Fried potato and Philip Larkin: Some of the reasons Hull has been voted #1 place to visit for a weekend break in 2021Tweet
The Queen even came to Kingston upon Hull to mark the final few weeks of its tenure as UK City of Culture for 2017.
We can’t imagine why it has taken her until the third week of November to visit. “Ma’am, it’s your City of Culture – you really must visit Hull before the end of the year,” her advisors have no doubt been urging. But today she did it. She went to Hull and back.
The much-maligned city was named Britain’s worst place to live in the 2003 edition of Crap Towns, but its star has been on the rise ever since. Here are a few reasons to follow Her Royal Highness up the M1…
Gavin Haines found much to enjoy on a recent trip to Hull for Telegraph Travel, including the city’s culinary pride and joy: the pattie.
He wrote: “A battered and deep-fried sphere of mashed potato, seasoned with sage, these little slabs of cholesterol are the source of much pride in the city and are usually served with chips; fried potato, with a side of fried potato, then. Hardly the cornerstone of a healthy diet, granted, but like Hull itself – a friendly and unpretentious city – I really rather enjoyed it.”
Gavin adds: “Most towns have museums, of course. Even Bromsgrove. But Hull’s are good. The Ferens Art Gallery, which reopened in January after a multi-million pound refurbishment, has a collection that runs the gamut from paintings by Old Masters to contemporary sculptures. It even pulled off the impressive coup of acquiring Pietro Lorenzetti’s 700-year-old masterpiece, Christ Between Saint Paul and Saint Peter. The town was a-flutter.
“Wilberforce House, meanwhile, brings slavery into focus. Nestling down the old High Street, this pretty Grade I-listed building was the birthplace of the politician and social reformer, William Wilberforce, who helped end the slave trade.”
Then there’s the Hull Maritime Museum, home to the UK’s largest collection of scrimshaw bone and ivory carvings.
It gave us Larkin
The town’s most famous resident called it a “dump”, but there are clearly no hard feelings. There’s a Larkin Trail for tourists to follow, and a statue of the scribe (who, incidentally, worked as a jazz critic for the Daily Telegraph) greets visitors at the railway station.
A beautiful railway station (sort of)
A new tome by Simon Jenkins, detailing Britain’s greatest railway stations, gave Hull four stars. “I am torn between lauding Hull Paragon as an unsung masterpiece of the railway age, and pleading for it to be rescued from its owners and taken into care,” he wrote. “The original building of 1848 is second only to Huddersfield as a survivor of the great age of station classicism, though today it lies desperately forlorn to the rear of the present building.”
A Humber crossing was first proposed in 1872 but it was not until 1973 that construction began on the suspension bridge that spans the river today. The bridge was officially opened on July 17, 1981 and at one time held the record for the longest suspension bridge in the world. More than 100,000 vehicles use it each week and there’s also a walk way for those who want to marvel at this feat of engineering at a rather more sedate pace. Its architectural importance was enshrined this year when it became one of nine buildings in Hull to achieve listed status.
Holy Trinity Church
England’s largest parish church (by area), according to the Guiness Book of Records. The building is more than 700 years old.
There’s a fascinating Old Town
Hull’s Old Town may not be large but interesting buildings include the house where William Wilberforce was born, on the original High Street. It was built around 1660 and is flanked by Georgian houses built by local merchants. Wilberforce was born in an upstairs room in 1759.
“Lined with Victorian bonded warehouses and pubs once favoured by sailors, High Street is, if you like, the Wapping of Humberside,” says Gavin Haines. “This is where salty sea dogs came ashore when Hull had one of the world’s largest ports. The city flourished, particularly during the 19th century, and it has the grand civic architecture to prove it, save for what the Luftwaffe destroyed.”
And a giant wind turbine blade
Gavin adds: “This gargantuan structure looks somewhat awkward in the town centre, like a tall man sitting in a child’s chair, but it carries the hopes of a city. It was handmade in Hull, at the rejuvenated Alexandra Dock, where Siemens has ploughed £160 million into a factory that helped create 1,000 jobs.”
You can search for fish
The East of England was once home to thriving fishing industries. Remember it on the two-mile Seven Seas Fish Trail, which takes in 41 humorously located pieces of fishy sculpture made from traditional materials.
Dive in at The Deep end
This mammoth aquarium claims to be one of the world’s best, housing everything from turtles to Nemo clownfish and manta rays. Entire coral walls awash with fish stand behind glass screens and there are plenty of educational, interactive and fun activities on offer, including shark dives.
Or see the Streetlife Musuem of Transport
According to TripAdvisor, this is Hull’s top visitor attraction. Visitors journey back through 200 years of transport history and exhibits include a Hobby Horse bicycle dating from 1818 and the recreation of a 1930s Hull street scene.