Southampton, one of the major ports, is also the largest city in Hampshire. The present-day city of Southampton is rich in history and culture, something one can find out only after a hands-on experience. From history that dates back to the Stone Age to Vikings to being a popular spa town, Southampton is full of surprises. Here are five best Southampton experiences to help you enjoy and understand the city in a more intimate way.
Walk when you are in Southampton. At least the two-kilometer perimeter of the erstwhile medieval trading town. Amidst modern buildings, shops and parks, there are medieval walls that do show up, if you know exactly where to look. These walls, once upon a time, enclosed the entire city, keeping it safe from any attacks. You can cover the 13 remaining towers, six city gates and arcades on the “Walk the Southampton Walls” trail. What's left of the 14th century glory can be explored on this trail and the easiest location from where you can start your self-guided walk is the Bargate city gate.
New Forest National Park
The New Forest, one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, is home to New Forest National Park. The park is home to the New Forest pony, an indigenous horse breed of the British Isles. The open land give this ponies and other breeds like the Shetlands, a vast grazing ground. These ponies are no doubt one of the most important attractions of the park. Besides ponies, areas like the Itchen Valley Country Park is perfect for day trips.
We all know what happened to one of the most popular ships of all time--the Titanic. The iconic ship began her maiden voyage from Southampton, needless to say, most of the crew were from the town. You can check out the history of the Titanic at the SeaCity Museum. There are several important sites around the town, dedicated to the Titanic's history. Do visit the Titanic Musicians' Memorial, a memorial dedicated to the musicians of the ship who played music till the end to keep the passengers calm.
If you are a fan of all things vintage and rare, this is the place you want to be in. Beatnik Emporium is a great place for vintage clothing from the 1940s to 1990s. Not just clothes, get your hands on some of the best selection of vinyl records.
Since 1909 this public pier railway has been carrying passengers from shore to ship and back. The Hythe Pier Railway is one of the oldest and and longest operating public pier railways in the world. Ever wonder how does it feel to chug along a thin wooden track? You can experience that here. Keeping history aside, the railway serves as a short ferry service to Southampton, a daily commute from many villages to the city. Even for those who don't want to take the ferry, there are train-only tickets available too.