Southampton Travel Guide

Introduction to Southampton

The port city of Southampton, dating back to Roman and Saxon times, was once one of the UK’s most important trading posts, and the port from which the spectacular QE2 was launched. Despite the devastating bombing of Southampton during World War II which destroyed much of the city’s heritage, parts of the original Medieval wall that once surrounded the city, can still be seen today in what is a now a modern, flourishing city; with two major universities, pretty green parks and cultural venues including theatres and museums. 

The Bargate - Southampton

The Bargate – an original section of the medieval wall that once surrounded Southampton, in the heart of the city centre.

Andrews Park - Southampton

The Central Parks – benefitting from Heritage Lottery funding, these tranquil, elegant green spaces provide a scenic escape from city life

Spitfire - Southampton

Solent Sky Hall of Aviation – take a tour through the history of aviation in this fascinating museum

Other things to do in Southampton

The City Art Gallery’s collection spans six centuries of European art history or you can go back to medieval times with a visit to the beautiful Bargate. These remains of the medieval wall that once surrounded the city are now one of Southampton’s most well-known sights that also house a contemporary art’s space and gallery. Tudor House stands as a perfect example of buildings from that century, while just outside the Old Town you can find Ocean Village and Town Quay where children and adults will love to watch the ships sailing in and out of the harbour. The Solent Sky Museum is a must for any aviation buff. Shopping opportunities are plentiful in Southampton. Marlands and Bargate offer up the best of urban retail while Bedford Place harks back to a bygone era of outdoor markets and independent shops while Old Northam Road is the place to find a quirky Victorian antique or two. The ‘Walking in the City’ Tour is a great idea for anyone wanting to take in Southampton’s most influential sights, learning all about the city’s history at the same time.

Eating and drinking in Southampton

Oxford Street and Bedford Place are two of the best locations for fine dining and an assortment of other eateries serving everything from Chinese and Indian cuisines to British brasserie chic. Cafes and fast food outlets offer plenty of chances to grab a snack throughout the day. Southampton has a fantastic selection of places to imbibe a drink or three including funky waterside bars and intimate lounges to cosy historic pubs serving hearty food. Dance the night away in one of the city’s hip clubs or settle down to an evening of live music instead. 

Southampton climate

Although it has a traditional wet maritime climate, Southampton benefits from being in a sheltered spot meaning that summers are often warmer and drier than many cities in the UK. Temperatures in June have been known to reach over 30 degrees! Winters are mild and wet while spring through to autumn is usually sunny and warm.

When to go to Southampton

Southampton has lots to offer all year round but if you want the best weather then May through to September are the best months to visit. Spring and autumn are generally quieter, with fewer holidaymakers. Avoid December through to February if you are not partial to heavy rainfall.

Flying to Southampton

Southampton International Airport is just a few minutes from the city centre, reached easily by car, bus or taxi. It is a relatively small airport and flights to Southampton mostly arrive from the UK, Channel Islands, France, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Germany and Austria. Gatwick and Heathrow airports are alternative options to get into Southampton, being just 80 and 60 miles away respectively. Once in the city, there are plenty of hotels in Southampton to choose from. 

 Southampton Deals

Hotels in Southampton

Car hire in Southampton

Images by Flickr/JimLinwood, iJammin, and Smudge_9000