The best things to do in Southampton, including attractions, restaurants, accommodation and more, throughout the cruise departures hotspot for the UK Capital of Culture
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Spectacularly situated at the confluence of the Rivers Test and Itchen to form Southampton Water, the city is bidding to become UK City of Culture 2025.
It’s worth a visit to see how it marries maritime and aviation history beautifully with a thriving arts scene, fine hotels, quality restaurants and lively bars.
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There is plenty to do for a pre or post cruise stay or stay on the Isle of Wight – or a city break in its own right.
It’s charmingly compact, so exploring on foot is easy, as most sights are within walking distance from central hotels.
So if you are not Itchen to visit Southampton you might want to…
Something to see
Known as the gateway to the world, it has been a port since Roman times and stands for some of the world’s most famous sea voyages. For maritime history from the Pilgrim Fathers’ Mayflower voyage to the New World to giant modern cruise ships, visit the Sea City Museum, which tells the story of the people of Southampton, their lives and their enduring connections to the sea.
The fascinating hands-on exhibition dedicated to the city’s most ill-fated sailing ship – the RMS Titanic in April 1912 – is a must-see.
The impact of the disaster on the city was immense and can be further explored on the museum’s Titanic Trail.
This is a free downloadable 75 minute walking tour and map of key locations in and around the city and port, providing the backstory of the tragic ocean liner, her passengers and crew (seacitymuseum.co.ukAdult £9/Child £6.50/Family £27).
Southampton is also home to the Spitfire, and the Solent Sky Museum is the place to learn all about the famous WWII fighter plane, developed at the city’s Supermarine factory (solentsky.orgAdult £10/Child £6/Family £20).
If you want a glimpse of the past on foot try the See Southampton Hidden History tour which starts at 10:30am on Saturdays and Sundays at The Lions on the north side of the Bargate (seesouthampton.co.ukAdults £6/accompanied child free).
Have you warmed up your hiking legs? Now take a stroll through the Grade II listed Tudor House and Garden, Southampton’s most important historic building. While large parts of the city were bombed during World War II, the half-timbered house built at the end of the 15th century remained intact.
It’s filled with interesting artefacts and has a cafe overlooking the Tudor Knot Garden (tudorhouseandgarden.comadult £6/child £5).
For a more artistic solution, the City Art Gallery offers a collection spanning eight centuries, with paintings by Monet, Gainsborough and Paula Rego (southamptoncityartgallery.comfree).
God’s House Tower, a 13th-century gatehouse within part of Southampton’s medieval city walls and fortifications, offers an artistic insight into the city’s history through a rotating program of exhibitions and art-inspired events and lectures.
The roof also offers a nice view of the city and the harbor (godshousetower.org.uk). If your credit card is itching, Westquay Center has big brands like Hollister, H&M, Levi’s, M&S, Next and Oliver Bonas. The Marlands Center is for those looking for more independent shops.
where should we eat
Many good options, our pick is:
- Family-owned Ottoman’s Kitchen for authentic Turkish delights with charcoal-cooked kebabs, sharing platters, hot and cold mezes (ottoman-kitchen.co.uk).
- Ennios, set in a Victorian warehouse on Town Quay, offers traditional and authentic Italian dishes using quality ingredients. Expect first class antipasti, pasta and Ennio’s specialty – fresh fish (ennios.co.uk).
Book the vacation
The Moxy Southampton Hotel on Harbor Parade offers an industrial chic-meets-nautical feel close to the center of Westquay and the marina.
Guests receive a complimentary Moxy cocktail and can enjoy 24-hour self-service food and beverages at the hotel.
Rooms at the Moxy Southampton start from £58 per night for the room only. Learn more at marriott.co.uk.
You can also plan your trip and get more information at visitsouthampton.co.uk.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/travel/uk-ireland/best-things-see-southampton-bids-26792637 The best things to see and do in Southampton as it bids to be Britain's Capital of Culture in 2025