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Flight and hotel Southampton

The history and geography of Southampton

Southampton is a city in southern England situated by the Southampton Water tidal estuary that opens onto the Solent. As such, this is practically a coastal city, most notable for its bustling cruise ship port that many of the world's largest cruise ships stop at. Indeed, Southampton is regarded as the Cruise Capital of the UK. The shipping industry is a big part of Southampton's history, and it was from here that the Titanic began its ill-fated maiden voyage to the United States.

Useful travel information about Southampton

As a British city, the pound sterling is the currency of Southampton. Travellers who book package holidays to Southampton can easily take a flight from Manchester to Southampton as the city has its own airport. Flights from London to Southampton also land at Southampton International Airport. Of course, cruise ships stop at Southampton, but the city is more of departure point for European cruises than international ferry services. However, the Queen Mary 2 is one cruise ship that does still cross the Atlantic from New York to Southampton.

When is the best time to visit Southampton?

Southampton is one of the most southern U.K. cities, enjoying a warmer climate than much of Britain. To get the best of the weather, travellers often choose city breaks in Southampton during June, July or August when there is less rain. Summer is certainly the best season for sailing and other water sports, while the popular Southampton Boat Festival takes place during September - so that's also a great month to book a flight and hotel in Southampton.

What to do in Southampton?

Visitors who choose package holidays to Southampton can look forward to trying numerous water sports at the Southampton Water Activities Centre, which offers sailing, rowing, power boating, paddle boating and other water sports. Or you can go swimming at the Quays Swimming and Diving Complex, which features three pools and a gymnasium. For more water-based fun, take a trip aboard the restored SS Shieldhall steamship, the largest working steam ship in Britain and member of the National Historic Fleet. The city is also a regional arts hub, with the 1920s-era Mayflower theatre showing glittering West End musicals, ballets and operas. The Tuner Sims Concert Hall, meanwhile, is a great venue for classical and jazz concerts.

Highlights of Southampton

Action-packed city breaks to Southampton really ought to include a visit to the state-of-the-art SeaCity Museum. Opened in 2012 to commemorate the centenary of the Titanic's sinking, the SeaCity Museum primarily covers the history of that ocean liner from its construction to sinking. The Southampton City Art Gallery is another must-visit, showcasing a stunning collection of works from across the past eight centuries. Solent Sky is another notable museum in Southampton that casts an eye over the city's aviation heritage during the first half of the 20th century. As part of a visit here, you can get up close with 19 full-size aircraft including the iconic RAF Spitfire.

Dining out in Southampton

Once you've got your flight and hotel to Southampton sorted, you can start planning your culinary tour of the city. For many, a weekend in Southampton wouldn't be complete without tucking into a full English breakfast, which is a morning staple in most U.K. hotels. When it comes to hearty lunches and dinners, there's a great range of pubs where you can indulge in English fare such as steak and ale pie with mash, or fish and chips. During the weekend in Southampton, pubs across the city serve classic Sunday roasts with roast potatoes, beef, vegetables and gravy, while many also offer tasty vegetarian alternatives. Some of the best Sunday roasts in town can be found at the following pubs:

  • The Railway Inn - high-quality roasts and a large garden make this a top pick
  • Duke of Wellington - this cosy pub boasts superb local ales on tap and friendly staff
  • The Cricketers Inn - enjoy their 'Famous Sunday Roast' amid a traditional English pub setting

Another local favourite is afternoon tea served with delicious cream and jam scones. Try it at the Mayflower theatre's elegant Ovation restaurant. For farther flung flavours, visit one of Southampton's many international restaurants, with cuisines covering everything from American to Indian and beyond.

Southampton mementos

Since Southampton is a maritime city, a model ship would be a great souvenir to bring back with you. What's more, the city is synonymous with the Titanic, so why not bring back a Titanic related souvenir? There are plenty available at the SeaCity Museum gift shop. While here, look out for other famous ocean liner models such as the Mauretania, Lusitania and RMS Olympic, all of which once sailed from Southampton. For more local icons, pick up a Spitfire model from Solent Sky.