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It’s not every day that Hull excites you. Yet, when it does, it’s all the more: exciting. That said, on the morning of 20th November 2013, as I sat hastily sipping a coffee and watching the news in my Mancunian abode, I was struck with a heady bout of said sensation. “It’s done it!” I whispered, punching the air and having a wee chortle, “Hull’s won City of Culture 2017!”
And what a moment it was! What pride was felt, by every Hullite from East to West, North to South; their beloved city finally acknowledged, finally given the glimmer of hope that it might shake off the post-war decay that has blighted it for decades. After Yorkshire’s success at the World Travel Awards, it was about time that its trouble child of the East Coast was too given the recognition it deserves!
So follow me on a (former) local’s tour of the UK’s City of Culture 2017, but please bear in mind that I’m affectionately bias, and that things could get a little emotional…
Though not immediately obvious, Hull’s hip-deep in culture. And how could it not be? With over 800 years of history and one of the richest seafaring legacies in the UK. Discover virtually every inch of the city’s fabled past in the unique Museums Quarter, which comprises four distinct attractions, including the Streetlife Museum and a striking former trawler, the Arctic Corsair. Other up and coming cultural hotspots include the recently rebuilt Hull Truck Theatre, as well as the Fruit Market, a restored warehouse venue on the city’s marina which hosts a plethora of cultural events including gigs, exhibitions and the popular bi-monthly cinema event, Cult Cinema Sunday.
From Old Town to the Avenues, Hull’s got some memorable watering holes and eateries, and I certainly wouldn’t advise you stop off at them all! There’s a handful however, that shouldn’t be missed. If you’re struck with hunger in the city centre, take a right off Whitefriargate and head to one of the excellent café bars on the Quayside. Here you can chow down on anything from clam chowder to the humble panini, and all that outdoor seating proves a great spot for a glass of vino in the summer! Alternatively, head to the popular streets of Princes Avenue and Newland Avenue. Close to the university, these connecting streets are blessed with a variety of excellent bars and restaurants. For a robust sharing platter, visit Garbutt’s on Princes Avenue, or enjoy a traditional Italian at La Perla. Fancy a tipple? Sample some continental ale in Larkin’s Bar or Ella Street Social, whose décor alone makes it well worth a stop off!
In terms of retail, naturally Hull doesn’t compete with Liverpool or London. Yet, there’s a few pockets of the city which really do leave you reaching for your wallet. For big brands and high-street names, the glass leviathan of the St Stephens centre is a must. If you’re looking for alternative wares on which to spend your hard-earned however, you’ll have to go further afield. Tucked between Georgian buildings in Hull’s Old Town, The Hepworth Arcade is a great place for finding one off gems and forgotten trinkets. One of the Arcade’s most popular shops is Beasley’s, an independent clothing store which has grown in popularity over the years to become one of the city’s best kept secrets. Alternatively, the aforementioned Newland Avenue is the ideal place to find that perfect Christmas gift, with independent shops such as Woods stocking a wealth of unusual and unique gifts and homeware.
For your chance to get to grips with the real Hull, why not book a self-catering cottage in East Yorkshire with Sykes Cottages? We’ve plenty of cottages around Hull which provide the ideal base for a daytrip to the city, so book yours today and remember: Don’t Knock it, ‘til you’ve tried it!