As Hull is City of Culture for UK, Linda Spurdle, Mark Macleod and I decided a few days there was needed. We arrived on Monday and left Thursday and took in so much culture!
When we first arrived in the train station the first thing you notice is all the signage of how proud they are to be City of Culture. The next thing I noticed was all the volunteers – they were brightly colour uniforms and are so friendly!
After dropping our bags off, we went down to see Spurn Lightship and walked around the Old Town. There are so many places to eat, drink, explore.
Tuesday was Culture Day! We went to:
Ferens Art Gallery – an incredible building with an impressive permanent collection. We were fortunate to also see Ron Mueck exhibition while we were there. For a City Museum – it was brilliant to see it thriving so much.
Hull also as a Museum Quarter which has the following museum in one area and all are free:
- Hands on Museum
- East Riding Museum
- Maritime Museum
- Wilberforce House
- Streetlife Museum
I separated Streetlife Museum from the rest as it was a different beast. Where the others were a little out-dated and at times confusing (Wilberforce House especially), Streetlife Museum was a barrel of fun! When you walk in your told there is no right or wrong way to explore the museums.
The other museums, while lovely were a bit overpowering with the signage. Wilberforce House I was expecting to be more like Bantock House in Wolverhampton – a house that explains about the person and their lifestyle etc. Instead it was about slavery and the fight against it. While extremely vital we never forget, I felt at times they were repeating themselves on what they were saying. I didn’t really learn about the person himself.
We had dinner then went to Hull Truck Theatre to see the fabulous production of Richard III with Mat Fraser. Shakespeare isn’t always my thing but after working on A Midsummer Nights Dream with the RSC last year I wasn’t as scared about it. And once again my fear of Shakespeare proved to be unfounded as it was very easy to follow along and learn about Richard III.
The following day we decided to take a short train ride to a nearby town called Beverley a beautiful market town with incredible architecture, a minster, cobbled streets and wonderful vibe.
Beverley Minster was built around John, bishop of York, who founded a monastery in the 6th century on the site where Beverley Minster stands. When you walk in there is no pressure to do anything but explore. They do suggest a fee of £3 to take pictures which is the only way they raise money. And the minster is so gorgeous, it’s money well worth it!
St Mary’s Church: The church owes its great architectural interest to having been developed through 400 years of almost continuous building from 1120to 1530. There is a carving of the March hare said to have inspired Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland and a beautiful ceiling of Kings painted in 1446 and representing the Kings of England before that time.
Treasure House is a one stop shop for archives, research, museum, art gallery and café. I found the museum very child friendly.
The Guildhall dates back from 17th century and was recently restored. It has a very long history but is now shown as the court it used to be. And yes, I did try the judges gown and wig on.
We headed back to Hull on the train and went to Hull University to see their art gallery and the Paul Smith to J.K. Rowling exhibition. The university’s art gallery has a connection with Ferens as Dr Easton wanted an art gallery at the university and receiving a bequest of £300 a year from T.R. Ferens. We were fortunate to also see CAIRNS, by Icelandic artist Steinunn Thórarinsdóttir, a sculpture trail around the campus. We had great fun recreating the positions of the sculpture.
After some amazing Tapas (Hull is spoiled for choice with places to eat!) we ended by walking through Hull Cemetery. Probably sounds weird to do this but trust me when I say this cemetery is the most amazing place. It’s not rows and rows tombstone – instead it’s a maze of Hull history. A bit overgrown but well loved.
If you’re planning a trip to Hull for their City of Culture, leave yourself a few days if you can. There is so much to see and do. The people are friendly and there are lots of volunteers all over the city to help with any queries you might have. While we tried to use the website we did have issues trying to purchase tickets for events and we weren’t getting much engagement from @2017Hull.