20 Must-Visit Attractions in Southampton, England

At Ocean Village, overlooking Southampton marina, you'll find a great choice of shops and restaurants
At Ocean Village, overlooking Southampton marina, you'll find a great choice of shops and restaurants | © Dimitris Kom / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of James Leeland
21 August 2020

Southampton is a major port, home to the longest surviving stretch of medieval walls, boasting inspirational art galleries and fascinating museums and has a famous Premier League football club. If you’re new to the area, visiting or a local after some inspiration on what you can do this weekend, make sure you carry on reading as we work our way through the 20 must-visit attractions in Southampton, England.

SeaCity Museum

Museum
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Southampton, UK. 02/04/2012. The Southampton Seacity Museum. Opening on the 10th April 2012, This new innovative, state-of-the-art museum with galleries and spaces focuses on Southampton and its connection with the sea including the city's Titantic herita
© Gregory Davies / Alamy Stock Photo
SeaCity Museum recognises Southampton’s people, their heritage and their connection with the sea – and with the Titanic in particular. Interactive experiences give you a sense of stepping back in time, while the model of the Titanic itself allows you to take a closer look at this majestic-yet-doomed vessel.

Steamship Shieldhall

Historical Landmark
Map View

Ship enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the largest working steam ship in Britain and member of the National Historic Fleet, the Steamship Shieldhall. Experience the golden age of steam by booking an excursion, hire the vessel for private events or group packages, or sign yourself up for one of the training courses.

Tudor House and Garden

Building
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Revealing over 800 years’ worth of Southampton history, unsurprisingly, the Tudor House and Garden is known as Southampton’s historically most important building. Regularly hosting tours, exhibitions and many exciting activities throughout the calendar year, Tudor House is a real insight into the life and times of Southampton.

Westquay

Historical Landmark
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If you are after some retail therapy, visit the shopping centre Westquay, filled with over 90 major stores, including John Lewis and Partners, M&S, Hollister and Zara. Plenty of parking means you’ll have no difficulty finding a spot and, with lots of dining opportunities to choose from, you’ll find endless options to refuel, too.

Solent Sky Museum

Museum
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You’ll leave the Solent Sky Museum with a newfound appreciation and knowledge of Southampton’s importance in the advancement of aviation. View 20 different airframes, such as the Supermarine Spitfire, the Supermarine S.6A and many other greats from the years 1910 to 1960, then take a guided tour and enjoy superb exhibitions as you educate yourselves on the golden age of aviation.

Explore the Solent by Boat

Sports Center
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As Southampton is known for its ties with the sea, why not take this as an opportunity to explore the Solent by boat? Choose between various RIB taster and charter options, or even celebrate your stag or hen do at Seadogz. Consider yourself more of a thrill seeker? Book yourself onto a treasure hunt or Battle of the Boats experience.

St Mary's Stadium

Stadium
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Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Southampton v Swansea City - St Marys
© PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Home to Premier League Southampton Football Club since 2001. Soak up the lively atmosphere, and enjoy watching the flair of some of the best in the game. However, if you’re just after a tour of the grounds, head there on a non-match day for a real behind-the-scenes look into how the stadium and club are run.

O2 Guildhall

Concert Hall, Music Venue
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The O2 Guildhall is Southampton’s largest music venue and can host up to 1,749 spectators. This Grade II-listed building has already attracted some of the largest household names in the industry. Bands and artists such as Beadyeye, James Morrison, Two Door Cinema Club and Wolfmother have performed here, and it looks as though 2021 will attract a similar calibre of musicians, too.

Southampton City Art Gallery

Art Gallery, Museum
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Opening its doors back in 1939, Southampton City Art Gallery is home to one of the best publicly owned collections in the UK outside of London – 5,300 internationally recognised, high-quality pieces of art, including paintings, sculptures, drawings and even photography and film. Ever-changing displays and exhibitions ensure new experiences for the locals, and visitors, on every visit.

Riverside Park

Park
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Riverside Park is one to keep the whole family entertained. Take your pick of six football pitches, two cricket pitches, a tennis court, skate park, three play areas and a beautiful riverside walk. As you make your way down the river, expect to bump into copious amounts of wildlife, including salmon, kingfishers, dragonflies, otters and warblers.

Mayflower Theatre

Theatre
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Interior of the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, England. Image shot 2004. Exact date unknown.
© Gerry Walden / Alamy Stock Photo

Be part of a 2,300-strong crowd, and watch a spectacular UK-touring musical, opera, ballet or musician at the Mayflower. The theatre offers an award-winning restaurant, VIP boxes and meeting rooms, as well as three bars where you can quench your thirst – perfect for enjoying a quick vino before the show starts.

Town Walls

Historical Landmark
Map View

With the town walls being just over a mile in length, we’d recommend starting at Bargate and working your way along it to get the full experience. Explore medieval wine vaults and churches, enjoy snippets of the waterfront, and watch the ships come and go as you imagine what life could have been like back then.

Manor Farm Country Park

Historical Landmark
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Let the kids milk the cow, hold baby chicks, rabbits and ducks or burn off some energy in the outdoor play area while you grab yourselves a nice coffee at the cafe. Different daily ‘meet the animal’ sessions, as well as a woodland walk hosting a beautiful backdrop of bluebells in the spring or falling orange leaves in autumn, will ensure you, the kids and the pup will want to come back for more.

Go Ape Southampton

Laser Tag
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Go Ape Southampton offers a fun-filled and action-packed day for all the family. Providing you are over 1.4 metres (4.6ft) tall and at least 10 years of age, you can enjoy one of the highest courses within the South of England and finish your adventure with a 250-metre (820ft), adrenaline-fuelled zip wire flight.

God’s House Tower

Architectural Landmark
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Situated at the southeast corner of the medieval town walls of Southampton, God’s House Tower once served as a strategic point of defence and has now been transformed into an arts and heritage venue. Did you know it was one of the earliest forts built specifically to carry a cannon?

Southampton Christmas Festival

Bar, Market, British
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Southampton Christmas Market with the city's historic Bargate in the background. Image shot 2016. Exact date unknown.
© Britpix / Alamy Stock Photo
Featuring a traditional German market, Southampton Christmas Festival has lots to offer. Enjoy bratwurst and waffles as you make your way around 40 individual stalls selling a range of authentic gifts, including toys, baskets, soaps, lamps, jewellery and Christmas decorations.
These recommendations were updated on August 21, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.