East Park is Hull’s biggest park, which opened in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Complete with 16 acre boating lake and swan pedallo boats, East Park is also home to a listed Wicksteed splash boat dating all the way back to 1929. Their animal education centre is a big hit with young visitors, who can get face to face with alpacas, wallabies and peacocks (as well as snakes, beetles and tarantulas if they dare). Pickering Park boasts a beautiful fishing lake and a fine collection of native and exotic trees, add in the ornamental gardens and summer paddling pool and you’ve got the makings of a great day out.
If you’re nearer the Avenues, it’s worth heading over to Pearson Park – the first public park in Hull. Larkin spent much of his time in Hull living in a house overlooking the park and it’s easy to see why. West Park sits next to the KC Stadium and has some of the city’s best sporting facilities, as well its own model railway. The annual Hull Fair (Europe’s largest travelling funfair) happens each October next to West Park too.
Burton Constable Hall is an impressive Elizabethan house about 9 miles north of Hull. The grounds around the house were designed by Capability Brown, and there are 300 acres of parkland to explore. The house itself is full of weird and wonderful things, including an 18m long sperm whale skeleton and an entire Cabinet of Curiosities.
Burton Agnes Hall near Driffield dates back to 1173, and is a beautiful example of Tudor Renaissance architecture. Take a tour around their award-winning gardens and stop by for their Jazz and Blues Festival in the summer.
Sewerby Hall and Gardens was built in the early 1700s on the coast near Flamborough Head, offering unbelievable views across the North Sea. They have a permanent Amy Johnson exhibition (showing off artefacts from one of the world’s most famous aviators) and their own fully-fledged zoo. Be sure to catch the Humboldt penguins, who are fed every day at 3pm.
Sledmere House has welcomed visitors for over 200 years, since the original house was extended and beautifully decorated in the late 1700s. A huge fire destroyed much of the decor in 1911, although lots of the furniture was saved and it has since been lovingly restored. The house is now home to the Triton Gallery, one of the most exciting contemporary art spaces in East Yorkshire.
18 miles north of Hull, Wassand Hall is open to ticket holders during the summer. Walkers can enjoy the woodland walks and gardens, while petrol heads should come for the vintage car rally.
Burnby Hall Gardens near Pocklington was the home of Major Percy Stewart, who travelled far and wide in the early 1900s gathering artefacts and inspiration for his estate. Visit his house to see the gardens inspired by his travels and the museum that showcases all of the amazing objects he gathered.
South of the Humber Bridge, Normanby Hall is a 300 acre estate in North Lincolnshire. With an impressive walled garden and deer park, Normanby Hall also hosts an annual adventure race for braver, sportier visitors.
Walking and cycling
The Viking Way is a long distance footpath, running all the way from Oakham in Rutland to the Humber Bridge. Walkers and cyclists are both welcome, on a path that takes you via Rutland Water reservoir, into the grounds of Lincoln Cathedral and through the Lincolnshire Wolds. It’s 147 miles long, with plenty of great places to stop along the way. There’s an ultra-marathon along the route too, that the bravest runners (somehow) complete in one go, within 40 hours.
The Yorkshire Wolds Way is an 80 mile trip for walkers and cyclists, taking you north from Hull through Pocklington and towards Filey on the coast. Villages and market towns along the way have pubs and other places to rest your weary feet, and you can treat yourself with fish and chips at the seaside once you reach the end of the path. It’s been popular since it opened in the 1980s and is well signposted too.