If the kids are happy, the adults are happy, right? Take the strain out of family days out with our top tips to entertain families with children of all ages (yep, even those tricky toddlers and teens!).
Let’s start with our fabulous free museums and galleries. In Queen Victoria Square, Ferens Art Gallery has a permanent dedicated children’s space where younger visitors can play, and is welcoming to everyone. On the other side of the square, the Maritime Museum tells the fascinating tale of the city’s seafaring heritage… plus the slightly fishier tale of our own little mermaid!
Speaking of fish, keep your eyes peeled as you walk through the city centre from this point to see if you can spot the 41 fish inlaid in the pavements.
TOP TIP: Take a towel and a change of clothes if Queen Victoria Square is on your itinerary – it doesn’t matter how old or cool your kids are, these fountains are irresistible on a sunny day!
In the Old Town, there’s a dedicated, free Museums Quarter in High Street. At the Hull and East Riding Museum you can whizz through 250,000 years of Hull’s history, starting with Mortimer – a life-sized recreation of an East Yorkshire woolly mammoth. The Streetlife Museum is another big hit with families, with plenty of ways to get on board with the sight, sounds and smells of transport through the ages. Next door at Wilberforce House, you can explore the birthplace and legacy of Hull’s famous anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce.
All ages are welcome at Humber Street Gallery in the vibrant Fruit Market area near Hull’s stunning marina. If you have any dinosaur fans in the family, you won’t be able to miss independent dinosaur museum Dinostar and, just over the footbridge, you’ll find the iconic aquarium The Deep, home to 3,500 sharks, fish and penguins… and some spectacular viewing areas. Both Dinostar and The Deep offer great-value annual passes.
There’s a jam-packed summer of family-friendly events ahead. Highlights include:
• The Lord Mayor’s Hanse Day in Queen Victoria Square and Trinity Square on 8 June, 10am-4pm – a tribute to Hull’s medieval trading past that this year is going to be bigger and better than ever, across two sites, with jousting, fire-breathing jesters, roaming musicians, dancers, children’s activities and musical workshops, crafts and a chance for all ages to show off your handiwork in parades around Queen Victoria Square and Trinity Square. Allow at least half a day. Suitable for all ages.
• The Big Malarkey in East Park on 29-30 June. This children’s literature festival has grown into a firm annual favourite since its launch during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture in 2017. Special guests this year include celebrated children’s book illustrator and author Nick Sharratt, Oi Dog! author Kes Gray, the creator of the hilarious Barry Loser series Jim Smith, and MG Leonard who wrote the fantastical Beetle Boy adventures. Tickets to the weekend festival, which takes place a short drive east of the city centre, are due to go on sale on 20 April, from www.thebigmalarkeyfestival.com. Great for families with babies, children and young people aged 0-16.
• National Play Day in Queens Gardens on 7 August – get there early for free fun and frolics. All welcome, but best suited to those aged 0-11.
TOP TIP: Hop on and off a land train at Queen Victoria Square, the Museums Quarter, or The Deep for a fun and irreverent look at some of the city centre’s most popular attractions.
Don’t forget, if you’re looking for personal recommendations for your family, Hull’s blue-jacketed cultural volunteers are happy to help. You’ll find them at the Welcome Information Centre at Paragon Interchange, and at attractions all over the city centre.