The Romans and the Saxons were among the first settlers to call Southampton home. Although some of their ancient ruins can still be visited today, much of them were destroyed during World War II. Despite its sometimes tumultuous past, Southampton has picked itself off, dusted itself off and reinvented itself as a prime holiday location. As one of England’s fastest growing cities, this southern seaside port of call is a pleasant place to explore and learn more about when visiting during a cruise. From well preserved and historic town walls to a bevy of excellent theaters, Southampton has a little bit of something for anyone who’s lucky enough to visit.
Sightseeing & Things To Do
With the memory of the doomed ship Titanic still weighing heavily on the hearts of many locals, Southampton is a wonderful place to learn more about that unforgettable event. Even if you aren’t a huge fan of history, you won’t be able to help but be mesmerized by Southampton’s amazing town walls. Those who choose to eschew the major sights in order to do a bit of shopping and enjoy some of the local cuisine won’t go away disappointed, either. All told, Southampton is a well rounded and very enjoyable port of call.
Thanks to its proximity to the sea, Southampton has a proud maritime tradition that is reflected in many of its key attractions. From museums to memorials, there are several great ways to learn a bit about this charming city’s past. Consider these options:
The Maritime Museum
There are few places in the world where one can view as many artifacts and exhibits about the doomed passenger ship Titanic, and Southampton’s Maritime Museum is one of them. Being able to see some of the actual items that were recovered from the icy waters surrounding the ship on that fateful night in April 1912 is a truly mesmerizing and unforgettable experience. Southampton, after all, is where Titanic set sail from on that well known day.
Red Funnel Ferry
If you have a bit of extra time to spare while in Southampton, jump on the Red Funnel Ferry over to the Isle of Wight. This can make for a lovely day trip, and it’s a really superb way to see another English resort destination in a single trip.
In addition to the Maritime Museum, there are a handful of memorials in Southampton that are dedicated to the memories of the ship’s crew, captain and engineers. Make a point of stopping by one in order to get a feel for the tragedy that occurred so many years ago.
Walk The Town Walls
Southampton’s town walls are among the most well preserved in England, which is no small feat considering all of the damage wrought by World War II. Take a stroll around them to journey through time when major cities were regularly walled in against attackers and pillagers.
Considering that Southampton proudly calls itself the shopping capital of England’s south coast, it’s not surprising that there are plenty of places to spend money in this city. The West Quay is the place to go if you want to do some serious shopping while in Southampton. You can find all of the most popular British department stores and several independent shops here, making for a very nice mix.
Best Souvenir To Bring Back To the Cruise Ship
Jewelry and cushions made by local artists are among the few “authentic” Southampton souvenirs that most people bring back to the ship. You can also take your pick from typical souvenir fare like t-shirts and key chains at several small shops in town.
Eating – Sample the Local Cuisine
If you’re going to be in a coastal British town, you’ve got to do things right and sample some of the ever popular fish and chips that are sold all over town. If you’ve never had authentic UK fish and chips, you are in for a greasy, delicious treat. Sausages and mash are a great choice when you’re looking for a hot breakfast; in fact, many locals enjoy this dish at all times of time. Whether you try traditional English fare – or if you sit down at one of Southampton’s many international restaurants – you will never get back on the ship hungry.
When, Where, and How
When To Go
Anytime between April and September is the best time to come to Southampton. The days are much longer during that part of year, making it easier to make the most out of your time in this charming city. Winters aren’t terrible in Southampton, but it does get dark pretty early.
Where You’re Docked
Three main cruise terminals are regularly used at Southampton, emphasizing the popularity of this location as a seaside port town. Although each of the three is in slightly different proximity to the town center, they can all be found in the western docks section and none are inconvenient in terms of getting out to see the sights in Southampton.
Which Cruise Ships Go Here?
Many of the major cruise lines have itineraries that include stops at Southampton. A few of the biggest cruise lines that stop in Southampton are P & O Cruises, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean. However, there are many other options available in terms of ships, dates, days in port and at sea when it comes to Southampton.