Innovative new trail was absolutely Kraken

An innovative new trail that saw Hull’s buildings and streets taken over by a mystical sea creature, has been hailed a huge success, attracting more than 2.4 million visitors to the city.

This summer’s tentacle takeover – funded by Hull City Council, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England – marked the start of a series of major events for the Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project.

Trapped for nearly two centuries, The Kraken awoke from the murky depths of the city’s river and was unleashed on key city landmarks, including the Hull Maritime Museum, Princes Quay, Trinity Market, and the Spurn Lightship.

Running through most of August, giant inflatable sculptures measuring 10 metres in length appeared across the city, while the free trail also included maritime characters and living statues, theatre performances and live music.

It was the largest city-wide tentacle installation delivered by artistic company, Design in Air, which has created sculptures all over the world including in China, Australia, Hong Kong, Germany and Portugal, and featured at many major events from the London Olympics to Cirque du Soleil.

As well as bringing people together from across the country in a safe way, the event was aimed at raising awareness of the maritime project and update visitors on its progress.

Hull aims to redefine itself as a key city of the north with a huge investment in a four-year project that will see some of its most historic maritime attractions expanded and improved, creating new visitor attractions.

Making Hull’s 800 years of seafaring history even more of a key part of the city’s tourism offer, the Hull: Yorkshire’s Maritime City project will ultimately create a new route to guide visitors through the city to the River Hull, highlighting its outstanding maritime heritage.

The Kraken trail was the first of a series of major events in the build-up to the delivery of the project, expected to be complete in 2024, and Hull City Council has revealed how successful it was in attracting visits into Hull.

New figures show that footfall increased year on year during the event, and at peak times rose by more than 65 per centre in certain parts of the city, compared to 2019.

A special 24-page comic, inspired by Hull’s maritime past via a fictional backstory designed by local artist Gareth Sleightholme, was also produced for the trail, and for anyone who missed it, it is now also available to download at

For more information on the project, visit

For all other tourism information about Hull, see

Photo: Hull Maritime City project, Hull City Council