Visit Hamphire
Catergories: Activities

Located on Hampshire’s south coast is the city of Southampton, best known for its busy port and as the UK’s cruise capital. What many people don’t know is that the city of Southampton is also one of the south coasts best shopping destinations; it is home to top theatres attracting West End shows and big name comedians, there are a number of fascinating museums and art galleries, you’ll be spoilt for choice with top places to eat and you’ll find a jam packed programme of big events.

If you are looking for a new city break destination or a day trip, Southampton is for you! Perhaps you’re off on a cruise to a far-flung corner of the world? Why not check out Southampton and see what the city has to offer before you depart. You’ll be sure to find attractions, activities and things to do to suit all ages.

Here is our guide to some of the best things to do in Southampton:

1. Go Shopping in Southampton

Southampton is one of the South Coast’s biggest and best shopping destinations and is home to Westquay Shopping centre which has over 100 stylish shops, the Marlands shopping centre, a busy High Street, the only Ikea in the South of England and several larger retail stores such as Decathlon, John Lewis and Marks and Spencer. Spend the day browsing your favourite stores and enjoy coffee, lunch or dinner at some of the many eateries.

Find out more about shopping in Hampshire

2. Visit Southampton’s art galleries

If you are an art lover or enjoy the atmosphere of a gallery, Southampton is home to two art galleries. Southampton City Art Gallery is internationally renowned and is home to one of the best publicly owned collections in the UK outside of London. The John Hansard Gallery is part of the University of Southampton and has a huge collection of contemporary and visual art. Both galleries have an exciting programme of exhibitions and activities throughout the year, see our events guide for more information. 

3. See a show at one of Southampton’s theatres

You’ll find three theatres in Southampton offering major shows and performances. The Mayflower Theatre is Southampton’s oldest theatre and Nuffield Southampton Theatres are located in the city centre and on the University of Southampton’s campus. The theatres each offer a programme of West End touring shows, internationally acclaimed performers, and famous comedians throughout the year. See our events guide for shows and performaces that are taking place throughout the year.

4. Find out about Southampton’s Titanic connections

On the 12th April 1912 Titanic left Southampton heading for New York via Cherbourg, France and Queenstown, Ireland. Today you can explore Southampton and it’s Titanic connections by visiting SeaCity Museum discovering the fascinating stories of it’s passengers. SeaCity Museum reveals the cities long established maritime links and is great for all the family. If you want to stretch your legs, walk the Titanic Trail, a self-guided route, which will take you to key locations across the city including the Titanic engineer’s memorial in East Park and the Titanic musician’s memorial in Cumberland Place. Download a copy of the Titanic Trail.

5. Visit the Southampton Boat Show

Each year in September Southampton hosts the world-famous Southampton Boat Show. This huge event attracts visitors from all over the global. Explore the latest in marine technology, look around some of the world’s most expensive super yachts, take to the water and enjoy water sport tasters or enjoy a spot of shopping. This event has something for all ages and all budgets!

Find out more about the Southampton Boat Show

6. Discover the birth place of the Spitfire at Solent Sky Museum

This hidden gem of a museum showcases Southampton’s connection to the famous Spitfire, as well as exploring the history of the development of aviation in the Solent area. Get up close to planes from all eras, adventure inside some of the cockpits and hear stories from the expert guides.

Find out more about Solent Sky Mueseum

7. Step back in time at Southampton’s Tudor House and Garden

This fascinating building was built in 1495 and is one of Southampton’s most important historic buildings. Step inside and explore 800 years’ worth of history and gain an insight into the lives of its residents throughout the years through activities, interactive displays and fascinating guided tours.

Find out more about Southampton's Tudor House and Garden

8. Explore Southampton Common

Southampton has many green spaces, but Southampton common is the biggest! The park features woodland, grassland, ponds and a lake. As well as a huge children’s adventure play area. The grounds of the park are often used for major events, such as the Common People music festival and several leisure activities. If you are a Parkrun tourist, each Saturday morning at 9am Southampton Common hosts one of the South’s busiest Parkrun events.

Find out more about Southampton Common

9. Catch the game at Southampton Football Club

Southampton Football Club are a short walk from the city centre, either watch a match or take a stadium tour and get to see behind the scenes.

Find out more about Southampton Football Club

10. Explore Southampton with a city expert

See Southampton Tour Guides know the city inside out and offer tours throughout year to help you see the city through the eyes of a local. Discover the history of Southampton, see some of the city’s oldest buildings, find out about the city’s connections with Jane Austen and even go on a ghost walk.

Find out more about See Southampton Tour Guides

Find out more about the city of Southampton and start planning your visit

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Discover events in Southampton


Southampton City Art Gallery
Southampton City Art Gallery

Explore Southampton City Art Gallery’s diverse collection of fine art, which can tell the story of European art from the Renaissance through to the present day. The gallery has regularly rotating displays feature works from the collection, national touring exhibitions and work by local artists.

SeaCity Museum
SeaCity Museum, Southampton

Based at the heart of Southampton, SeaCity Museum tells the story of the people of the city, their fascinating lives and historic connections with Titanic and the sea. Visit SeaCity Museum and Southampton to discover how they bring maritime history to life through an interactive experience designed for all ages.

Nuffield Southampton Theatres: Campus
Nuffield Southampton Theatres: Campus

Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) is one of the UK’s leading professional theatre companies, commissioning, developing and producing fresh, vital experiences through theatre.

Nuffield Southampton Theatres: City
Nuffield Southampton Theatres: City

Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) is one of the UK’s leading professional theatre companies, commissioning, developing and producing fresh, vital experiences through theatre.

Solent Sky Museum
Solent Sky Museum

The museum is uniquely concerned with the development of the aviation and aircraft manufacturing companies in the Solent area over the past century and also houses the Air Training Corps National Museum. The collection includes the Gnat, Sandringham flying boat, Schneider Trophy S6 Seaplane and the immortal Spitfire.

Southampton Tudor House and Garden
Historic House / Palace
Tudor House and Garden, Southampton

This is Southampton’s most important historic building, Tudor House reveals over 800 years of history in one fascinating location at the heart of the Old Town. Tudor House gives a unique and atmospheric insight into the lives and times of both its residents through the years, and of Southampton itself.

Westquay Southampton
Shopping Malls & Department Stores
Westquay Shopping Centre, Southampton

Westquay is the premier shopping and leisure destination on the South Coast, conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk from Southampton Central train station in the heart of Southampton city centre. Boasting over 80 stores including big brand names such as Lego, The White Company, Zara, John Lewis & Partners and Marks & Spencer it makes for the perfect shopping destination.

Mayflower Theatre
Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

The largest Theatre in the south, The Mayflower offers spectacular touring musicals - many direct from the West End - plus opera, ballet and comedy.

Southampton Common
Countryside, Parks & Gardens
Southampton Common

The 365 acres of ‘The Common’ features woodland, rough grassland, ponds, wetlands, lakes and parkland and is a much loved and well used green open space in the centre of the city, popular for informal leisure activities as well as large events.

John Hansard Gallery
John Hansard Gallery

John Hansard Gallery is one of Britain’s leading public galleries of contemporary art. Part of the University of Southampton, they support, develop and present work by outstanding artists from across the world. Established in 1979, they are proud to play a dynamic role in the cultural life of Southampton and the region.

Southampton Football Club: Matches & Stadium Tours
Sports Ground
Southampton Football Club: Matches & Stadium Tours

St Mary’s Stadium has been the home of Southampton Football Club since 2001. The stadium hosts 19 Premier League games throughout the season, with more than 32,000 fans cheering on Saints. St Mary’s is the only place in southeast England to experience the exciting atmosphere of live Premier League football.

Southampton International Boat Show 2024
Southampton International Boat Show

Now in its 55th year, Britain’s largest festival of boating is back and bigger than ever. Southampton International Boat Show  returns from 13-22 September 2024 and promises to be a real show stopper. With everything you need to make the most of life on the water, from SUPs to superyachts, there is something for everyone.