This story appeared in our year-end issue in 2016. But if you are travelling to the UK this year or the next and perhaps a decade from now, here’s a city you’ll find as refreshing and alluring as I did two years ago. Hull is, in fact, the opposite of dull!
It’s not far from London: Located 248 km north of London, Hull is less than four hours by car, and even closer by train. Excellent bus connections, too.
It’s a heartbeat away from Manchester: Half the time it will take you from London, actually. Bonus: You get to enjoy both cities, plus London, in a single trip!
That lost-in-time Feel: Hull’s medieval street pattern boasts a bevy of fine Georgian and Victorian buildings, and it has a beautiful almost-cathedral, and an inspiring watery setting. You can explore most of it on foot. Especially now, the whiff of nostalgia is mixed with the fresh scent of excitement: making it an irresistible place to be in.
The Submarium: I am no student of marine biology, but hands down this was my favourite part of Hull, and guaranteed to be yours too. In the world’s only submerged aquarium, it feels surreal to waft up a glass lift that makes you feel you are underwater, floating among hundreds of fish.
You can see penguins swim, stingrays swish and jellyfish quiver. You learn about sea slime and turtles, walk through 4 billion years of ocean history. Two hours drifted too quickly by, and for most of them, my jaw was nearly touching the floor. Simply fascinating, The Deep!
Princes Quay: It’s the city’s most exciting and prominent shopping centre. Glass-covered, it literally rose from the water to tower above Prince’s Dock.
The old centre of the town, as well as the new, bustling side, are both at a comfortable walking distance from here. Relax at an outdoor pub, or stroll down to the pier for sweeping views of the rejuvenated docklands.
Quirky, creative stores: It’s a pedestrian-friendly city, and the joy of stumbling upon unique concept stores is among the sweetest in the world! I discovered a store that offered “a blind date with a book.” Wrapped in brown paper, tied with simple string, a pile of books sat in a stack, waiting to be opened and revealed.
A “Watch & Clock Hospital” and The Yorkshire linen Co., a store lined ceiling to floor with linen, decorative accessories, cushions, curtains…a homemaker’s fondest dream come true!
It’s happy! And the happiness is contagious. Smiles and sunny faces everywhere. Can there be a better reason to visit a city?