Southampton is a bustling coastal city and historic port with a rich heritage dating back to as far as the Stone Age. Set in the county of Hampshire on England’s south coast, the city is built on a peninsula between the mouths of the Rivers Test and Itchen and is home to one of the world's largest natural harbors. The port was England's busiest port for transatlantic passenger travel before the 1930s and played a vital role in the launching of vessels for the D-Day landings in the Second World War. The city is packed with exciting things to see and do from museums like the SeaCity Museum and the Solent Sky Museum, the Southampton City Art Gallery, and the Tudor House & Garden, which his home to an original penny-farthing bike. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
© Marina Marr/stock.adobe.com
The SeaCity Museum is dedicated to the maritime history of Southampton and the celebration of Southampton’s life as a critical port in England. The museum was opened in 2012 and is housed in a beautifully preserved 1930s Art Deco building that is also home to the Civic Center and the Southampton City Art Gallery. The museum features a wealth of informative exhibits relating to the history of the port, ranging from a one-ton replica of the ocean liner RMS Queen Mary to the story of the ill-fated Titanic that sailed from the port in 2012. Other fascinating exhibits include the ‘Gateway to the World, ’ which documents the history of the city since the Middle Ages.
Havelock Rd, Southampton SO14 7FY, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-23-80-83-45-36
2.Titanic Engineers' Memorial
The Titanic Engineers' Memorial is a beautiful bronze and granite monument honoring the engineers who lost their lives in the RMS Titanic disaster in 1912. The memorial honors all the contingent of engineers on the ship, which included 24 engineers, six electrical engineers, two boilermakers, one plumber, one clerk, and the Chief Engineer Officer, Joseph Bell. The memorial is near the Titanic Musicians' Memorial, a monument dedicated to the ship's musicians who kept playing music while the ship went down to keep morale up.
East Park, Cumberland Pl, Southampton SO15 2BB, United Kingdom
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© Steamship Shieldhall
The SS Shieldhall is an impressive steamship that is part of Britain's National Historic Fleet and the most significant surviving working steamship of her type in Europe. Built as one of the Clyde sludge boats in 1954, the vessel has been fully restored to its former glory and is now an excellent working example of the Golden Age of steam that plied the world's oceans between the 1870s and 1960s. The steamship offers educational and sightseeing outings and can be hired for private functions and events. The ship also makes an appearance at the two-day Southampton Maritime Festival; a heritage event held every summer.
Berth 110, Ocean Village, Southampton
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4.Tudor House & Garden
© Uwalthie Pic Project/stock.adobe.com
Set in St. Michael's Square on Bugle Street, the Tudor House is a beautifully preserved 15th-century house dating back to the late 15th century. Built in 1491 for a wealthy merchant family, the historic townhouse has a vibrant heritage housing a diverse range of people from artists and bonnet-makers to bookbinders and dye-workers. Today, the house is a museum with multimedia exhibitions documenting over 900 years of Southampton history with specific areas focusing on the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The house is surrounded by exquisitely manicured Renaissance-style gardens, which is home to the King John’s Palace, a Norman dwelling from the 12th century.
St Michael's Square, Bugle St, Southampton SO14 2AD, United Kingdom
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Ocean Village is a multi-use marina based at the mouth of the River Itchen that features business, residential, and leisure developments. The bustling modern development is surrounded by a 450-berth marina filled with private yachts and cruise ships, and the prestigious Royal Southampton Yacht Club. The development also features an array of world-class restaurants, bars, brasseries, and hip hotels, as well as the Harbour Lights Picture House that presents arthouse and mainstream films in a spectacular, glass-fronted modernist building.
Ocean Village, Southampton
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6.Westquay Shopping Center
© Westquay Shopping Center
Westquay is a large shopping center with over 800,000 square feet of retail space featuring over 130 shops, including 90 major brand stores such as Coast, John Lewis, M&S, River Island, and Zara. Situated in the city center, close to the docks, the center has several entrances on Harbour Parade, on Portland Terrace, and the main High Street and offers ample parking in a covered multi-story car park. The building is heated by a centralized plant that draws heat from an underground aquifer, converts it into geothermal energy, and distributes it throughout a district heating scheme.
Harbour Parade, Southampton SO15 1QF, United Kingdom
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7.Solent Sky Museum
© Solent Sky Museum
The Solent Sky Museum is dedicated to the history and development of the aviation and aircraft manufacturing industry in the Solent area over the past century. The world-class museum features fantastic collections of aircraft, and aviation-related items, including a propeller and jet engines by Alvis, Rolls-Royce, and Bristol, and planes like the Schneider Trophy S6 Seaplane, the Sandringham flying boat, and the cherished Spitfire fighter plane. There are also extensive displays of wartime exhibits, military uniforms, and the museum is also home to the Air Training Corps National Museum.
Albert Road South, Royal Crescent, Southampton
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© Powerboat Days
Powerboat Days (previously known as Sunseeker Experience) offers a wide range of water-based activities such as powerboating, yacht charters, and RIB experiences. Departing from the Ocean Village Marina, adventures and charters are designed to be exhilarating, yet extraordinarily safe and venture to the Isle of Wight and surrounding areas, depending on packages chosen. Additional experiences include Sunseeker charters, Extreme Rib Experiences, Treasure Hunts, and full-day private charters on flybridge motor yachts and sports boats.
Powerboat Days, Ocean Village Marina, 2 Channel Way, Southampton, Hampshire, SO14 3TG, Phone: 02380 005566
9.The O2 Guildhall Southampton
© The O2 Guildhall Southampton
The Southampton Guildhall, branded as the O2 Guildhall Southampton, is a multipurpose complex and Southampton’s largest music venue. Forming the East Wing of the Civic Centre in Southampton, the place is comprised of three spaces, namely the Guildhall itself, the Solent Suite, and a lecture theatre and can accommodate up to 1,700 spectators for significant events.
W Marlands Rd, Southampton SO14 7LP, United Kingdom
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10.St Mary’s Stadium
St Mary's Stadium is the home stadium of the city’s beloved Premier League club Southampton F.C. and has been since 2001. The stadium has a seating capacity of 32,505 with four stands named after the areas of Southampton they face – the Itchen Stand, the Chapel Stand, the Kingsland Stand, and the Northam Stand. The stadium has two large screens at either end that show games and replays live, and numerous modern facilities including 42 executive boxes, the club's offices, changing rooms, corporate hospitality and press suites, and a police control room.
Britannia Rd, Southampton SO14 5FP, United Kingdom
11.Southampton City Art Gallery
© Kit Leong/stock.adobe.com
The Southampton City Art Gallery was founded in 1939 and houses over 5,000 pieces of art, ranging from paintings, drawings, and sculptures to film and photographs and spanning eight centuries. Based at the Art Deco Civic Centre complex, the gallery’s collection features works by world-renowned 20th-century and contemporary British artists such as Richard Deacon and Tony Cragg. Other notable pieces in the collection include sculptures by Auguste Rodin, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, and Edgar Degas, and a magnificent 14th-century altarpiece by the Ancona painter Allegretto Nuzi.
Civic Centre, Commercial Rd, Southampton SO14 7LY, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-23-80-83-30-07
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Riverside Park is a 32-hectare green park situated along the banks of the Itchen River that offers a wealth of recreational facilities and outdoor activities for the whole family. Designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the River Itchen runs alongside the park, which features six football pitches, a tennis court, two cricket pitches, a skate park, three children’s playgrounds, and a pathway along the banks of the river. A miniature railway run by the Southampton and District Society of Model Engineers offers rides to the public on Sunday afternoons during the summer months, and the river is home to a variety of fish species, providing excellent fishing.
Woodmill Lane, Manor Farm Road, SO18 2JJ
© Mayflower Theatre
The Mayflower Theatre is a 2,300-capacity theater that presents an array of theatre productions and musicals throughout the year. Opened as the Empire Theatre in 1928, and later renamed the Gaumont between 1950 and 1986, the theater has a rich and varied history, playing host to world-renowned artists throughout its illustrious career, including The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Queen. The 90-year-old, Grade II-listed theater also presents cover acts, comedies, and operas, as well as major West End productions, and has world-class facilities such as an award-winning restaurant, two fully licensed bars, VIP boxes, and meeting rooms.
22-26 Commercial Rd, Southampton SO15 1GE, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-23-80-71-18-11
14.Southampton Town Walls
The Old Town of Southampton is protected by ancient 12th century stone walls, which are among the best-preserved medieval town walls in the country. Just over a mile in length, the medieval defenses were built when Southampton was relocated in the 10th century and feature no less than 29 towers and eight gates. Visitors can explore the - the third-longest unbroken stretch of city wall in Britain on a walking tour which passes Bargate Street, Town Quay, Back of the Walls, and the Western Esplanade. Notable sights along the way include the Wind Whistle Tower, St. Michael's on Castle Way – the only remaining medieval church in Southampton, and Mayflower Park.
© Uwalthie Pic Project/stock.adobe.com
Bargate is one of the beautifully preserved gates in the ancient city walls surrounding Southampton. Originally built from limestone and flint as the main gateway to the medieval city, the 800-year-old gate is Grade I listed and one of the most beautiful relics of the old walls. Flanked by two powerful drum towers with four lancet windows above five Gothic arches, the magnificent gate is watched over by a statue of King George III in Roman garb dating back to 1809. The gate marks the entrance to the Old Town and is used for short-term exhibitions by Southampton Solent University.
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16.Manor Farm Country Park
© Manor Farm Country Park
Manor Farm Country Park, formerly known as Upper Hamble Country Park, is a local nature reserve that runs along the west bank of the River Hamble. Situated between the villages of Botley and Bursledon in Hampshire, the park was opened in 1979 and offers a fun-filled family day out on an idyllic Victorian farm. A visitor center based in an 18th-century timber and brick barn that was once used for threshing corn features exhibits documenting the history of the park, and a cozy café serving coffee and light fare. Visitors to Manor Farm Country Park can enjoy a variety of activities from exploring the historic farmhouse and other buildings; meeting domestic animals like chickens, pigs, cows, and donkeys; and learning about activities on the farm like working the combine harvester, milking cows, shearing sheep.
Pyland's Ln, Southampton SO31 1BH, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-14-89-78-70-55
17.Go Ape Southampton
© Go Ape Southampton
Located in Itchen Valley Country Park, Go Ape Southampton offers a range of adventure courses and fun outdoor activities for all ages. Go Ape Treetop Adventure Courses are made up of obstacles, zip lines, and Tarzan swings that allow participants to navigate through the treetops and explore the beautiful natural surroundings from the air. Participants are given a safety briefing before being equipped with all the necessary equipment for the course, which lasts between two and three hours. Qualified instructors are on hand along the route to provide safety and support, and the obstacle course is available for all ages.
Go Ape Southampton Itchen Valley Country Park, Allington Ln, Southampton SO30 3HQ, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-16-03-89-55-00
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18.God’s House Tower
© God’s House Tower
God's House Tower is one of the gatehouses set into the ancient walls surrounding medieval Southampton that provides access to the Platform and Town Quay. Set at the south-east corner of the town walls, the gatehouse was built in the late 13th century and is named after the nearby 12th-century hospital of God's House, which was a refuge for poor travelers. God's House Tower is comprised of a simple gatehouse dating back to the 1200s and a two-story gallery and three-story tower built in the early 15th century. The building was turned into the Museum of Archaeology in 1961 and is now a Grade I listed ancient monument and an exceptional arts and heritage venue.
Town Quay, Road, Southampton SO14 2NY, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-77-33-09-22-91
19.Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum
© Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum
The Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum, simply known as Bursledon Brickworks, is the last remaining steam-driven brickworks in England. Situated in the village of Swanwick in Hampshire, the volunteer-run brickworks museum showcases the art of brickmaking, and it grew into a massive industry during the Victorian era. The brickworks factory was closed in 1974, and sections of the site like the brick kiln, the boiler, the drying sheds, and the engine houses are now graded as historical monuments.
Swanwick Ln, Swanwick, Southampton SO31 7HB, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-14-89-57-62-48
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20.Southampton Christmas Festival
© Andy Glenn/stock.adobe.com
The Southampton Christmas Festival is the city’s annual celebration of Christmas and features a traditional German market with a wealth of fun, food, and entertainment. The market is operated by the world-renowned WELA Märkte and features stalls created in the form of individually designed alpine chalets selling all sorts of Christmas wares from traditional German fare to handmade gifts. Over 40 independent stallholders sell baskets, wooden toys, handmade jewelry, and beautiful Christmas decorations, and an array of entertainment is offered from live music to a Flying Santa show where Santa and his reindeer fly above the market.
Above Bar Pedestrian Precinct, High Street, Southampton, Hampshire, SO51 1QF
© The Rockstone
The Rockstone is a traditional country pub that offers a welcome and cozy escape from the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy hearty home-cooked fare and local ales. The pub has two lovely garden spaces for wining and dining, as well as hosting events and annual festivals, such as the Pirate Rumfest and the Blues and Bourbon Festival. The full-service bar offers a wide range of libations from local and imported craft and draft beers, casual wines from around the world, signature spirits, and classic cocktails, and the bar menu features tavern-style fare such as burgers and fries, grilled steaks, chicken wings, and fresh salads.
63 Onslow Road, Bevois Valley Southampton, England, SO14 0JL, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-23-80-63-72-56
22.The Oxford Brasserie
© The Oxford Brasserie
The legendary Oxford Brasserie is an award-winning contemporary restaurant in the heart of Southampton that offers an exceptional fine-dining experience. The elegantly designed and beautifully decorated brasserie serves an innovative menu of modern French, English, and Italian cuisine for lunch and dinner with dishes prepared from scratch using fresh, locally, and regionally sourced ingredients. Signature dishes include gourmet goat’s cheese and artichoke pithivier and slow-braised Hampshire beef, and the cuisine is accompanied by a world-class wine list of fine wines from around the globe.
33-34 Oxford Street, Southampton, England, SO14 3DS, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-23-80-63-50-43
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© Coriander Lounge
The Coriander Lounge is a modern restaurant that serves sublime Indian cuisine with a back-to-the-roots approach that aims to bring a taste of authentic Indian cuisine to the plates of British diners. Committed to preserving the culture, tradition and culinary tastes of Indian fare, the richly varied menu pays homage to the tastes and flavors in India with made-from-scratch dishes using traditional, centuries-old recipes, and high-quality ingredients. Signature dishes include paneer tikka, vegetable pakora, biryanis, tandoori, and specials of Punjabi curry, saag, tikka masala, and vindaloo. Nawab Indian Cuisine is open for lunch and dinner.
130-131 High Street, Southampton, England, SO14 2BR, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-23-80-71-08-88
24.That Lovely Little Cafe
© That Lovely Little Café
That Lovely Little Café is a cozy and quaint spot that is well known for its delicious food and friendly service. The award-winning café is based in Dibden Purlieu and offers a range of superb breakfasts, hearty homemade lunches, freshly baked cakes and other sweet treats, daily blackboard specials, and a traditional weekly Sunday roast. The drinks menu offers a range of freshly brewed coffee and teas, hot drinks, fresh juices, and fruit smoothies.
3 Merriemeade Close, Dibden Purlieu, Southampton, England, SO45 4PY, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-23-80-84-14-14
24 Best Things to Do in Southhampton, U.K.
- SeaCity Museum, Photo: Marina Marr/stock.adobe.com
- Titanic Engineers' Memorial, Photo: BasPhoto/stock.adobe.com
- Steamship Shieldhall, Photo: Steamship Shieldhall
- Tudor House & Garden, Photo: Uwalthie Pic Project/stock.adobe.com
- Ocean Village, Photo: Peter Sterling/stock.adobe.com
- Westquay Shopping Center, Photo: Westquay Shopping Center
- Solent Sky Museum, Photo: Solent Sky Museum
- Powerboat Days, Photo: Powerboat Days
- The O2 Guildhall Southampton, Photo: The O2 Guildhall Southampton
- St Mary’s Stadium, Photo: BillionPhotos.com/stock.adobe.com
- Southampton City Art Gallery, Photo: Kit Leong/stock.adobe.com
- Riverside Park, Photo: PETRA/stock.adobe.com
- Mayflower Theatre, Photo: Mayflower Theatre
- Southampton Town Walls, Photo: evannovostro/stock.adobe.com
- Bargate, Photo: Uwalthie Pic Project/stock.adobe.com
- Manor Farm Country Park, Photo: Manor Farm Country Park
- Go Ape Southampton, Photo: Go Ape Southampton
- God’s House Tower, Photo: God’s House Tower
- Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum, Photo: Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum
- Southampton Christmas Festival, Photo: Andy Glenn/stock.adobe.com
- The Rockstone, Photo: The Rockstone
- The Oxford Brasserie, Photo: The Oxford Brasserie
- Coriander Lounge, Photo: Coriander Lounge
- That Lovely Little Cafe, Photo: That Lovely Little Café
- Cover Photo: Peter Sterling/stock.adobe.com
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