We just got back from Hull, it was just a last minute overnight trip – very spontaneous and fun! Hull is a city we haven’t been to before and I’ve been recommended it a few times especially for all the free museums. If there’s something I love, a lot, it’s museums… and even better when they’re free! We were only there for 2 days but we managed 3 free museums (out of 8!). Here’s a little breakdown of the museums we visited so you can hear about the fun things to do in Hull. 🙂 fun things to do in Hull
Watch this video to see 60 seconds of Hull:
I wanted to write a full post about our trip but I think I will do that another time, because I don’t have a camera at the moment so had to rely on my iPhone and the photos are shocking 🙁 I hate to put bad quality photos in blog posts but it’s either these ones or nothing. We are definitely going back to Hull and our new camera is coming in a few days time so I’ll definitely be blogging about it again! 🙂
What I didn’t know about Hull was that it has so much to do! It’s a city I’ve never really considered visiting to before, and I definitely think it’s underrated.
Hull is a port city in East Yorkshire, it lies upon the River Hull and is 25 miles from the North Sea. The city won UK City of Culture in 2017. There is so much to do in Hull, with art galleries, museums, trails, eating and drinking, shopping, fairs and festivals, Marina and lots more.
Museums: fun things to do in Hull
Our first thing on our list on the day we arrived was the Museums Quarter. All museums are free in the Museums Quarter. I wasn’t expecting them to be so easy to get find and the Street Life Museum, Wilberforce Museum and Hull & East Riding Museum are all next to each other connected with a little garden. The outside space is lovely and really nice spot for a picnic. I absolutely loved this how they were all next to each other and safe for kids to walk around as it was all pedestrianised and off the road. When we go back we are definitely having a picnic outside because there were benches, statues and nice plants… it was just really nice. 🙂
Streetlife Museum: fun things to do in Hull
The Streetlife museum was what we started with and it’s such a great place. Opening the door into the museum brought us straight away face to face with an old tram, brilliant! The museum is all themed in a vintage style, it’s so pretty and you definitely need to take a camera there’s some fantastic photo opportunities. One of the trams you can stand on the back, and the other tram has a man mannequin leaning out from the top window.
There’s a variety of vehicles in the StreetLife Museum like taxis, buses, old cars, milk vans, bikes, trains, carriages and more. While you can’t go inside the majority of the vehicles there’s opportunities to go inside an old car (which you can ride for £1), stand on the back of the old tram, and touch the bus so it is interactive and not boring for kids.
Eric did enjoy just walking around looking at it all; it was all laid out really well with different levels and areas with stairs leading up to smaller places with interactive things to get inside, and a balcony upstairs looking down onto the trams. An old street is a replica of the olden days in Hull with vintage shops full of objects to look at. I really loved the sweet shop, toy shop and looking in all the windows. It was all high quality and the way they were displayed was really attractive and impressive. I wanted photos of everything! You really can pretend you were back in those days.
I think the old streets were my favourite part of it all. 🙂
Wilberforce House: fun things to do in Hull
A door to the side when you leave the street life museum connects to another museum; the Wilberforce House. There’s a little courtyard with statues and benches; lovely spot for a picnic before cracking on. The Wilberforce House tells the story of slave trade and the abolishing of it. It was not as interactive as the Streetlife Museum but was very historic and interesting.
Eric couldn’t read any of the boards or learn about it but he did enjoy just running around; the rooms were big in size and he came across some objects he could touch like masks, drums and tools which kept him happy and interested. I was reading the history of Slavery, very sad but very interesting and good to learn about that history which, I have to say, I didn’t know about most of it.
The Wilberforce House contains is the original rooms where William Wilberforce lived so you can imagine what it was like back in the day. We were in the very room he was born, which was cool to imagine, and original features are still there like walls, fireplaces, etc., It is free and worth a look around.
Hull & East Riding Museum
Next up was the last of the 3 museums in that “square” next to the Street Life museum; The Hull and East Riding museum. Now from the outside it didn’t appear to be very big but wow we were wrong. it was really cool and fun, I think it may have been my favourite one of all.
At the start of the museum is a HUGE WOOLY MAMMOTH! Wow-eeeee. Next to this is a sea/fish theme room with sea shells on the floor leading kids into. That room was so cool and had pretend fish hanging from the ceiling in all different directions with a mirror around the top… Eric was transfixed and kept looking up to see all of the fish there. He was able to touch fossils and shells which were the perfect height for him (he’s 2) and he loved the shellfish.
The museum is really big and jam-packed with different areas, we didn’t really do it all because we would have been there for hours and had already been to 2 museums! My highlights were the fish room I just mentioned, real dinosaur bones (the only ones found in East Yorkshire), a Iron Age village with round houses, roman pottery and old tiling, and all of the bones/fossils in general.
Eric is really interested in skeletons and bones at the moment and he saw lots of them, so yay for that! Especially old dinosaur bones, and skeletons in cases, fossils and skulls he was particularly interested in and found some of them funny. It kept him interested and he loved it.
The roman village was impressive. Big wooden huts with straw had pretend families, work and home scenes with some moving/making sounds. It was interactive taught us all about the history of how the Iron Age families used to live. Little ramps took us around the huts like a little trail… Eric could get really close to them. I didn’t expect to find it at all so was pretty amazed when I turned a corner from another room and saw the big huts and models. It reminded me a little of Jorvik in York.
On our way out we found a big room full of really, really old roman Mosiacs, tiles and objects. The decor was themed to look like an old roman village with original old tiling and remains. There was far too much to look at and then we came across some viking dressing up, too!
Maritime Museum: fun things to do in Hull
Day 2 saw us heading straight to another museum in the morning; this time was The Maritime museum. If you like boats then this is the one for you! It’s not in the museums Quarter, actually just where the shops are in the Queen Victoria Square. This is a nice spot, there’s a little park around the corner and all the space in front of the museum is pedestrianised with fountains and benches. The Maritime Museum is just opposite Ferens Gallery which we didn’t get time to go to unfortunately, it was on our list but we ran out of time! There is a children’s gallery there and I can’t wait to go back and take Eric.
The Maritime Museum is free and bigger than I expected. Lots and lots of things to see and learn about the history of Hull relating to sailing, maritime and the sea. There were lots for Eric to see like a hugeeeee whale skeleton (it was massive!), bones of fish and sealife, model boats, flags, anchors, hooks, dressing up as a fisherman and lots more. It wasn’t as interactive as the other ones and really in-depth at times, definitely interesting for adults but there were stuff for kids too. We spent a good few hours there and highlight for Eric was, again, the bones/skeletons and animals.
Marina: fun things to do in Hull
After the Maritime Museum we walked to the Marina. The reception staff in the hotel we had stayed at for the night recommended a stroll down here, telling us it had all been done up nicely for the UK City of culture award with Hull won in 2017. The marine is not far from the main stuff and the museum at all maybe 10 minutes walk. We walked past really nice buildings and old architecture, lots of bars, restaurants and coffee shops and it had a nice atmosphere. Outdoor seating was everywhere with the restaurants spilling out onto the streets right next to the water and I can only imagine going back there when the weather is nice to eat al fresco.
Lots of boats to see down at the Marina which was fun, Eric saw some moving in the sea and we walked right up to the edge. Everything was relatively close together, and safe for him to walk, with a little walkway going over the water across to the edge of the marina. It was all clean, too. Just next to the marina is an area called Fruit Market. This has cool, retro, funky and independent businesses such as cafes, coffee shops, florists, book shop, etc and it’s still very much being done up and built; looks good already but I imagine it’ll be fantastic once finished. I can imagine street food, markets and street entertainment in the summer.
Have you been to Hull?
I really can’t wait to go back, especially with a good camera there are so many good places to take nice photos. It was my favourite trip in a while, I’m so glad we went. Highly recommend a trip there but if you want to do everything you’ll need more than 2 days! 🙂 It’s also worth pointing out there is a museum activity for kids called Humber 5 Discoveries. You can pick up a little booklet with all the museums and 5 little activities in the museums for kids to find and do, with stickers to collect. You can take photos in each museum with the themes and use the hashtag #Humber5Things. I thought this was really cute.
Do let me know if you have anymore recommendations for things to do in Hull so we can add them to our list for next time. I really want to visit Dinostar and Fernes Art Gallery.
Thank you for reading about our little trip to Hull 🙂