Southampton, England, UK cruises
Your guide to Southampton.
Located in the picturesque English county of Hampshire, Southampton is a vibrant waterfront city, serviced by direct trains to London, an airport, and an international cruise terminal. Explore the city’s maritime heritage and links to RMS Titanic in the Sea City Museum, see contemporary British art in the Cultural Quarter, or walk the medieval walls in the Old Town, paying a visit to the Tudor House and Garden. Further afield you’ll find The New Forest National Park, Winchester Cathedral, Stonehenge, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and the Isle of Wight, while the city’s thriving craft beer and culinary scene will leave you spoilt for choice when hunger strikes.
Southampton’s central attractions are a short distance from port and the city offers many self-guided walks, including The Titanic Trail, the QE2 mile and the City Walls. For a taste of history, head to the Old Town, where you’ll find the 15th Century Tudor House and Garden and the 950 year-old St Michael the Archangel Church. Further north, in the Cultural Quarter, brings you to Southampton City Art Gallery and the Sea City Museum as well as the more contemporary John Hansard Gallery and The Nuffield Theatre. If aviation history appeals, Solent Sky Museum reveals Hampshire’s legacy as the birthplace of the Spitfire, just a short walk from the attractive Ocean Village marina.
Eating and drinking.
Southampton’s many cafes, bars and restaurants are spread over a wide area and represent a diverse mix of cuisine. There are places to grab a light bite, such as Westquay Shopping Centre, as well as fine dining options. Along Oxford Street, you’ll find elegant café bars and restaurants serving the best of British cuisine. Bedford Place, is more relaxed and offers some excellent sushi options as well as Mauritian street food by MasterChef UK champion Shelina Permalloo. Southampton has a lively craft beer scene with many independent tasting rooms around town. The Dancing Man, set in a medieval wool house, is one of the best and just a short distance from port.
If shopping appeals, you won’t fall short of options in Southampton. The city offers a superb array of shops, from department stores and independents to undercover shopping malls. Westquay Shopping Centre, located in the heart of the city, boasts over 90 stores spread over two floors (the third is a food court). Here you’ll find British retailers such as M&S and John Lewis, a variety of fashion labels, as well as lifestyle and beauty brands. The smaller Marlands Shopping centre caters more to independent retailers, while a handful of gift shops can be found on the High Street, and in the city’s museums and art galleries.
Southampton is well connected by water and rail, making it easy to explore the many attractions nearby. A 25-minute catamaran journey brings you to Cowes on the Isle of Wight while the historic cathedral city of Winchester, home to King Arthur’s round table, is around 15-minutes by train from Southampton Central. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard offers chance to visit the Mary Rose Museum as well as explore HMS Warrior and HMS Victory while the UNESCO World Heritage site of Stonehenge can be reached by organised excursion. If spending time outdoors appeals, the New Forest National Park offers pretty villages and rural walks within 90,000 acres of protected parkland.