(Ad) Last weekend I was invited along with some other lovely bloggers to spend the weekend in Hull with the Visit Hull tourist Board. I know what you are thinking, why would you want to for a weekend to Hull?? Well I was pleasantly surprised with the city, so let me tell you all about my weekend visiting Hull. I love visiting cities in the UK, I still have a few more on my list to visit, Bristol, Oxford, Bath to start. Bristol in particular is meant to be a fantastic city to visit, with a wealth of activities, attractions and nightlife that I can’t wait to explore (the restaurants are apparently fantastic as well).
Sight Seeing Tour
Our weekend started with a sight seeing tour around the city of culture. Over the last few years Hull has been re-generated into the city of culture. Paul our tour guide took us to various different locations all over the city.
Paul clearly loves his pubs and there are some of the oldest pubs in the country located in Hull, mentioning the various different pubs as we passed them. Also pointing out the smallest window in England, it was also located at a pub!
During our 1.5 hour tour we walked all over the city, we spotted lots of fish. It was the famous Hull Fish Tour which is an A-Z of fish around the Old Town. You can get a free trail sheet, you then follow it around the city spotting all of the fish. Once complete you can pop to the Hull Tourist Information Centre to get your certificate. Along our walking tour we spotted lots of different fish on the pavements, although we didn’t do the whole tour, it would make for a fun day with the children.
During our tour we went to Zebedee’s Yard, which during the day is used for parking but in the evenings and weekends it turns into an events venue. At the back of the yard is ‘The Last Trip’ memorial, which is a lasting memory of those lost at sea, it’s quite a moving this to see hidden away in Hull.
We walked into the Queen Victoria square to see Queen Victoria’s statue looking over the city. I love to see our historical monarchs as statues, it’s great to see Queen Victoria in Hull. She looked stunning against the blue skies we had when visiting Hull.
Paul showed us the Museum Quarter which is actually a collection of four different museums. Hull & East Riding Museum, Arctic Corsair, Street Life Museum and Wilberforce Museum. Each of which are completely free to get into, set in lovely grounds, we popped into one of them to see what was on offer. The free museums were really what made me think, Hull would be a great place to visit with the children.
We wondered through the Hepworth Arcade, home to the very first Marks and Spencer Store and Dinesdales joke shop, more independent businesses and apparently a few resident ghosts. Hepworth Arcade is also home to Hothams Gin School and Distillery, which we had a visit planned for later.
Paul took us through the Arcade into Trinity indoor Market, out to see the beauty that is Hull Minster. Our tour ended here at the Minster, before Paul headed off to meet his next group. We headed back into the Trinity Indoor Market to eat.
Trinity Indoor Market
Trinity Indoor market is home to a large selection of different food and drink independent retailers. There is a a very varied selection of food vendors to choose from. Greek food, pie and pasties, asian, indian, falafel, pizza cones, coffee and cakes, deli, fruit and veg stalls, sweet, micro brewery and an amazing chocolate shop. So many different things to choose from, it took me a while to make my mind up.
In the end I went with the Asian food, after a bit of wondering round and drawling over the different options. I chatted to the lovely lady at Cheng and Chen about the different food they have on offer and what I should go with. In the end I decided on fried rice, crispy five spice chicken with chilli lime mayo, vegetable spring rolls and prawn crackers. Sounds like so much, but as the prices were reasonable I didn’t think the portions would be anywhere near the size that they were, such amazing value for money. I think the whole group either had Cheng and Chen or Greko.
It all looked amazing, I love greek food as well so it was between greek and asian for me. I am pleased I went with Cheng and Chen and it was delicious. I really enjoyed it, the only thing was we should have shared a portion of spring rolls between us all as there was so many for the small price of £3.
Everyone really enjoyed their meals and I also think everyone had some left over as it was very generous sizes.
After we had eaten our lunch we tried a selection of chocolate brownies from Cocoa chocolatier and bakery, which were simply amazing. You didn’t need a whole slice as it was such a rich item, but I probably would have eaten it all…. but I love chocolate!
I have to say I never really eat from ‘street food’ stands. Normally when we visit places we head to a restaurant for food or a bar for a drink. However, visiting the Trinity food hall I really enjoyed it and would happily look at something like this again.
After lunch we headed into Hull Minster to see their Sistine Chapel exhibition. The Minster is a beautiful building towering over the city, built in the 17th century is England’s largest parish church.
The Sistine Chapel exhibition is displaying Michelangelo’s art work on large boards both on easels or floor displays. The exhibition allows you to spend time looking at the wonderful artwork in it’s full beauty and also up close. The show stopper from the exhibition is a 6m x 6m of the the Last Judgement and it really is the wow factor, I haven’t visited the Sistine Chapel in Italy but my Hubby has was impressed with the photographs of the exhibition.
If you are heading to Hull then a visit to Hull Minster is worth a visit.
Hotham’s Gin School
Hotham’s Gin School is located in the Hepworth Arcade, I have to say I couldn’t wait to get there and make some gin. Hotham’s Gin School offer various gin school experiences, they do sell out quickly, so if you are thinking about fitting it in during a trip to Hull then make sure you book before you go.
Our distillery lesson involved drinking gin and tonics, while learning more about the history of gin and the different botanicals you add in to make the different flavours.
I partnered up with the lovely Vicki from Tippytupps, we soon came up with inspiration for our gin, Summer Meadow. We both loved the floral summery tastes and smells so we choose the more floral botanicals and started the distilling process. It was fascinating going through the whole process from start to finish. Our gin went through various different stages, from really strong alcohol levels and changing flavours until our gin was fully distilled and ready for bottling. Sometimes it really didn’t smell or taste that great.
Once finished we had filled a bottle with our Summer Meadow gin and even sealed them up using wax. Labels were added to the bottles, which Vicki kindly wrote as she has beautiful writing. We now just have to wait for two weeks for our gin to be ready for drinking. If the gin tastes as good we hope it will, then we can order another bottle of it, as Hotham’s will brew up another batch specially.
I loved spending time at Hotham’s Gin School and I highly recommend anyone who is a gin lover to book in for a lesson.
Dinner at Ambiente
After the Gin School and feeling slight tipsy we headed for Tapas at Ambiente, in the Fruit Market area of the city. I love Tapas food and I had really high hopes or it.
We were treated to the Luio Chef’s Selection, which was served as a selection of sharing platters. I love sharing platters when you are with close friends or family, however we were sharing with 9 other people that had only met earlier in the day. So you have to be a more aware of how much you are popping on your plate.
The Luio Chef’s Selection has a varied selection of tapas items, bread and dipping oil, rump steak, chicken and seafood paella, tiger prawns, rump steak, pork, sea bream, hallouim and watermelon skewers, bravas (sliced potato). This menu is only available for parties of over 8 people.
I did enjoy the food, for me I couldn’t eat the steak it was cooked rare and I do not eat any rare meat. So that meant the whole dish was out for me. Although there was a lot of paella it was sat at the other end of the table, we had to get up from our seats to go to the other end of the table to get some. It was very nice just not thought out enough. It might have been better serviced in 3 smaller plates rather than 2 larger ones.
Overall I enjoyed my meal at Ambiente’s and I would go back. I probably wouldn’t have the set menu again as I didn’t think it was great value for money. But I do love Tapas food.
We stayed at the Double Tree Hilton, which only opened in July this year. You could tell, the interior was fabulous, the designer they used has great taste. The bar area was nice and inviting also not massively over priced as you find in most hotels. I really like Hilton Hotels and they are my go to for overnight stays.
We met at the hotel at 10am, ready for our walking tour of the city. We tried to check in, however we were not able to because check in time was 3pm. Not an issue we handed over our luggage and went on with our day. However one lady in the group was able to check in, but we didn’t think to much more about it.
We didn’t arrive back at our hotel until almost 10.30pm, and we found that there was not enough rooms for us all. Very annoying! The lady on reception was rude and unhelpful. Laura who organised our trip away was able to sort things easily as she offered to share with one of the other girls who she knows well. However if Laura hadn’t be able too, I have no idea what they would have done.
The hotel has a night club on the roof, which was very noisey! As I exited the lift I was surprised by the volume of the music, it was as though I had walked into the night club. I got to my room 521 and although I couldn’t sing along to the music I could hear and feel the thud of the music until about 1pm when it either stopped or I managed to fall to sleep! Luckily it was only me in the room, had I had my children with me I would have been even more annoyed than I already was about not having enough rooms and a rude receptionist!
The lady on reception was honestly enough for me not to ever want to return. However the rooms were great, the bathroom was large and well stocked with items to use. The breakfast was good and the company for the stay really was fabulous. So maybe I would go back and hope she wasn’t working!
On Sunday morning after breakfast we headed to the Deep. I love The Deep!! Simple as that.
I have visited a couple of times before with the children and I have always loved going. It’s the perfect place for a rainy day trip, they offer so much for children to see. I love the variety of fish and marine life they have to see. It’s a fascinating place to visit, I actually enjoyed looking around at my own pace but I know how much the children would have loved to be there with me.
Although I don’t really think you would be there for the whole day, but you can spend a good 3 hours wondering around looking at all of the fish and sea life. I actually spent ages watching the penguins playing silly games in and out of the water.
I will go back to the Deep again and take the children with me, I really do love it.
The Lion and Key
After our trip to the Deep we headed to The Lion and Key for lunch, which was only a 6 minute walk aways. The Lion and Key was serving pints in 1817 and over the years has gone through some changes it is now back to being a pub and it well known around Hull for it’s great food and ales. Not only is it known for it’s food and drink but also for the ceilings covered in beer mats, along with the walls coverings of various different memorabilia.
I was impressed by the selection of food on offer, I choose the battered king prawns and chips. Wow, what a plate full. It was really good. I couldn’t finish it all but the prawns were lovely and the batter was light. Laura who was with us is dairy free and was over the moon to find out she could have the batter. Natalie our vegetarian was more than happy with her chilli.
Everyone’s meals looked good, and they were thoroughly enjoyed. I thought that the prices of the food were reasonable and I would happily go back.
Would I go to Hull again?
In a simple answer yes I would. In fact I have chatted to my hubby about going for the day or even over night with the children. There is just so much to see and do, they would love another visit to the Deep and I would really like to take them to the museum quarter which looked fun and educational. Plus I would love to eat at Greko and I know my Hubby would love too as well.
The other lovelies who I went with have written their reviews if you would like to have a read:-
Hollie – ThirftyMum
Rachel – Out and About Mummy
Nicola – Mummy to Dex
Natalie – Hello Cuppies
Vicki – Tippytupps
Gemma – Family on the go
Mandy – Mandy Charlton Photography
Joanne – Kids Days Out Reviews
*This was a paid press trip by Visit Hull, thank you for having me on the trip. As always thoughts and opinions are my own.*