Southampton is the port many cruise ships depart from in the UK. Little did I know this city had so much more to offer.
We were attending a car event in Beaulieu on a Sunday so Kev & I decided to make a weekend of it by visiting Southampton on Saturday and staying overnight. Beaulieu is about 30 minutes from the centre. I would highly recommend visiting the National Motor Museum. In addition to the best collection of cars, including a collection from Top Gear, it is also home to:
- a Palace House which will give you a taste of what it was like to live in the Victorian times
- Beaulieu Abbey where you can walk in the footsteps of mediaeval Monks who lived there 800 years ago
- Gardens which include a victorian kitchen & flower garden and Alice in Wonderland topiary
- Secret Army Exhibition & more
Entrance to all the above is included in the price. We did not have a chance to explore Beaulieu village but just the drive through the New Forest was enough to give us a flavour and an excuse to return.
We got to Southampton just in time for lunch. I knew I wanted good views, food and a cocktail or two however I did not book anything (silly idea). Now more than ever it is so important to reserve tables especially if you have your heart set on a place. We missed out on the
Food & Drink
Oxford Street is known for its independent restaurants and lifestyle. After missing out on pizza at HarBar we had Italian on our mind but the Italian restaurant we saw was closed for lunch. Right opposite was Oxford Brasserie and the “mixed seafood platter” on their specials board caught my eye.
It was a sunny day so we sat outside. The ambiance was brilliant and it was a perfect spot for lunch. We tucked into a seafood platter for one and some chicken wings. I was “wowed” by the seafood platter. It was excellent and such great value for money at £17. Fresh, versatile and full of flavour, this platter for one was ideal for two. Langoustines, prawns, scallop and fish all served with some vegetables and warm seasoned potatoes all in a light tomato sauce.
The chicken wings were tasty too and perfectly cooked and flavoured. This was £7.
Pig Hotel: I have longed to stay at one of the Pig hotels. By the time we went to book the hotel they only had the more premium rooms left so we decided against it.
Things to do
Shopping: The city had a great shopping centre, West Quay if you are after high street stores and restaurants. The shopping centre is modern and had a good selection of stores. There are also independent and specialist shops dotted around the city. Visit Southampton has great information on them.
Ocean Village: The yacht-filled marina is somewhere I could spend the whole day. There are plenty of bars, restaurants that overlook the marina. Surrounded by residential blocks, upmarket hotels it is a perfect spot to people watch.
History & Culture: The city is full of historic sites including the country’s most complete medieval city walls and wine vaults. You can visit the Tudor House, Seacity Museum and much more. We did not have time to explore but walked around and explored the walls and it was fascinating.
Parking: There was plenty of parking, which was reasonably priced around the city. We parked at Crosshouse Road Car Park which is 6 minutes walk from the Marina. Parking was £2.60 for four hours.
It is a beautiful city to walk around. Once the cruise liners start operating I imagine it is quite nice just sitting by the bay and people watching. Have you been to Southampton?