Awesome Things to do in Hull: UK City of Culture 2017

by Jules on November 21, 2013

The city of Hull has just been awarded the prestigious accolade of UK City of Culture for 2017. It’s a great opportunity to showcase Hull’s history, heritage and of course culture, both to staycationers as well as international travellers.

Hull undoubtedly secured the honour, thanks to its packed annual calendar of festivals, the clutch of superb museums, pristine Victorian and Edwardian architecture and a world famous theatre company.

It follows the 2013 UK City of Culture of Derry/Londonderry which has hosted top cultural events including the Turner Prize and the Big Weekend from Radio 1. Previous host Liverpool really cemented its position on the British tourist trail, after hosting the year-long celebrations in 2008.

Famous People from Hull

Possibly the most famous person to live and work in Hull was the poet Philip Larkin (1922-1985) who published countless books on poetry, as well as fiction and non-fiction novels.

The politician William Wilberforce (1759-1833) was also born in Kingston upon Hull (to give the city its proper title), who was a key figure in the abolition of the slave trade.

Hull has also been the home of several notable actors, musicians and sportspeople, including Andrew Lincoln (of The Walking Dead and This Life fame), boxer Luke Campbell was born in Hull and won gold at the 2012 London Olympics and legendary actress Maureen Lipman was also born here. Musicians Roland Gift (lead singer of the Fine Young Cannibals) grew up here, Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, lived in Hull in the 1980s and formed the Housemartins here and Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt formed Everything but the Girl during their stint at Hull University.

Top 10 Things to do in Hull

Check out the many Festivals – Hull sees a huge influx of visitors for its packed annual calendar of festivals, covering everything including food, music, maritime history and literature. In fact there are hundreds of festivals which pull in more than 250,000 visitors each summer, including the Freedom Festival (attended by 80,000 people this year) and the hugely popular Humber Sesh which featured over 160 acts this year. Then there is also the annual Hull Pride, the Folk Festival, the Yum! Food Festival and the Hull Carnival.

The annual Hull Jazz Festival is about to kick off and runs from 22 to 24 November 2013.

Browse the Ferens Gallery – Originally opened in 1927, the Ferens Gallery is the most popular in Hull, with superb permanent and temporary exhibitions. Don’t miss the sculptures and paintings from the medieval period through to the current period, in particular the works from the European Old Masters. And in fact, the Ferens Gallery held a Da Vinci exhibition last year which smashed visitor’s records!

Explore the Museums Quarter – Located in Hull’s Old Town is the Museum Quarter, which is home to such gems as the Streetlife Museum with over 200 years of intriguing transport history, Wilberforce House is the former home of William Wilberforce who lead the anti-slavery movement and the Hull and East Riding Museum is perfect for the whole family, showcasing 235 million years of history, compete with woolly mammoths and dinosaurs. And the best bit is that all the museums in the Museum Quarter are free to explore!

Other museums in the city include the Dinostar Dinosaur Experience, the Arctic Corsair which explores Hull’s link with the fishing trade and Sprung Lightship which served the River Humber for more than 50 years.

Discover Hull’s Maritime Heritage – Hull served as an important trade dock for centuries and the heritage of the local trawling, whaling and fishing industries can be explored at both the Maritime Museum and down at the docks themselves.

Experience the world-famous Truck Theatre for yourself – Hull and East Yorkshire has a long-held connection with the theatre, and the pinnacle has to be the Truck Theatre, which moved to its new £14.5 million base four years ago. The theatre offers a lively programme of events all year round, which have won many awards, ranging from drama, stand-up comedy and family entertainment.

Check out the Sports in Hull – The city of Hull has a proud heritage of sport in the city, with the local football team Hull City having recently secured a place in the Premier League. There are two Rugby Super league squads with Hull FC and Hull KR, there is a successful ice hockey team in the Hull Stingrays and the city also has a top-flight basketball team in the Hull Wasps. Phew!

Admire the Humber Bridge – the mighty Humber Bridge became the longest suspension bridge in the world when it opened in 1981 (its seventh today) at 2,220 metre (7,280 feet) and is well worth a look (or a drive over the Hull estuary).

Explore Blaydes House – Hull and East Yorkshire have their fair share of Downton Abbey-esque stately homes, including Sledmere House, Burton Agnes Hall and Sewerby Hall. Hu’s high street is also home to Blaydes House which was built around 1740 and is the former home of the well-renowned Blaydes family who were major shipbuilders and in fact built HMS Bounty. Blaydes House is a great example of how a local merchant would have lived during the period.

Experience The Deep – The Deep is a real standout aquarium in the heart of the city and with over 6,500 species flitting in front on your eyes, it’s great day out for all the family. Spot mysterious rays and magnificent sharks.

Spot birds – The Paull Holme Strays site covers over 80 hectares of mudflats and saltmarshes, which have become an important wildlife and bird haven. Keen twitchers can spot godwits and avocet who stop of to feed during autumn and spring. Early autumn sees vast flocks of golden plovers light up the sky and various waterfowl species call this reserve home.

UK City of Culture 2017

Hull has unveiled a few details already of the celebrations and events that will take place throughout 2017. The year will kick off with a spectacular opening ceremony fusing local culture and rivers of light.

The annual Freedom Festival will also step it up a notch with a superb aerial show which will incorporate a section of Philip Larkin’s poem ‘An Arundel Tomb’, based around the final line of “What will survive of us is love.”

Image credit; Andy Beecroft

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