It was yet another bright, sunny morning as we enjoyed a final relaxing breakfast overlooking Hull’s marina, if only each day could start like this! Having set ourselves up for the day with freshly prepared smoothies and full English breakfasts we gathered our things together and checked out of our room, leaving our bags to collect later in the day.
Our plan for the morning was to visit the Humber Bridge and the easiest way to get there by public transport was by train. It only took us around ten minutes to walk to Hull’s Paragon Station from where we caught a train to Hessle. The journey took 8 minutes with an adult off peak day return costing £3.10.
As we got off the train we were able to see the bridge towering up above the station. It was a 20 minute walk along attractive country lanes to the Humber Bridge Country Park. This 48 acre nature reserve of woodlands and open meadows has several short walking trails through the park. Signs of spring were everywhere to be seen with clumps of daffodils and crocus adding colour.
There is a small visitor centre containing information about the bridge and country park as well as a selection of gifts and souvenirs to take home. Even on a Monday morning there were quite a number of people about enjoying a morning stroll many accompanied by their dogs.
Although the park was attractive the main reason for our visit was to view the Humber Bridge which first opened to traffic in 1981. At that time it was the longest single span suspension bridge in the world at 1.38 miles (2.2km) in length. It is now the 9th longest and spans the Humber estuary between Hessle in East Yorkshire and Barton-on-Humber in North Lincolnshire.
There is a charge of £1.50 for cars to cross the toll bridge but by using the bridge the road distance between Hull and Grimsby is reduced by 50 miles (80km). We did consider walking across but would have needed to walk both ways to return to Hull by train so just took photos from the Hessle end and on the train.
Trains run at approximately hourly intervals and we timed our return to the station reasonably well for a service back into Hull. There were still two museums we wished to visit so we made our way across to Queen Victoria Square in the heart of the city centre. First on our list was the Maritime Museum housed in the old Victoria Dock offices.
This historic building was originally opened in 1871 as nautical offices and now highlights the seafaring heritage of the city. Touring the galleries we admired a full sized whale skeleton, discovered the craft of whaling and viewed numerous artefacts from Hull’s fishing and merchant trades.
Across the square from the Maritime Museum lies the Ferens Art Gallery which contains a significant collection of paintings and sculptures including works by some European old masters including Canaletto.
Its entrance lobby is known as the Centre Court and displays highlights from the Ferens collection. Connecting the city with its maritime history one of the galleries contains a unique collection of maritime paintings. Both the Maritime Museum and the Ferens Art Gallery offer free admission. Also located in Queen Victoria Square is another fine building, that of Hull’s City Hall.
After a lengthy walk in the Humber Bridge Country Park and a visit to two museums we were starting to feel hungry and in need of a little rest so we paid a visit to Trinity Market around the corner from Hull Minster.
We were pleasantly surprised as we entered the market hall, expecting to find rows of stalls selling fresh produce. There are still a few of these traditional market traders at one end of the market hall but most of the area has been transformed into a street food emporium. The modernised interior still retains many of its historical features but is now a light and airy food court with plenty of seating for casual dining.
After leaving the market hall we stepped inside the doors of the magnificent Hull Minster which is more than 700 years old but was only officially granted Minster status in 2017. Prior to that it appeared in the Guinness Book of Records as England’s largest parish church.
The interior of the Minster is truly beautiful with its elaborate ceiling, stained glass windows and oak carved pews. Its marble font, which is still in use today, was used to baptise William Wilberforce the former member of Parliament for Hull who abolished the slave trade. Outside the Minster in Trinity Square are some newly installed mirror pools creating a feeling of reflection. The square is surrounded by some elegant architecture and numerous events take place there including regular farmers markets.
Our weekend was nearing its end but we just had time for one last walk around the marina before collecting our luggage from the hotel. Our attention was drawn to the Spurn Lightship which was built in 1937 and served for almost 50 years as a navigational aid in the treacherous River Humber. The lightship is now enjoying a leisurely retirement as a museum boat with tours available between April and September.
Back at our hotel, the Holiday Inn Hull Marina we collected our bags and took one last look at its stunning waterside views before returning to the railway station for our journey home. I don’t know why it had taken me so long to get around to visiting Hull as there’s so much to see and do and makes for a very pleasant short break. The city deserves its title of U.K. City of Culture with its rich maritime history, theatres and excellent museums of which most are free. Hull occasionally gets some bad press but believe me, none of it’s true, it’s a great city and one to which I’ll be returning soon, that’s for sure. A brightly coloured banner affixed to a lamppost proclaimed ‘Its never dull in Hull’ and I couldn’t agree more.
If you are considering a visit, Hull is easily accessible being just 41 miles (66km) from York and 155 miles (250km) from London with trains from the capital taking just two and a half hours. P. & O. Ferries operate regular sailings to Hull from both Zeebrugge and Rotterdam making it an ideal choice for a short break across the North Sea.
I would like to thank Visit Hull and East Yorkshire for helping to make this visit possible. As always, all views and opinions are entirely my own.
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