Kingston upon Hull, or Hull is a city in Yorkshire on the northern bank of the Humber Estuary.
Post office building
In some ways the 20th century was the most consistently calamitous era in the long, long history of this great maritime city. From a position at the start of the 1900s of industrial and mercantile might that put it on a level with almost any other city in the land, by the last decade of the century its litany of hard luck stories had cruelly conspired to turn Hull into something of a national laughing stock. The last hundred years were, however, a sad chapter in an epic story, and at the birth of a new century, the place Larkin called the 'lonely northern daughter' has begun to miraculously revive and stake its claim for prosperity and respect once more.
Much investment is being directed into the city, encouraged by the huge success of The Deep as a visitor attraction, concerted efforts by regeneration agencies, and the recent success of Hull City FC and the Rugby League teams in displaying the element of untapped potential in the region.
Anybody who has experienced the city first hand without any preconceived notions or bias will tell you that Hull is unique. It is no longer isolated, as transport links with the rest of the country are more than adequate. This was not the case for hundreds of years though, and the result is a true one-off. The place has a genuine cultural identity and character of its own. It is reflected in the accent (pronounce "oh no" as "er ner" and you will have an idea), the humor, the self-effacement and spirit of its people. Hull's colourful (at times startling) but always fascinating urban fabric and history are its markers.
The flat landscape and low but often breathtaking historic buildings give a sense of there being a massive backdrop of sky, and when combined with a view out to the brooding, bleak, mighty expanse of the Humber Estuary from the point at which it converges with the River Hull it becomes apparent that there is something special in the location of the town.
Along with the poetry of its setting, Hull has a formidable connection with some of the most influential poets in English literature. Amongst others Andrew Marvell was baptized in Holy Trinity Church and attended the Old Grammar School, Philip Larkin lived at 32 Pearson Park for most of his life and Stevie Smith was born here.
The city has in recent years branded itself as the "Pioneering City", and this claim is backed up by a list of many firsts originating on Humberside. The technology for Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), for example, was discovered and refined at the University of Hull in the late 1960s. The city is also a UK leader in the development of broadband and telecom technology.
In 2007 Kingston-Upon-Hull celebrated another of its numerous remarkable achievements when it commemorated the life of its greatest son William Wilberforce , and celebrated his starring role in the abolition of the British slave trade which in turn changed the face of world history. There was a wide range of events across the city.
Hull is served by Humberside International Airport, which is on the south bank of the Humber Estuary - about 20 to 25 minutes drive to Hull City centre via the Humber Bridge. Humberside Airport has daily scheduled flights to Aberdeen and Amsterdam and charter flights to many European airports.
The X1 express coach service (operated by Stagecoach Bus) links the Airport with Hull City centre. Journey times are just over half an hour and services run hourly.
Hull Paragon Interchange is in the city centre and provides easy access between rail, coach and local bus services all under the same roof. A taxi rank is located outside the main entrance of the station and car rental services are available on the concourse.
Hull is served by eight daily Intercity train services to and from London Kings Cross. Journey times from the capital vary from between 2 hours, 30 minutes to 2 hours, 50 minutes. Most trains are operated by the city's own train operator - Hull Trains, though one service in each direction, is operated by National Express East Coast. Between direct services you can change at Doncaster station for regular (two per hour) connections to Hull.
The city is located at the end of a major Transpennine route from Manchester. Hourly Transpennine Express trains operate to and from Manchester Piccadilly station stopping at Huddersfield, Leeds, Selby and Brough. Journey time from Manchester is about 1 hour, 55 minutes and from Leeds, a little under 1 hour. Regular, quick connections from Manchester Airport are available by changing at Huddersfield (same platform, normally) or Manchester.
An hourly fast service to and from Sheffield via Doncaster is available (operated by Northern Rail). This service calls at Meadowhall - a large, popular shopping centre near Sheffield. An hourly local, stopping service also operates to Doncaster.
A local service from York (with connections from the North and Scotland) is also available.
The city is at the eastern end of the M62 (which changes to the A63 shortly before Hull) and can be easily accessed from the rest of the motorway network. It has good access from Lincolnshire and the south via the A15 and the Humber Bridge and can be accessed by the A1079 from York and the North
There is a Park and Ride service (Number 701) available from the outskirts of the city, clearly signposted, just off the A63. The service drops off at the Kingston Communications Stadium (and is therefore useful for match-day traffic - parking capacity near the stadium is very limited), Hull Royal Infirmary and Hull City centre.
National Express coach services operate in and out of Hull Paragon Interchange. Several of the services operate through to King George Dock to connect with ferry services through to the continent.
Pride Of Rotterdam
Hull is a major port and ferry terminus for P&O North Sea Ferries sailings to and from Rotterdam in Holland and Zeebrugge in Belgium. Other Routes are present within the UK
The bus station in Hull city centre has recently undergone a multi million pound refurbishment, along with the adjacent Paragon railway station to form a new central 'transport interchange'. The main entrances / exits for the station are located on Ferensway, within a short distance of the new St Stephens covered shopping street to the north, and the central core of the city to the east.
Bus services in Hull are operated by East Yorkshire Motor Services  and Stagecoach  in Hull. Unfortunately, as with most local transport services in the UK outside of London, ticketing and fares on bus services are not integrated across operators and you have to pay separately for each bus you ride on. Tickets are purchased from the driver when you board the bus. All information regarding bus routes, times etc. can be gained from the passenger information boards and the Travel Centre within the station. It can also be downloaded from the council's website .
The city centre is fairly compact and mainly pedestrianised. This creates a relatively hassle free walk around town. Care should be taken when crossing from the southern side of the old town towards the marina area, however, as the route is intersected by Castle Street - a huge and very busy dual carriageway.
Although Hull was amongst the most heavily bombed cities in the UK during the Second World War, the 700 years since the granting of its first charter have left it with a fascinating wealth of architectural gems. From Flemish inspired facades to beautiful domed civic buildings. From dock offices to imposing industrial heritage warehouses and mills. From the medieval cobbled charm of the old town, grand private merchant's houses and Georgian terraces to cutting edge modern design.
Queen Victoria Square
The centre of Hull, from which all of the wide shopping streets of the late 19th/early 20th century radiate. At its heart stands Queen Victoria, surrounded by the magnificent domes of The Maritime Museum and The City Hall. A recent addition to the square was that of the controversial BBC Big Screen on its Jameson St. entrance.
Ferens Art Gallery. Free entry. Permanent collection of Sculpture and Paintings from medieval to present day, as well as a regular programme of temporary exhibitions from around the world. Strong on old European Masters, particularly Dutch and Flemish, the Ferens also houses some of the best contemporary art in the country. Includes masterpieces by Frans Hals, Antonio Canaletto, Stanley Spencer, David Hockney, Helen Chadwick and Gillian Wearing.
Maritime Museum. Free entry. Formerly the Whaling Museum and housed in the original Dock offices for the Princes Dock, this is a huge, dusty and quaintly old-fashioned museum dedicated to Hull's glorious conquest of the High Seas, and the often tragic sacrifices made to pursue it.
Hull City Hall. Completed in 1903, the City Hall stood in defiance of the Luftwaffe to emerge as one of the most loved structures in the city. It now regularly hosts Rock, Pop, Classical and Comedy events all year round.
Opened in 1930 and built on top of the Queens Dock (The largest dock in the country), you can still make out the original shape of the dock in the walls and buildings surrounding you. At one end stands the Wilberforce Monument and at the other the Maritime Museum.
The Gardens are sunk and contain flowerbeds, seating, a large grassy area.
The Mick Ronson Memorial Stage is the main focus of scheduled events throughout the summer months. Constructed after the untimely death from cancer of Mick Ronson, the guitarist who along with two other Hullensians formed David Bowie's band The Spiders From Mars in the early 1970s and later went on to success with Bob Dylan, Elton John, Lou Reed and Morrissey among others. The stage hosted a memorable speech by freeman of the city Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1997.
Behind the stage is a plaque to commemorate the fictional character of Robinson Crusoe, who set sail from Hull in the famed novel of the same name by Daniel Defoe. This book - it has been argued - was the first novel in the English language in 1719.
Running adjacent to the Garden is the home of the City Council. The Guildhall is a great slab of early 20th century civic pride, prosperity and confidence. A sculpture of Boadicea sits atop its ornate Neo-Classical design.
Created around the site of the old market square in front of Holy Trinity church, and taking in the grand Victorian Hepworths Arcade, this is the main home in the city centre for vintage clothes, independent record shops and alternative retail outlets. The square has benefited in recent times from sensitive restoration including seating and public art, as well as a great selection of small cafes with outdoor areas to make it a vital destination for any sightseeing tour.
Holy Trinity Church is officially the largest parish church in England, but as a piece of imposing medieval ecclesiastical architecture, it is to all intents and purposes more like a cathedral. The oldest parts date back to c.1300 and the 150ft high tower contains a ring of 15 bells.
Old Grammar SchoolFree Entry. This is one of the oldest grammar schools in England dating back to the 16th century, and now houses the Hands on History Museum. The Museum focuses on the history of Hull and it's people, recreates Victorian Childhood in the classroom and contains a genuine Egyptian Mummy.
The Museum Quarter and High Street
This area runs alongside the River Hull, and was the main street at the centre of the medieval old town.
Transport Museum. Free Entry.
Wilberforce House. Free Entry. Birthplace and residence of William Wilberforce (1759-1833), MP for Hull and slavery abolitionist, whose anti-slavery bill was finally passed in 1807 after his tireless campaigning. The house has been a museum in his memory since 1903. Please Note: The museum is currently undergoing a £1.6m restoration and will be open to the public again in 2007 in time for the celebration of 200 years since the Act.
Arctic Corsair. Free Entry. Hulls last remaining sidewinder trawler, berthed in the River Hull to the rear of the Museums Quarter complex. Guided tours are available.
Hull Time Based Arts
Princes Quay and Whitefriargate
Whitefriargate is the thoroughfare that links the old and new towns, and has traditionally been the main shopping high street for centuries. After decline caused by the emergence of new shopping centres, a new future is planned for the street, with the hope of it attracting cafes, bars and galleries.
Princes Quay A shopping centre built on stilts over the quay, soon to have a cinema installed. The futuristic glass shards of the centre have dated surprisingly well, and the walk up the long, light and airy entrance from Queen Victoria square and over the water is as exhilarating an experience you could ask for from a city centre shopping trip.
At the Queen Victoria Square end of Whitefriargate an excavated hole containing a small amphitheater and brick wall signals the medieval Beverley Gate. This belonged to the original city walls, and is where King Charles I was refused entry to Hull in the 17th Century - the first military act of the English Civil War.
The smallest window in England. This is outside the George Inn on a street called The Land of Green Ginger (so called because of the medieval spice market that operated here).
Parliament street leads off of Whitefriargate about halfway down. This is the home of many professional practices in the city centre, and this is reflected in it's fine Georgian architecture.
The Marina and around
Developed from the old derelict Humber Dock in the early 80's, Hull Marina provides space for 270 yachts and small sailing craft in its permanent and visiting berths. The area is an enjoyable stroll with some great cafes and old pubs, and annually hosts the Sea Fever Sea shanty festival.
In one of the permanent berths resides the Spurn Lightship. This will be open to the public again from April 2007.
The area to the west is earmarked for huge office and residential development, with the Island Wharf World Trade Centre recently being completed as phase 1.
The Deep. A huge aquarium looking out over the Humber estuary. Built as Hull's main millennium project, it has surpassed all expectations to become a massively successful tourist destination and second only to the Eden Project in terms of visitor numbers.
Out of the city centre
Humber Bridge. The longest single span suspension bridge in the world when completed in 1981.
The KC Stadium Is the shared home of Hull City A.F.C., and Hull F.C. Rugby League Club. Commonly referred to as 'The Circle' owing to the original cricket ground on the site, the stadium houses a seating capacity of 25,000 and is amongst the most spectacular new stadiums in the country.
Have a pint in Ye Olde White Harte. One of many delightful historic pubs in the old town. The upstairs 'plotting parlor' is believed to be where Sir John Hotham and various city elders met in 1642 and decided to deny King Charles I access to the city. When the King returned a few months later with an army, his defeat was the first military action of the English Civil War.
Take a Humber Speedboat ride from Victoria Pier for £3.50
Stand at the statue of Alfred Gelder and look in all four directions at the fantastic buildings around you.
Check out Hull Truck Theatre on Spring Street to see a production at the home of one of the most successful touring theater companies in the country. Hull Truck are all set to move into a striking new building facing onto Ferensway in the next couple of years.
Go see a film at the Hull Screen - Hulls independent arthouse cinema, now based at the University of Lincoln building on George Street.
RED Gallery, Hull
19 Osborne Street, Hull, East Yorkshire,
Web site: www.red-gallery.com
Since RED opened in 1997 it has provided Hull with an independent exhibition space and 'laboratory' for contemporary art.
The gallery's viewing audience has been growing steadily with around 200 visitors attending each exhibition. In between the formal exhibitions the gallery offers the opportunity to local art students to organize and publicize their own shows.
RED is a non-profit making initiative, run collectively by a small group of local artists.
The University of Hull is consistently voted amongst the top five Higher Education establishments in the country. It was also recently voted the friendliest University in the UK in a poll conducted by Friends Reunited.
The University of Lincoln also has a presence within the city.
Along with the recent influx of investment into the regeneration of the city centre, there is evidently a concerted effort to improve and expand upon the city centre's current retail offerings. The massive new St Stephen's development is nearing completion close to Paragon Station, and is set to include over 30 large format stores such as Next, Zara and H&M along with other High Street names.
Built on stilts above the Princes Dock, Princes Quay shopping centre is currently the largest mall in the city centre, with over one hundred shops on three floors.
Planning permission has recently been granted to expand the main shopping centre of Princes Quay out to the west. The £300m Quay West scheme would be an open air expansion, with the proposed regeneration of this land more than doubling the current size of the centre. It is hoped that the expansion should be complete by 2009.
For classic tailoring and trendy designer names, the cobbled Saville Street to the north of Queen Victoria Square is the best bet, with Read's and Bolo (Lyle and Scott Vintage, Puma Heritage, Diesel etc.) amongst them.
Hepworth's Arcade is home to a quirky selection of stores including a brilliant old-school joke shop, Beasley's American work wear and vintage, Fanthorpes stereo shop and FunkyWormHole.
The arcade connects to the indoor market through a record stall specializing in Punk, Indie, New Wave, Psychedelia and Funk.
The Indoor Market is home to Revolver which specializes in late Madchester era kewl, along with other retro youth culture threads.
The market leads out to the main square which contains a row of cafes and eateries facing out onto the beautiful, historic square.
Cafe Pasaz A happening modern bistro specializing in fresh local food and a low carbon footprint
Venn Upmarket Restaurant, Brasserie and Bar on Scale Lane
Pave, Princes Ave
Thai House Restaurant, Princes Avenue. Excellent atmosphere and great service.
ASK - Very good quality Italian restaurant located on Hull's waterfront.
Zillis Fabulous restaurant and bar close to Holy Trinity Church, selling excellent Mexican, American, and European food for reasonable prices. It has a brilliant menu and good specials, with huge variety.
May Sum Cheap All-You-Can-Eat Chinese buffet, serving the famous zheng-qui (looks like squirrel cooked on long fat)
Cafe Pasaz, city centre - a funky, light and modern eatery that's even open for breakfast!
Studio 10 and a Half, city centre.
The Zoo Cafe, Off Newland Avenue. Specializing in vegetarian fare. Very good and uncomplicated atmosphere.
Zillis, Opposite the Holy Trinity Church. Offering delicious American, Mexican, and English food. With a fabulous location, it is particularly pleasant to sit outside, close to the nearby spectacular Holy Trinity Church.
Huckleberrys, In Queens Gardens. Definitely A Nice Cafe To Visit!
The Minerva - Victoria Pier. Voted CAMRA Pub of the year 2004. The view out onto the Humber is fantastic, and the atmosphere inside is top.
Ye Olde Black Boy One of several ancient High Street boozers with many spooky tales to tell.
Sailmakers Arms, High Street. A classically eccentric English pub, complete with beer garden that has to be seen to be believed!
Walters Bar - Scale lane, Over 21's upmarket city-centre bar specialising in cask ales continental beers, female-friendly with nice toilets.
The Avenues,Princes and Newland Avenue. On the outskirts of the city centre, this traditionally bohemian area has taken off in recent years, with masses of new restaurants, bars and cafes. A great urban mix of artists, professionals, students, fashionistas and winos rub shoulders here every night of the week.
The Lamp, Norfolk Street.
The Adelphi, De Grey Street. One of the last surviving underground music venues in the country. Played host to many bands before they were household names including Oasis, Radiohead, The Stone Roses, Manics, Bluetones, Levellers
Certain weeknights are student-only at some clubs, so you should probably check before going.
Spiders, "Hull's premier student and goth nightclub", is located East of the river Hull and is completely without pretension. Unbelievably cheap drinks but make sure you are dressed in black or you may be discouraged by the door staff. Don't forget to try a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.
Zebra Reformed "gentleman's club" located just over North Bridge.
Pozition boldly claims to be "Hull’s premier nightclub". The club is spread over three floors meaning there is usually a broad spectrum of music on offer. Found on George Street.
Ibis Hotel, city centre. The Ibis is a newly built, modern hotel situated at the end Ferensway - the main road through the city centre. It's right next to the A63 (Castle Street) - the main road into town from the Motorway Network - and a three minute walk from the railway station. It's close to the main shopping area of the centre and a five minute walk from the popular restaurants and pubs on the marina. Room rates are currently about £46 per room per night.
Royal (Station) Hotel, city centre.
Willerby Manor Hotel, Willerby.
Portland Hotel, city centre.
Holiday Inn, Hull Marina, near the city centre.
Ramada Jarvis, Willerby.
Cave Castle & Country Club, Brough. Four Star
Village Hotel, Priory Park. Four Star
Tickton Grange, Tickton
Efforts have been made to crack down on violent crime in the city centreF, and some of the most troublesome establishments have been closed down to make way for new development. However, as with any other town in the UK, evenings on a weekend are a time when you should be particularly vigilant.
Hull can boast that in comparison to most other major cities in the UK, gun crime is (at the present time) virtually unheard of.
Leeds is an hour's drive along the M62 or an hour by train.