If you’re looking to get away from it all for a few days, then Southampton is as good a destination as any. It offers glorious sunshine (if you go at the right time of year), along with sea views and plenty of history. This part of the country has been inhabited since the Stone Age – and it was where one of the very first Roman forts was established.
As well as offering lots to see and do, the south coast is easy to reach nowadays. You can catch a train to Southampton Central from London Victoria. The journey takes around two-and-a-half hours, so it’s probably better suited to a weekend away than a day trip.
When planning your break, there are certain attractions you’ll want to make a point of cramming into your itinerary. Let’s take a look at a few of them!
Solent Sky Museum
Among the more significant things to come out of Southampton is the Supermarine Spitfire. You can learn all about this most famous of fighting craft, and take a close look at several others, at this unique aviation museum. If you’ve got a passion for all things aeronautical, then you owe it to yourself to take a look; tickets are very affordable, especially if you’re bringing along the whole family.
Another thing which distinguishes Southampton from other towns in England is the enviable condition of its historic walls. This structure was built in stages over more than three centuries and tells a story of the town’s resistance to invaders. Bargate and Eastgate were among the earliest components, built in 1290. It wasn’t until the French started attacking that Edward III ordered a more complete defence to be constructed. You’ll learn all about this sort of thing during a self-guided walking tour.
Of course, Southampton has historically been one of the country’s most important ports. And it’s this history that you’ll see laid out at the local SeaCity Museum. Among the more fascinating exhibitions here is the Titanic Story, which is based around a 1:25 scale model of the doomed ocean liner. A large chunk of the ship’s crew were Southampton natives, and this exhibition provides a fascinating insight into their day-to-day lives.
So far, we’ve got your daytime activities sorted. But what about the evenings? Thankfully, Southampton is home to one of the biggest theatres on the south coast, in the form of the 2,270-seater Mayflower Theatre. This building first came to be almost a century ago, as the Empire Theatre. It then became the Gaumont in the ‘50s and the Mayflower after a public consultation in the ‘80s. Nowadays, you’ll find a diverse range of productions available, from plays to musicals to gigs – many of which are perfect for taking the kids along to.
What are your top tips for a weekend in Southampton?
This is a collaborative post with images from Visit Southampton and the Seacity Museum.