11 Non-Touristy Experiences in Southampton, England to Have

Untitled | © Phil Guest / Flickr.
Untitled | © Phil Guest / Flickr.
Photo of James Leeland
12 December 2017

As a local, or even if you’re trying to blend in as one, you can find yourself getting frustrated with queues at your city’s top attractions – holidaymakers, pfft, when are they going home? However, with the use of our comprehensive list, featuring 11 non-touristy experiences, you can say goodbye to the queues and see some fantastic attractions that even some of the locals may not know about.

See some local live music

Whether it’s a local pub/club showcasing some fine up-and-coming talent, a DJ set, the O2 Academy Guildhall boasting a big household name, or you fancying yourself on
the open mic night after a few shandies, Southampton has you covered. Check out some of the best venues in the area, here.

Get a round of golf in

Play either the 18-hole course or the 9-hole, depending on how much time you have, at the Southampton City Golf Course. It’s considered one of the best municipal
courses in the whole of the UK, and home to some of the lowest membership fees in the UK, too – what’s not to like?


Who doesn’t love an IKEA trip? Found back in 1943, IKEA now owns and operates 411 stores in 49 countries – one of which is in Southampton. The stores are designed
in a one-way layout, leading customers around all of their brilliantly designed, self-assembly furniture, ensuring you see the store in its entirety. No wonder we
always leave with 300 tealights we didn’t actually need! Thankfully, this layout also includes their very reasonably priced restaurant. Meatballs, anyone?

Cruise Ship Spotting

Spend a relaxing day at the pebbled beach of Weston Shore, and join numerous other, avid cruise-ship spotters as you await the arrival of some rather fantastic vessels.
Whilst you wait, you can always head across to Netley Abbey, and explore the ruins of the most complete Cistercian monastery in the South.

Netley Abbey 3 | © Leimenide / Flickr.


A real hidden treasure, it looks like any other building. That is, until you step inside this converted mill. Boasting four different types of water, ensuring any
level kayaker is kept entertained, the placid water lake will help beginners learn the ropes, whilst the thrill of whitewater at low tide will keep those more competent
on their toes! If being on dry land is more your thing, archery and climbing are on offer here, too.

Watch some sport

You can watch county cricket, as well as some of England’s One Day International games, at the Ageas Bowl, home to Hampshire County Cricket Club.
Or, go and support the mighty Saints at St Mary’s Stadium, and enjoy a top-flight English league or cup football game.


Treat yourself to a morning, or afternoon, of shopping at Westquay. Situated close to the docks, with lots of places to dine, over 90 retail stores
(check out the full list of shops here), plenty of parking and opening from 9am–late (11am on Sundays), this is the perfect spot to visit any day of the week.

Visit Beatnik Emporium

Near Southampton City Centre, you’ll find the Beatnik Emporium, a unique independent vintage shop. Offering vintage clothing for all, including mod,
military and denim fresh out the 1940s–1990s. You can also sift your way through a selection of vinyl records, and pick out some classics to add to your collection.

Get the ferry over to Hythe

To avoid the queues completely, make your way across to Hythe. The historic Hythe ferry, offers up a trip from Southampton, right past the berth of Queen Victoria, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth, and into Hythe, dropping you at the official Guinness World Record-holding ‘oldest pier train in service’, which you can still travel 640m on to this very day!

Hythe Sunset | © Andy Maguire / Flickr.

Go and see a show at the Mayflower

Sit amongst 2,299 others as you experience another breathtaking performance put on at the Mayflower Theatre. Whether you’re after a UK-touring musical, opera, a particular musician,
or if ballet is more your thing, we are certain you’ll find them/it touring at the Mayflower. Don’t believe us? Check out what’s on, here.

Find your local

Southampton’s streets are lined with the quaint, the quirky and the quite remarkable, when it comes to public houses and clubs. Themed pubs like the Hobbit,
where you can purchase character-based drinks, are very popular. Or you can head on down to Switch, Junk or Oceana, throw some shapes and party until the sun comes up.

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