Tuesday, April 22, 2008

In deep!

This is a belated account of a day trip to Hull.

Having worked for a few Saturdays on the trot, Dawn finally got a free weekend, and rather than sit at home or spend our time traipsing round some lifeless shopping centre, we caught the train to Hull.

Neither of us had ever been to Hull before, and it couldn't possibly still be true (as was voted in 2005) that Hull is the worst place to live in the United Kingdom... could it?

I decided we would go to The Deep (a classy looking building that houses an aquarium) and I also looked up a string of pubs and bars of note. I took a bunch of relevant postcodes and a satnav device so that we might find things a little bit easier (more on this later!!).

Well we arrived in Hull after a painless train journey, and the station at Hull itself is a lovely place. People talk about Huddersfield being a lovely station (I agree with John Betjeman that Huddersfield station possesses the most splendid frontage, but the interior is a dump) that's all old and characterful, but Hull is bigger, brighter, more airy, and indeed older!! The other obvious benefit of Hull station, is that it's in the same place as the bus station.... shame on you Huddersfield!!

The Deep was well signposted and we had no trouble finding it and spending a good hour or two fighting off the ranks of ankle biters that were hogging the interactive elements of the display. I was especially annoyed at the shoals of amateur photographers that had not worked out how to turn off the flash on their cameras.... fish don't have eyelids and your camera flash could blind, or indeed shock them to death, besides which your pictures will look crap when your flash reflects off the glass!!

The Deep done, we set off in search of lunch. I had the postcodes of several suitable hostelries, but the pubs in the old town looked far too "beardy" for Dawn. She's very good at putting up with my pub selections as a rule, but she doesn't like "old men" pubs where there aren't any women, which is what I mean by "beardy"... Anyhoo, after wandering around for a while with grumbling tummies we decided to seek refuge from the biting cold wind and to turn on the satnav to find a place I had earmarked as somewhere to eat.

I struggled to get the satnav to accept the postcodes without a supporting address. I couldn't get the internet working on any of the three mobile devices we had with us. I texted Riv for some full addresses and off we set into the street to find the Hop and Vine at 24 Albion Street.

Walking with satnav is funny because it takes a while to orient itself, so we walked up and down the street, passing the pub where we'd stopped, no less than four times before I decided we should just keep walking and adjust to the satnav when we got into the right vicinity.

After a few bad instructions and a couple of back tracking manoeuvres, we made it to the Camra award winning, tiny hostelry, known as the Hop and Vine. It's a small, cosy, real ale, cellar bar that serves home made food, very cheaply in my humble opinion. The bar is about six feet long, and the whole place seats about twenty people. Three real ales and a couple of real ciders to choose from..... good selection and well kept for such a small place... exactly the sort of place I dream about running. Home made vegetarian chili with homemade bread and hummus. Great stuff.

And that was about it.....

We saw a fair bit of Hull..... I know a lot of it's quite depressed and industrial, but you can clearly see where the regeneration is happening, and it certainly seems like it's being done both sympathetically and effectively.

It puts Huddersfield to shame....


  1. the housemartins came from hull. i liked them a lot. sounds like a cool day out.

  2. Thank you for liking Hull and posting quite positively about the place. Of course you could have covered William Wilberforce, King Billy, Ken Wagstaff, John Godbher, Amy Johnson and Philip Larkin plus the distinctive Hull accent and the independence of the city that is partly reflected in its famous phone system. Also its maritime location and history and its fantastic fish and chips.

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  4. In response to the above.... I'm only here for the beer!! Besides which I live across the road from the best fish and chips in England!!