Great Britain

Things to do in Southampton

Southampton is a major port city located on the south coast of England, known for being the departure point of the famous RMS Titanic in 1912. Today the city is still home to some of the largest cruise ships in the world.

Southampton is a lively coastal city with a rich maritime history; it was the UK’s busiest port for transatlantic passenger travel up until the 1930s, gaining it the nickname ‘The Gateway to the World’. The port is still active and busy today and is a fun place to sit and watch the ships sail by, with lovely views of the Isle of Wight just 20 miles away across the Solent. 

This bustling city is thoroughly underrated and well worth a visit. Whether you’re just passing through for a few hours or spending a whole weekend here, you’re bound to find lots of fun things to do. If you’re looking for a bit of retail therapy there are plenty of modern shopping developments, as well as some historical sites and beautiful surrounding countryside. You’ll be simply spoilt for choice when you visit Southampton on your next trip to England. 


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Ocean Village Marina in Southampton

About the city

History and Museums To discover more of Southampton’s history we recommend going on a walking tour around the Old Town, encircled by the city’s original 14th century medieval walls which are exceptional for being the third longest unbroken stretch of city wall in the UK. The Old Town features over 90 listed buildings, including the magnificent Tudor House in St Michael’s Square, the city’s most important historic site. Built in the 15th century for a wealthy merchant family, this house became the city’s first museum when it was opened to the public in 1912. Inside you can discover exhibits and artefacts spanning over 900 years of local history, including archaeological finds and antique jewellery.

The SeaCity Museum is the perfect place to visit for those interested in Southampton’s maritime heritage. Here you can find out all about the story of the people who lived and worked in the Port, as well as the city’s connection to the RMS Titanic and the sea. The unusual 1930s Art Deco Civic Centre that houses the museum is also home to the Southampton City Art Gallery, featuring some 3,500 pieces of artwork.
Titanic Engineers Memorial in Southampton

Woman shopping

Shopping Amenities

Southampton has top-notch shopping areas, beloved by locals and visitors alike. The West Quay Shopping Centre has over 100 stores split across three levels featuring all your favourite high street names, and is ideally located right in the city centre. The 2016 Watermark Extension is a fantastic addition to this facility, featuring a ten-screen cinema, lots of restaurants, and a new public plaza for you to enjoy.

If it’s more independent shops you’re looking for, look no further than the iconic Bedford Place and Oxford Street. Situated just a short walk from the West Quay shopping area, visiting Bedford Place is like stepping back in time and features a great variety of independent and boutique businesses. Similarly, Oxford Street is another great place to discover some independent salons, bars, boutiques, and more.


Food and Drink

Southampton is packed full of culinary delights just waiting to be discovered. A favourite spot of ours is La Regata. Beautifully located in the Town Quay, here you can sit back and watch the cruise ships sail past whilst enjoying the very best authentic Spanish tapas around. With over 65 tapas dishes to choose from, as well as fresh seafood, meat, and paella, you’re guaranteed to enjoy a wonderful meal here.

For a more casual eatery, you’ll want to track down the It’s a Pizza Thing food truck, usually parked by the South Western Arms or the Dolphin. Here you can select from a range of wood-fired oven pizzas to enjoy with a choice craft beer. If you’re really into your beers, you’ll definitely want to visit the Caskaway Tasting Rooms, a micropub with a difference. Here you can taste your way through an amazing selection of beers, ciders, wines, and spirits, all from local and independent brewers. They also serve bar snacks and will sometimes have an evening of acoustic music to enjoy, too.

Couple romantic dinner

New Forest Pony near Southampton

Exploring the New Forest

The New Forest National Park is a short 15-minute drive outside of Southampton, where there are so many different activities to get involved in you’ll be absolutely spoilt for choice. Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll through the many diverse landscapes, from forest to open green pastures, or if you want to try your hand at anything from cycling or horse riding to kayaking, bush craft, or archery, the world is your oyster.

For some family-friendly activities, why not head to the New Forest Wildlife Park? Discover all the wildlife as you encounter indigenous species in their natural habitat when venturing around the 25 acres of parkland. There are set feeding times every day where you can meet a Keeper and learn more about a particular animal of your choosing, and fun events run throughout the year such as Seasonal Nature Quiz Trails and Animal Encounters. If you’re interested in taking part in some of these activities, we recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.


Bedford Place is like stepping back in time and features a great variety of independent and boutique businesses