things to do southampton

Last Updated on: 21st June 2024, 07:42 am

Welcome to Southampton, an exciting city located on the stunning south coast of England. As a professional journalist, I am thrilled to share with you my top recommendations on things to do in Southampton, England. Whether you’re a local or visitor, you’ll find plenty of exciting activities to enjoy in this vibrant and diverse city.

Things to do in Southampton include exploring historic architecture, immersing yourself in maritime history, strolling through picturesque parks, discovering contemporary art, and experiencing the buzzing nightlife. Keep reading to find out more about the best things to do in Southampton, UK.

Things to do in Southampton

1. Explore the Historic Southampton City Walls

As I delved into the history of Southampton, one attraction that caught my attention is the Southampton City Walls. These ancient fortifications date back to the 14th century and have been an important part of the city’s defense system.

Walking along these walls is like taking a step back in time and experiencing the fascinating medieval era of Southampton. The walls draw in both locals and visitors alike, providing breathtaking panoramic views of the city’s skyline and waterfront.

Exploring this historical site is a must-do for anyone visiting Southampton, and it’s a great option for history enthusiasts or for those who just want to enjoy a leisurely stroll.

Interesting facts about Southampton City Walls

  • The walls were built to protect the city from French raids during the Hundred Years’ War
  • They were constructed over 2 miles long, with eight gates and 29 towers
  • The walls were still used as a defense during the Second World War
  • The walls were an important trading point during medieval times with a toll levied on individuals passing through

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of these walls, I highly recommend taking a guided tour. You’ll be able to learn about the different features of the walls and hear fascinating stories about the city’s past.

2. Visit the Iconic Southampton Maritime Museum

As a port city, Southampton has a rich maritime history that is on full display at the iconic Southampton Maritime Museum. This museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the sea, sailing, and the Titanic.

Explore fascinating exhibits that showcase the port city’s connection to the famous ocean liner, the Titanic. Immerse yourself in the history of sailing and discover Southampton’s role in the global shipping industry.

Stroll through interactive displays that allow you to experience life aboard a ship and get up-close with marine life. Gain a deeper understanding of the city’s importance as a port city and how it has shaped Southampton’s identity over the centuries.

Southampton Maritime Museum

From historic artifacts to interactive exhibits, the Southampton Maritime Museum is a fascinating and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

3. Wander Through the Beautiful Southampton Common

If you’re looking for a tranquil escape from the bustling city, Southampton Common is just the place. This vast expanse of green space is a must-see destination for nature lovers and those seeking a peaceful retreat.

One of the main attractions of Southampton Common is its picturesque walking trails, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a brisk walk. Follow the winding paths through lush greenery and enjoy the fresh air and peaceful surroundings.

For those seeking a bit of relaxation, the serene ponds at Southampton Common offer a tranquil spot to sit and unwind. Take a picnic and enjoy the peaceful setting, surrounded by nature.

Visitors can also enjoy a range of activities at Southampton Common, from sports like tennis and basketball to nature walks led by knowledgeable guides. Whatever your interests, Southampton Common is the perfect place to escape and unwind.

A Table of Features of Southampton Common

Feature Description
Walking Trails Explore the winding paths through lush greenery and scenic views around the Common on foot.
Serenity Ponds Relax in the serene waters and quiet area of the ponds.
Picnic Spots Enjoy a lovely picnic in the beautiful surrounding of Southampton Common.
Sporting Activities Southampton Common has areas for various sports, such as basketball, tennis, and others.
Nature Walks Join knowledgeable guides and explore the region’s wildlife and learn about local history and ecology.

Experience the beautiful Southampton Common with all its nature in the heart of the city. It is a must-visit destination.

4. Take a Guided Tour of the Tudor House and Garden

Have you ever wanted to step into a time machine and experience life in a bygone era? Look no further than the Tudor House and Garden, where history comes alive in stunning detail. This 16th-century timber-framed house has been beautifully preserved and now serves as a museum, giving visitors a glimpse into the lives of past residents of Southampton.

Join a guided tour and follow in the footsteps of the Tudors who once called this house home. You’ll learn about their daily routines, traditions, and customs, and gain insights into the challenges they faced during this turbulent period of British history.

As you wander through the house, marvel at the intricate architectural details, including the ornate plaster ceilings and richly carved wooden panels. Be transported back in time as you stand in the grand halls and imagine the feasts and celebrations that took place within these walls.

But the Tudor House and Garden is more than just a house museum. Outside, you’ll find a serene and charming garden that is the perfect place for a peaceful stroll or picnic. With vibrant flowers and tranquil water features, this garden is truly a hidden gem in the heart of the city.

Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in history and explore the Tudor House and Garden. Book your guided tour today and prepare to be transported back to a fascinating and captivating era.

Tudor House and Garden

5. Experience the Thrills of Go Ape Southampton

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, look no further than Go Ape Southampton. This outdoor adventure park offers a range of exciting activities for visitors of all ages.

Challenge yourself on the high ropes courses, featuring swinging bridges, tightropes, and other obstacles set amidst the stunning scenery of the Itchen Valley Country Park. Test your bravery on the zip lines, soaring through the air and taking in panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Navigate the treetop obstacles and zip lines on the Tree Top Adventure course, or try your hand at the Tree Top Challenge course, which offers a more challenging experience for those who dare.

With safety helmets, harnesses, and expert instructors on hand to guide you every step of the way, Go Ape Southampton provides a fun and safe environment for adventure-seekers.

Visit Go Ape Southampton and experience the thrill of the great outdoors like never before.

6. Enjoy a Relaxing Cruise Along Southampton Water

As you explore Southampton, don’t miss the chance to embark on a leisurely cruise along Southampton Water. This stunning inlet is home to a variety of wildlife and scenic views that you won’t want to miss. A cruise is the perfect way to relax and soak in the beauty of the coastline.

Whether you choose a romantic sunset cruise or an exciting wildlife-watching excursion, you’ll be treated to a unique perspective of the city and its surrounding natural beauty. From the comfort of your boat, you’ll be able to capture breathtaking views of the city skyline and the rolling green hills of the surrounding countryside.

Many cruises along Southampton Water offer refreshments and snacks, making it the perfect way to spend an afternoon or evening. Don’t forget to bring your camera and capture the memories of your trip!

Southampton Water

Experience the beauty of Southampton from a different perspective and book your cruise today.

7. Discover the Southampton City Art Gallery

If you’re an art aficionado, a visit to the Southampton City Art Gallery is a must. Located in the heart of the city, this magnificent gallery is home to an impressive collection of over 5,000 works of art, spanning from the Renaissance period to contemporary times. You’ll have the chance to admire paintings, sculptures, and installations by renowned local and international artists.

The gallery’s highlight is undoubtedly its extensive collection of British 20th-century art, featuring works by influential artists such as Barbara Hepworth, Francis Bacon, and David Hockney. You’ll also have the opportunity to view pieces by prominent members of the Bloomsbury Group, including Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.

“The Southampton City Art Gallery is a gem of a place in the city. The quality and variety of the collection is impressive and it’s all free to look around. Very friendly and informative staff too. Highly recommended for art lovers!”

The Southampton City Art Gallery hosts a range of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing the work of contemporary artists. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the gallery’s peaceful walled garden, a hidden oasis in the center of the bustling city.

Gallery information

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm; closed on Mondays
Address: Southampton City Art Gallery, Commercial Rd, Southampton SO14 7LY, United Kingdom
Contact: 023 8083 4536
Admission: Free

8. Explore the Prestigious University of Southampton’s Campus

As I continue to share my top recommendations for things to do in Southampton, I suggest taking a stroll around the beautiful campus of the University of Southampton. Located in Highfield, this university is renowned for its outstanding academic programs and research opportunities. The campus boasts award-winning architecture, leafy green spaces, and state-of-the-art facilities.

While on campus, make sure to check out the John Hansard Gallery. This world-class gallery features thought-provoking contemporary art exhibitions, showcasing the work of local and international artists. With free admission, it’s the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene of Southampton.

University of Southampton

9. Indulge in Retail Therapy at Westquay Shopping Centre

As a self-proclaimed shopaholic, no visit to Southampton is complete without a trip to Westquay Shopping Centre. Boasting over 100 stores, including high-end brands and popular chain stores, this premier retail destination is a one-stop-shop for all your shopping needs. From fashion to homeware, cosmetics to electronics, you’ll find everything you need under one roof.

With a wide range of options, it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to start. Some of my favourite stores include:

Store Description
John Lewis & Partners A department store with a great selection of beauty products, home goods, and fashion items.
Primark A popular fast-fashion store with affordable clothing and accessories.
Zara A trendy fashion store with a selection of stylish clothing and accessories for both men and women.
Apple An electronics store with the latest Apple products and accessories.

After a long day of shopping, take a break and refuel at one of the many restaurants or cafes in the shopping centre. Whether you’re craving a coffee and a pastry or a full meal, there’s something for every taste bud.

“I always leave Westquay with a satisfied smile on my face and a few extra shopping bags in hand. It’s the ultimate destination for any shopaholic visiting Southampton.”

10. Experience the Vibrant Nightlife in Southampton

As the sun sets, nightlife in Southampton comes alive with its vivacious energy and enthusiasm. The city is home to a variety of bars, pubs, and clubs, each with its own unique ambiance and vibe. Whether you’re looking for live music, DJ sets, or a quiet drink with friends, Southampton has something for everyone.

Bars and Pubs

Southampton is replete with bars and pubs that cater to all kinds of customers. Whether you are looking for a lively venue to dance the night away or a cozy spot to enjoy a cocktail, the options are endless.

Bar/pub Features
The Grapes A historic pub with a great selection of real ales and a friendly atmosphere
The Art House A trendy bar with live music, art exhibitions, and a varied menu of drinks and food
Turtle Bay A Caribbean-themed restaurant and bar with delicious cuisine and tropical cocktails


Southampton’s nightclubs are known for their lively atmosphere, top-notch DJ sets, and a diverse crowd. Whether you’re into pop, rock, or electronic music, you’ll find the perfect club for your taste.

Club Features
Oceana A multi-level club with several themed floors and resident DJs playing the latest hits
Switch An innovative club with a stunning light show, state-of-the-art sound system, and guest DJs from around the world
Orange Rooms A retro-themed nightclub with an extensive cocktail menu, live music, and eclectic decor

Experience a night to remember with Southampton’s eclectic nightlife scene. Whatever your taste and budget, you’re sure to find something to suit your mood and style. So put on your dancing shoes and head out for a night of fun and excitement.


As someone who has lived in Southampton for several years, I can confidently say that this city has so much to offer. From its fascinating history to its beautiful green spaces, there’s always something new to discover in Southampton. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, I highly recommend exploring the city walls, visiting the maritime museum, and taking a stroll through the common.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not challenge yourself at Go Ape or embark on a scenic cruise along Southampton Water? And don’t forget to indulge in some retail therapy at Westquay or experience the city’s vibrant nightlife scene. Whatever your interests, Southampton is sure to impress. So why not plan a visit today and see for yourself?


What are some things to do in Southampton, England, United Kingdom (UK)?

Southampton offers a wide range of activities and attractions. Some popular options include exploring the historic Southampton City Walls, visiting the Southampton Maritime Museum, wandering through the beautiful Southampton Common, taking a guided tour of the Tudor House and Garden, experiencing the thrills of Go Ape Southampton, enjoying a relaxing cruise along Southampton Water, discovering the Southampton City Art Gallery, exploring the University of Southampton’s campus, indulging in retail therapy at Westquay Shopping Centre, and experiencing the vibrant nightlife in Southampton.

What can I expect at the Southampton City Walls?

The Southampton City Walls are historic fortifications that date back to the 14th century. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the walls and enjoy panoramic views of Southampton’s skyline and waterfront.

Can you tell me more about the Southampton Maritime Museum?

The Southampton Maritime Museum is a must-visit attraction for those interested in the city’s maritime heritage. It showcases Southampton’s connection to the famous Titanic, offers insights into the history of sailing, and features interactive exhibits that highlight the importance of Southampton as a port city.

What should I expect when visiting Southampton Common?

Southampton Common is a beautiful green space where visitors can escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It offers picturesque walking trails, serene ponds, and plenty of space for picnicking and relaxation.

What can I see and do at the Tudor House and Garden?

The Tudor House and Garden is a wonderfully preserved 16th-century timber-framed house. Visitors can join guided tours to learn about the lives of Southampton’s past residents and explore the charming gardens that surround the house.

Tell me more about Go Ape Southampton

Go Ape Southampton is a thrilling adventure attraction located in Itchen Valley Country Park. It offers high ropes courses, zip lines, and obstacle courses set amidst stunning natural scenery, providing an adrenaline-pumping experience for those seeking adventure.

What can I expect on a cruise along Southampton Water?

A leisurely cruise along Southampton Water offers breathtaking views of the coastline. Whether you choose a sunset cruise or a wildlife-watching excursion, you will enjoy a unique perspective of the city and its surrounding natural beauty.

What is there to see at the Southampton City Art Gallery?

The Southampton City Art Gallery is home to an impressive collection of contemporary and historical artworks. Visitors can admire paintings, sculptures, and installations by renowned local and international artists.

Can I visit the University of Southampton’s campus?

Absolutely! The University of Southampton has a picturesque campus that you can explore. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the John Hansard Gallery, which features thought-provoking contemporary art exhibitions.

Where can I go shopping in Southampton?

For a shopping spree, head to Westquay Shopping Centre, Southampton’s premier retail destination. It boasts over 100 stores, including high-end brands and popular chain stores, providing something for every taste and style.

Is there a vibrant nightlife scene in Southampton?

Yes, Southampton has a vibrant nightlife scene. Explore the city’s numerous bars, pubs, and clubs, and enjoy live music, DJ sets, and a wide range of entertainment options after the sun sets.