Traditionally, Hull was a rugby league city, divided into east and west between Hull KR and Hull FC. But, given Hull City’s recent ascents to the Premier League in 2008, 2013 and 2016, football has gained greater focus.
Hull is also a good example of a successful cross-sport groundshare, between rugby and football, Hull FC and Hull City, who have been playing at the KC Stadium for over a decade.
Set in parkland in the west of town, the KC replaced City’s Boothferry Park, just further west. A lot of the pubs along Anlaby Road, that runs from Hull Paragon, the main train station, are still pre- and post-match ones for the Hull City faithful.
In fact, the KC (as it’s often referred to) wasn’t Hull’s first groundshare. The Boulevard, set on the thoroughfare of the same name just the other side of Anlaby Road from today’s KC, was the home of both Hull FC and Hull City for many years, though rarely around the same time. Also used for greyhound racing and speedway – Hull’s other great sporting passion, currently moribund – The Boulevard was one of the pitches where Hull City first played in 1904.
The other was Anlaby Road, the club’s main ground before the war, witnessing the great cup run of 1930. Bombed, like much of Hull, in the 1940s, it was later used by Hull’s reserve team. Today’s KC Stadium is close to its former site.
Unlike the rugby teams, Hull City have no cross-city rivals – in fact, they are Yorkshire’s only representative in the Premiership of 2013-14. Their main local rivals in the tripartite Humber derby are Grimsby Town, recently promoted from the National League. The two last met in 1987. Scunthorpe United are the other element in this somewhat disjointed regional rivalry.
The most notable lower-league team are North Ferriby, ‘The Villagers’, promoted from the National League North in 2016. Currently playing in England’s fifth flight, North Ferriby is where Hull City legend Dean Windass got his start before running out at Boothferry Park. It was Windass who famously scored the goal that gained Hull their once-in-a-lifetime promotion in 2008.
Hull Cars (+44 1482 82 82 82), whose office is close to the KC, charge £30.
Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield, 47 miles (76km) from Hull, has far more international services but no direct transport link. Hull Cars charge £50.
In town, several bus companies provide public transport. Information can be found from Traveline. An all-day dayrider (£2.90) ticket allows for easy movement, but the city centre and stadium are reasonably walkable.
Hull Tourist Information Office provides details of hotels in town and around.
The closest lodging to the ground is the West Park Hotel, whose unpromising exterior gives a pretty accurate impression of what to expect within. Beware that online reviews for a ‘West Park Hotel’ in Harrogate are confused with this one.
Further away but handily located between the stadium and the bar hub of Princes Avenue, the Four Farthings (Spring Bank West 359-361, +44 1482 346 760) is a standard B&B.
The easiest option, though, would be to stay by Hull Paragon, pretty much walkable to the stadium. Right alongside, the Gilson, is a decent three-star that offers The Humber Sky Sports Bar. On the other side of Ferensway, the comfortable Ibis also has a late-opening bar.
Back on the Paragon side, the Royal Hotel is a classic railway hotel not afraid to play up its historic credentials – even though these days it’s another in the Mercure chain. The nearby Holiday Inn Express Hull City Centre is more business-like.
Hull is a city of heavy drinking. Much of this takes place in contemporary bars down one side of Princes Avenue, an easy walk from the KC Stadium. There’s another, more down-at-heel, hub near the Paragon, on the stretch of Anlaby Road that leads into Carr Lane.
Opened in 2013, Pearsons now heads the Princes Avenue strip, its interior a clever mingle of traditional pub and contemporary bar – and blessed with five LED screens beaming sport all day.
Bookending the bar stretch, traditional pub Linnet & Lark also offers TV football, and quality ales. In between, trendy venues such as beer-focused PAVE (‘Princes Avenue’), the more restauranty Garbetts and café-like Lounge characterise the locality. On nearby Spring Bank, at the corner of West Parade, sport-centric pub The Tap will still find it hard to lure custom from Princes Avenue despite a recent change of management.
Diagonally opposite the Paragon, Admiral of the Humber stands out among unpromising nearby sports-forward spots such as the New King Edward and Blah. The city centre may be a better option, the Hull Cheese as traditional as it gets.
On the quayside, Green Bricks (9 Humber Dock Street) dates back to Napoleonic times, and now provides plasma-screen sports action and serious pool. Right on the waterfront, The Minerva (10 Nelson Street) provides reason alone to come to Hull. Centuries of maritime history backdrop convivial communal consumption of fine ales and equally fine food. Simply unbeatable.