I’ve been living ‘up north’ for over a decade now, and despite having covered a lot of ground in Greater Manchester and Yorkshire, I still hadn’t ticked Hull off my list. This was in part due to it winning the title of ‘Crappest Town’ in 2003 (which lingered in the back of my mind ever since) and simply because I’d not ever had it suggested to me as a place to visit.
This year Hull has been named the ‘City of Culture’ and since I’ve coined the term ‘8-hour-holiday’ and am determined to have as many day trips as possible, me and my pal Emma thought we should head over. It’s a bit of a trek for us coming from Liverpool and Manchester, so we managed to turn it into a two night Humberside mini break by booking ourselves a twin room at Lenny Henry’s House in the city centre, complete with buffet breakfasts.
Emma headed over to my house in her trusty car David, and I loaded all of my stuff onto her backseat. She surprised me with gifts (as she always does): an Only Fools and Horses annual and a ginormous stick of Brighton Rock. Between us we packed as much stuff as possible.
I’m normally a light packer, but between us we packed:
A disco ball
7 ‘Easy-peelers’ satsumas
7 Nail polishes
2 Hot water bottles
3 Spare pillows
2 asthma inhalers
Last night’s pizza
Numerous pharmaceuticals “Just in case”
“I should have brought my corn pads” – Emma
As we set off, if it was pissing-it-down with rain which didn’t bode well. The sat-nav wanted us to take the longest route possible, so we had to ignore it and get back on track. Despite the rain we saw a full rainbow, snacked on chocolate covered Cornflake cakes and made it to Hull in good time.
Arriving at Lenny’s, we put the kettle on and set to work deciding on an itinerary and Googled the nearest Chinese Buffet that Trip Advisor had recommended us. We live for all-you-can-eat buffets, and I’ll be honest, I was already looking forward to my buffet breakfast and thinking about pastries, bacon and baked beans (if we haven’t met, you may not be aware that all I think about is food and how soon is an acceptable amount of time to feed again after a meal. One of my friends has been known to bring me snacks when we go out together…).
We wandered through the town centre on the way to dinner. We saw a crane removing the giant blade sculpture by Nayan Kulkani. We noticed all of the telephone boxes are painted white which looked very classy, and how pretty the architecture is. Ruth (one of the artists I share my studio with) had told me that Hull has great architecture and she was right! Historically, Hull was part of the whaling industry and would send its ships over to Scandinavia – and you can see how a lot of the architecture has scandi vibes.
Ruth had also mentioned that when she visited Hull she spent her entire trip “looking up” admiring the buildings and I found myself doing the same. When I wasn’t looking up, I was looking at the ground admiring the fish carved into the pavement. One thing that we noticed was the lack of people in the town centre. OK, it was a Sunday evening and it was wet, but the streets were so quiet! Not to mention, how clean the city was…
It was still raining, and since I’m like a Gremlin and don’t cope well with being wet or fed after midnight, we headed to the Chinese Buffet which we both scored an astonishing 10/10. (The only thing I’m noticing with buffets is the poor dessert options. If anyone would like to go into business with me on an all-you-can-eat pudding buffet, give me the start-up cash and let me run with it. Thanks).