Kingston upon Hull Things to Do

  • The Arctic Corsair
    The Arctic Corsair
    by Britannia2
  • Scale Lane Bridge
    Scale Lane Bridge
    by SallyM
  • The Tidal Surge Barrier, Hull
    The Tidal Surge Barrier, Hull
    by SallyM

Most Recent Things to Do in Kingston upon Hull

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    The Larkin Trail

    by SallyM Updated Apr 11, 2015

    I have to confess that before visiting Hull, the only poem by Larkin with which I was familiar was the one about parents, which I will not quote here. Larkin was not born in the city, but moved here in his early thirties to become University Librarian, becoming one of the most famous literary figures associated with the city.

    Larkin's surroundings inspired his works, and following the Larkin trail around the places with which he was familiar, and reading the associated quotations from his poems on the plaques provides visitors with an idea of his life and work.

    I was able to follow the trail online using my smartphone, which worked really well. You can click on links for a map and geocodes for each location.

    I confess that I only did the city centre part of the trail. There are two other sections: beyond the city centre, and the wider countryside (for which transport is necessary).

    Finding the plaques is not always easy - for one of them it's necessary to go into Marks and Spencers.

    Plaque on Ye Olde Black Boy Public House Plaque on the White Hart Plaque in Marks and Spencer Plaque on remains of the pier
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    Follow the Fish Trail

    by SallyM Updated Apr 11, 2015

    The Seven Seas Fish Trail was created by the artist Gordon Young for the 1992 Hull Festival. There are 41 different representations of fish to find in the pavements of the Old Town.

    If you manage to complete them all you can claim a certificate from the Tourist Information Centre. I didn't do this, though I think we probably came across most of them during our explorations of the Old Town. You can pick up a Hull Old Town and City Guide leaflet which has a map of all the locations. The map also helpfully includes locations on the Ale Trail, in case all that looking for fish is thirsty work!

    Icefish Eel, on the boardwalk Whitebait, around the corner of George Yard
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    Old Town Trail

    by SallyM Updated Apr 7, 2015

    We purchased an 'Old Town Trail' leaflet from the Tourist Information Office in City Hall for £2 and followed the route around the old town. The leaflet contains just the right amount of background information so that you know what you are looking at.

    The route starts at City Hall and includes: The Ferens Art Gallery, Monument Bridge, Princes Dock, Trinity House, Holy Trinity Church, the 'King Billy' Statue, the Old Grammar School, Prince Street, Humber Dock, Victoria Pier, the Tidal Surge Barrier, High Street, former General Post Office, Ye Olde White Harte, Hepworth's Arcade, The George Hotel, Whitefriargate and the Queen's Gardens.

    Trinity House Prince Street Hull Former Post Office with Kingston Phone Boxes Humber Dock
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    Ferens Art Gallery

    by SallyM Written Apr 5, 2015

    The gallery is named after the industrialist and philanthropist Thomas R Ferens, who paid for both the site and the gallery, which opened in 1927.

    It has a large permanent collection, with highlights including 'Portrait of a Lady' by Frans Hals and 'The Lion at Home' by Rosa Bonheur and also hosts touring exhibitions.

    When I visited, the temporary exhibition space was given over to an open exhibition.

    Admission is free.

    Open Monday to Saturday 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m, 1.30 p.m to 4.30 p.m Sundays.

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    Museum Quarter

    by SallyM Updated Apr 5, 2015

    Hull Museum Quarter contains four museums run by Hull City Council:

    Hull and East Riding Museum
    Streetlife Museum
    Wilberforce House
    The Arctic Corsair

    There is also an attractive knot garden.

    Museum Quarter, with toad
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    Wilberforce House

    by SallyM Updated Apr 5, 2015

    Wilberforce House is of some architectural interest, being the best surviving example in Hull of a 17th century merchant's house. However, it is best known as the home of the Wilberforce family from 1730 to 1832, and hence the birthplace on 24 August 1759 of the future anti-slavery campaigner, William Wilberforce.

    The house is now a museum about Wilberforce and slavery. Downstairs are rooms dealing with the history of the house and the life of William Wilberforce. Wilberforce became active in politics, being elected as MP for Hull in 1780, and then for Yorkshire in 1784. He headed the parliamentary campaign for the abolition of the British slave trade for 26 years. The 1807 election was a particularly close-fought three way battle. Wilberforce spent £8,000 on his campaign and roasted an ox to encourage electors to vote for him. He was instrumental in ensuring the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, and lived just long enough to know that the Act abolishing slavery in the British Empire would be passed in 1833.

    The upstairs rooms deal with the slave trade, life on the plantations, and the aftermath of abolition. There is a video with actors retelling the stories of a plantation owner, and a male and female slave based on their diaries.

    Immediately following abolition, slaves had to serve an 'apprenticeship' for several years to prepare them for freedom. This was deeply unpopular and conditions were no better.

    Free admission.

    Open Monday-Saturday 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.

    Wilberforce House
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    Streetlife Museum

    by SallyM Updated Apr 5, 2015

    This museum tells the story of 200 years of transport in Hull.

    Downstairs is a museum combining transport (trams, a hansom carriage and veteran cars) with a 1940s street. The street includes a chemist shop containing the actual fittings from an establishment belonging to Mr Henry Castelow at 159 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, which were rescued when the shop was demolished in the 1970s. This shop had originally opened in the 1840s, and the counter and some of the fittings date from that time.

    A miniature cinema shows films about local history.

    There is also a small display about the aviator Amy Johnson who was born and brought up in Hull.

    Among the veteran cars on display is the Sturmey Voiturette, a unique car made in 1900 to test a three-speed gearbox developed by Henry Sturmey. This gear-box was developed into the Sturmey-Archer gearbox used in bicycles.

    Upstairs is an exhibition about bicycles, but I didn't visit this.

    Admission is free.

    Open Monday to Saturday 10.00 a.m to 5.00 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. on Sundays.

    Hull Streetlife Museum Mr Castelows Chemist Shop Sturmey Voiturette Hull Streetlife Museum Bust of Amy Johnson
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    The Arctic Corsair

    by SallyM Written Apr 5, 2015

    The Arctic Corsair is a 1960s sidewinder trawler now permanently moored in the river Hull adjacent to the Museums Quarter. It opened to the public in 1999.

    Visit is by guided tour, during which, real trawlermen share their experiences of life on board. It is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays between late March and early November.

    Arctic Corsair
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    Hull and East Riding Museum

    by SallyM Updated Apr 5, 2015

    The Hull and East Riding Museum is situated in a building which was originally the Customs House. Ambitiously, the displays start with the Big Bang, then the creation of the Earth, before narrowing down a bit to the history of East Yorkshire from the Stone Age, complete with a woolly mammoth. Fourth century Roman mosaics from Rudston are displayed in a mock up of a villa and bath house. There is also a re-creation of a Celtic village.

    I was particularly interested in the Roos Carr figures, wooden figurines that were discovered in a ditch by some workmen in 1836. They are made of yew and have been carbon-dated as approximately 2,600 years old, placing them in the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age. They have detachable male genitalia which were removed when the figures were originally displayed in order not to offend Victorian sensibilities. Modern archaeologists believe that they were probably votive offerings.

    Admission is free.

    Open Monday to Saturday 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. and Sundays 1.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.

    Roos Carr Figures Rudston Venus Mosaic Celtic village
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    The Spurn Lightship

    by SallyM Written Apr 5, 2015

    The Spurn Lightship was built in Goole in 1927 and served for almost 50 years as a navigational aid in the River Humber.

    It is 100 feet long and weighs 203 tonnes.

    Each member of the crew would spend four hours on duty and eight hours off. Whilst off duty they would play cards, make model ships and supplement their rations by fishing. Each crew would spend one month at a time on the ship, and then spend the next working on the buoy yacht and on shore.

    It is now moored in Hull Marina, where it may be visited on certain Sunday afternoons during July and August. There is also an information panel which gives details about the lightship and its history.

    Spurn Lightship
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    Tidal Surge Barrier

    by SallyM Updated Apr 5, 2015

    This massive structure, designed by Shankland Cox Associates, provides an essential defence against the flooding of the city.

    The barrier, which weights 202 tonnes, pivots around and is lowered into the mouth of the river Hull to dam it against the approach of exceptionally high tides from the North Sea via the Humber.

    It dominates the view from The Deep.

    The Tidal Surge Barrier, Hull Tidal Surge Barrier, with The Deep behind
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    Scale Lane Footbridge

    by SallyM Updated Apr 5, 2015

    Scale Lane Bridge, a new, 'unique, state of the art' swinging footbridge (designed by McDowell and Benedetti) which opened in June 2013, linking the east bank of the river Hull to the Old Town.

    It opens to allow boats through, but we weren't lucky enough to see this.

    Scale Lane Bridge
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    The smallest window

    by SallyM Written Apr 4, 2015

    I had read that the George Hotel in the oddly-named 'Land of Green Ginger' was the location of the smallest window in the country, but it's so small I managed to miss it at first.

    The so-called 'window' is actually a narrow glazed slit between two large stones. The ostler used to sit behind it to watch for the arrival of coaches on cold winter nights. I doubt the window cleaner makes much money here!

    The smallest window in the country, honestly
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    Holy Trinity Parish Church

    by SallyM Updated Apr 4, 2015

    Holy Trinity Church was founded in 1285, and the last of the building was consecrated in 1435.. It is said to be the largest parish church in the county by area, and it certainly seems more like a small cathedral than a church.

    Only one of the original twelve medieval chantry chapels remains: the Broadley chapel (formerly the de la Pole chapel). Close to this chapel is an alabaster medieval tomb bearing an effigy, which remains unidentified (association with the de la Pole family proving to be largely a matter of wishful thinking). The font is also of medieval date, but has a more modern historical connection, as William Wilberforce was baptised there.

    The impressive lecturn was installed in 1847 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the vicar John Healey Bromby. The pulpit had been installed the previous year.

    Holy Trinity Parish Church Holy Trinity Parish Church Holy Trinity Parish Church Holy Trinity Parish Church
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    The Deep: walk beneath a stingray

    by SallyM Updated Apr 4, 2015

    The Deep, a giant aquarium housing over 3,500 fish (and quite a few penguins, frogs, cockroaches and other creatures).

    The iconic building designed by architects Terry Farrell and Partners opened in 2002 and has become the UK’s most commercially successful Millennium project.

    The tour starts at the top (level 3) and visitors descend a ramp through a number of zones with audio visual and interactive displays as well as aquariums:

    Timeline: awakening seas: includes a rock face of reconstructed fossils showing how marine life evolved into more complex forms over time

    Lagoon of light and coral realm: a large tank in the coral realm provides a snorkeller’s eye view of a coral lagoon
    Discovery corner: an opportunity to encounter creatures from the British seashore

    Endless ocean: the ten metre deep tank at the core of The Deep is one of the largest in Europe, and contains creatures from the warm open oceans. Visitors view the tank at various points, and may come face to face with a shark or a stingray.

    Slime: this section shows creatures that use slime in various ways; including the clownfish which is able to live among the tentacles of sea anemones without being stung because of its thick coat of slime, and the garden eel, which digs a burrow which it lines with slime to prevent it from collapsing. I was fascinated by the latter, which looks very much like an alien from Doctor Who.

    Flooded forests: this section looks at tropical freshwater habitats, including the flooded forests of the Amazon.

    Cool seas: this section deals with life in cold water, both in the seas bordering the polar regions and in the deepest seas.

    Kingdom of ice: this section deals with the polar regions, and includes a colony of penguins.

    Living rivers: here visitors can come face to face with a number of river-dwelling creatures, from piranha or axolotl.

    At the end of the tour, visitors pass through a glass tunnel under the Endless Ocean tank, and then take either the scenic lift or stair s back to the entrance, with more opportunities to view the inhabitants of the Endless Ocean tank. Passing through the tunnel, a stingray swam over my head.

    As The Deep is essentially a very large enclosed space which generally has quite a number of excited children in it, it can get quite noisy, which makes it difficult to hear some of the audiovisual material, but that is unavoidable really.

    Open Daily 10.00 a.m to 6.00 p.m. Adult tickets cost £11.75, but for this you can get admission for a year. You may take photographs as long as you don't use flash (for obvious reasons).

    The Deep The Deep: the award-winning building The Endless Ocean tank The Deep The Deep: Garden Eel or alien?
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Kingston upon Hull Things to Do

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