Southampton is easily one of the best shopping destination in the south England (unless you ask Bristol, of course), and if you’re hoping to spend a little time on your weekend rootling through the rails, there’s only one direction you should be headed in: straight towards West Quay. It’s by far the biggest shopping centre in the city as it houses over 100 shops, including an enormous Marks and Sparks, an even bigger John Lewis, and an entire food floor for when you need to refuel before shopping a bit more.
If you want to see live performances from some of the countries leading entertainers, you’ll want to check out the Mayflower Theatre. The biggest names in standup have taken a turn on the stage, including Sarah Millican, Alan Davies and Jimmy Carr, as well as theatre performances from War Horse and hen favourites West Side Story, Dirty Dancing, the Lion King, and Wicked, and upcoming shows from Derren Brown and the Moscow State Circus.
The Harbour Lights Theatre is a haven for film fans, showing the biggest blockbusters as well as alternative, independent and world-cinema options too. It’s also actually right by the harbour, which gives you plenty of options for a post-cinema meal or drink.
An arch which all visitors who came to Southampton to trade or sail walked through. Built in about 1180, the wall it stood in is mostly gone, but the entry still stands. If you do any shopping in Southampton, continue the tradition and walk through with your “trades”.
Interesting(ish) fact – all of England’s kings and queens since Henry II have walked through Bargate, including our current queen.
Southampton was the port from which the Titanic departed, so it’s only fitting that there are a number of different Titanic Memorials around the city; the Postal Worker’s Memorial, the Musician’s Memorial, and the huge Engineer Officer’s Memorial. If you’ve got any interest in the Titanic beyond Leonardo DiCaprio’s face and ‘I’ll never let go, Jack!’, it’s worth paying your respects here.
It’s debatable where the ship carrying the first passengers to what would become America set sail from, but Southampton is confident enough in it’s claim to have built a statue commemorating the voyage.
7 – the Holi One Colour Festival. According to it’s website, is about ‘the ideas of togetherness and the colour of everyday life’. Whilst that does sound like a worthwhile cause, we’re more tempted by the fact that you get to dress in white and throw coloured powder at one another. There’s also music and dancing and art, which basically makes it the most peaceful, hippie paintball game ever.
14 – the Ejectorseat Arts Festival. Celebrates Southampton arts and culture with music performances, crafts and workshops.
5-6 – the Thai Festival. We didn’t know there was a large Thai population in Southampton, but we’re never going to turn down the opportunity for Thai Green Curry.
12 – Let’s Rock Southampton. An 80’s music revival festival, with all the pop, dance, rock and eurodance you can take – all with a heavy synthesizer addition, obviously. Expect to see names like ABC, Heaven 17, Bananarama and the iconic Billy Ocean performing.
12 – Mela Festival. Attracts about 25,000 people, and focusing on South East Culture. An excellent opportunity to see some incredible world dance skills, ranging from Bollywood to Flamenco, and try them yourself.
12-21 – Southampton Boats Show. The largest on-water boat show in northern Europe.
4-5 – Music in the City. Another music festival celebrating the Southampton music scene. Just like the name infers, it takes place all over the city, bringing music to the streets.