Southampton City Guide
Possibly inhabited since the stone age, Southampton really came into it's own as a port after the Norman Conquest in 1066, becoming very wealthy in the middle ages. Dating from this period therefore, Southampton can boast some of the most complete medieval walls in the country - the Bargate area of the city still takes its name from the section built in 1290. Originally, the walls - including 8 gates and 29 towers - ran for over a mile around the town but nowadays only about half of the wall with 6 gates and 13 original towers are still standing. Located in the Old Town area of Southampton City Centre, Telephone House Apartments offer a mix of one and two bedroom service apartments and may well be the perfect location from which to sail forth on your exploration of the City of Southampton.
Southampton's nautical connection continues today with it being the cruise capital of the UK with over 450 cruise calls in 2013. There are currently 4 dedicated cruise terminals at Southampton hosting a wide variety of cruise lines. The nautical theme continues this September with Southampton hosting the largest on-water boat show in Europe!
It's not all about the sea though as Southampton also has an active cultural life and boasts some magnificent theatres and art galleries including the Southampton City Art Gallery, home to one of the best publicly-owned collections in the UK outside London. The John Hansard Gallery at the University of Southampton is one of the best places to view contemporary and visual art and the Solent Showcase is a gallery and exhibition space supporting up-and-coming national and international artists providing some of the best in contemporary art.
Southampton is located on the south coast of England near to Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight, and this old city port with a strong naval history has re-invented itself into a modern, thriving city. Whatever the weather or your interests, you're certain to enjoy a visit to the city as there are plenty of things to keep you occupied.
Located just to the south of the modern city centre, the Old Town is well worth a visit to see the Medieval Merchants House and also the Tudor House and Gardens to get a real flavour what life was like in the olden days.
Southampton's docks are rightfully famous for being the point of departure for many of the most famous ships in history including the Mayflower and the Titanic! The latter's tragedy has strong links to the city with four out of five of the crew on board hailing from Southampton. Both the SeaCity Museum and the Ocean's - Titanic Hope and Glory exhibition are worth a visit if you're interested in finding out more. The one and two bedroomed serviced apartments at Hawkins Tower Apartments and the Ocean Village Marina with their stylish surroundings might just be a great place to start!
For that all-important post cultural retail therapy, why not stop in the West Quay Shopping Centre which offers some 100 stores under just the one roof, along with plenty of eating and drinking opportunities! The Telephone House Apartments one and two bedroom serviced apartments are the ideal base to explore the shopping opportunities on offer. If you're lucky enough to visit over a weekend pop along to the Bargate Markets or once a month to the Design, Antiques and Vintage market which now offers something completely different!
If that's still not enough to tempt you then you could always wander through one of the award winning parks, like Southampton Common, which covers a larger area than Hyde Park in London, includes a Wildlife Centre, swimming pool and several lakes and ponds, which makes Southampton the greenest city in Southern England.
Southampton Transport Tips
What to do in Southampton
Listed below are some of the great places to visit in Southampton. Click one to find out more.
- SeaCity Museum
This innovative, state-of-the-art museum focuses on Southampton's connection with the sea, including the city's Titanic heritage and the stories of the people who have travelled in and out of the city through the ages.
Situated at the heart of Southampton's emerging Cultural Quarter and housed in the grade II listed former Magistrates' Court, SeaCity is an interactive experience designed for visitors of all ages.
For more information: www.seacitymuseum.co.uk
- Beaulieu and Buckler’s Hard
Come to Beaulieu to see the world famous National Motor Museum, BOND IN MOTION, the world's largest official collection of original James Bond vehicles, World of Top Gear, featuring vehicles from the popular TV programme, On Screen Cars to see the flying Ford Anglia from Harry Potter, and Palace House.
There's plenty to action to be had as well including a monorail ride over the grounds, open top bus rides, go karting and ‘wheels' - a space age pod taking you through 100 years of motoring history.
For more information: www.beaulieu.co.uk
While you're in the area pop into Buckler's Hard - an 18th century shipbuilding village on the banks of the Beaulieu River. Visit the exciting Maritime Museum and find out about how the warships for Nelson's Navy were built here, and see the Shipwright's Cottage and St Mary's Chapel.
The Woodland Walk beside the river shows you how the local timber at Buckler's Hard was used in the 18th and 19th centuries to construct ships for the British Navy. You can also wander through the apple orchard where apple trees are in stunning full blossom in Spring. From Easter to October you can take a 30 minute cruise on the Beaulieu River and admire the unspoilt, tranquil landscape (note that an extra charge applies).
For more information: www.bucklershard.co.uk
- The Solent Sky Museum
For airplane buffs the Solent Sky Museum is a must see. The museum showcases the history of flight in Southampton and the Solent area. There are 18 historic aircraft of various different types, including the famous Spitfire and award winning Supermarine S6b N248!
For more information: www.solentskymuseum.org
- The Tudor & Medieval Houses
Tudor House and Garden
The Tudor House is one of Southampton's most important historic buildings, dating back over 800 years, and gives a unique insight into the lives and times of its residents through the years.
For more information: www.tudorhouseandgarden.com
Medieval Merchants House
The Medieval Merchants House allows you to escape from modern city life and take in the history of Southampton's "old town". Originally started around 1290 the house is now restored to its mid-14th-century appearance and stands near the remains of the city's medieval town wall.
For more information: www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/medieval-merchants-house
- Oceans - Titanic Hope and Glory Exhibition & Britannia Tea rooms
‘Titanic Hope & Glory', voted one of the top 5 exhibitions in the country by The Times newspaper, is now on display at Oceans, Southampton, from June 2013. The exhibition features rare and previously unseen artefacts from the tragic RMS Titanic.
If you're in need of a sit down after all the sightseeing the Britannia Tea Rooms in the same complex could prove the perfect venue. The tea rooms are based on the Royal Yatch Britannia and murals of port and starboard views complete the picture!
For more information: http://www.titanichonourandglory.com/
- St Mary's Stadium
Home to Southampton Football Club (aka The Saints), the St Mary's Stadium is a great venue to watch a premiership football match with an atmosphere as good as you'll find anywhere. Southampton, who play in their famous red and white stripes, can trace their roots back to a club formed in 1885 by members of St Mary's Church Young Men's association. Traditional rivals Portsmouth have sadly been relegated recently and so there's no sign of the fiercely contested local derby happening soon.
For more information: www.saintsfc.co.uk