The Toads of Hull and Finding My Prince

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Larkin with Toads of Hull is a largest ever public art project that displays the giant, artist-decorated and colorful Toad Sculptures!

The Toads Of Hull And Finding My Prince

In 2010, Sylvia and I went on an Adventure to Hull in Yorkshire. I heard about the Toads of Hull, a city wide art project celebrating the life and art work of Phillip Larkin. I am a huge fan of art and sculptures and so it was an adventure I was keen to go on.

Toads of Hull

For three months, from 21st July to 25th September 2010, the streets of hull were populated with 40 giant, colourful, artist-decorated Toad sculptures. This formed an exciting trail and adventure for anyone wanting to visit the toads so off we went on our own toad finding mission.

Toads of Hull

Sylvia and I jumped on a train from West Yorkshire and travelled to Hull. I was at the time a single mother and hoping to find my own prince one day. They say if you kiss a toad or frog he may just turn into a prince and so we went on a mother and daughter adventure pretending the toads would change if we gave them a hug or cuddle.

toads of hull

I was on my own with Sylvia so I did my usual trick and asked passers by to take photos of us together and then took some images of Sylvia on my own. We did a few pictures “pretending to kiss the toads” which turned out quite well in my opinion.

Toads of Hull

Sylvia wore my favourite froggy dress which she often wore at that age. I loved that dress and I still have it to this day. She travelled a lot in the frog dress and it was for me a lucky dress that reminds me of our fun times together.

Toads of Hull

The Toads of Hull were really artistic and great to look at. They were fun to find and it really was a fun little adventure for Sylvia and I. She had such a fantastic day.

Toads of Hull

I miss my little girl being young and being well enough to go on adventures regular. I’m hoping in the future and in school holidays we can visit some new and interesting places.

Toads of Hull

It took 3 years after this visit to Hull to find my special prince. I married a Yorkshire man in 2013 and it was wonderful for John to join our little family.

Toads of Hull

It has been an amazing experience being married but also tough as I’ve been unwell a lot of the time and not able to do many of the things I love. I am working on it though doing my best to get as healthy as I can with Adrenal Insufficiency.

Toads of Hull

My favourite toad was the one outside the train station. He was a kind of strange gothic looking one with a nose pin and union jack coat. I liked his green tones. This toad had been damaged by the pubic but was getting mended. He was supposed to have a red Mohawk but it had been broken.

Toads of Hull

Our trip visiting the Toads of Hull was super fun and although the toads were removed I am aware of other sculptures which pop up from time to time in the UK and would love to take Sylvia on another Sculpture adventure at some point.

Toads of Hull

Have you ever been on a sculpture adventure? It really can be very fun.

Angela x


Angela Milnes is a Qualified Early Years Teacher who has specialised in Preschool and Kindergarten teaching. She has a wealth of experience teaching young children and is passionate about kids crafts and having fun as a family. Angela has also taught cooking skills and loves to share both family recipes and easy crafts here on The Inspiration Edit. Follow her on Pinterest!

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  1. I loved seeing these photos of you and baby Sylvia. Darling!! Yes, I’m looking forward to your future adventures with your family. I’ve never been on a sculpture adventure?

  2. What a cutie your little one is! This sounds like a great memory. I think of the one’s pictures I like the tiger frog best.

  3. What a great trail and it looks like you had lots of fun doing it. We had something similar with shaun the sheep statues that the kids loved to do. I think these trails are also a great way to see parts of the city/towns/places we may otherwise not have seen! x

  4. Aw you two look so sweet together! I haven’t been on a sculpture adventure before! I will have to try and find out if there are any in my area.

  5. I’ve not done it completely, but looks so much fun! Know they have done similar things in Southampton, Aberdeen and Dundee too. I know all projects benefited charity too x

  6. What a fun adventure this must have been and you must love to look back at these photos and remember the special time you had with your little girl. I hope you are able to find another sculpture adventure to go on soon. I’ve not done one myself but I would definitely enjoy it!

  7. I’ve never seen anything like this where I live (U.S.). I wish we did have something like this. It would have made a grand adventure with my boys. I like your favorite toad the best.

    1. We must both have good taste. There must be something unique and different in every country. I think at sculptures are becoming popular in the UK.

  8. Oh my goodness the toads are incredible, i need the NASA one lol. Fabulous pictures and what a great day out for you and Sylvia x

  9. I’ve seen similar sculpture ideas around my local town and I think they’re such a fun activity for kids to enjoy

  10. These are so cool – I remember a similar ‘Shaun the Sheep’ project that happened, with sheep popping up all over the city. Sounds like a lovely adventure for Sylvia to enjoy 🙂

  11. oh we had something similar need us too actually!! We had different elephants and they were literally everywhere!!!

  12. That’s awesome – we had elephants just like that round London a few years ago and everyone was on a hunt to take photos with them all. Love the one that looks like a tiger! So cool!

  13. This is such a nice story and Sylvia looked so cute as she was little. I’m really happy you’ve found the prince for you too 🙂

    1. i’m discovering new sculptures in different places from writing this post. We so have to go and do another soon.

  14. I currently live in Hull whilst at university and I know they have the moths now as part of the city of culture which are funny to spot! I didn’t know they had done toads before now though!

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