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Things to do in Kingston upon Hull, East Yorkshire

Kingston upon Hull, a busy port at the confluence of the River Hull and the Humber Estuary has acted as the gateway to the heart of England since Roman times.

The original town of Hull was conceived after King Edward I (1272-1307) decided he needed a secure port from which to supply his armies who were fighting the Scots. This haven on the River Hull fitted the role perfectly, as well as having a flourishing import/export trade.

Edward's new town, Kyngestone-upon-Hull, was quickly established. Successive monarchs used Hull as their main east coast port, as a base for expeditions against the Scots, also for the assembly and dispatch of supplies to France. Ships were fitted out here and the town yielded a sizable tax revenue to the Royal Exchequer.

During the 17th century there were problems between Parliament and King Charles I. Although relying upon that body to raise money for his ventures, Charles resented its interference in his running of the country. The struggle between King and Government looked like coming to a head when in March1642, Charles moved his court from London to York, with the intention of capturing Hull. On April 23rd, he tried to gain entry to the town but found the Beverley Gate drawbridge raised. He demanded admittance, which was refused. This was the first openly defiant act against the King in support of Parliament. War was inevitable.

By 1829, the completion of the last of Hull's docks, Junction Dock, transformed the town into an "island". After Queen Victoria's visit in 1854, Junction Dock was renamed Prince's Dock, after Prince Albert, and then on 6thJuly, 1897, the Royal Charter was signed creating Kingston-upon-Hull a city. It was now ranked as the third port in the country after London and Liverpool.

Hull's fishing trade boomed during the late 1940's and 50's, boosting everyone's moral and giving the encouragement needed to repair their war-torn city. Over the subsequent 50 years, redevelopment of the inner city has continued, with new replacing ruins and progress rising from the ashes of the past.

The Modern City of Hull is large and busy, shopping is made easy with a compact layout, car parking facilities and traffic-free streets, which are also the setting for live open-air entertainment during the spring and summer. One of the country's most exciting and scenic shopping centres is the impressive, glass-covered Princes Quay, which literally rose from the water to hover above Prince's Dock. As the area's largest shopping centre, it cleverly links the old and new parts of the town, leading to the heart of this historic city with sweeping views of the rejuvenated docklands.

Hull now has an award-winning yacht Marina with over 300 berths. Moored in the Marina is the former Spurn Lightship, now open to the public. This vessel was restored by the City Council after it had served 50 years as a navigation aid at the mouth of the Humber.

Hull has many fascinating Museums, displaying the area's archaeology and natural history. Visitors can find out about the abolition of the slave trade, experience a bumpy ride in a horse drawn carriage and visit galleries devoted to Whales and Whaling for which Hull was once an important centre.

Sports enthusiasts will find most of their favourites represented in and around Hull, which is the UK headquarters of baseball. Rugby League is represented with two first class teams, there is professional soccer, cricket, golf, angling, power-boat racing and sailing. There are various indoor leisure pursuits including Northern England's first Olympic standard Ice Arena.

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Images of Kingston upon Hull

Kingston upon Hull Holy Trinity Church © John Sewell
Kingston upon Hull Town Docks Museum from Princes Dock © John Sewell
High Street in the Old Town, Kingston upon Hull © John Sewell
Land Of Green Ginger, Kingston upon Hull © John Sewell
Holy Trinity Interior, Kingston upon Hull © John Sewell
Alleyway in the Old Town, Kingston upon Hull © John Sewell

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