Whether you are looking for a weekend escape or fun things to do for a longer vacation, Southampton, UK, is the perfect location. With a wide variety of things to do to fit all interests and personalities, this town on the south coast of England is a great escape for everyone.
Southampton is a city in Hampshire which is only 110km from London and 24km from Portsmouth. This key location gives you the ability to visit several fun cities in the area without having to travel very much. Southampton is known for many things, so let’s explore some of them.
Medieval City Walls
The third longest unbroken section of 14th-century medieval walls are accessible from Southampton. There is also one remaining medieval church in Southampton called St. Michael’s on Castle Way which was built in the 11th century. Inside you can find Norman relics and a Tournai marble font.
You will also be able to take a variety of walking tours of the old walls and medieval vaults with an experienced guide to answer all your questions. You will be able to see Mayflower park with the mayflower Memorial to the Pilgrim Fathers. Wool House, a 14th-century warehouse, and God’s House Tower on Winkle Street, a 12th-century hospital, are also nearby to enjoy.
Tudor House and Garden
The big Tudor house in St. Michael’s Square dates back to the late 15th century, but now has been converted from a house into a museum. It boasts exhibits from the Victorian and Edwardian eras and other exhibits that take in the past 900 years of local history. There are free audio guides available to get the full effect of the artifacts and reconstructed historical rooms.
If you enjoy touring historic homes, the Medieval Merchant’s House in French street was built in 1290, and it is the only surviving example of its kind. It also has many period pieces and artifacts to give you an idea of life in the 13th-century.
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The SS Shield is part of Britain’s National Historic Fleet and is the largest surviving working steamship other kind in Europe. It was built in 1954 and has been completely rebuilt to offer visitors a deeper understanding of the machinery used between 1870 and 1960.
It still participates in the Southampton Maritime Festival which is a heritage event held each summer for two days. During this time there are many activities like historic vessels, vehicles, and flyovers by vintage aircraft.
If you are interested in marine activities, you should also stop by Ocean Village. Princess Alexandra Dock is now a modern shopping center and has other fun activities as well. Yachts are docked in the harbour in front of Canute’s Pavilion where you can visit boutiques, gourmet restaurants, movie theaters (one which screens foreign-language films), boat trips, sailing facilities, and watch the cruise ships in the Eastern Docks.
The SeaCity Museum can also edify your marine based trip by showing you the story of the history of maritime exploration and development in Southampton. It even details the connection Southampton has to the Titanic’s fateful voyage.
There are many art exhibits to enjoy in Southampton including the John Hansard Gallery and Southampton City Art Gallery. Both of these establishments offer free, family-friendly activities and workshops to help enhance your visit.
The Civic Centre which was built in the 1930s has a Southampton City Art Gallery which boasts a wide selection of artwork totalling over 3,500 pieces. Artwork ranges from painting of the old masters and English artists from 1750 to modern contemporary pieces. There are also some ceramic pieces included.
If you are interested in art, then it is of note that the Southampton hospital recently received a new Banksy piece of artwork that is on display in the foyer near the emergency department. It will remain on display until later this year when it will be auctioned off to raise money for the hospital. This donation was made as a gesture of gratitude to everyone, but especially nurses, working hard in the hospital to manage the current pandemic.
This museum incorporates models, photographs, and 19 actual flying machines into their exhibits to show visitors the history of aviation heritage in Southampton. This region is famous for its contributions in the area of experimentation and development of aviation between 1908 and 1960. The most famous piece to come out of this period was the Spitfire.
Included in the exhibits are the Sandringham flying boat and the Supermarine racing seaplane which was the predecessor of the Spitfire. The Supermarine racing seaplane won the Schneider Trophy in the early 1930s.