Hull, UK: Britain’s Capital of Culture 2017

Once a nondescript town in England’s north, Hull has really taken off in recent years, and in 2017, it’s more than come into its own. Dotted with post-war buildings and portside factories, the town doesn’t exactly scream cosmopolitan capital from the outside. But get just a little bit closer to this wellworn city and you might be surprised at what’s waiting for you. New builds and refurbishments have given way to a slew of cultural events and projects, and finally the city has taken the crowning title of Capital of Culture in the UK. With all eyes on the northern town, just what can you expect from a visit to the place during this hallmark year?

The Ferens Art Gallery might be a good place to start. A free art hub in the heart of the city, the gallery balances permanent collections and touring exhibitions alike, and in the mix, you’re bound to find something that tickles your fancy. To mark the celebrations this year, the curation team has even taken to beefing up the gallery’s archives, adding a rare 1320 painting by Sienese artist Pietro Lorenzetti to the collection.

Elsewhere in the city is the famous museum quarter, a must-see if you want to sample the local fine arts. While the likes of the archaeology museum boasts its very own lifesize woolly mammoth, the Streetlife museum takes a more novel approach to the exhibition trail. Angling itself around the sounds and smells of the city, the museum has set up a number of lifelike street scenes from Hull’s past.

Of course, live performances are taking a starring role in Hull’s cultural calendar this year, and if you want to glimpse the cream of the crop, it’s worth taking a visit to the Stage @TheDock amphitheatre, located just next to the water’s edge. A newly built venue for Hull’s crowning year, it doubles as a music and theatre spaceallowing passersby to perch on a bench and unpack a picnic. Theatregoers might also want to keep an eye on Kardomah94, a bustling venue that champions fringe productions. An intimate space, Kardomah94 is home to productions as varied as comedy shows, musical concerts, and art exhibitions.

Sampling all of that local culture can whip up a healthy appetite, and if you’re looking for a local spot in which to fill up hungry bellies between acts, you’re in luck. Hull has a remarkable variation of eating spots, and depending on your tastes, there’s any number of places to be found. Local seafood is given its time to shine in Cerutti’s, arguably the best fish restaurant for miles around. If you fancy a plate of hearty British grub, however, try your luck at the Head Of Steam Pub. Having paired up with local street food act KerbEdge, the pub serves up a range of hearty classics and contemporary twists, all of which are bound to get your taste buds watering. 

Tipples are serious business in Hull, and you can’t end a night without toasting the city. Pubs are Hull’s crowning glory, with the likes of Ye Olde Black Boy and the Lion And Key pulling any number of fantastic local pints. If something stronger is in order, however, you might want to take a glimpse at the aforementioned Kardomah94 for drinks and a show. Hull’s best cocktail bar, Kardomah is serving up drinks that you’ll not soon forgetat least for their very punny names (how’s “Gin And Bear It, for starters?).

Hannah Lamarque
Hannah is a freelance writer and copy editor living in Europe. She writes about travel, art, design and culture and loves discovering hidden places in the cities that she visits.