Discover the ‘Cruise Capital’ of Europe
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Southampton welcomes more than four million visitors every year, and with an amazing number of things to do it’s no wonder. The city is bursting at the seams with museums, music venues, galleries, parks and of course lots of maritime history. Whether you’re going to make your way on your next cruise adventure or you just want to visit the city, our guide will help you plan the perfect stay.
Southampton Central Station is conveniently located just a short walk from the cultural quarter, some of the best parks, and just a stone’s throw from the sea. It’s the perfect place to start your visit.
Whether you need to pick up something you forgot to pack or just want to indulge in some retail therapy, Southampton has everything you could want when it comes to shopping. You’ll find two indoor shopping centres, as well as a great selection of independent shops, meaning you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Westquay shopping centre is always a favourite and at under a 10-minute walk from the station - it’s the perfect choice for finding all your high street favourites in one convenient location. There’s also plenty of cafés and restaurants scattered around if you need to rest weary feet!
If you prefer independent shops and boutiques, head to Bedford Place. Here, independent up-market shops huddle together, hidden down side streets, allowing you to meander through the historic district and search for unique finds. After a long day of shopping, you can stay here as afternoon turns to the evening that turns into night. Bars, pubs and restaurants breathe a new lease of life into the area.
Love it or loathe it, the Ikea in Southampton city centre is a popular shopping destination and thanks to its convenient location, you can drop in for some home accessories or just to eat the world-famous meatballs!
With a thriving café culture, a host of great fish and chip shops, and all the seafood restaurants you could want, Southampton goes above and beyond when it comes to food and drink. You’ll also find a great selection of traditional pubs, lively bars, and pumping music venues to continue the night in, should you so choose.
It’s not all seafood though. Southampton has an amazing selection of veggie and vegan options, meaning no one gets left out of the obligatory holiday cream tea. With so many great locally-run options, even the pickiest of eaters will be spoiled for choice.
Thanks to its great seaside location and proximity to beautiful farmland, it’s perhaps unsurprising that there’s an amazing selection of local produce on offer. To find some of the best, head to Southampton Market on Fridays and Saturdays, where amongst the vintage accessories and antiques, you can find some of the very best local food on offer.
Southampton is a must-visit location for culture vultures. Whether you love museums, music, film or theatre, the city is full of amazing things to see and do. Of course, if you prefer to keep it simple there are also plenty of beaches and parks where you can play outside with the kids, whatever the weather.
The choice of museums and galleries is immense. Some of our favourites include Southampton City Art Gallery, where you can find art spanning eight centuries featuring an amazing selection of contemporary British art. Plus, there’s SeaCity, which is a state of the art, child-friendly museum looking at Southampton’s maritime history.
Southampton is home to the Mayflower Theatre, which shows a great selection of West End shows, as well as musicals, opera and ballet. The Nuffield Theatre at the university is where you can see a varied programme, including anything from Shakespeare to contemporary dance. If you’re more of a film-nut, try and get a ticket to see something at the Harbour Lights Picturehouse, where you can enjoy independent and European films, alongside blockbusters.
Southampton Central Station has step-free access throughout. Both accessible ticket machines and office counters are available in the station, as are ramps for train access. Customers are advised that there are no accessible taxis available at the station.
As well a network of local train stations, there are a range of options when it comes to onward travel from Southampton Central. There’s an excellent bus service that connects the station to the ferry and cruise ports, as well as the wider area. You can also continue on to Southampton Airport Parkway.
For further information about Southampton Station, check out our station guide.
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If you want to explore Southampton and all it has to offer, you’ll want to stay longer than a day! So, make sure you book a great value hotel in Southampton before you arrive.
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