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.
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.
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.
Ocean Village is a busy 450-berth marina filled with beautiful private yachts and stunning cruise ships. As you work your way down the village, make sure to stop off at some water-side restaurants and shops – some of the finest in Southampton are situated here.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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, it is a true must-see when visiting Southampton.
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?