Bored of getting wet in downpours? Are the kids going stir-crazy cooped up inside? There’s no need to get fed up sheltering from the rain, as there are plenty of rainy day activities to enjoy when you visit Southampton.
We’ll take you on a tour around the city’s top 7 wet weather attractions that are perfect for the whole family to explore without getting soggy!
1. The Solent Sky Museum
If you want to enjoy an educational day out without getting sodden and squelchy, head to the Solent Sky Museum. Families can go on an organised guided tour of the humungous Sandringham flying boat and learn about the history of the aviation industry in Southampton and the nearby region of Solent. The birthplace of the famous Spitfire and the Imperial Airways Flying Boats, there are displays and exhibits to fascinate and educate all ages.
The museum offers disabled access, plenty of toilets located throughout and an on-site café.
Getting there: Located 1.6 miles from the Southampton Central train station, it is easy to take a taxi to the museum. Depending on the weather, those with older children may want to enjoy the 30-minute walk. There is also a Bluestar bus service running from Central Station to Itchen Bridge and from there the museum is a 3-minute walk away.
2. Mayflower Theatre
If you want to get out and about on a wet evening but stay dry, catch a show at the Mayflower Theatre. The line-up of shows includes family-friendly favourites like Cinderella, seasonal specials including The Snowman and stand-up comedians. When you book online, you can choose when to sit from the seating plan. The Mayflower Restaurant is a great place to grab a mean before a show.
Getting there: The theatre is just a short 5-10-minute walk from the Southampton train station, making it readily accessible on foot if it’s not raining too heavily. Taxis from the station rank can also take you on the 0.5-mile journey, should you prefer.
3. Westquay Shopping Centre
For keen shoppers, the Westquay Shopping Centre is the ideal place to head to when it’s raining cats and dogs outside. The indoor centre offers a wide choice of stores and brands, including high street favourites Topshop, New Look and Next. There are also lots of places to grab a bite to eat and drink including Five Guys, Costa Coffee and Pizza Express. Kids will love the Showcase Cinema De Lux, with customisable electric recliners and multi-dimensional sound effects that add to the cinematic experience. For those with excess energy to burn off, go to the Hollywood Bowl where you can entertain little ones of all ages with a range of games, from bowling and pool to air hockey.
Getting there: You can catch a bus every 7 minutes directly from Southampton train station to Westquay, which takes 5 minutes. You will need to walk the final 2 minutes to the shopping centre. If you have a good raincoat or umbrella to hand, walking from the station via the Western Esplanade will take about 12 minutes.
4. SeaCity Museum
One of the best plans on a dull rainy day! The SeaCity Museum is dedicated to telling the story of this maritime city and its famous connection to the Titanic. Interactive displays will entertain children of all ages, while the Learning Deck is home to educational rooms that host fun family workshops. The Galley is on-hand for when your little ones get hungry and The Stores is perfect if you want to take a souvenir home with you.
Getting there: Found less than half a mile from Southampton train station, the museum is best reached on foot. If the rain is too heavy, jump in a taxi at the station rank to do the quick 5-minute drive in the dry.
5. Oxygen Freejumping Trampoline Park
If your kids have boundless energy, take them to the Oxygen Freejumping Trampoline Park and get bouncing! It’s the perfect place to go if the weather is dreary outside, with its 150 interconnected trampolines waiting to be bounced on. There’s also a mega airbag that can be used to practice your springing on, a dodgeball court to play on and a squashy foam pit to jump headfirst into.
Getting there: The easiest way to get from Southampton train station to the park is on a 25-minute taxi ride. Another simple way to get there is to hop onto a bus to do the 30-40-minute journey and while it’s not located in the city centre, it’s well-worth the extra time.
6. Steamship Shieldhall
If your children are fascinated by big ships, head down to the Western Docks and take a tour of the awesome Steamship Shieldhall. The largest working steam ship in the UK, she is an impressive tribute to the country’s maritime heritage and as well as being a spectacular sight to behold, it also offers a wonderful educational opportunity.
Getting there: The easiest way to reach the port is on foot on a 30-minute stroll from the station. However, if you arrive just in time for a downpour, you can also get a taxi to cover the majority of the journey and walk the final stretch.
7. Southampton City Art Gallery
If you don’t want to get soaked outside, go to the Southampton City Art Gallery located inside the Civic Centre. It’s an integral part of the city’s history, after originally opening its doors to the public back in 1939. Perfect for culture vultures, exhibits range from photography, sculpture and art to painting and film. With more than 5,300 works of art on display, this impressive gallery will excite and captivate imaginations of young and old.
Getting there: Found next door to the SeaCity Museum, head eastwards out of Southampton Train Station on a 5-10-minute walk. If the rain is too heavy, take a taxi from outside the station on the short 5-minute drive.
And for those of you who don’t mind getting a bit soggy in the name of adventure, why not go on a wet Wellington boot walk?
If you’re determined not to be put off by the wet weather, then put your waterproofs on and go puddle hunting for a splashing good time! Going outdoors on a rainy day can be heaps of fun and there are plenty of wonderful al fresco spaces to explore, if you aren’t afraid to get a bit wet. Wriggle your feet into your wellies and get in a taxi for the 5.6-mile drive to the Royal Victoria Country Park for a walk. The Itchen Valley Country Park on Allington Lane is the same distance from the train station and is another great parkland for kids to explore.
While you're out and about why not keep your eyes peeled for some of these colourful characters and cross them off this checklist.
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Written by Seb