Joanne Brady is a mum of four girls and chief blogger at Kids Days Out Reviews, a practical look at days out and holidays for families. She is perpetually stressed and on the prowl for that much-needed day off for herself. Kids Days Out Reviews is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and now (after much persuasion from the squad) tiktok.
Hull, East Yorkshire; City of Culture 2017 and much misunderstood. Yes it’s full of people whose default mode is often perceived as belligerent (rightly or wrongly) and it has this reputation as somewhere that’s always damp and cold and frankly, dull. But, as the popular saying goes “it’s never dull in Hull” and you better believe it.
Hull is a place that is well worthy of a visit. There’s a rich history, a unique culture, and a host of things to keep you and the family entertained for at least a weekend. Here are five of the top things to do in Hull.
The Streetlife Museum of Transport
The Streetlife Museum of Transport is Hull’s top rated attraction on Tripadvisor and I have to say, I’d find it difficult to disagree. It’s a gem of a place – a free museum with a host of things to do in a part of Hull that’s full of history and worth a visit in its own right.
The Streetlife Museum is in the Museums Quarter on Hull’s historic and picturesque High Street. It is two floors of street and transport related exhibits. You can look inside and outside of trams and cars, marvel at the seemingly endless display of cycles, and take a walk down a recreated street of yesteryear.
If you like transport, social history, or just being able to actually sit on things rather than just look from behind a rope, then this is the place for you. Check the website for opening times, booking not required. Did I mention it is free?
The Hull Fish Trail
The Seven Seas Fish Trail is more interesting than it sounds and is a perfect way for finding your way around into all parts of Hull’s old town, hidden or otherwise. Starting at the tourist information centre under the City Hall on Queen Victoria Square, the route takes in Hull Minster, the marina, pier and waterfront, up to the Museums Quarter (which is also home to Wilberforce House and the Hull and East Riding Museum), and back round past the famous Land of Green Ginger and up Whitefriargate.
The fish are etched into pavements, or carved into walls, and there are around 26 species to spot. Grab a map from the TIC or online. The full route takes a leisurely three hours and there are lots of eateries en route – the Fruit Market area on Humber Street being the most noteworthy of Hull’s eating zones. The route is, on-the-whole, pram-friendly but there is at least one busy road to cross until our new footbridge opens, and the inevitable water hazards.
Top tip – the public toilets on the Pier are worthy of a visit whether you need to ‘go’ or not.
Hull has several green spaces within the outer suburbs – in fact, it’s one of the greenest cities in the UK, but East Park is particularly good. It’s the biggest park in Hull and contains formal garden areas, more informal playing areas, playgrounds, and a very good Animal Education Centre, which is more of a mini zoo. Also check out the Victorian splash boat, and the paddle boats on the huge lake.
This one is a bus ride from the city centre but there is also lots of free parking in and around the park itself. Bring money for duck food and ice-creams!
Come in October and you can visit one of the world’s largest travelling fairs. A fair has been coming to Hull for a few days in the autumn since forever and ever and it gets bigger and brighter every year. There are hundreds of rides, sideshows, and food stalls and you can seriously get lost here, particularly on the busier days which tend to be the Fridays and the Saturday.
Free to enter but you won’t get out with your wallet intact. Parking is restricted and wardens are out in force in fair week, so use an official car park, or alternatively, it’s a 20-30 minute walk or a 10 minute bus ride from Hull Paragon Interchange in the city centre.
2020 dates for Hull Fair – October 9th to October 17th (except Sunday 11th). It’s generally open in the afternoon and evenings, and is popular with families around dusk.
Well, yeah, no list about things to do in Hull would be complete without our biggest attraction, The Deep. The Deep is home to thousands of fish and other sealife, including sharks and penguins. It is very family-friendly and there’s the requisite facilities, including a café with a great view down the River Humber and up to the Humber Bridge.
Booking online will speed things up, and if you return with photos within 12 months, you get free re-entry for a year. Ask at the desk for information.
The Deep is the best aquarium I’ve ever visited and it’s a must-see for fish fans.