Things to do and places to eat in Southampton
PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 September 2015 | UPDATED: 17:00 16 September 2015
As the city's renowned Boat Show sails in to port from the 11 to 20 September why not extend your stay to experience Southampton's true culture says Claire Pitcher
Southampton has seen something of a resurgence of its restaurant scene of late. New establishments are popping up all over the city including laidback Maritimo Lounge (02380 211791) in Ocean Village, the fun and original Stein Garten (02380 335212), serving up authentic German cuisine and beers and a new offering from the people behind Cargo on Oxford Street, Tap Room (02380 632002) – boasting craft beers and yummy pizzas. For more refined dining, try Max’s Bar and Brasserie (02380 225227) on Oxford Street and enjoy a fantastic wine list to accompany locally sourced dishes…don’t leave without trying one of their amazing cocktails (Max formally ran the bar at Lime Wood). Quay Fifteen (02380 336615) in Shamrock Quay Marina is a hidden gem with a brilliant tasting menu for something a bit special, and head to the newly opened Flying Dutchman (02380 336988) for a Mediterranean feel and fresh fish and seafood. For locality to the Boat Show, The Gatehouse Grill (02380 339211) in Town Quay is great for a steak after a long day. But if it’s a humble burger and an ice cream you’re craving, it has to be 7Bone Burger Co (02380 584607) followed by a trip to Sprinkles (02380 557780), both on Portswood Road.
To find out more about Southampton’s maritime history, head to its latest investment, the SeaCity Museum. With its amazing interactive exhibits, you can learn about the Titanic Story as well as listening to the stories of people who have departed from or arrived in the city over the last 200,000 years. For details and opening times visit www.seacitymuseum.co.uk.
If you prefer to see the city up close, then book on to one of the fantastic walking tours run by See Southampton. ‘The Titanic Trail’ will take you back in time and show you where and how the passengers and crew spent their last night on land before boarding the famous RMS Titanic for her Maiden Voyage on 10th April 1912. Or discover the city’s ‘Hidden History’ as you embark on a 90 minute tour of Southampton’s backstreets, vaults and walls.
Bed for the night
The Pig in the Wall is a stylish boutique hotel set within the city’s medieval walls and owned by the same people as The Pig in Brockenhurst. Whether you are looking for a slice of cake and glass of fizz or a room for the night, it is within a stones throw of the Boat Show entrance. Rooms start from £130 mid-week, see www.pighotel.com to book. Also nearby on Oxford Street is Cargo (www.cargosouthampton.com) with rooms from £75, the aforementioned Flying Dutchmen has recently renovated rooms from £65 and Ennios (www.ennios-boutique-hotel.co.uk) on Town Quay has rooms starting at £75. If it’s a large hotel and spa break you are looking for then try the brand new Hilton at the Ageas Bowl (www3.hilton.com)– particularly good if you’re a cricket fan, as all rooms have a view of the pitch.
Southampton is well-known for its excellent theatres and art galleries. Coming up at the Mayflower over the next couple of months you could see Jimmy Carr on 11 October, Sweeny Todd from the 15 October and Blood Brothers from 10 November. See www.mayflower.org.uk. At Nuffield Theatre, Jeremy Hardy is taking his humour along on 18 October. See www.nuffieldtheatre.co.uk, or, if you’re more in to art, then don’t miss Southampton City Art Gallery with its permanent collection of 3,700 works and free entry. Visit www.southampton.gov.uk for more details on upcoming exhibits.
Nigel Philpott is marketing director for the brilliant attration SS Shieldhall, as well as a Green Badge Guide for the city. “Working on Steamship Shieldhall and being a Green Badge Guide for the city I have become very connected with the history of Southampton, and especially that of the waterfront. Not many residents or visitors to the city appreciate Southampton’s role as a gateway port and its connections to King Canute and the Pilgrim Fathers, and it’s always a pleasure to surprise people with these facts. The city is moving forward with the new Arts Quarter and the Watermark WestQuay Project and plans for further development of the Port that will help reconnect the people of Southampton with the sea. The Music in the City event, which sees the opening up of the City’s Medieval Wine Vaults and other unusual venues to different bands on October 3 and 4, is a great way to explore Southampton. I’d recommend marking a route from the Civic Centre down the QE2 mile to the Shieldhall, allowing time to see different bands and to explore the parks.”
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