UK

Hull cruise port guide

Kaye Holland

Why go?

Once described by the poet Philip Larkin as a place where “only salesmen and relations come,” Hull has undergone a renaissance in recent years.

A staggering £25 million was invested into the port city ahead of its reign as the UK’s City of Culture 2017, and there’s real sense of excitement in the East Riding air.

Yet while Hull is striving forward it hasn’t forgotten its past: expect to see a cornucopia of cream coloured telephone boxes as Hull has had its own telephone exchange (KCOM) – the only city in the UK to do so – since 1902.

Cruise port location

Cruise ships dock at the Port of Hull, which lies on the north bank of the River Humber, just 20 miles from the North Sea.

It’s a popular stop for cruises to both the Baltic States and European continent, as well as ferry crossings to Rotterdam and Zeebrugge.

Hull's charming old town is flanked by Georgian houses built by local merchants Credit: iStock

Meanwhile the port’s location, just 2km from the city centre, makes for easy exploration of Hull.

Can I walk to any places of interest?

We’re not going to mince words: there’s not much of interest within walking distance of the port.

However, The Deep – Hull’s Lottery funded flagship millennium project that’s home to over 3,500 fish, sharks, rays and penguins – is only a short taxi ride away. From here you can head to Humber Bridge, one of the engineering wonders of the UK and the seventh longest suspension bridge in the UK.

Getting around

Walking is the best way to see Hull – almost every (cobbled) street has something of interest.

That said, if you’re suffering from sore feet, fret not: EYMS run regular bus routes throughout the city, taking you to all of Hull’s hotspots.

Alternatively take a taxi (cheaper than elsewhere in England) to your destination.

Getting there

Hull can be easily reached by train, from cities around the UK. Trains pull into Hull Paragon Railway Station where passengers are greeted by a statue of Hull’s adopted son, Philip Larkin.

“When your train comes to rest in Paragon Station against a row of docile buffers, you alight with an end-of-the-line sense of freedom,” wrote the poet, who made Hull his home for over three decades.

The taxi fare from Hull train station to the ferry terminal is approximately £10.

Travelling by car? Parking must be pre-booked with your travel agent or tour operator.

Hotels

Trinity Hotel and The Embassy Hotel are two of the closest hotels to the port.

However, if you’re staying for a day or two either side of your cruise, check into the family-run Kingston Theatre Hotel in the heart of Hull’s historic old town, that was the former home of Victorian couturier Madame Clapham.

What can I do in four hours or less?

Being either a embarkation or disembarkation port, very few cruise lines organise excursions around Hull – meaning you’re free to see what Kingston upon Hull (to use the city’s full name) has to offer, under your own steam. 

Telegraph Travel recommends signing up for a Hull Walk with the knowledgeable Paul Schofield. His affordable (£4) tour takes in the historic old town – that somehow survived the Second World War unscathed – whose atmospheric, cobbled and quirky named streets (Land of Green Ginger, home to England’s smallest window, anyone?) are lined with pretty, pastel painted Georgian houses.

What can I do in eight hours or less?

Got eight hours to kill? The Museums Quarter is a must visit. Most cities have museums but Hull’s are exceptional and, the icing on the cake, they’re free to enter.

Standouts include the Streetlife Museum of Transport – where you can walk down a 1940s high street – and the Maritime Museum to discover more about Hull’s intimate relationship with the sea.

Then wander to the Wilberforce House Museum to learn a little more about Hull’s most celebrated son, William Wilberforce, and his fight for the abolition of the slave trade.  

What can I do with a bit longer?

Hull's year as the UK City of Culture may have finished. but there’s always plenty to see and do here – it’s never dull in Hull.

Football fans can watch the Hull Tigers battle to rejoin the Premier League over at the KCOM Stadium (which is also the home of Hull FC Rugby League Club).

You could also see a show at the iconic Hull Truck Theatre. Formed in a squat in 1971, the company has subsequently earned national acclaim.

The port city's beloved football team were relegated from the Premier League in May 2017 Credit: iStock

Eat and drink

The local specialty is the patty –  deep fried cakes of mashed potato, onion and sage – served with chips. These calorific treats were invented for those who couldn’t afford fish with their fries, and are a great source of local pride.

Wash it down with a pint at a historic watering hole like Ye Olde White Hart. Built in 1550, the pub has ‘plotting rooms’ upstairs – where talks that triggered the Civil War are said to have taken place.

Don’t leave Hull without...

Heading to the locally loved Grade 11 listed Victorian Hepworth Arcade – home to Dinsdale’s Joke Shop, one of the country’s oldest joke shops, to pick up a novelty present.

Meanwhile, the disused warehouses and cobbled streets of Hull’s historic fruit market, have been transformed into independent galleries and boutiques selling tempting trinkets.

Need to know

Safety

Hull is as safe as any UK city – just keep your eyes peeled for pickpockets around the major tourist attractions.

Cream coloured phone boxes are one of Hull's most famous features Credit: Getty

Best time to go

Typically spring, summer and autumn are the best times to visit, when the weather is warmer and drier.

Hull’s Freedom Festival, a weekend of music, dance, spoken word, poetry and street theatre, draws the crowds every August.

Closures

Most museums and shops are open seven days a week.

Read the post here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/port-guides/hull-cruise-port-guide/

Leave London? Never

Ex-Londoners complain that life in the capital circa 2018, is getting worse but Kaye Holland is hooked and hopes never to leave

 

I’ll confess: I don’t need to live in London. That requirement expired with the rise of the digital office.

Providing I can fire up my laptop and connect to WiFi, I can make a living just as easily in Leeds or Lincoln - two cities where the living is easier than London.

Yet every time I log onto Rightmove or Zoopla and look at the properties available in East Anglia - where the relatives live - or Exeter which my friend Heidi now calls home, a wave of my panic grips my heart.

For the fact of the matter is that I have a bad case of FOMO - not fear of missing out, rather fear or moving out.

In London there’s always something to do. You have everything you want in terms of activity and accessibility. Every week a new (independent, natch) pop up bar or restaurant is opening - little wonder then Londoners don’t know how to stay in.

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The capital also offers a cornucopia of world class carnivals, museums, theatres and art galleries, plus gorgeous gardens and parks (30 percent of the capital is given over to green space so wherever you find yourself in the city, a leafy retreat isn’t far away) so it’s nigh on impossible to get bored.

My country dwelling family and friends counter that the capital gets crowded and can be costly (they’re correct – you’ll fork to £3 for a filter coffee and £4.70 to travel for a single journey from my home in Harrow to Baker Street) but I’d argue that it gives you something you can’t put a price on: energy.

My East Anglia based cousins also claim that London is a lonely place to live, but I’ve never understood that argument. Next time you’re in town, look around: you’ll find that you’re surrounded by Londoners - aka some of the most interesting, outgoing and open people in the country.

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I’m biased, of course, but in my mind Londoners are the most fascinating people on the planet. They’re people who want to participate in life, with many having come to London to escape their humdrum hometowns.

Regardless of what time of year you visit, you’ll find the Windward rush generation interacting with immigrants from India, Asian neighbourhoods juxtaposed alongside Jewish communities – and Poles working alongside Portuguese.

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On any given day in the capital. I can learn a little about their cultures  – not exactly something you can do in a homogenous suburb in Middle England.

For London is not really about is blockbuster sights, world class cultural venues and top notch clubs as it is about the people you meet. London’s sheer size and its internationality, ensures that no matter how quirky your tastes may be, you’ll meet like minded people without any difficulty.

If I was to - gulp - leave London, I’d also miss the fact that within a five minute walk of my flat I can tuck into into Thai, Turkish, Lebanese or Ethiopian food at any hour.

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So while moving out might mean that I could afford to trade up from a two bedroom flat in Brixton to a four bedroom house in Bishops Stortford or Stevenage, the consequences - suffocation out in the sticks - wouldn’t be worth it.

And how can you be sure that towns outside of the capital aren’t a bit - how to put this  - Brexity? Living in Yorkshire and the Humber, the Midlands or the south coast (take a bow Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Southampton et al) - all areas which voted overwhelming to leave the EU - might make my bank manager happy, but I don’t think heated political debates with people who fail to grasp that Brexit is clearly a bad idea, would be good for the soul.

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All told, while the maths might indicate that I would be wise to relocate, the fact of the matter is that I wouldn’t be able to handle leaving London: I am a city girl and need a vibrant community around me.

Plus while I’m told that is now possible to get a decent Flat White outside of the M25, you can’t get a night tube, can you?

View the post here: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2018/03/07/the-dark-side-of-turning-your-back-on-the-capital/

The Year That Was

It’s been a busy year of travelling and it’s time to take stock. Here Just About Travel contributor and travel enthusiast, Kaye Holland, shares some of her favourite destinations from 2017

 

 

It’s been a busy year of travelling and it’s time to take stock. Here Just About Travel contributor and travel enthusiast, Kaye Holland, shares some of her favourite destinations from 2017

 

Panama
The waistline of the Americas, Panama flies under the radar – in part because it’ s overshadowed by its more developed and better known neighbours, Costa Rica and Colombia.
But if you want azure waters, confrontingly good cuisine, heritage sites, nightlife and affordable adventures, Panama delivers. And then some.
The traditional travellers’ route into the country is via Panama City – Latin America’s most cosmopolitan capital that’s the gateway to the famous Panama Canal, an awe-inspiring modern engineering marvel which was built by the U.S. between 1904 and 1914.
Yet much of Panama’s appeal lies beyond the city. When the noise and frenetic activity of the capital gets too much, seek out the San Blas islands – 365 pieces of remote paradise, perched off the coast of Panama, that feel exactly like what they are: off the beaten track and undiscovered. Alternatively make a beeline for Bocas del Toro – a dreamy Caribbean archipelago blessed with Bounty advert beaches.
It’s a great spot to end your trip to this underrated, affordable corner of Central America – and perhaps start planning your next one. Return is inevitable.

 

Hull
Hull often gets a bad rap for being a place where “only salesmen and relations come,” as Philip Larkin once put it.
But just because it was, doesn’t mean it is. A cool £25million has been invested into revamping the city centre, in a bid to put the port city back on the travel map and there’s a palpable sense of excitement in the East Riding air.
Not that Hull has forgotten its past: expect to see a cornucopia of cream coloured telephone boxes, for Hull has had its own telephone exchange (KCom) –  the only city in the UK to do so – since 1902.
Hull’s shopping scene is another symbol of it’s uniqueness, of its determination to be different from other British cities. Instead of gigantic shopping malls, you’ll find the locally loved Grade 11 listed Victorian Hepworth Arcade –  home to Fanthorpes  which has been serving music lovers since 1946 and Dinsdale’s Joke Shop (01482 223622), one of the country’s oldest joke shops.
Hull is also home to some exceptionally good museums  (named in the UK’s Top 10 free attractions by Guardian readers) that are also free, as well a plethora of characterful pubs.
Bottom line? Hull is no longer just “a place for salesmen and relations.”


Rwanda
Let’s face facts: if we’re talking about which country to visit next, we probably wouldn’t put Rwanda  – an African nation whose name will always be tinged with tragedy – at the top of the list. But we’d be wrong. For there’s more to this tiny state – measuring a mere 10,169 square miles, Rwanda is the fourth smallest country on the African mainland – than the legacy of genocide.
The Land Of A Thousand Hills happens to be only one place in the world where you can look a mountain gorilla in the eye – a moment that you’ll remember for the rest of your life, something the great Sir David Attenborough can attest to.
The veteran broadcaster and naturalist famously recounted in his 1978 Life On Earth series that meeting Rwandan gorillas was “one of the most exciting encounters of my life. There is more meaning and mutual understanding in exchanging a glance with a gorilla than any other animal I know.”
Yet while Rwanda maybe famous for its gorillas,it’s also the place to gawp at golden monkeys – another species found only in the tiny East African nation. Stir into the mix the full quota of the Big Five and you have an unsung safari destination.
What’s more, reaching Rwanda is easier than ever: RwandAir  – Rwanda’s national carrier – now flies direct from London Gatwick to Kigali (the capital) three times a week.

 

Athens
Our lives are short and the world is interesting so why do we spend so many of our weekends away in bland, well behaved cities? Athens is anything but. 
The charismatic Greek capital – easily one of the most exhilarating cities right now – is often overlooked by travellers in favour of Barcelona, Berlin, Paris and Rome. Error.  If good nightlife, bars and shops are your thing, then Athens is where it’s at.
The iconic Acropolis – the greatest symbol of ancient Greece and a wonder of the world – tops most first time visitor’s itinerary list but Athens isn’t about sightseeing per se but about exploring. It’s about wandering around neighbourhoods like Kolonaki and stopping for a leisurely coffee in a people watching cafe, gorging on fantastic Greek food and putting your bargaining skills to the test in the lively Central Market. Athens is made even more inviting by its people who are happy to share their world with you. Charming and hospitable, they always have time to talk.  Everyone knows somebody who has a friend, who has a cousin, who can help you out.

http://www.justabouttravel.net/2017/12/28/the-year-that-was-5/

Kent calling



Don’t let autumn get you down. Recharge the batteries with a wellness getaway in the Kent countryside, says Kaye Holland


My feelings about London are complicated. The very things I love - the hustle and bustle, bright lights and sheer size - are also the things that threaten to overwhelm me.

If, like me, you need a reprieve from grey, drizzly mornings, busy commutes and the general urban crush, allow me to suggest Green Farm Kent. 

Those in the know are so passionate about this small farm estate in the Kent countryside, that they might resent the fact that I’m spreading the word. So hush: this is just between you and me.

Nestled amidst 12,000-acre ancient woodland - and yet a mere 40minute train ride away from London St. Pancras - Green Farm Kent represents the perfect tonic to the frenetic pace of urban life.

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A wealth of rural skill honing activities is on offer from exploring enchanting Fairyland - a natural opening in the forest, replete with fabulous oak trees and wonderful ancient woodlands that’s surely the stuff of childhood fantasies - to feeding the farm animals (egg laying hens, lambs, ducks and cows are all present and correct), clearing the head on a countryside walk and visiting the community vegetable garden.
 

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They also offer regular yoga and fitness classes, while art and garden flower workshops can be arranged. Or you can just follow in my footsteps and float in a hot tub under the canopy of a graceful weeping willow, while enjoying a glass of bubbles… I wouldn’t blame you.

However if you’re visiting in October - a time when indoors matters more than great outdoors, when comforts and pleasures of home are paramount - you’d be forgiven for spending most of your stay in the beautiful Grade 11 listed country house itself.

Setting foot in the recently refurbished barn that was originally a Kentish Hall House built 600 years ago (around the time that Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field), is akin to stepping back in time to an older, simpler world.

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A strong sense of character prevails throughout the house - which the owners bought on an auction in September 2008 - from the individually decorated bedrooms to the living room that boasts an Inglenook fireplace, to curl up in front of with a good book. (Although with so much on offer at Green Farm Kent, I didn’t manage lay a finger on my book the entire weekend).

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Other standouts include the boot room with its well, which its still in use today, the conservatory offering, as it does, arresting views across the orchard and fields and last, but not least, the dining room with its beautiful beams.

This is the place to enjoy hearty yet healthy meals- think freshly baked bread and fragrant curries, that use home grown ingredients from the farm’s community garden - washed down with organic wines. Make no mistake: the food can’t be faulted.

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Yet while it would be easy, at this time of year, to hole up in the house with the amiable owners Mary and Martin - who go out of their way to welcome you like family -  it would be a terrible shame not to take in a treatment at the luxurious on-site spa. (www.greenfarmkent.co.uk/spa)

The range of therapies – all of which use ESPA products – is mind boggling but I can vouch for the skin radiance facial, aka 55 minutes of bliss that myskin feeling baby soft and begging to be booked in for further treatments with spa therapist, Helen, and her magic hands. Seriously: I can’t count number of people who said I had a certain glow about me, upon my return to the big smoke.

Yet Green Farm’s real charm -  those that get under your skin - is its attentive and always smiling owners and staff. I was made to feel like I belonged and enough to know that one day I’ll return.

All told, Green Farm is the perfect spotto switch off without having to jet off.

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NEED TO KNOW

Address:
Green Farm
Church Lane
Shadoxhurst
Kent
TN26 1L

Tel: +44 (0)1233 733 997
Email: info@greenfarmkent.co.uk
Web: www.greenfarmkent.co.uk
 

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Getting there:
By rail

Located just 10 minutes taxi journey from Ashford International Station, The high speed train from London St Pancras takes just 37 minutes. Trains from Charing Cross / Waterloo East / London Bridge take about 75 mins and Eurostar trains from Paris take 90 minutes.

Read the article here: http://digitaledition.tntmagazine.com/kent-calling/

London Calling

Record year as 19 million tourists visit London
 

London welcomed more than 19 million foreign visitors last year, far outweighing any other town or city in the UK, in what was a record year for tourism in the British capital.

The total number of visits rose 2.6 per cent, from 18.6 million to 19.1 million, with a particularly strong surge in the last quarter of 2016 - according to new figures released today by the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey (IPS).

However, visitor spending – on hotels, restaurants and attractions - was slightly down over the year, save for the final few months when spend increased by 3.7 per cent owing to the arrival of a record five million visitors.

Tourism industry insiders believe that the fall in the value of the British pound in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum last June has helped make London –  a nominee in two categories (‘Europe’s leading city’ and ‘Europe’s leading city break destination') in the upcoming World Travel Awards- an even more appealing destination for tourists.  

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am delighted that more people than ever before are choosing to visit London, immersing themselves in all that our great city has to offer including an unbeatable array of restaurants, museums, shops and theatres.

“This is further evidence that London is Open and has an appeal that clearly extends across the globe.”

Blockbuster events which helped boost tourism last year included Great Fire 350, which saw tourists lining the River Thames to see the burning of a replica City of London to commemorate the anniversary of the Great Fire of London.

Hugely popular exhibitions such as David Hockney at the Royal Academy, EXHIBTIONISM at the Saatchi Gallery and the first retrospective of the Rolling Stones life and career, also played a part.

Furthermore, the tourism boom appears to have continued into 2017. Separate data by Forward Keys, a company that records overseas travel agent bookings to London, suggests that in the first six months of 2017 there has been a 10% increase in overseas travellers coming to London.

And with major events on the horizon – here’s looking at the first UK exhibition on Modern and contemporary American printmaking, American Dream, Pop to Present, taking place at the British Museum and Harry Potter: A History of Magic display taking place at the British Library this Autumn, showcasing wizarding books, century old library treasures and original material from JK Rowling’s own archive – London looks set to welcome even more tourists.

View post here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Worldtravelnews365