Southampton Harbor is located on a peninsula between the estuary of the River Test in Itchen and boasts one of the world’s largest natural harbors. Until the 1930s it was England’s busiest port for transatlantic passenger travel and giant ships such as the Queen Mary were built in local shipyards. Hundreds of thousands of emigrants left the country on ships that sailed from here, including the Titanic. It’s still a busy port and it’s a nice place to watch large cruise and cargo ships come and go, especially the top ones Hythe Ferry service that runs regularly across the Solent, the 20-mile-wide strait that separates the Isle of Wight from the mainland.
Excellent shopping opportunities are one of the best both in and around the city WestQuayand the city also hosts many cultural events, such as the Southampton International Film Festival. Other popular things to do in Southampton include exploring the New Forest and the Isle of Wightand nature lovers will also appreciate the city’s many green spaces and parks, including its 326 acres Southampton Common. Another part of the countryside to visit is the nearby Itchen Valley Country Park, a beautiful 440 acre estate with great walking and cycling opportunities.
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1 Medieval city walls
The best views of Southampton’s 14th-century medieval walls – the third longest continuous stretch of city wall in Britain – are obtained from the Western Esplanade, also the site of Wind Whistle Tower. It is the only surviving medieval church in Southampton St. Michael’s on Castle Way, built in the 11th century and with Norman relics and a font made of Tournai marble.
Follow the walls south to Mayflower Park, which is opposite the Mayflower Memorial to the Pilgrim Fathers, and Wool House, a 14th-century warehouse. Also nearby is the God’s House Tower on Winkle Street, a 12th-century hospital dedicated to St. Julian. (A variety of fun, guided walks of the ancient walls and medieval vaults are available).
Location: Bargate, Southampton
2 Tudor House and Garden
Into the beautiful Tudor house St. Michael’s Square was built in the late 15th century for a wealthy merchant family. Now a museum, it showcases exhibits from the Victorian and Edwardian eras, as well as periodic exhibits that span over 900 years of local history. Visitors can use free audio guides as they enjoy the reconstructed kitchens and many artifacts, including Georgian and Victorian jewelry and archaeological finds from the medieval and Tudor periods.
Another classic old house to visit is it Medieval merchant house on French Street. Built in 1290, this historic mansion – one of the few surviving examples of its kind – is filled with antique furniture, wall hangings and unique architectural feats that offer a fascinating insight into the living conditions of a wealthy 13th century family.
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Locatie: St Michael’s Square, Southampton
Official site: www.tudorhouseandgarden.com
An easy 14-mile journey southwest of Southampton through parts of the New Forestof National Motorcycle Museum in Beaulieu is one of the world’s largest museums dedicated to the automobile. The many exhibits include the official collection of the original James Bond vehicles and other famous movie cars, including the flying Ford Anglia Harry Potter.
Also of note is the fabulous Palace House and Gardens, the former 13th-century Great Gatehouse of Beaulieu Abbey, with its immaculate expanses of lawn and walkways overlooking the River Beaulieu.
Location: Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Hampshire
4 SeaCity Museum
SeaCity Museum tells the story of the people of Southampton and their role in Britain’s rich maritime history, including the stories of those who have left (or arrived in) the harbor over the centuries. It also tells the story of Southampton’s connection to the ill-fated hugewhich sailed from the harbor in 1912.
The art deco of the 1930s Civic Center that houses this fascinating museum is also home to the Southampton City Art Gallerywith its interesting selection of some 3,500 works, including Old Masters and English artists from 1750 to the present, as well as a valuable collection of ceramics.
Adres: Havelock Road, Southampton
Official site: https://seacitymuseum.co.uk/
5 Titanic Trail
Of huge Southampton departed on her doomed maiden voyage to New York, and as a result numerous locations around the city have been associated with the ship. One of the best ways to learn about the town’s connections to the ship is via the informative Titanic Trail (maps are available at local tourist offices and many popular tourist attractions in town).
Along the way you will visit the remarkable Titanic Engineers ‘Memorial in East Park, a magnificent bronze and granite monument unveiled to a crowd of 100,000 Southampton residents in April 1914 (none of the ship’s 35 engineers survived). In the area it is Titanic Musicians ‘Memorialdedicated to the musicians of the ship.
6 SS Shieldhall
Part of Great Britain’s National Historic Fleet, SS Shieldhall is the largest surviving working steamship of her kind in Europe. Built in 1954 as one of the Clyde silt boats, this impressive vessel has been fully restored and provides a working example of the machinery typical of the great vessels that plowed the world’s oceans between the 1870s and 1960s.
In addition to educational and tourist trips, the ship regularly appears in the Southampton Maritime Festivala two-day heritage event held each summer that brings together a range of activities, displays and attractions, including historic craft, vehicles and flyovers featuring vintage aircraft.
Location: 110 Berth, Southampton
Official site: www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk
7 Solent Sky
Solent Sky uses a fantastic collection of models and photographs, as well as 19 beautiful flying machines, to tell the story of Southampton’s aviation heritage. The region is famous for its experimental and developmental work between 1908 and the late 1960s, the most famous being the iconic operation cop. The museum’s showpieces are the huge Sandringham flying boat and the Supermarine racing seaplane (the forerunner of the Spitfire) that won the Schneider Trophy in the early 1930s.
Adres: Albert Road South, Royal Crescent, Southampton
Official site: www.solentskymuseum.org
8 Old Town and Bargate
Just south of the city center, Southampton’s Old Town has many unique sites associated with famous residents and visitors, including William the Conqueror, Henry V, William Shakespeare, the Pilgrim Fathers, Isaac Watts and Jane Austen.
Originally built as the main gateway to the medieval city, 800 years old Bargate marks the entrance to the old town and is used to host temporary art exhibitions and events. Numerous plaques have been laid from Bargate to the water to commemorate significant events from the early Roman settlement to the opening of the National Oceanography Center.
Location: Bargate, Southampton
9 Ocean Village
East of Southampton’s old town, Princess Alexandra However has been transformed into a modern leisure and shopping center. Smart yachts are moored in the harbor in front Canute’s Pavilionwith its designer boutiques, gourmet restaurants, cinemas (including one for art house and foreign language films), boat trips, sailing facilities and great view of the cruise ships moored in the Eastern Docks.
Location: Ocean Village, Southampton
10 Netley Abbey
Founded in 1239, the beautiful ruins of Netley Abbey have inspired many English writers, poets and artists over the years, most notably the painter John Constable. The village of Netley is also worth a visit and is associated with famous people such as Queen Victoria who laid the town’s foundation stone Royal Victoria Military Hospital, on which Florence Nightingale contributed. It is also where the fictional Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle’s Watson would have trained. Nearby is the Royal Victoria Country Park, which covers approximately 200 acres of woodland and parkland, as well as a small pebble beach.
Location: Netley, Hampshire
Official site: https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/netley-abbey/
Where to stay in Southampton for sightseeing
In Southampton, most of the top attractions are scattered around the city, including the Tudor House and Garden, the old city walls, the SeaCity Museum and the Titanic Trail. For easy access to all these attractions and the harbour, the center of town makes a great base – especially for first-time visitors. Visitors traveling to the city to board a cruise ship often stay near the southern side of the city for easy access to the terminals. Here are a few highly rated hotels in these convenient locations:
- Luxe hotels: Sleek, bright and modern, the pet-friendly Novotel Southampton has a fitness center and indoor pool. It is close to the West Quay shopping center and just a five minute drive from the cruise ship terminals. Also convenient to the harbor and less than five minutes’ walk to the Tudor House and Garden, Grand Harbor Hotel has a triangular glass facade and an inviting indoor swimming pool. Some rooms have a sea view. A Grade II listed Georgian building, Mercure Southampton Center Dolphin combines original architectural features with modern furnishings, a stone’s throw from the ancient city walls and Tudor House and Garden.
- Mid-range hotels: Handy for the cruise ship terminals, Holiday Inn Southampton is at the higher end of the mid-range options, while The Blue Keys, north of the city center, is popular for its great value rates and friendly staff. Located in the heart of the city, Premier Inn Southampton West Quay Hotel offers modern conveniences close to a popular shopping centre, a short walk from the Tudor House and garden.
- Budget Hotels: The pet-friendly Ibis Southampton Center offers clean, simple rooms in a convenient location near West Quay Shopping Center and Southampton Central Station. Less than two kilometers from the city centre, the homely Elizabeth House Hotel offers free parking and a bistro-style restaurant. A little further out of town, the Regent Guest House is a B&B with warm, welcoming staff.