Southampton is a busy seafaring city located at the head of Southampton Water. Commercial traffic takes precedence at all times, with much movement of heavy shipping and ferries.
With such a place in seafaring history it is quite surprising that yachting and leisure boating has only really taken off in this area in the not too distant past.
Perhaps it has been the unhappy mix of industrial looking surroundings and constant shipping movements that has discouraged yachting. Without a doubt nowadays the facilities for small craft are second to none, with several major marinas and yards catering for just about every need, from trailer craft to hauling super yachts.
It must be noted that MDL group have a real monopoly on berths in this area with only the Town Quay Marina and Kemps Quay not belonging to them. Furthermore they are active in the River Hamble, owning three of the Marinas there. Basically wherever you go, whichever of their marinas you choose the prices are the same at £3.80 per metre per night for vessels under 12.5 m, and more for larger vessels. No doubt they have a similar grip on the Marine tenants renting workshop space etc.
Some might accuse them of playing the board game " Monopoly", buying up marinas one on top of another to gain the financial advantage. Businesswise though it really does make sense, and they are constantly improving facilities which is to be applauded. (In the board game "Monopoly" it is generally considered preferable to buyout whole areas and develop them, so you can charge higher prices to anyone landing there. There is also however a completely different winning technique which wiped me out the first time I encountered it... but here is not the place to go into this).
Visitors shouldn't have too much trouble securing a berth except perhaps at the time of the Southampton Boat Show, but all should be aware that this is really not a cruising area in it's own right. It is more a place to park your boat or have work done, with all the attractions of a reasonable sized city on hand together with good transport connections.
The speedy types with fast motorboats can zoom away in the sheltered Southampton Water, but slower vessels and sailing yachts will find little of interest and a bit of a slog in the immediate area. Furthermore to reach Southampton or the River Hamble involves passing through a tricky and controlled area where the Solent joins Southampton water. This is covered in a separate article about Southampton water inc. Hythe Marina Village. Another different article covers the River Hamble and it's mooring options.
This particular article deals with the Southampton central area. The River Itchen as far as Northam Bridge including five marinas and various boatyard facilities and the River Test as far as Eling.
Pilotage directions for approaching and moving up Southampton water have been given in a previous article, this article deals with the central docks area, and the River Itchen.
If approaching up Southampton water, keeping just outside of the channel on the starboard side, be aware that the shallows extend much closer towards the main channel from the region of the green conical Moorhead buoy.
This buoy is left to starboard and the green conical Weston Shelf buoy (Fl(3).G.15s) can also be left very close to starboard.
It is probably wise to monitor VHF channel 12 for the harbour authorities and announcements concerning shipping movements. If necessary they can be phoned on 023 8060 8208, with a link to their website below:
If intending to go up the River Itchen a swing is made towards the NNW, and the green conical buoy Swinging Ground 1 (Oc.G.4s) is left close to starboard, with the Port Signal and Radar Station off on the port side. The starboard side of the river is well marked with lit green posts, and the port side by the dock walls. At high water there will appear to be quite an expanse, but much on your starboard side is shallow. The head of Weston Jetty protruding into the River from the Eastern side marks the edge of the shallows, as do the green posts mentioned above. Photograph No.4 in the gallery, an aerial shot of Ocean Village Marina clearly shows this. In this area the River trends NNE.
After passing the Marina and sailing under Itchen Bridge with more than 23 m overhead clearance, the channel carries an absolute minimum of around 1.5 m at CD.
The lay of the deepwater is marked by beacons, piles, heavy mooring buoys, wharfs and marinas. Vessels with masts will find their progress halted at Northam Bridge.
If intending to go past the docks towards the River Test leave the Radar and Signal station on your starboard side instead of turning into the River Itchen. There is deepwater close up to the dock walls, and by following these in a generally NW direction you will pass the Town Quay Marina and the Red Jet terminal, followed by the Red Funnel car ferry terminal.
A sharp eye needs to be kept all times for these ferry movements. The port side of the deepwater channel is marked by heavy red can buoys.
Now you will be passing the large expanse of the Western docks, where you may well find large ships manoeuvring. It is possible, with a suitable rise of tide, to avoid this area by taking a shortcut inside the shallows of the Marchwood area. The present chart shows this clearly, ducking out of the main deepwater area between the red can buoy "Mulberry" which is left to port, and the red can buoy "Cracknore" which is left to starboard. AB Ports have undertaken a project to dredge and widen the dock channel in this area but this does not effect the "inshore" channel. The two marks which some of you will remember gave a leading line for this channel are no longer, but the first mark (shown on the chart as a pile mark) is believed to have been replaced with a yellow buoy.
At the bottom of this article our member Tyro Sailor has left notes about the Marchwood channel and the Eling channel and they are worth a read if you intend going there
In the region of the red can buoy Swingin g Ground 8, will be see the pontoon belonging to Marchwood yacht club, and many of the moorings you have just passed through belong to them too. It may be possible to pick up a mooring or use their pontoon and details are given later.
Following the main channel as marked by the red can buoys brings you to the semicircular end of the swinging ground, marked by red buoy Swinging Ground No 16. Immediately north of this lies the easterly Cardinal buoy Eling, and tracking WNW from this lies the drying Eling Channel.
The way is marked by a number of posts and the lay of the moorings for small craft. Just after post number 13 the Creek swings hard to the south-west forming Eling Basin. Power lines crossing the Creek have over 26 m of clearance. Although much of Eling Creek dries at CD, at LWN there is a surprising amount of water in the channel, less so at LWS.
Anchorage may be possible at LWN just outside of the swinging ground slightly to the West of the easterly Cardinal Buoy Eling. Also it may be possible to borrow an Eling Sailing Club mooring in this vicinity and contact details will be given a bit further on. If intending to visit Eling Sailing Club, they provide very detailed pilotage with photographs on their website (below)
For the visiting yachtsman or motorboater, there are plenty of mooring options whatever size boat you arrive in.
Marinas in the River Itchen include Ocean Village, Shamrock Quay, Saxon Wharf, and Kemps Quay. Full details of these are given shortly including visitors mooring prices. The intrepid mariner in a small craft has other berthing options away from the marinas... including anchorage and moorings at Marchwood or Eling.
Hythe Marina village on the portside of Southampton Water, more or less opposite the Radar Tower and the Signal Station has already been covered in a previous article...
Entering the River Itchen the first Marina visible and unmissable on your port hand side before the road bridge is the Ocean Village Marina. The luxury developments of yachtsman's residences aid the location, together with a sign showing the way in.
There are no dedicated visitors berths (in common with many MDL marinas) but staff will do their best to fit you in somewhere, and can accommodate rather large yachts. The place can be extremely busy.
Berthing enquiries can be made on 023 8022 9385, or calling Ocean Village Marina on VHF channel 80. Prices (2022) are £4.40 per metre per night up to 12.5 m, £5.60 per metre per night up to 18 m with a higher price band for even larger craft. Short stays of up to four hours are £15.45 below 15m . A link to their website is provided below:
All the usual Marina facilities are found here with water and electricity on the pontoons, toilets showers and launderette ashore together with WiFi access.
No hauling or fuel available here, but nearby.
The Royal Southampton Yacht Club overlooks the Marina and suitably attired members of affiliated yacht clubs are welcomed. The bar is open daily at lunchtime and in the evenings, but evening meals are only served from Wednesday to Saturday. Telephone 023 8022 3352, link to website below:
This Marina is convenient for the city centre, and there is a Tesco Metro Express on-site at the Marina.
Heading north up the River underneath the Itchen Bridge, (which has 23 m of overhead clearance) you will come to Itchen Marine Towage with their fuel berth located on the pontoon at American Wharf. (It's on the end of the pontoon farthest from the bridge) This outfit is open from 8 AM till 4 PM and is capable of lifting and repairing boats, as well as providing fuel and offering some cheap " Marina" berths. Try calling them on 023 8063 1500 for an alternative to a serviced Marina.
A further half a mile further up you will see a "Marina" called Ocean Quay Marina on the port side as you come off the starboard bend . This is a repair facility and is not really set up for visitors.
Shamrock Quay is the next offering from MDL. Simply follow the River around past the heavy mooring buoys on your starboard side, and once past Willments Shipyard on your starboard side, (recognisable by it's huge covered storage shed) you will find Shamrock Quay Marina to port. Camper and Nicholson's yard used to be on this site and in 1931 Shamrock V one of Thomas Lipton's America's Cup challengers was launched here.
This Marina being on the site of such a famous yard offers every conceivable facility for the boat with hauling up to 63 tonnes, storage ashore and all kinds of specialists.
Visitors berths are available call the Marina on VHF channel 80 or telephone 023 8022 9461, and the prices are the same as for Ocean Village above Link to website below:
Access is possible for 24 hours a day, but at low water springs some of the inside berths may not have much water, furthermore caution will be required if trying to berth deep into the Marina with an ebbing tide which could be trying to set you down on to other boats and pontoons. An arrival at slack water may avert berthing antics of the worrying kind. A duty dock master is available 24 hours, on VHF channel 80.
Normal Marina facilities available including water and electricity on the pontoons, showers, toilets and launderette ashore. Chandlery and gas are available on site as is WiFi. Tight security with coded locks and CCTV is a feature of all MDL marinas.
Basic provisions available at the Marina, the closest shop being the Tesco's Metro at Ocean Village. Cafe available on site as is pub/restaurant.
Traditional dock style pub nearby.
The River curves round to port at Milstone Point, marked by beacons and wharfage. On your port hand side lies the third MDL offering, Saxon Wharf.
On the starboard side of the River lies Kemps Quay.
Saxon Wharf specialises in superyachts and a large heavy vessels, and shares some facilities with Shamrock Quay. It can handle vessels up to 80 metres long, and it's travel lift can hoist 200 tonnes.
All the same normal sized boats are welcomed, same MDL prices as at Shamrock Quay above. Telephone 023 8033 9490 or call Saxon wharf on VHF channel 80.
All the usual facilities including water and electricity, showers and toilets and WiFi Internet. The laundry facilities are shared with Shamrock Quay.
Saxon Wharf deals with repairing and fitting out big boats, from a major refit project to a quick lift and pressure wash. There is also much shoreside storage area with once again good security. Link to site below:
Kemps Quay Marina on the starboard side just before the Northam Bridge was one of the first Marinas is to be established around here. It is located on the industrial side of the Itchen River and a trip to the city centre will mean a cab ride, same as Saxon wharf and Shamrock Quay really, just that bit further. The Marina offers 50 deepwater berths and other drying berths. Access to most of the berths is restricted to 2 to 4 hours either side of high water, (i.e. not at low water). Prices for visitors are somewhat lower to reflect this with berthing fees still working out at £1.00p per imperial foot per night, or £3.00 per imperial foot per week..... which has got to work out considerably cheaper than using the other marinas if staying for a little while. They don't get many visitors so the pricing is a little ad hoc Contact Kemps Quay on 023 8063 2323, with a link to their website below:
Facilities are perhaps more basic than the other marinas, but include water, toilets and showers. There is no shore power to the pontoons and they have decided that their regulars don't seem to need it and thus the capital expenditure is unjustified. They have put extra pontoons since 2014 and have recently redone the shower block and built a new marina office.The layout of the extra pontoons is not represented on either the Admiralty or Navionics chart.Provisioning is not really straightforward, and stocking up will need a five minute bus ride to Bitterne, where will be found Sainsbury's and Safeway's. The good thing is that they do have a bar on site!
For the boat there is a travel lift, hardstanding, with repair and maintenance services on-site.
This just about covers mooring options in the River Itchen.
Docks and River Test.
Town Quay Marina
The Town Quay Marina, which is situated a little way past the control tower/signal station will be seen on your starboard side as you make your way past the docks for the River Test. The Red Jet fast ferries berth at the jetty just in front of this Marina.
This site is owned by ABP Southampton (the harbour authority), and was re-vamped in 2010 to accept visitors. The marina has now been operational for a few seasons and is well furnished with facilities including a comprehensive website. Visiting boats are charged at £3.80 per metre per night (check out time 1000) with electricity thrown in free of charge; short stays are charged at £15up to 13metres and £20 over that. This Marina is very central, and full facilities are being provided. Contact them on 023 802 34397 for the latest information. They have a web site covering all their facilities at:-
This marina provides a very central location and a real alternative to the MDL offerings.
As covered in the approach and entry section the Marchwood Channel has various moorings at the Western side, and Marchwood Yacht Club has a pontoon with deepwater on the outside of it at all times. The club is welcoming to visiting yachtsman from other clubs, and may be able to offer overnight berthing on the pontoon for a small fee. (£15 per night all vessels) There is no shore power on the pontoon.
Alternately one of the moorings in this area may be free and available for use, and certainly at LW neaps most normal yachts will be able to remain afloat here. ( the Marchwood Channel, near the transit markers)
The best plan is to contact the club by telephoning 023 8066 6141, and we provide a link to their website below:
Directions have already been given about getting to Eling. There are also detailed instructions in the members area at the bottom of this article. Eling Sailing Club has deepwater moorings near the entrance to the Eling Channel and may be able to rent you one for a modest cost. The club could also offer drying berths closer to its premises for bilge keelers or craft able to lean against the wall. They want about £10.00 per boat overnight and can do electricity on a card.
Visiting yachtsman are made welcome at the club, try telephoning 023 8086 3987, with a link to their website below:
The village of Eling nearby offers some good pubs, and has perhaps the only working Tide Mill left in the UK, producing flour. It is possible to visit this from Wednesdays to Sundays inclusive, 10 AM to 4 PM. Next to this is the Heritage Centre, with free admission and a coffee are shop, open the same hours
Updated March 2020
"At the top of Southampton Water near the container port. Marchwood Sailing Club has a set of pontoons and they are a very welcoming club. They charge about £8 per night and produce some good value meals at lunchtime and evenings.
Guide price : £5 on pontoon (2002). £8 on pontoon (2007). £10 on pontoon (2009). (VMH note: £15 flat rate per boat for 2022)
A very pleasant walk through the woods up to Eling reveals a restored and working tide mill.
For a slightly unusual anchorage, try going on up the river toward Eling. Just opposite the container port, at the northern edge of the old Swinging Grounds, it is possible to anchor just out of the channel. We normally buoy the anchor here because there are moorings close by. It is fascinating to watch the container ships being shepherded into their berths before being loaded and unloaded. It may not be the most tranquil anchorage but it is certainly different (and free)."
This information is reproduced here by kind permission of Alan Holmes, his site below has much information about Solent harbours and anchorages, has some good photos, and is based on plenty of hands on experience...check it out. Mind you the prices are historical (if not hysterical!!)
Individual facilities available at the various marinas and mooring places have already been covered, so this article covers the more general facilities available in the whole area...
Fuel and Gas.
Starting with fuelling up the boat, Hythe Marina Village has fuelling facilities, but you have to lock in. This site is covered in a different article mainly concerned with Southampton Water.
In the River Itchen fuel is available at Itchen Marine Towage who operate the fuel pontoon off American Wharf. They are a couple of hundred metres past the Itchen Bridge on your port hand side, working from 8 AM to 4 PM. Telephone 023 8063 1500. No Radio and weekdays only except in the summer.
Calor gas is available at Ocean Village Marina, Marine Systems Engineering at Ocean Quay Itchen, Shamrock Quay Marina, and Towsure, adjacent to Northam Bridge.
For the trailer Sailer there are numerous slipways in the Southampton area, many of which are free to use. The list below is merely a sample:
Town Quay, Southampton... public slipway with no charges and access at three quarters of the tidal range. Access through a private car park, slipway adjacent to the Town Quay Marina.
Crosshouse Hard, Southampton. This is just to the north of the Itchen Bridge on the Western side of the River Itchen. It is free of use with access at the full tidal range. There is plenty of parking and toilets nearby, but the parking can be a problem when there is a football match on at the stadium. This excellent facility is much used by local clubs.
South of the docks there are further slipways:
Cracknore Hard, a free public hard with access at three quarters of the tidal range.
Eling Quay, free slipway with access at half the tidal range, with Eling Sailing Club nearby, and closest access to the Redbridge designated water ski area which is open from April to October, and shown on our chart lying to the north-east of the Eling Channel.
Apart from the Tesco's Metro Express at Ocean Village Marina, visitors to other marinas will experience a bit of a hike or a cab ride to indulge in a bit of serious stocking up.
The West Quays shopping centre has a Waitrose supermarket and Marks & Spencer, and this is walkable from the Town Quay area. A free bus service runs from the Town Quay area to the city centre and the rail station. The bus stops just outside the red Funnel Ferry terminal.
The city centre is host to all the major shops and banks with cashpoints, and other supermarkets will be found including an Asda's near the Marlands Shopping Centre.
Southampton railway station is about 15 minutes walk from Ocean Village, or jump the free bus mentioned above. Trains from here connect to London and elsewhere, including direct services to North West England. Regular trains also run to Southampton airport nearby and to Gatwick airport.
Various different companies provide bus services in the area, including First Hampshire And Dorset telephone 023 8022 4854. Solent Blue Line telephone 023 8061 8233. Stagecoach South telephone 0845 121 0170. National Express Coaches telephone 08705 808080.
Red Funnel Ferries offer fast passenger services and car ferries to Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
All in all Southampton has excellent transport connections.
Archaeological finds suggest that the area has been permanently inhabited since the stone age. The Romans established a gateway settlement known as Clausentum, shortly after their invasion of Britain in AD 43. It was an important trading port, at the site of modern Bitterne Manor, and was not abandoned until around 410.
The Anglo-Saxons formed a new, larger, settlement across the Itchen centred on what is now the St Mary's area of the city. The settlement was known as Hamwic, which evolved into Hamtun and then Hampton. Archeological excavations of this site have uncovered one of the best collections of Saxon artifacts in Europe.
Viking raids from 840 onwards contributed to the decline of Hamwic in the 9th century, and by the 10th century, a fortified settlement, which became Medieval Southampton had been established.
Following the Norman Conquest in 1066, Southampton became the major port of transit between the then capital of England, Winchester, and Normandy. Southampton Castle was built in the 12th century and by the 13th century, Southampton had become a leading port, particularly involved in the trade of French Wine in exchange for English cloth and wool.
Surviving remains of 12th Century merchants' houses such as King John's House and Canute's Palace are evidence of the wealth that existed in the town at this time. In 1348, the Black Death reached England via merchant vessels calling at Southampton.
The town was sacked in 1338 by the French, including the pirate Rainier Grimaldi, who used the plunder to help found the principality of Monaco. After this attack, the city's walls—part of which dates from 1175—were extensively added to and reinforced. A large part of the town's walls remain today.
The city walls include God's House Tower, built in 1417, the first purpose-built artillery fortification in England. Over the years it has been used as home to the city's gunner, the Town Gaol and even as storage for the Southampton Harbour Board. Today, it is open as the Museum of Archaeology. The walls were completed in the 15th century, but later development of several new fortifications along Southampton Water and the Solent by Henry VIII, meant that Southampton was no longer dependent upon its fortifications.
In 1642, during the English Civil War, a Parliamentary garrison moved into Southampton. The Royalists advanced as far as Redbridge in March 1644 but were prevented from taking the town.
During the Middle Ages, shipbuilding became an important industry for the town. Henry V famous warship Grace Dieu was built in Southampton. Walter Taylors 18th century mechanisation of the block-making process was a significant step in the Industrial Revolution. From 1904 to 2004, the Thornycroft shipbuilding yard was a major employer in Southampton, building and repairing ships used in the two World Wars.
Prior to King Henry V of England's departure for the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the ringleaders of the "Southampton Plot" - Richard, Earl of Cambridge, Henry Scrope, 3rd Baron Scrope of Masham and Sir Thomas Grey of Heton were accused of high treason and tried at what is now the Red Lion public house in the High Street. They were found guilty and summarily executed outside the Bargate.
Southampton has been used for military embarkation, also fulfilling that role during 18th Century wars with the French, the Crimean war, and the Boer War. Southampton was designated No. 1 Military Embarkation port during the Great War and became a major centre for treating the returning wounded and POWs. It was also central to the preparations for the Invasion of Europe in 1944.
Southampton became a spa town in 1740. It had also become a popular site for sea bathing by the 1760s, despite the lack of a good quality beach. Innovative buildings specifically for this purpose were built at West Quay, with baths that were filled and emptied by the flow of the tide.
The town experienced major expansion during the Victorian era. The Southampton Docks company had been formed in 1835. In October 1838 the foundation stone of the docks was laid and the first dock opened in 1842. The structural and economic development of docks continued for the next few decades. The railway link to London was fully opened in May 1840. Southampton subsequently became known as The Gateway to the Empire.
The port was the point of departure for the Pilgrim Fathers aboard the Mayflower in 1620. In 1912 the RMS Titanic sailed from Southampton. Many of the crew on-board the vessel were Sotonians, with about a third of those who perished in the tragedy hailing from the city. Southampton was subsequently the home port for the transatlantic passenger services operated by Cunard and their Blue Riband liner RMS Queen Mary and her sister ship RMS Queen Elizabeth. In 1938, Southampton docks also became home to the flying boats of Imperial Airways. Southampton Container Terminals first opened in 1968 and has continued to expand.
The Supermarine Spitfire was designed and developed in Southampton, evolving from the Schneider trophy winning seaplanes of the 1920s and 1930s. Heavy bombing of the factory in September 1940 destroyed it and homes in the vicinity, killing civilians and workers. World War II hit Southampton particularly hard because of its strategic importance as a major commercial port and industrial area. Prior to the Invasion of Europe, components for Mulberry Harbour were built here. After D-Day, Southampton docks handled military cargo to help keep the Allied forces supplied, making it a key target of Luftwaffe bombing raids until late 1944.
Pockets of Georgian architecture survived the war, but much of the city was levelled. There has been extensive redevelopment since World-War II. Increasing traffic congestion in the 1920s led to partial demolition of medieval walls around the Bargate in 1932 and 1938. However a large portion of those walls remain standing today, leaving Southampton with one of the longest surviving remnants of medieveal walls in the country.
A Royal Charter in 1952 upgraded University College at Highfield to the University of Southampton. Southampton acquired city status becoming the City of Southampton in 1964.
Geography and climate
The geography of Southampton is very much influenced by the sea and rivers. The city sits at the northern tip of the Southampton Water, a deepwater estuary, which is a ria formed at the end of the last Ice Age. Here, the rivers Test and Itchen converge. The Test - which has saltmarsh that make it ideal for Salmon fishing - runs along the Western edge of the city, while the Itchen splits Southampton in two - east and west. The city centre is located on the peninsula between the two rivers.
Much of the waterfront has been reclaimed over the years, mainly for use as the Western Docks. Most of the land used for reclamation came from dredging of Southampton Water, to ensure that the port can continue to handle some of the largest ships in the world. The shape of the coastline gives rise to a natural phenomena in Southampton, known as the double tide. This gives the port a much longer high tide period than other ports, making the movement of large ships easier.
The River Test runs along the western border of the city, separating it from the New Forest. There are a number of bridges over the Test from Southampton, including the road and rail bridges at Redbrige in the south and the M27 motorway to the north. The River Itchen, Hampshire runs through the middle of the city and is bridged at in several places. The northernmost bridge, and the first to be built, is at Mansbridge, where the A27 road crosses the Itchen. The original bridge is closed to road traffic, but is still standing and open to pedestrians and cyclists. The river is bridged again at Swaythling, where Woodmill Bridge separates the tidal and non tidal sections of the river. Further south is Cobden Bridge which is notable as it was opened as a free bridge (it was originally named the Cobden Free Bridge), and was never a toll bridge. Downstream of the Cobden Bridge is the Northam Railway Bridge, then the Northam Road Bridge, which was the first major pre-stressed concrete bridge to be constructed in the United Kingdom. The southernmost bridge on the Itchen is the Itchen Bridge, which is a toll bridge.
Southampton has always been connected with maritime matters, and the docks have long been a major employer in the city. In particular, it is a port for cruise ships, its heyday being the first half of the 20th century, and in particular the inter-war years, when it handled almost half the passenger traffic of the UK. Today it remains home to luxury cruise ships, as well as being the largest freight port on the Channel coast and fourth largest UK port by tonnage, with several container terminals. Unlike some other ports, such as Liverpool, London, and Bristol, where industry and docks have largely moved out of the city centres leaving room for redevelopment, Southampton retains much of its inner-city industry. Part of the docks have been redeveloped, however, as the Ocean Village development, a local marina and entertainment complex. Southampton is home to the headquarters of both the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch of the Department for Transport.
The city is home to the second longest medieval walls in England that are still standing, as well as a number of museums such as Tudor House, The Maritime Museum and Solent Sky, which focuses on aviation. The annual Southampton Boat Show is held in September each year, with over 600 exhibitors present. It runs for just over a week at Mayflower Park on the city's waterfront, where it has been held since 1968. The Boat Show itself is the climax of Sea City, which runs from April to September each year to celebrate Southampton's links with the sea.
Southampton has been voted one of the best places to live in the UK for single people aged 18 to 30, owing to its low cost of living, wide array of bars and clubs and cheap transport. Women voted it second best behind London, while men rated it as seventh.
There are many well-established music venues, including The Brook, The Talking Heads, The Soul Cellar, The Turner Sims Concert Hall and The Joiners. The Joiners has played host to acts as Oasis, Radiohead, Green Day, Suede, P J Harvey, The Manic Street Preachers, Coldplay, The Libertines and Franz Ferdinand. The city is home to R'n'B soulstar Craig David, Coldplay drummer Will Champion. There are many famous 'Sotonians' including Jane Austen and Danny La Rue and it was the birthplace of comedian Benny Hill.
The largest theatre in the city is the 2,300 capacity Mayflower Theatre, which hosts a number of West End shows, such as Les Miserables, The Rocky Horror Show and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. There is also the Nuffield Theatre based at the University of Southampton's Higfield campus. The city is home to several art galleries, including the council run gallery at the Civic Centre, The Art House in Bedford Place and Spice Arts in Bitterne Triangle.
Cunard & Culture
The city is deeply connected to the Cunard Line and their fleet of ships; which are the only passenger vessels to be registered in this city (and thus wear the name "Southampton" on the stern). The people of Southampton showed their deep connection to Cunard on November 11th, 2008 when the Cunard Liner Queen Elizabeth 2 departed the city for the final time amid a spectacular fireworks display after a full day of celebrations.
Cunard's European office is located on Terminus Terrace in Southampton and the company has first rights to the famous Queen Elizabeth II Passenger Terminal for their fleet of ships.
The text on this HISTORY page is covered by the following licence
Ocean Village is an entertainment centre in its own right, offering two cinemas, plus restaurants and bars.Staying at this marina puts you right in the action here.
Leisure World on West Quay Road is a very popular self-contained leisure complex. It has a 13 screen cinema, bowling, casino, restaurants, bars and two nightclubs.
This is quite apart from the nightclubs, live music venues, pubs and restaurants available in the town centre. Southampton has a well-deserved reputation amongst the unattached under 30s as a good place to live, and outside of London it would be hard to find a place with so many facilities for living it up. Conclusion: if you are part of a younger crew and have a night or two spare for going on the prowl Southhampton is well worth a visit.
For those of us less concerned the quality and quantity of nightlife, and perhaps more interested in history or culture and the arts, Southhampton can also offer plenty.
An Aviation Museum in Albert Road South is well worth a look, and you can actually get inside some of the aircraft.
The Maritime Museum is at the Town Quay, and covers the history of the port of Southampton with a very popular exhibition dealing with the Titanic. Entrance is free and is open Tuesdays to Fridays 10 AM to 5 PM, Saturdays 10 AM to 4 PM, and Sunday's 2 PM to 5 PM.
The Southampton City Art Gallery is generally reckoned is to house some of the finest 20th-century works of art outside of London. This is in the Civic Centre on Commercial Road, and is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM and Sundays from 1 PM to 4 PM.
Two theatres the Mayflower in commercial Road and the Nuffield in University Road cater for slightly different audiences. The Mayflower tends to concentrate more on the big West End musicals, while the Nuffield is less mainstream.
We can't cover Southampton without at least mentioning the annual Southampton International Boat Show. This takes place at the Mayflower Park, and special pontoons are laid out into the harbour from the park. Various exhibitors display their boats afloat, and on the shore huge marquees and tents House the exhibits. It has a reputation as being Europe's best on the water boat show, and it takes place in mid September. It attracts huge numbers of visitors, and if you are planning to be in Southampton on your own boat at Showtime, you would be well advised to book your berth in advance.
We provide a few links below for further investigations:
Nightlife and Bars