Cameras at the ready. Some of our city’s best-loved and most beautiful sights can be found in Hull’s Old Town. With stunning architecture, medieval streets and charm by the bucketload, there’s no wonder it features heavily in the daily walking tours run by award-winning tour guide Paul Schofield. But you might be surprised to discover which sights have the biggest wow factor – for tourists and residents alike. Here, Paul reveals his favourite sights and some of the city’s most delightful hidden gems, from the place where Charles I was turned away from the city – famously sparking the English Civil War – to the street from which an entire city sprung from.
- Beverley Gate: “Visitors are always taken aback when they see the ruins of the gate and we say that we started the English Civil War here! King Charles I wasn’t allowed into the city in 1642, a gesture of defiance that triggered the war.”
- England’s smallest window, Land Of Green Ginger: “This is one of the things that always sticks in people’s minds after they’ve take a tour. And of course, it’s in a street mysteriously called Land Of Green Ginger, which everyone loves.”
- Hepworth’s Arcade: “One of my favourite buildings in Hull. It was built in the 1890s and was named after Hepworth the tailor. It was also home to one of the earliest Marks and Spencer penny bazaars. It’s a rare L-shaped arcade with a lovely glass roof. I see it as a very ‘Hull’ arcade – it’s full of independent Hull businesses such as Beasley’s clothing store and Dinsdale’s joke shop, as endorsed by Reece Shearsmith and Derren Brown.”
- High Street and the River Hull: “The oldest street in Hull, High Street dates to the 1100s. Without High Street, with the staithes and access streets running down to the River Hull, the city wouldn’t exist.”
- Scale Lane swing bridge: “My favourite bridge and one of my favourite things. At weekends, you can ride on it and listen to the sounds playing as it moves you across the River Hull. It’s the first footbridge in the world that allows people to do this. Check the Hull City Council website for times.”
- Truelove sculptures, River Hull, by the tidal barrier: “Whether they’ve lived in Hull all their lives, or are new to the city, people are always surprised to see the sculptures of the Truelove heads in the River Hull – they miss the plaque that’s on the railings.”
The plaque reads: “In 1847 Memiadluk and Uckaluk arrived in Hull close to this site aboard the Truelove, a local whaling ship. The following year the married couple set sail for their home in Cumberland Sound, Baffin Island. During this journey Uckaluk died following an outbreak of measles on board the ship.”
- Stage @The Dock: “A dry dock originally, it takes a lot of vision to turn a dry dock into a stage that has hosted everything from the BBC Proms, to rap and hip-hop artists, and festivals like Humber Street Sesh and Freedom Festival. I like the fact that it’s so accessible. It’s a public space even when it’s not in use as a venue.”
- Victoria (Corporation) Pier and Oss Wash, Nelson Street: “Before the Humber Bridge was built, this is where people would catch the ferry to cross the River. It had a British Rail booking office and was one of the few train stations in the country where no trains ran. The nearby slope next to the De La Pole statue was known as the Oss Wash [horse wash].”
- Town walls, marina: “Look on the ground around the marina. The original town walls are marked out in red, so you can walk along them. It’s surprising to discover that the River Humber once came right up to Hessle Gate and along what is now Humber Street.”
- Prince Street and Trinity Square mirror pools: “You get a great view when you look down Prince Street towards Hull Minster in Trinity Square. Prince Street is unusual in that it’s a Georgian street with a curve – they tend to be either very straight or crescent-shaped. In Trinity Square are my other favourite things, the mirror pools.”
Paul Schofield is an independent, English Heritage-accredited tour guide. His walking tours of Hull city centre take place daily until the end of October, leaving from Hull City Hall in Queen Victoria Square at 2pm. Group bookings can be arranged all year round.