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24 hours neon sign |  © Mike Mozart / Flickr.
24 hours neon sign | © Mike Mozart / Flickr.

How to Spend 24 Hours in Southampton, England

Picture of James Leeland
Updated: 10 December 2017

If you’re planning on becoming one of the four million visitors the city receives each year, then let us help you make the most of your 24 hours in Southampton. To begin, we suggest a stay in a hotel nearby the city’s top attractions. If you find the right spot, you can save time as well money on a commute. Below, we show you how we’d spend a full 24 hours in Southampton – you’ll only wish you had longer.

Day One

5.30pm

Arrival. Drop off your bags at a centrally located hotel, like the Mayview Guesthouse, Ennios Boutique or Linden Guest House, and get ready to blow away the cobwebs of your journey, with a quick walk around this historic city. Make your way along the back streets towards Winkle Street; here you’ll find the God’s House Tower, a great place to start your tour of Southampton. Head north no more than 10 minutes towards Bargate Street, taking in the sites of the medieval remains known as The Bargate, initially built as a town gateway. Depending on which route you take, you can pass Marlands, Bargate and/or Westquay Shopping Centre and have a quick browse en route to your next stop – although, we recommend saving that for later. Having taken a medieval look into Southampton’s history already, it’s time to head back to the hotel and think about getting yourself ready for the Theatre.

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Bargate | © Leannetpf / flickr.

7.00pm

Slipping into something a little smarter, you can start to walk, or get a taxi, up to the Mayflower Theatre (we recommend a walk – you’ll be sitting down for a little while soon enough and, as you make your way through the city, you start to experience the vibrancy of Southampton’s nightlife). If you leave early enough, you can grab yourself some dinner from various spots along the way too, including Zizzi, Bella Italia, Buffalo Bills or enjoy some dinner at the Mayflower Theatre itself! Its award-winning restaurant, Ovation, offers a full three-course, pre-theatre menu, which can be washed down with a beverage from its fully licensed bar. With food taken care of, it’s now time to sit back and watch one of the many stunning UK touring performances on offer – upcoming events include Snow White, Hairspray, Miss Saigon and Bill Bailey. We are certain the Mayflower experience will be the perfect end to your night in Southampton. Take a leisurely stroll through the city or back to the hotel, or take a short, inexpensive taxi ride to save some energy for more exploring tomorrow – the show goes on!

Day Two

10.00am

Make your way across Southampton for a quick breakfast at one of the local hotspots like Cove, CXO or The Docks Coffee House (all with vegan and vegetarian options). Once fueled, we’d recommend you start the day’s activities with either:
A. A trip to the SeaCity Museum, a museum dedicated to Southampton’s historical ties to the sea, and in particular, the Titanic. A museum full of interactive experiences, making for an interesting and informative way to uncover the truth and harsh realities of being alive during this era.
B. A trip to the Tudor House and Garden, home to some well-respected and renowned members of Southampton, who played a pivotal part in the history of the city. Sir John Dawtrey, Lady Isabel Lyster and Sir Richard Lyster, are just a few stories from the last 800 years that you can re-live at the Tudor House and Garden.

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Garden in Tudor House, Southampton 1 | © Leimenide / flickr.

1.30pm

Fitting the best of what Southampton has to offer in 24 hours is thirsty and hungry business, so it’s time we make a trip back across the city for a quick bite to eat at Westquay. Boasting famous names like Costa Coffee, Casa Brasil, Five Guy’s, Krispy Kreme, Nando’s and Yo! Sushi, we are certain you’ll find something suitable to refuel with. The majestic Westquay is not only home to some wonderful food establishments, but it also showcases over 90 high-end retail stores including Coast, Karen Millen, Lush, River Island, Swarovski and Zara. It’d be a shame if you didn’t spend a few hours at such a well-equipped centre – we just hope you’ve bought enough spending money!

4.30pm

It’s nearly time to head back home, but first we suggest you admire some of the beautiful walks that Southampton has on offer. A 20-minute taxi journey from Westquay takes you to the beautiful Riverside Park; this leisurely stroll to end your stay will leave you with nothing but more positive views on this beautiful city. Located along the River Itchen, it’s the perfect area to let the children play football, cricket, tennis or just swing on the park swings. Here, you’ll stumble across all sorts of wildlife, from salmon to kingfishers, dragonflies to otters. Let this final leg of your 24 hours leave you with a smile from ear to ear.