The Hampshire town of Southampton was the departure point for The Mayflower, in which the Founding fathers set off for America. Apparently they had terrible traffic problems around the Rose Bowl, and today there is the same frustration for crowds leaving the Cricket Test Ground. Despite this, the maritime city of Southampton has plenty of attractions and activities on offer
Southampton has existed since Roman times, with its privileged position on the South coast of England making it a prime trading post. The city had medieval walls but nowadays only remnants remain, most of them within the Bargate area in the city centre. The rest, along with many of the other historical buildings were given an unwanted make-over courtesy of the Luftwaffe.
Southampton has two universities, Solent University and the University of Southampton, giving Southampton a lively nightlife during term time. But if you are a stick in the mud and want to steer clear of students then avoid the Portswood area and pubs like The Hobbit, Clowns and Jesters, The Gordon Arms and the Mitre.
Southampton port is still busy for freight, and cruises -passengers hop aboard the Queen Mary 2 here, the Cunard liner which travels to New York City.
SOUTHAMPTON’S TOP 10
10. Hawthorns Urban Wildlife Centre Kids love the flora, fauna and of course the gift shop on Southampton Common.
5. The Mayflower Theatre is the largest theatre in the south of England. See ballet, opera, pantos and musicals in the stylish deco building.
9. The Solent Sky Hall of Aviation Famous for its Spitfire and Tiger Moth biplane.
4. The Medieval Merchants House was built in 1290, one of the earliest tradesmen’s houses in England.
8. Tudor House Museum In a building which is believed to be haunted by the ghost of Anne Boleyn
3. Southampton’s Maritime Museum is housed in a 14th Century wool warehouse. Learn the history of the famous docks and great liners including the Titanic which left from here.
7. Ocean Village is Southampton’s trendy marina development full of waterfront attractions, bars, restaurants, cinemas and shops.
2. The Museum of Archaeology is a great place to start a tour of Southampton, telling the story of what was once Roman Clausentum.
6. West Quay Southampton is one of the best shopping destinations on the south coast.
1. Southampton City Art Gallery features over 3500 works of art, the majority of it 20th Century and British.
Southampton’s Big Bike Celebration takes place at the end of June on Weston Shore with stunt displays, free bike checks and much more.
The Dragon Boat Festival is a June event which takes place in Mayflower Park, Southampton. Get the feel-good factor at this ultimate team event.
The Spring into Summer event takes place on Southampton Common at the end of June, free to all, a festival celebrating nature and the environment.
The Thai Food and Craft Festival is an annual Southampton July event and a Thai life celebration in Hoglands Park.
The Race for Life takes place on Southampton Common in mid July. Run, walk or jog the 5K event.
Southampton Mela Festival is a mixture of Asian dance, demonstrations and food stalls at Hogland Park during July.
The PSP Southampton Boat Show takes place in September each year, undoubtedly the key highlight on Southampton’s events calendar. Tickets cost £13 in advance, held at Mayflower Park, Western Esplanade.
Southampton Beer Festival in early June is held at the Guildhall with over 80 real ales, competitions, stalls and live music.
Power in the Park regularly attracts crowds of over 80,000, making it the biggest open-air concert in the south – and it’s free. The event takes over Southampton Common in late June.
The Southampton Christmas Festival and Market starts at the end of November until just before Christmas at the West Quay Shopping Centre.
WHEN TO GO
· Southampton features a temperate but changeable climate, with a climate influenced by its southern position which means plenty of sunny days and mild winters.
· Temperatures during the months of July and August regularly get up to 30 °C, with temps during January and February hovering around the 8 °C mark. Annual daytime temps in Southampton are 17 °C or thereabout.
· Like elsewhere in the UK, it can rain in Southampton at any time of year, so it pays to be prepared with a brolly and waterproof clothing.
· By road, Southampton is 75 miles from London and to the rest of the UK with the M3, M27 and A34 providing links to the centre of the city. National Express and Greyhound UK run a fast efficient coach service from London Victoria and all other intercity destinations – at a competitive cost.
· Southampton has good train links from London Waterloo, a journey which takes around 75 minutes, with trains leaving every hour. There are also direct links to Brighton, Oxford, Birmingham, Bath and Bristol as well as many other main cities.
· Southampton Airport is located on the outskirts of the city close to the M27 and M3 – the airport has its own railway station which runs five trains an hour into Southampton Central, a journey time of just seven minutes.
Southampton General Information
Southampton is a major port city 120 km south of London. The dominant characteristic of the city is Southampton Water, a deep estuary relic of the last Ice Age that sits at the confluence of the River Itchen and River Test. The core of the city of 235,000 people is on a peninsula between the two rivers, in close proximity to Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight and New Forest National Park.
The port of Southampton has a long legacy as a hub for the famous Cunard Line fleet of luxury ships, from the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 to the RMS Queen Mary 2. Indeed, the most impressive ocean liners on the planet dock in Southampton on a regular basis. As the official port of registry for a long line of colossal ships, the Southampton of today is very much the same as the Southampton of a century ago. Indeed, in 1912, the RMS Titanic left the city on her fateful maiden voyage. A notable ensemble of landmarks proliferate in Southampton, away from the port, from the Bargate Monument Gallery to the Museum of Archaeology, Tudor House Museum and Garden to the City Art Gallery. Lively annual events like Power in the Park, the International Boat Show and Southampton Beer Festival lure countless visitors to the city.
- Maritime Museum
- Southampton City Art Gallery
- The Bargate Monument Gallery
- Museum of Archaeology
- Tudor House Museum and Garden
- The Mayflower Theatre
- Power in the Park
- Southampton Beer Festival
- Turner Sims Concert Hall
- International Boat Show
- Coriander Lounge
- Namaste Kerala
- Gurka Tapas Restaurant
- Milan Italian Restaurant
- Piccolo Mondo
- Platform Tavern
- The Angel
- The Royal Oak
- Coco Rio
- The White Star Tavern
Southampton has a temperate oceanic climate, with moderate precipitation and copious sunshine throughout the year. Annual average temperatures waver between 3°C and 21°C.
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