It's the official UK City of Culture for 2017—and with comedy, immersive theatre and even chocolate, there's plenty to enjoy.
When the clocks struck midnight to signal the end of 2016 the people of Hull had slightly more reason to celebrate than the rest of the country, as the New Year signalled the beginning of Hull’s tenure as UK City of Culture 2017.
Image via The Telegraph
At the heart of Hull’s ambitious programme is a commitment to put on a different cultural event each day of the year. Spanning a wide range of creative disciplines, the calendar is choc-a-bloc with exciting offerings from world-renowned acts and local artists alike.
This means you can find everything from paintings by greats such as Francis Bacon, to exhibitions on the lives of important Hullensians such as experimental music genius Basil Kirchin. There will be famous comedians such as Jimmy Carr, local theatre productions performing Shakespeare and recitals from esteemed groups such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
In addition to these traditional art forms, the organisers have gone to great lengths to fill the streets of Hull with creativity. Now|Then is a 20-minute immersive theatre experience set in a taxicab cruising the city. Flood is an ambitious narrative that will be acted out at a range of iconic Hull locations throughout the year. The Humber Bridge will also enjoy its very own operatic soundscape, while the Thornton Estate housing project will become bejewelled with myriad fluorescent lights.
Image via Prog Rock
One of the biggest events of the year is the return of The Spiders From Mars–the backing band to David Bowie’s revolutionary album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
The Spiders, who hail from Hull, plan to perform the first-ever live rendition of the Ziggy Stardust album in its entirety. The stage is set at the Hull City Hall: this homecoming gig could be one of the enduring memories of the City of Culture celebration.
Image via Hull 2017
One of the reasons that Hull was awarded the prestigious honour was the tremendous commitment shown by residents to engage with the programme.
Thousands of Hullensians have signed up to be city ambassadors. Stationed around the town in bright pink and blue uniforms, these passionate locals are there to guide visitors towards Hull’s best attractions. With smiles permanently glued to their faces and bucket loads of charm, they embody the infectious energy that pervades the city at the moment.
In addition to the artistic endeavours, the City of Culture badge has prompted a complete renovation of the town centre, dozens of new business openings and thousands of new, permanent jobs. The people of Hull are known for being chatty and welcoming but this award has turned the hospitality rating up to 11.
Image via Visit England
Late in the 18th century, Hull’s independent MP for Yorkshire William Wilberforce headed a 20-year campaign against the British slave trade. And at the start of the 19th century his hard work was rewarded with the Slave Trade Act of 1807 and, later, the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.
Wilberforce House is the birthplace of the legendary abolitionist and his story is told through a series of journals, plantation records and personal items.
Located in Hull’s Old Town, Wilberforce House is one of four free museums that make up the Museum Quarter.
The Arctic Corsair is a deep-sea trawler you can step aboard to learn about the thrills of fishing in the Arctic Circle.
Hull and East Riding Museum of Archaeology features 235 million years worth of human history–including a majestic mammoth.
Meanwhile, the Streetlife Museum transports visitors back to Victorian times with life-size public transport models and a street’s worth of walk-in stores.
Image via Fruit Market Hull
Chocolate aficionado Jon Collins has bagged a berth in the rejuvenated Humber Street–Hull’s former fruit market. This colourful and cobbled thoroughfare beside the marina is home to a brewery, pop-up bars and lots of boutique shops.
It’s an exciting area but, arguably, the urban village’s greatest draw is Jon’s tremendous new store: Cocoa Chocolatier and Patisserie. Twenty years of cheffing experience really shine through in creative flavour combinations such as coffee and amaretto, strawberry and black pepper and Cocoa’s crowning glory: cherry and sage.
Oh, and buy more than you think you need. The addictive chocolates are only available to buy in-person from Jon’s Humber Street boutique.