Looking for things to do in Southampton today, this week or during the holidays? Great news, you are in the right place as we have all of the best attractions and events to keep you and your family entertained.
The guide is broken down into easy to use sections which provide useful information and links to pages with more details or direct to attractions and event websites for easy booking.
So sit back, grab your favourite drink and lets find something new for you to enjoy with or without the kids!
Things to do in Southampton
80 miles South West of London on the South coast of England you will find Southampton. The city has a population of about 250,000 and is the closest city to the New Forest. Southampton’s history runs much deeper than modern day and it was a vital part of England’s maritime history for over 1000 years with many historic ships setting sail.
The M3 and M27 Motorways are the main road links between London and Southampton. The drive takes about one hour and forty minutes putting the city within easy reach of London’s major international airports. A regular train service is operated by Southwest Trains between Southampton Central and London Waterloo train stations.
Southampton Airport hosts flights to many local destinations as well as to over 47 European destinations. There are no longer any international ferry services operating out of Southampton docks, but the port is home to a growing number of luxury cruise ships, including the QE2. The city has a good network of bus services with access to all the local amenities.
What’s on in Southampton
The history of the city can be tracked back to the Romans who established the first permanent settlement and port. The settlement known as Clausentum was the main trading port for Winchester and Salisbury, both large Roman towns. The town was moved to its current location by the Anglo-Saxons some time later. Southampton became an important trading port with wool being a major cargo in the 13th century.
The city walls were built, part of which still stand today, following the French sacking the city in 1338. Southampton is a historic maritime city with many historic sailings, including the Mayflower which set sail in 1623 to deliver the Pilgrim Fathers to Plymouth in the Americas, in present day Massachusetts. The Titanic started her ill fated voyage from Southampton with the majority of the crew made up of local people, 549 city residents perished when the ship sank.
With the advent of air travel, traffic through the ports declined. However this trend is now changing with more luxury cruise ships setting sail from Southampton.
With such a rich history there is an abundance of things to see and do in and around the city. There are a number of historic buildings. These include the City Wall built in 1338, St Michaels Church built in 1070, God’s House Tower built 1417 and the 12th century Red Lion Pub where the Southampton plotters were tried and sentenced to death.
Southampton is located on the door step of the New Forest. This is a large national park of about 570 square km’s. Founded as a Royal Hunting Ground in 1079 by William the Conqueror in 1079, the Forest offers visitors today miles of beautiful walks through stunning heath and woodland. There are also options to explore the Forest via bicycle or on horse back with 100’s of miles of path ways and tracks to explore. The New Forest is full of wildlife with species like boar being re-introduced over the last few years and of course the famous and much loved hearts of New Forest ponies. The Forest is not just about nature, you will also find quaint villages tucked away, many of which contain holiday homes which you can base your visit from.
What to do in Southampton
The city has a number of museums. The Museum of Archeology, which is housed in God’s House Tower, has a collection of artefacts which tell the story of Southampton from the Stone Age to the present day. The Solent Sky Museum has a large display of aircraft and aims to educate the visitor on the rich history of aviation in the Solent area. Located a short drive to the north of the city is the Intech Science Centre, an Interactive science and technology centre for the whole family.
The West Quay Shopping Centre is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK and hosts a number of major shopping brands. The city has a vibrant night life with a number of night clubs, restaurants and pubs.
In a recent survey by British Gas Southampton was ranked as one of the lowest carbon emitting cities in the UK and is the only City to operate a geothermal power station.
Make Southampton one of the cities you visit, it has a long and vibrant history, an abundance of activities and is a gate way to exploring the South Coast.