Southampton Travel Guide
Southampton Travel Guide
Located in southern England, Southampton is a vibrant city with a rich maritime heritage. Most famously, it’s home to one of the busiest ports in the UK, where the RMS Titanic began her maiden voyage over 100 years ago.
From galleries to live music venues, Southampton has plenty to keep visitors occupied. Spend your time exploring the historic city centre, try your hand at sailing, or enjoy a show at one of the theatres. Whether you’re visiting for a week or a weekend, our travel guide will help you make the most of this bustling coastal city.
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Why visit Southampton?
Southampton is a city full of character, with events and attractions for all ages. Much more than just a port city, it’s an excellent place for history buffs, sports fans and nature lovers. St Mary’s Stadium is a must-visit attraction for football fanatics, while the many museums give insight into the area’s fascinating history.
is one of the UK’s greenest cities, home to many parks and gardens perfect for a sunny day. Plus, it’s only a short drive from the New Forest National Park, where you can enjoy stunning natural scenery.
History of Southampton
From historical sites to famous residents, Southampton has an illustrious history. Below are some key facts about this south coast city:
- Maritime heritage – On the 10th of April 1912, the RMS Titanic departed on her maiden voyage from Southampton port to New York
- Famous people – Southampton was the home of English novelist Jane Austen from 1806 to 1809. Here, she wrote one of her most famous works, Sense and Sensibility
- Wartime history – In March 1936, the first Spitfire plane flew from Southampton Airport. You can learn about the Spitfire’s history at the Solent Sky Museum
- Environmentally friendly city – Southampton is home to the UK’s only geothermal power station and has the lowest CO2 emissions in England
Things to do in Southampton
Southampton is home to several museums, each offering something unique. The Tudor House and Garden Museum is the best place to learn about Southampton’s residents over the years, while the SeaCity Museum explores its connection with the RMS Titanic.
Take a self-guided tour
One of the best free things to do in Southampton is to take a self-guided tour. Inside the city, you’ll find a well-preserved Old Town with a medieval church and monuments. Southampton is also home to a half-mile stretch of medieval walls best viewed from the Western Esplanade.
If you want to learn about Britain’s maritime heritage, visit the Steamship Shieldhall. This is the largest working steamship in Britain, run by a team of volunteers. Visitors can book an excursion and explore areas such as the engine room, which is full of original operating steam engines.
Ocean Village Marina
Located in the city’s heart, Ocean Village Marina is one of Southampton’s most vibrant areas. This lively marina is the perfect place for a spot of retail therapy, home to a range of shops. You’ll also find plenty of bars and restaurants here, so you can enjoy a bite to eat while looking out over the water.
Where to eat and drink in Southampton
Whether you fancy a hearty pub meal, afternoon tea or dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant, Southampton has a fantastic range of eateries.
The best restaurants in Southampton
Sula’s Greek Taverna
For tasty food on a budget, head to Sula’s Greek Taverna. Serving authentic Greek cuisine in a laidback environment, this restaurant is an ideal place to refuel. Choose from a selection of delicious dishes, including gyros and souvlaki, served by a team of friendly staff.
Enjoy fine dining at Southampton’s Blue Jasmine, located in Ocean Village Marina. Admire views of the marina while indulging in perfectly prepared Southeast Asian-style dishes. The menu has something for all tastes, from spicy rendang chicken to slow-cooked vegan lamb.
The best pubs in Southampton
Duke of Wellington
Whether you want to enjoy a Sunday roast or a couple of drinks, the Duke of Wellington offers a great space to relax. Just a five-minute walk from Southampton harbour, this venue has a cosy setting, tasty food and a fantastic selection of wines and ales – everything you need from a city pub.
Dancing Man Brewery
Just a stone’s throw from Southampton Port, the Dancing Man Brewery is the place to go for a refreshing pint of beer. Housed in the iconic Wool House, this independent brewpub features a large restaurant and two bars, boasting an excellent range of ales.