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Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Travel |

Top 5 Southampton Attractions – Including Bonus 5 Free Attractions

1. Take Windsurfing Lessons at UK’s No1 Spot with the Poole Windsurfing School

When looking for Southampton attractions, holiday makers and locals often forget that they can take windsurfing lessons and learn how to windsurf at the UK’s No1 spot, Poole Harbour. It is only 30 minutes on the motorway from Southampton and being the second largest natural harbour in the world, with a designated area for watersports, it really is the UK’s No1 Spot to learn to windsurf.

Check out this clip from beginners windsurfing lessons taken at the Poole Windsurfing School to see why this is one of the must do Southampton attractions to have a go at during your stay:

2. Have a blast at Paultons Park

Southampton attractions - Paultons Park You can find rides to suit all the family at Paultons Park; there are real thrill seeker rides, family rides and kid friendly rides. If you are purchasing tickets in advance you can get a family of 4 day pass for £86 which is pretty good value. When you need to take a break from all the exhilaration you can see many different types of birds and animals located around the Park ranging from exotic birds to Australian Wallabies!

Paultons Theme Park is full of fun family entertainment, whether it’s hitting a hole in one in the adventure golf, making a splash in the water kingdom or relaxing on the Rio Grande Train ride around the park. There are tons more attractions for all the family to enjoy, making it one of the top Southampton attractions.

3. Take a day trip to the Isle of Wight

One of the less obvious Southampton attractions to do during your stay is to use it as a base to take a trip to the Isle of Wight, giving you a completely different experience.

The perfect break on the Isle of Wight consists of many elements; strolls along the beaches, fun at Blackgang Chine, animal magic at the Isle of Wight Zoo and reminders of this Dinosaur Isle’s prehistoric past.

The most iconic image on the Isle of Wight is the Needles. Get a good view from Alum Bay, have fun at The Needles Park and take the chairlift down to the beach.

With up to 350 ferry crossings a day, it’s really simple to travel to the Isle of Wight as a day trip from Southampton.

4. Beaulieu National Motor Museum

Attractions in Southampton - Beaulieu National Motor Museum There are so many great exhibitions at the Beaulieu National Motor Museum

The BOND IN MOTION exhibition, the largest of its kind staged anywhere in the world, showcases 50 of the best loved and most iconic Bond vehicles – some never before seen in public – in celebration of the 50th year of James Bond films.

‘World of Top Gear’ features actual vehicles created by presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May for some of their most ambitious challenges.

The motor vehicle collection in the National Motor Museum remains one of Beaulieu’s most famous attractions with more than 250 on show from the earliest examples of motoring and family cars of the 30s and 40s through to classic cars of the 70s and 80s and rare motoring oddities. Car enthusiast or not this really is one of the great Southampton attractions you can do during your stay.

5. Learn about the ‘Gateway to the World’ at the SeaCity Museum

For a long time Southampton has been known as the ‘Gateway to the World’, a place for traders, settlers and those seeking refuge. At the SeaCity Museum you can learn all about the city’s maritime history. There is also a great exhibition all about the mystery surrounding the Titanic, with the centre-piece of this gallery featuring a 1:25 scale, interactive model of the Titanic, showing the intricate layout of the vessel. Find out more on the SeaCity Museum webpage.

As an addition or backup to the above we have also compiled a list from our insider local knowledge of the top 5 free Southampton attractions! Incorporate some or all of the following free Southampton tourist activities and you can justify one or two of the great paid for experiences, such as windsurfing lessons at the Poole Windsurfing School.

Top 5 Free Southampton attractions

1. Stroll through the wild heath lands of The New Forest

Free Southampton attractions - The New Forest Less than 30 minutes from Southampton is The New Forest a huge area of wild heath and woodland where you can see wild ponies, donkeys and deer.

The New Forest is the only area of England to remain relatively untouched since Norman times, thanks in large part to its unsuitability as agricultural land. It still retains a code of law handed down during the reign of William the Conqueror that protects the land from development.

The New Forest is one of the great low key Southampton attractions – try to escape from the confines of the car and head out on foot, bicycle or on horseback to get a more intimate feel of the forest, its coast and villages. The New Forest is a genuine walker’s paradise with many circular and linear routes. There are many picnic sites with toilet facilities, all of which are carefully sited to allow visitors safe and easy access to a variety of forest landscapes. The New Forest is a fantastic place for cycling with miles and miles of traffic free off-road tracks leading you right into the heart of the forest with few hills to worry about.

2. Look around the Southampton City Art Gallery

Free Southampton attractions - City Art Gallery The gallery is internationally renowned for its impressive art collection, spanning six centuries of European art history. Thousands of visitors explore the exhibitions and displays every month.

Finding the Southampton City Art Gallery is easy, go to the Civic Centre (it’s the big grey building with the tall clock tower – easily walkable from the West Quay car parks or the railway station). It’s free and actually a very good gallery. There is always something to do for families at the gallery. Children and adults can explore exhibitions together through gallery trails, and during the school holiday’s they have a fantastic range of activities for children of all ages.

There is also a rather nice cafeteria for lunch or snacks. Allow about 2 hours for a visit to see the lot.

3. Take a rain check and browse around West Quay Shopping Centre

WestQuay shopping centre has over 100 stylish shops for you to explore including Apple, Dorothy Perkins and John Lewis. When the shopping bags are getting heavy you will have plenty of options for getting a bite to eat with the new dining level at WestQuay, introducing new brands such as Pizza Express, Wagamama and Café Rouge Express.

WestQuay is conveniently at the centre of major road networks and hosts 2 dedicated car parks offering over 4,000 car parking spaces. There’s a free shuttle bus from the railway station to West Quay shops and Town Quay, ask the station staff for where the shuttle bus stop is.

If you are a shopper, wondering around West Quay is one of the best free Attractions in Southampton – just watch how much you end up buying!

4. Take a picnic and enjoy the Southampton Common

Take a picnic to the community award winning Southampton Common, a much loved and well used green space and is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Common is one of the UK’s most important wildlife sites and internationally listed as a site of excellence. This place makes for one of the really nice free Southampton attractions that is enjoyed just as much by the locals!

Once you have had your picnic why not stroll over to the Hawthorns Urban Wildlife Centre. Situated on the south east corner of Southampton Common the centre provides information about Southampton’s abundant wildlife and how the City’s open spaces are managed, to protect and increase biodiversity.

5. Look at the boats in Ocean Village Marina & Town Quay

Southampton attractions - Ocean Village Marina Situated in the shelter of Southampton Water, and right in the heart of Southampton, Ocean Village offers more than just a marina. It has great restaurants and bars, two cinemas, great sailing facilities and great views. Overlooking the marina is the Royal Southampton Yacht Club. With so much on offer it is one of the best free activities in Southampton.

Ocean Village has plenty of parking, spread across a surface car park (which is closed during major events such as the Clipper Round the World Race and the Sports Boat and RIB Show) and a huge multi-storey car park.

Town Quay is the departure point for the Isle of Wight passenger and Hythe ferries. From here you get a good view of the big ships including the Queens (if it’s in dock) and the giant P&O cruisers. This is one of the great free Southampton attractions. Take a camera and a brolly if it’s raining. The free shuttle runs to here from the station via West Quay.

So, that is a round up of the top 5 Southampton attractions and the surrounding areas but there is so much more on offer…
Enjoy your stay – you certainly won’t run out of activities in Southampton!

Poole Windsurfing - No 1 for Windsurfing Lessons & Equipment Hire in Poole Harbour

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