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Southampton Travel Guide

flights to Southampton

In 1912 the 'unsinkable ship' the Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton. The city’s seafaring past is well documented and presented at the Maritime Museum. The museum also displays the vital role of the sea in Southampton's past documenting its development as a major port in the 19th century up to the era of the great ocean going liners. Southampton is still the home port of the Cunard passenger liner the QE2. Away from the sea the city has a number of other historical sites and museums, the Medieval Merchant's House in French Street is well worth a visit, as is the God’s House Tower Museum and Garden displaying the city’s archaeological history from Roman times to the present.

Today’s Southampton still lives and breathes the sea, visiting ships; yachts and liners still sail up the majestic Solent to visit the home of sailing. The Boat Show held annually in the city is a major international event on the boating calendar. A popular spot to experience the maritime comings and goings is from Town Quay Marina with its bustling range of bars and restaurants. Nearby Ocean village is one of the UK’s largest marina developments with literally hundreds of vessels lined up around its jetties. Shamrock Marina at Northam is for the sailing purist, catering almost exclusively and comprehensively for the serious ‘boaty’.

For those without a burning desire for marine life Southampton offers some excellent shopping opportunities. The traditional shopping area around Bargate is still an active vibrant commercial area with a varied range of shops, bars and cafes. West Quay shopping mall between the town centre and the port is an enormous shopping centre featuring all the ‘big name’ shops mixed with an intriguing range of specialist outlets. Parking for up to 4,000 cars makes West Quay convenient and easily accessible.

Southampton by night is far from sleepy with just about every conceivable form of entertainment close to hand. The MayflowerTheatre stages an impressive programme of events from ballet to Shakespeare to musicals. Leisure World at West Quay caters for those who like all their entertainment under one roof, this multipurpose complex houses a13 screen cinema, 2 nightclubs a bowling alley and a casino. Throw in several bars and restaurants to get a good idea why Leisure World is one of the south of England’s most successful entertainment venues. The Guildhall usually has a packed diary of events for all tastes musical, from rock to the classics; Jongleurs Comedy Club features many of the class acts on the comedy circuit.

Harbour Lights Picture House is one of the UK’s most prestigious independent cinemas showcasing a broad range of classic, experimental and alternative viewing. Sports fans can visit the ‘Saints’ Southampton’s new state of the art football stadium for some engaging Premier league action, or more genteelly spend a perfect English summers day sipping a Pimms and listening to the sound of leather on willow at the Hampshire County Cricket Club.

Southampton is blessed with the ‘Great Outdoors’ literally at its doorstep with every sort of sea borne activity available on or around the Solent. Landlubbers can lose themselves in King John’s historic hunting ground, the New Forest, only a 20 minute drive from the city centre. Red Funnel line ferries shuttle backwards and forwards to the Isle of Wight a journey well worth doing for the spectacular scenery alone.

Southampton International Airport has become the area’s key regional departure point for many domestic and international flights as well as an increasing number of number Mediterranean charter departures. The airports Parkway station is a mere 50m from the air terminal. From Southampton Central rail station London is a little over one hour away by train and there are regular through trains to all other parts of the country.

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