Visit Southampton without visiting SeaCity Museum, and you’ll miss an opportunity to explore the character of the city and its people, and their connections with the element that has given them their livelihood. The main display in SeaCity is a permanent history of the Titanic, from the point of view of the city’s residents. Four out of five crew members on the ill fated liner were from Southampton, and the sinking of the ship had a long-term effect on the lives of their families. The fascinating Titanic display in SeaCity uses a scale model of the liner to help the visitor explore the lives of the men and women who sailed on her.
Great places to visit in Southampton!
Museums trace the lost bits of the city’s past for the visitor, while modern streets and buildings act as a reminder of the real effect of the bombing in WWII. Scraps of Southampton’s medieval past exist in the city centre, for example the Bargate (a medieval gate house) – but for the most part, it’s all contemporary architecture; modern pursuits; and of course the sea. Southampton’s location makes it the ideal jumping-off point for visitors to the Isle of Wight, and its connection with Cowes makes it a busy ferry-link.
Bucklers Hard is a shipbuilding village set in the New Forest, on the banks of the river Beaulieu. It’s now a preserved location, with delightfully kept village cottage, a chapel, a hotel and a maritime museum. The interiors of the cottage have been reconstructed specially, to allow the visitor to get an idea of what life was like in the 18th century. The maritime museum tells the story of shipbuilding in and around Bucklers Hard and Southampton, and recounts the history of the village itself. Costumed staff get in character to transport the visitor back to the time when Bucklers Hard was building barques for the navy of Admiral Nelson!
Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway
There’s no better way to explore the New Forest National Park than with a visit to Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway. The Gardens comprise more than 200 acres of perfectly landscaped surroundings, which are the legacy of Nathan de Rothschild, whose grandchildren still run them today. Closed during winter months, but open from the middle of March through until late in the year, the Gardens have been carefully designed to contain flowering plants and colour in all seasons. The Steam Railway takes visitors along the colourful Rhododendron Line, which follows seasonal routes through the Gardens. The bright engines and carriages fit perfectly with the spirit of the Gardens.