ONE OF UK'S WARMEST CITIES KNOWN FOR JANE AUSTEN LINKS IS PERFECT FOR FAMILY GETAWAYS

Southampton is one of the sunniest and warmest locations in the UK, meaning it is the ideal staycation whilst still gaining some sun.

Next year, the city will also be celebrating 250 years of Jane Austen, who frequented Southampton. For fans of her work, there is a Jane Austen Heritage Trail which visitors can follow. Austen's house is also located nearby, in Chawton and her burial site can be found 13 miles away at Winchester Cathedral.

The chairman of See Southampton, Nigel Philpott, said: "Many people come to Southampton and embark on cruises, or to catch the ferry to the Isle of Wight. Yet there is much in the City to keep visitors entertained year round, and given its location Southampton is an ideal spot for a short break."

Things to do

Southampton is a great location to visit all year round, but it particularly comes alive in the summer season. Events include the Summer Sessions throughout June, including performances from Loyle Carner and Kaiser Chiefs, the Mela Festival celebrating modern and traditional Asian culture in July, and Southampton Pride in August.

"Visitors can download trails and explore Southampton’s connections with Jane Austen or RMS Titanic," commented Nigel. "Many like to picnic and watch the cruise ships depart late in the afternoon from vantage points along Southampton Water, including Mayflower Park, the Weston Shore and Netley. Or take a bike for a leisurely cycle ride through the 365 acre Southampton Common!"

See Southampton and the Southampton Tourist Guides Association also offer year round walks at weekends, departing from the Bargate, right in the middle of the high street. There is also the chance during these walks to visit Southampton’s towers and wine vaults located in the Old Town, many of which doubled up as air raid shelters during World War II.

The country’s largest operational steamship, SS Shieldhall, is worth a visit and is ran by volunteers. Passengers can enjoy views of Southampton Water and the Solent.

Southampton's history is vast and as such the SeaCity Museum and the Solent Sky Museum offer tourists an insight into the city's past, including the role of the Spitfire.

If arts and heritage is of more interest, there is the God’s House Tower, which was constructed in the 15th century at the height of the 100 Years War with France. The City Art Gallery is considered one of the finest art galleries outside of London.

For a spot of shopping, WestQuay offers a flagship John Lewis and M&S, and nearby IKEA. If visiting with children, it might be worth heading to Paultons Park or Peppa Pig World, only a 20-minute drive away.

Places to eat

With many different streets and areas, Southampton also has an array of food to choose from.

"For cheap eats, look no further than the areas around the University (Highfield Campus) and Burgess Road, where you will find any number of independent Chinese outlets," said Nigel. "The American chain Nathan’s also has a branch close to campus."

"The Coriander Lounge and Ottoman Kitchen on the High Street are both recommended, as are any number of eateries in and around Bedford Place; independent dining in Oxford Street and waterside dining at Ocean Village," he continued.

Places to stay

"There is accommodation to suit every taste and budget," admitted Nigel. "Brand name hotels are present across the City, including The Pig in the Wall, found on Western Esplanade. Other historic hotels include The Star, once one of Southampton’s coaching inns and conveniently located on the High Street."

The Star was regularly visited by royalty and inside, the Victoria room commemorates the then Princess' Victoria's visit to the hotel in 1831. In addition, nearby The White Star was the location of where some Titanic crew ‘lingered too long’ enjoying a pint and missed their boarding time – a lucky escape!

Getting there

It takes around an hour and 40 minutes to travel to Southampton from London via train. Open return tickets for an adult cost as lows a £38.50.

Alternatively, a train takes around two-and-a-half hours from Exeter or Birmingham, or around four-and-a-half hours from Manchester.

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2024-06-24T10:42:52Z dg43tfdfdgfd