With a range of fare types on our coaches, affordable travel to Southampton will help you enjoy more spending money for your trip. If you’re able to be flexible with journey times and take advantage of Coachcards, you could enjoy extra discounts, even if you’re only booking up to three days in advance.
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Famously, Southampton is the port the Titanic sailed out from, and you’ll find a range of maritime-themed things to do during your stay. And it’s not just all about ships and the sea – inhabited since the Stone Age, the city has plenty to do.
Check out our recommendations below for inspiration to help you plan ahead.
With Holidays by National Express, you can combine our great value coach travel with hotels in Southampton. There is so much to see and do during a city break or short break in Southampton, here is a suggested holiday itinerary:
Day 1: Southampton Town Walls - Spend the day wandering the city's Town Walls and medieval architecture. Start the walk at the Bargate, the entrance to the Old Town, and discover the 30 ancient monuments, 90 listed buildings and an array of Georgian houses. In the Old Town you will also find other attractions such as the Tudor House and Garden and Medieval Merchant's House at 58 French Street.
Day 2: Southampton Museums - Discover the history between Southampton and the Titanic at SeaCity Museum, Hampshire's aviation history at the Solent Sky Museum and visit the largest surviving working steam ship, the SS Shieldhall.
Day 3: Southampton Harbour - Spend the day exploring the spectacular harbour, with its number of marinas. East of the Old Town, you will find the modern leisure and shopping complex of Ocean Village. The yacht-filled marina has plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars to enjoy with beautiful views of the waterfront.
You’ll find the Hoxton Bakehouse close to Southampton Docks, serving up warm loaves of hand-leavened bread and other delicious pastries. They also offer classes on how to make your own sourdough from scratch.
It’s A Pizza Thing
Pizza is one of the world’s favourite foods – and Southampton’s It’s A Pizza Thing demonstrates exactly why. This mobile food truck is a big favourite with locals and offers hand stretched artisan pizzas, all cooked inside their wood fired oven. Check their Facebook page to see where the food truck will be set up next.
If you’re still after some lovely Italian food but don’t fancy a pizza, Ennio’s is where you’ll want to head to. With boutique hotel rooms above the restaurant, it’s known in Southampton as a place to go out for a special meal. They do also offer a more affordable lunchtime menu.
Whether you’re looking to sink a pint…
Southampton’s publicans are barkeeps are partial to stocking the odd pint of craft ale. Situated inside a former bank, the aptly named Overdraft Craft Ale Bar offers a wide range of rotating brews on tap, many of which are also vegan. BrewDog also has a branch in Southampton, well worth a visit. If chains aren’t your thing, pay a visit to local brewery Tap It for a range of different IPAs at their taproom.
…or sip on a cocktail instead
In 2012 it was announced that Stephen Fry and Ian McKellen would pay the licensing fees for The Hobbit pub to stay open in Southampton without needing a name change after being open for over 20 years. So pop in for a Gimli (not a gimlet – each of the drinks are named after Tolkein characters) and admire the themed décor. If you don’t need a theme to be able to enjoy a tipple, book a slot at the Bring & Mix cocktail bar – bring your own bottles and their expert mixologists will create bespoke drinks just for you.
Going ‘out out’
As well as being the birthplace of none other than Craig David, Southampton has a great nightlife. Check out The Talking Heads for live music and bands, or head straight for student favourites such as the Orange Rooms or Junk for a big night on the town.
London isn’t the only British city with a busy shopping district on Oxford Street. Southampton has its own too, and it is home to a diverse array of boutiques, bars, and even micro bar Caskaway. The city centre is also home to many gift shops with a nautical theme, as well as independent retailers selling unique items.
If vintage is what floats your boat, you’ll enjoy picking out retro fashion finds at Beatnik Emporium (to buy or, if you’re planning a return trip, rent). The store also celebrates events such as World Record Store Day, and partners with local 70s-styled nightclub Orange Rooms.
Another emporium in the city, this warehouse store stocks a vast treasure trove of furniture, fabrics and other bric-a-brac. Robin’s Nest also has a coffee shop serving up great food.
Southampton’s first museum was founded in 1912 and covers over 800 years of history. Located in the Old Town, renovations to Tudor House were finished in 2011 to include new displays and facilities. The Grade I listed building remains one of the best examples of Norman architecture in England and also has a traditional knot garden.
Visit the city centre’s SeaCity Museum to explore the story of the people of the city, their fascinating history and connections with the Titanic. Suitable for all the family, the interactive museum lets you explore Southampton’s proud, sea-faring history.
Visit this Grade II listed theatre for a range of different performances year-round including shows on tour from London’s West End. Craig David even did a couple of hometown gigs here in September 2017.
Solent Sky Museum
This museum documents the history of aviation, with a focus on the local Supermarine aircraft company, which designed and manufactured the Spitfire fighter plane.
Itchen Valley Country Park
Itchen Valley Country Park is an idyllic 400-acre plot in the heart of the city. Filled with water meadows, spectacular flowers and walking trails, the Park is home to a treasure trove of wildlife, and thanks to an excellent café, is a great way to spend the day while taking in beautiful, scenic, county-wide views.
One reason Southampton is such a popular student city could be because of its relatively small size. There’s still a ton of stuff to do, and with so many attractions dotted around, city centre walks are a great way to take in everything on offer. Starting throughout the day from the city centre’s high street, experienced guides will introduce you to the city’s many sights and secrets, so keep your camera nearby.
Learn more about the Titanic
Make Southampton’s maritime history the focus of your day, with the Titantic Trail walk. The Titanic sailed from Southampton on April 10, 1912. More than 500 Southampton families lost a member when the ship sank. Visit the SeaCity Museum for their Titanic Story exhibition, and if you have time after, the Southampton Art Gallery (with free entry) is also just around the corner.
Walk the walls
The Bargate and town walls still remain around the Old Town, constructed back in Norman times. Well-preserved, the wall is the third longest stretch of medieval town walling in Britain. And if you’re peckish for food, pop into local Boulangerie Victor Hugo for fresh-baked croissants.
The last steam-powered brickworks in the UK is open to the public to learn about the history of industrial Britain. The Victorian-built brickworks only stopped production in 1974.
An alternative to the city centre, Bedford Place is filled with independent shops and restaurants.
The area’s old-fashioned aesthetic is kept intact as much as possible, and you’ll be able to find fashion and food alongside other staples such as a pharmacy.
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