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An adopted Hullensian’s guide to Hull City Centre

When I moved to Hull, I decided to take myself on a small excursion into the city centre and was immediately captured by its fascinating history and ever-curious present. Happily, I can now call the city centre my home and, fortunately, bear witness to many of its delights which include the Trinity Market, Hepworth Arcade, Marina, City Hall, and Old Town amongst many others. I hope that in this article, I can elucidate these delights and do this charming centre-piece of Hull justice with my words.

Food and drink in Hull city centre

Hull city centre is awash with food and drink venues—this hasn’t done my waistline any good!—where one can find pretty much any culinary delight, within reason. Below are five venues that I consider to be well worth a visit.

Trinity Market

First up is Trinity Market, an indoor marketplace where there is an international food hall that is perfectly suited to picking up food on the go. Currently, the following eateries inhabit the four walls of Trinity Market: Janey’s Food Shack; Cocoa Choalatier and Bakehouse; Chak & Sue’s; Falafia; Vittles & Company; Caffeinated; Cheng & Chen; Debbie’s Sweet Cabin; Trinity Delicatessen; Lobby Lou’s; Key Snacks; Alessandro’s Italian Bakery; Tapasya Kitchen; Cone Queen; Boss Buritto; Tart Me Up; Greko; Only; J.T. Butchers; and Ginger Beans Coffee. Out of this extensive list, I feel obliged to give mention to Cheng & Chen and Alessandro’s where one can always expect to receive a warm welcome as well as delicious food.

RELATED: See our guide to Hull city centre’s Trinity Market here >>

Ambiente Tapas

Ambiente Tapas is an independent Spanish tapas restaurant and sherry bar that occupies a quaint wee unit on Humber Street. Excitingly, they serve delicious tapas dishes and boast possibly the best range of sherry you will find in any UK bar or restaurant. Furthermore, keep your eyes peeled for Ambiente’s Josper Fire Breathing Oven!

Nibble

Danny Malin, otherwise known as the bald guy from Rate My Takeaway, ranked Nibble as the finest takeaway he had visited—such esteemed acclaim has to be worth something! Unsurprisingly, upon closer inspection, Nibble does not disappoint and such sentiments are seemingly widely-shared because there is often a queue that extends out of the door. Nibble is best described as a doting mother’s kitchen, as they serve bakes, cakes, breakfast, brunch, and lunch with an emphasis on freshly-prepared and homely food. It presents itself as the perfect place to relax and enjoy a light bite to eat.

Humber Fish Co

Specialising in fresh and sustainably sourced seafood and crustacea, Humber Fish Co is the perfect culinary homage to Hull’s status as a maritime city. Naturally, the Fish Co menu is a seafood lovers’ dream with the roast halibut and hot seafood plate taking pride of place on their menu. I might add that the steamed mussels with crusty roll are also delicious.

The Junkyard

The Junkyard warrants inclusion simply because it possesses unmatched views of our city courtesy of its twelfth-floor dining room and thirteenth-floor rooftop bar; from here, one can see almost anything within their eyes’ limit! Happily, the food is not bad either. Being a family-run establishment, the food is unpretentious and pleasant—the dry-aged beef burger is a particular favourite of mine.

Shopping in Hull city centre

Hepworth Arcade

Silver Street-based Hepworth Arcade is a Victorian-era Grade II listed arcade that possesses all the grandiosity associated with Victorian architecture alongside a handy selection of independent shops. One should certainly keep their eyes peeled for the beautiful glass roof and intricate brickwork that create a delightful backdrop to shops such as Beasley’s Clothing; Fanthorpes Hifi; Roisin Dubh; and Dinsdale’s Joke Shop.

St Stephen’s Shopping Centre

St Stephen’s is the premier shopping centre in Hull, housing a host of high street names in a magnificent modern structure designed to mimic the shape of a ship. Amongst the reputable high street names are: Argos; Build-a-Bear; Flannels; Footasylum; H&M; JD Sports; New Look; Next; River Island; schuh; Superdry; and TK Maxx. Additionally, St Stephen’s also houses a versatile food court where one can enjoy light bites from fast-food venues like Gregg’s and Wok & Go or a sit-down meal at restaurants such as Nando’s and Zizzi.

Princes Quay

Princes Quay is perhaps the most novel shopping centre that I have ever laid eyes on given that it is built on stilts over the Prince’s Dock—hence the name Princes Quay. To my knowledge, Princes Quay was once the jewel in the crown of Hull’s shopping scene but today it occupies something of a reserve role, existing in the shadow of St Stephens’. That being said, Princes Quay is not entirely out of the water because it is home to reputable brands such as Superdrug; Next Outlet; Primark; Trespass; and Damaged Society. Furthermore, the Vue occupies the ‘top deck’ of Princes Quay with a ten-screen cinema complex that also includes Sony 4K and two digital 3D screens.

Paragon Arcade

Sitting in much the same bracket as Hepworth Arcade, Paragon Arcade is a beautiful Victorian arcade that accommodates independent retailers like Supply Haus and Out of the Attic Music. Happily, Paragon also hosts a late-night shopping event called After Hours at Paragon Arcade on the first Saturday of every month!

Nightlife and hotels in Hull city centre

Atik

Found in a former warehouse on Dagger Lane, Atik (formerly Sugar Mill) is a very popular bar and nightclub amongst our city’s partygoers. Taking its inspiration from the dance halls of the 1920s, Atik has updated that environment for the modern merrymaker and puts on wild parties every Friday and Saturday night. Additionally, Atik is also able to be hired for birthdays, Christmas do’s, hen parties, and stag parties.

Wm Hawkes

A traditional pub on the age-old Scale Lane, WM Hawkes takes its name from William Hawkes, a gunmaker who manufactured bespoke guns and rifles at the premises back in 1810. Inside, Wm Hawkes is an emporium of nautical nick knacks, antique weaponry, and historic photographs of our city. Alongside this, the charming aesthetic and friendly bar staff make Wm Hakes the perfect place to enjoy a creamy pint of a weeknight and weekend.

Related: Find more places to eat and drink in Hull’s old town here >>

Culture in Hull city centre

Hull Minster

Formerly Holy Trinity Church, this stunning Anglican place of worship attained Minster status in 2017 and has since been known as Hull Minster. Dating back to about 1300, the Minster is known for its fine medieval brickwork which, by all accounts, is amongst the finest in the country. Additionally, Hull’s most famous son, William Wilberforce, was baptized in Holy Trinity Church in 1759.

Guildhall

The stunning Guildhall, designed by Sir Edwin Cooper, was built between 1906 and 1914 to accommodate both the civic offices and law courts. Originally, a time ball mechanism—used by navigators to verify their marine chronometers—occupied the tallest point of thee Guildhall but this was eventually lost, although, in welcome news, the time ball is currently being reinstalled atop the Guildhall. What’s more, the Guildhall is also home to the intricately crafted Hull Tapestry which tells the story of our city from its origin to the present day. Thrillingly, the Guildhall is able to be hired for conferences, formal dinners civil ceremonies, and wedding receptions.

Old Town

The Enola Holmes 2 film set in Hull’s Old Town.

Home to a suite of Georgian and Edwardian architecture, the Old Town includes several must-see sights such as England’s smallest window and Wilberforce House. However, it is the history of the Old Town which ranks highest, it was here in the Ye Olde White Harte pub, Sir John Hotham, and other prominent city figures, decided to refuse King Charles I entry to Hull via Beverley Gate in a move that constitutes the prelude to the English Civil War.

RELATED: Hullywood: Why the film industry has taken a shine to Hull

The Deep

Billed as the world’s only submarium, The Deep is an award-winning aquarium that houses spectacular sea creatures including sharks, stingrays, the UK’s only pair of green sawfish, hundreds of tropical reef fish, Loggerhead sea turtles, and a colony of Gentoo penguins. Moreover, visitors can take a walk through the viewing tunnel and ride in the glass lift through the 10-metre Endless Ocean tank.  

Transport in Hull city centre

Hull Paragon station

Hull city centre is exceptionally well-connected thanks to the Paragon Interchange and is recognised as, essentially, the linchpin between our city and the rest of the country. The Interchange acts as both a train station and a bus terminal; from here, one can catch a bus to anywhere within the Hull and East Riding region or a train to more far-flung destinations. For reference, London King’s Cross is 2 hours and 34 minutes away whilst Manchester Piccadilly is 2 hours and 43 minutes away. Additionally, a taxi rank is located directly outside the Paragon Interchange.

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