called home, to the Caribbean. It was incredibly moving and saddening to discover that so much tragedy had laced the lives of thousands of Africans, but empowering to learn that some managed to escape their former lives and speak out about their experiences in books, to raise awareness in the public domain. Jesse and I of course knew about some of the history of the slavery movement before we went to Wilberforce’s Home, yet it still stunned and reminded us that all this atrocity was occurring in some countries just over 200 years ago, and only half a century ago in a niche selection of nations.
We both wanted some light relief after our museum trip, so we walked the short distance between the Museum Quarter and one of several shopping centres in Hull, Princes Quay. In Lincoln you either have to take a ten minute bus ride to Washingborough, or walk 30-40 minutes from the city centre, to get to the closest bowling centre. In Hull there is ten pin bowling smack bang in the heart of the city centre in this shopping centre, a refreshing change for me. Expensive with definitely non-friendly student prices during on-peak times, during the weekdays the centre has special offers, with Tuesday’s deal offering two games for the price of one. Two games for both of us came to £15 – whilst I still felt this was slightly too expensive for the amount of time we would be having on the lines, compared to other places it was reasonable. We still had a really good time, and the staff were very helpful when the pins temporarily refused to come back up.
What’s Great about Hull:
⁃ Since the redevelopments the city centre feels modern, pristine, and I love how it has its own character with the various monuments throughout it; on a separate trip to Hull around Christmas last year, they had large decorations which you could stand next to and get a really pretty photo for Instagram📸.
⁃ Other city centres I have visited, like Leeds, either had few museums or when there were more they were spread over different directions of the place. In Hull most are in the same quarter, and they are free entry too. There is also a lovely well-kept garden around the museums which is free to walk around as well.
⁃ There are plenty of restaurants, pubs and sports bars. Again, on a previous visit to Hull, we went to Oscar’s bar and watched a football game. Intermittently they had a live musician, although we’d have preferred it if they’d only played during the analysis coverage, and not through the actual game 😂.
⁃ The live music scene is banging too, and has grown substantially since 2017; I have been to the Humber Street Sesh before and the diversity of music is on point, and the food stalls add extra culture to the festival as well.
⁃ The Deep is an unique aquarium, and the shark tunnel gives you a 360 degrees up close and personal experience with the marine life.
What are its downsides?
– It’s strange; even through Hull has more of an ample selection of activities than most places, you also feel you run out of things to entertain yourselves with quickly. I guess we feel like that because once you walk outside the city centre, it begins to feel purely residential, although there are a few quirky streets dotted around, especially close to the University area. Places like Liverpool and Manchester we could easily stay multiple days at, yet at Hull a few hours feel more than enough.
– Princes Quay and St. Stephens do feel a little disjointed as shopping centres; it would work better for me if one of them predominantly offered retail facilities, whilst the other had the restaurants and entertainment facilities. The big Tesco, whilst great, has always baffled me and I have yet to visit another shopping centre like St Stephens with a massive Tesco tucked away in it 😂.
– Hull is also awkwardly positioned to travel to. Take Grimsby – despite only being situated 16 miles away from one another as the crow flies, there is no direct train between the both, rather a bus service which can nearly take up to TWO HOURS😅. Whilst you have a nice array of costal towns nearby including Bridlington and Scarborough, York is an hours drive away, as are other places like Leeds and Sheffield. You have to cross the Humber Bridge to get to Lincolnshire in any efficient time, so whenever that is closed, you’re in a bit of trouble too, making day trips there tricky at times.
When people talk about the worst places in the UK Hull gets unfairly lumped into the bunch, and perhaps once this was true, but its redevelopment and culture actually makes it a brilliant place to spend a day.
Our next day trip, to seaside town Scarborough (THAT one which inspired the famous folk / Simon & Garfunkel song) unfortunately will not be going ahead, due in part to Storm Ciara, and the very awkward timing of a job interview😭. Luckily, next week we still have our Valentine’s Day trip to York to look forward to, and I will write a special feature about London when I head there on the Sunday ☺️. Until then, goodbye!
– The Ginger Globetrotter🌍