The rough and ready port city of Southampton offers an eventful history to the visitor and its status as the gateway to the Isle of Wight makes it worthy of a visit. There is plenty to see and do in the city, particularly on the waterfront, where huge ocean liners can be seen moored. It is also the place where the Titanic last set sails from and much is made of this historical significance. Southampton is known for its strong sense of history and there are several museums and other historical attractions that serve to illustrate how modern day Southampton has developed. There is also a vibrant pub scene where visitors can be get a taste of local life and experience some local culinary specialities.
Perhaps the best place to start for visitors to Southampton is The Maritime Museum, which seeks to inform visitors of Southampton’s long and fractured relationship with the sea. There is plenty of information available for those interested in finding out about the Titanic and there are lots of artefacts to accompany the story. The museum is about to reopen in larger premises and reasonably priced tickets are available to those on a shoestring. The Mediaeval Merchants House is another great historical attraction worth a visit. This house is a restored merchant’s house giving visitors the opportunity to step back in time and experience what it was like to be a successful merchant living in a bustling port town. Tickets are an extremely reasonable £4.00 for adults and won’t break the bank for those on a budget. Another attraction offering a unique and atmospheric insight into the lives and times of residents through the years is The Tudor House garden. Appealing to visitors of all ages and interests, this family friendly museum has interactive technology and fascinating displays that serve to bring to life the Southampton of old.
Art lovers should head to the Southampton City Art Gallery which offers visitors an impressive array of displays and exhibits from ancient to modern times. It is also recognised for having the finest collection of 20th century British art outside of London. It is free to enter the gallery, giving visitors the freedom to pop in and out at their convenience.
Southampton’s Riverside Park in the city centre offers visitors to the city scenic walks alongside the River Itchen. There is plenty of wildlife to spot along the river and it is a welcome escape from the busy city. The White Swan pub, located by the Riverside Park, has plenty of good value food and drink options for walkers and the views over the river from the pub are stunning.
Much is made of Southampton’s pub scene and it is highly recommended that visitors investigate some of the lively watering holes in the city centre. Up there with the best is The Bent Brief Pub which offers live music every night of the week in a traditional environment. Another pub that is highly regarded for its dedication to preserving a traditional atmosphere is The Old Farmhouse, the oldest pub in Southampton. Such pubs offer great value for money and a unique glimpse into life in Southampton. There is also an extensive selection of modern bars, lounges and music venues on offer in Southampton’s city centre and the Leisure World complex contains most of the highlights.
A trip to Southampton perhaps wouldn’t be complete without a boat trip, and the Hythe ferry operating on the town quay is perfect for visitors to the centre. The ferry takes passengers over to the quaint village of Hythe, where a few hours can be pleasantly spent strolling around and having a bite to eat. Riding the ferry gives visitors to Southampton an up close view of the impressively huge container and passenger ships that frequent Southampton harbour, serving to remind visitors of Southampton’s international port status.
Southampton is well worth a visit by those living on a shoestring budget. There is plenty to see and do in the city centre and the rewarding walks through the Riverside Park and opportunity to take the ferry mean Southampton can be enjoyed by all kinds of people.
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|Jemma is a news & research reporter for compareandsave.com.
Having worked as a journalist on a number of personal finance websites; she now spends time researching and commenting on UK personal finance stories and investigating new ways to help our readers save money.
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