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Southampton Hotels

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Featured Southampton Hotels

Visiting Southampton – A City Guide

Southampton has an impressive range of cultural offerings from museums and art galleries, to parks and concert halls. And though many flock here simply to board their cruise, this thriving city is also home to some of the biggest shopping centres and liveliest nightlife in southern England.

Southampton: city layout

Being a major port city, central Southampton suffered major damage during World War II. The city centre today is mostly packed with modern buildings and where you’ll find the majority of shops, pubs and restaurants. South of the centre, Southampton Docks is an important terminal for cruise ships and ferries to the Isle of Wight. East of the centre, former docklands area Ocean Village is fast becoming a new waterside leisure district, brimming with cinemas, cafés, bars and restaurants. North of the centre, the Cultural Quarter is a focal point for museums, theatres and galleries.

What to see in Southampton

While much of central Southampton is modern, reminders of the past remain there. You can walk along stretches of the original medieval city walls and visit the old stone Bargate, once the entrance to the city. Also dotted around the centre are monuments bearing witness to the city’s maritime significance. The Mayflower Memorial in harbourside Mayflower Park honours the Pilgrim Fathers, who sailed from Southampton to the New World in 1620. You can also pay respects at the Titanic Engineer Officers Memorial in East Park, which remembers those who perished aboard the ill-fated liner in 1912.

The concierge recommends…

  • Celebrating the area’s links with aviation history, in particular with the iconic Spitfire fighter plane, at the Solent Sky Museum.
  • Gaining insight into how people once lived by touring the restored period rooms in the half-timbered Tudor House and Garden.
  • Learning about the city’s ties with the sea at the SeaCity Museum, and discovering the history of the RMS Titanic, which sailed from Southampton on its first and only voyage.
  • Appreciating eight centuries of Western art at Southampton City Art Gallery, where the centrepiece is a fine collection of contemporary British works.

Hotels in Southampton

Southampton has a range of accommodation options to suit every taste and budget. You can stay in large modern hotels geared toward business travellers, or pick from a range of short-stay apartments and bed and breakfasts that make perfect bases for any leisurely city break.

Many hotels and apartments are located in the city centre, placing you close to the port and most restaurants, pubs and shops. New hotels are appearing in the rejuvenated former docklands area of Ocean Village. If you choose to stay in the western suburbs, you’ll be in a quieter residential neighbourhood near the M27 motorway and some out-of-town businesses, but still around a 10-minute drive or a short bus journey from the city centre. Staying in the eastern suburbs or in Eastleigh puts you close to both the M27 and Southampton Airport (SOU).

Eating Out in Southampton

Dining options in Southampton cover all bases, from bars and pubs to trendy cafés and fine-dining restaurants. As in other British cities, restaurants serving Indian, Chinese and Italian cuisine are very popular, as is traditional ‘pub grub’ in a local public house.

Central Southampton is a happy hunting ground for places to eat. Try looking along Oxford Street, a trendy a popular meeting point lined with numerous bistros and cafés. You’ll also find an increasing number of waterside eateries at up-and-coming Ocean Village, a redeveloped former docklands district now home to modern wine bars and restaurants. There are more cafés close to smart attractions in the Cultural Quarter. Outer suburbs to the east and west of the centre have fewer restaurants, but you will find plenty of pubs here serving traditional British food.

The chef recommends...

  • Fish and chips: White fish, traditionally cod or haddock, fried in crispy batter and served with chunky chips (French fries).
  • Sunday roast: A large joint of roasted beef, lamb or pork, carved into slices and eaten for lunch. Served with roast potatoes, vegetables and various ‘trimmings’ (mint sauce with lamb; apple sauce with pork; English mustard and horseradish with beef).
  • Bangers and mash: Traditional English sausages (usually pork), served in many pubs with puréed potato and onion gravy.
  • Trout: Some of the country’s finest trout are caught locally in the River Test, and sold both fresh and smoked.

Shopping in Southampton

As the region’s largest city, Southampton is a major shopping hub with indoor centres, retail parks and department stores. Besides familiar British chains, you’ll find plenty of independent outlets and boutiques. Haggling over prices is not common, although in some shops you can ask for discounts on multiple purchases.

Southampton’s shopping centres around pedestrianised Above Bar Street, as well as London Road and High Street. WestQuay shopping centre is home to over 100 stores on three levels, while The Marlands has another 50. You’ll find more big stores at nearby West Quay Retail Park, while central East Street is a ‘speciality shopping’ district filled with quirky boutiques. For small outlets, head north of the centre to Bedford Place. You can also try The Boutique Village in the western suburbs, which is home to 150 independent retailers – ideal if you’re in the market for gifts like handmade toys or craft jewellery.

Top markets in Southampton

  • Bargate Market sets up beside the city gate on High Street each Friday and Saturday, offering a mix of local produce, handicrafts and international food stalls.
  • A more traditional market arrives in the eastern suburb of Bitterne Village every Wednesday, with stalls selling local produce, clothing, shoes and flowers.
  • A similar locals’ market is held on Thursdays along the High Street in the western suburb of Shirley.
  • A German-style Christmas Market appears on Above Bar Street in mid-November and runs until December 23. It features seasonal crafts and gifts, festive music and freshly barbecued German sausages.

Culture & Nightlife in Southampton

Southampton has a thriving cultural scene with museums, art galleries and theatres. The nightlife is also eclectic and caters to most tastes, whether you’re looking for a traditional British pub or a modern cocktail bar. You’ll have a wide choice of nightclubs if you want to dance into the night.

Much of Southampton’s daytime cultural attractions are located in the city centre, as are the city’s older and more traditional pubs and bars. Just north of the centre, the Cultural Quarter is home to museums and theatres. East of the centre, waterside Ocean Village is an up-and-coming cultural destination with multi-screen cinemas and plenty of modern bars and clubs. After dark, you’ll find a cluster of lively bars and clubs aimed at a younger crowd in the area north of the Cultural Quarter, bordered by London Road, Carlton Crescent and Bedford Place.

Theatres and concert halls in Southampton

  • Take in a show or a concert at the Mayflower Theatre, one of the largest theatres in southern England, which has the space to present big productions from West End musicals to ballets and opera.
  • Located on the university campus, the Nuffield Theatre features theatrical performances that vary from Shakespeare to contemporary drama and regularly books touring stand-up comedians.
  • Turner Sims concert hall hosts regular classical and jazz concerts by big international artists.
  • The O2 Guildhall offers a diverse programme with shows by internationally famous rock bands, stand-up comedians and classical orchestral performances.

Visiting Southampton with a Family

Whatever the weather, you’ll find a wide range of fun ways to keep the children entertained in and around Southampton. You can visit museums to learn about the city’s past, or head to free parks where they can burn off excess energy. They can even try their hand at a range of winter sports.

Children will love the old aircraft displayed at the Solent Sky Museum and can find out about the city’s links to the creation of the Spitfire. For a maritime history lesson, the exhibits at the SeaCity Museum include an interactive 1:25 scale model of the RMS Titanic. Whether they are novices or seasoned pros, kids of all ages can slip on a helmet and goggles for year-round skiing or snowboarding at the Alpine Snowsports Centre. Or if you just want them to run around a little, the city’s interlinked Central Parks have acres of space for young ones to run around in safety.

Family fun day trips from Southampton

  • Younger children will want to visit Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park Theme Park, where you can choose from around 60 rides and attractions.
  • North of the city, Marwell Zoo’s residents include penguins and tigers, all housed in a peaceful woodland setting with three adventure playgrounds.
  • At Go Ape Southampton in Itchen Valley Country Park, children can don safety harnesses to cross high ropes, crawl through tunnels and whizz through the treetops on a zip line.
  • Board the Red Funnel catamaran and in 25 minutes you can be on the Isle of Wight, heading for one of its sandy beaches.

Latest Southampton Hotel Reviews

gunwharf quays
By nelson
Nice hotel in portsmouth. Very handy if visiting the historic dockyards. You also get 24 hours free parking in the shopping comple. [Less]
Great location and breakfast
By Wrigleyville Sam
I spent a week at the hotel and was still discovering new things to do within a 10 minute walk from the hotel the day I left. Breakfast at the Holiday Inn was a great start to each day. [Less]
Good location and friendly staff
By Shadownige
First, the location puts you smack in the centre of the city shopping/restaurant/leisure. Friendly staff. The rooms are clean and comfortable with furniture placed in the convenient practical [More] locations Nice power on the shower. Would book here if in Portsmouth again [Less]
Excellent staff
By Ellie 10
The staff were very helpful, the lift was out of order, [Less]
By Liverpool FC
A very nice and well presented hotel. Staff were very friendly checking in and out. Rooms very spacious with a desk for working and a sofa to watch tv. The bathroom clean and tidy with a roomy [More] shower. Would definitely recommend a stay. [Less]
reasonable hotel for price
By Steve
Lounge facilities rather small for number of guests [Less]
Breakfast and evening meal
By Nh49
I found the meals were limited, l wanted low calorie type meals but the choice was limited, although l think for the majority it was good, although l was able to find a reasonable choice l went else [More] where for my evening mea [Less]
Very modern and clean hotel.
By Rosie
The hotel was very modern, clean and comfortable with friendly staff. Breakfast was excellent with a good choice. [Less]
business tgraveller
By sonny
the hotel was immaculate and the staff were very attentive to all customers needs [Less]

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