Southampton is a major port, home to the longest surviving stretch of medieval walls, boasting inspirational art galleries and fascinating museums, and has a prolific 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 is home to the historic past of Southampton’s people, their heritage and connections with the sea – in particular, the Titanic. Interactive experiences allow you to uncover the truth of being alive during this era, whilst their 1:25 scale of the Titanic itself allows you to take a closer look at this majestic vessel.
Titanic Engineer Officers Memorial
Revealed in April 1914, this memorial allows us to take a moment to remember all the engineers who lost their lives aboard the Titanic: 24 engineers, six electrical engineers, two boilermakers, one plumber, one clerk, and Joseph Bell, Chief Engineer Officer of the RMS Titanic.
The largest working steam ship in Britain and a member of the National Historic Fleet, the Steamship Shieldall. Experience the Golden Age of steam by booking an excursion, or you can hire for private events or group packages, or sign yourself up for one of their training courses!
Tudor House & Garden
Revealing over 800 years’ worth of Southampton history, unsurprisingly, the Tudor House and Garden is known as Southampton’s most historically 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.
A busy, 450-berth marina filled with beautiful private yachts and stunning cruise ships. As you work your way down the village, be sure to stop off at some water-side dining establishments and shopping – some of the finest in Southampton are situated here!
If you are after some more shopping, make sure you visit Westquay, filled with over 90 major stores including River Island, M&S, Coast and Zara. Plenty of parking means you’ll have no difficulty finding a spot, and with plenty of food spots, you’ll have no difficulty finding what you’re after either!
Solent Sky Museum
You’ll leave the Solent Sky Museum with a newfound love, and knowledge, of Southampton’s importance in the advancement of aviation. View 20 different air frames showcasing the Spitfire, the Supermarine S.6 and many other greats from 1910–1960, then take a guided tour and enjoy superb exhibitions as you educate yourselves on the Golden Age of aviation.
Speed Boat Tours
Known for its ties with the sea, why not take this opportunity to complete one of your RYA courses, Rib Charter or self-drive RIB hire courses? Or, if you just fancy the adrenaline rush, then book yourself onto a 60- or 90-minute Extreme Rib Experience or Treasure Hunt!
The O2 Guildhall
The O2 Guildhall is Southampton’s largest music venue, home for the night to 1,700 spectators. This Grade II-listed building has already attracted some of the largest household names in the industry. Bands/artists such as Beadyeye, Alias Kid, James Morrison, Two Door Cinema Club and Wolfmother have performed here, and it looks as though 2018 will attract a similar calibre of musicians, too!
St Mary’s Stadium
Home to Premier League outfit Southampton Football Club since 2001. Become part of 32,505 crowd, 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 ground, head on up on a non-match day for a real behind-the-scenes look into how the stadium/club is ran.
Southampton City Art Gallery
Opening back in 1939, Southampton City Art Gallery is home to one of the best publicly owned collections 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 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.
Be part of a 2,300-strong crowd, and watch a spectacular UK touring musical, opera, ballet and/or musician at the Mayflower. The theatre offers you an award-winning restaurant, VIP boxes and meeting rooms, as well as two fully licensed bars, perfect to enjoy a quick vino before the show starts.
Southampton Town Walls
Just over a mile in length, we’d recommend starting at Bargate and working your way along to get the full experience. Explore the medieval wine vaults, churches and enjoy snippets of the waterfront, watching the ships come and go, as you imagine what life could have been like back then.
If you don’t have time for the full Town Walls walk, you must check out Bargate. This is the impressive north entrance to the medieval section of Southampton, full of character and heritage, a true must-see when visiting Southampton.
Manor Farm Country Park
Let the kids milk the cows and hold baby chicks, rabbits and ducks, or burn off some energy in the outdoor play area, whilst you grab yourselves a nice coffee at the café. Different daily ‘meet the animal’ sessions, as well as a walk hosting a beautiful bluebell backdrop, will ensure you, the kids and the pup will want to come back for more.
Go Ape Southampton
Go Ape Southampton offers a fun-filled and action-packed day for all the family. Providing you are over 1.4 metres and at least 10 years of age, you can enjoy the highest course within the South of England, following the Tree Top Adventure or the Tree Top Junior trail, and finishing with a 250-metre, adrenaline-fuelled zip wire across both fields.
God’s House Tower
Surrounding medieval Southampton, and providing access to the newly constructed quay, God’s House Tower stood at the southeast corner of the town walls. Did you know it became one of the earliest forts built specifically to carry a cannon?
Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum
Winners of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering Heritage Award in 2011, Bursledon Brickworks Industrial Museum is the only remaining steam-driven brickworks in the country, showing you just how brick-making made the leap from small-scale production to over 20 million bricks a year!
Southampton Christmas Festival
Open November 11th to December 24th, featuring a traditional German market, Southampton Christmas Festival has lots on 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.