Many of you reading this in the UK will have spent time in Southampton, waiting diligently for your cruise to start boarding or for a transfer back home. As the home of the UK’s largest port, millions of cruise fans pass through this city every year, but very few take time to explore it.
As part of our series offering advice about spending an unforgettable night in some of the world’s most famous and fabulous ports – we’ve decided to also help you out if you’ve got an upcoming overnight stay on the south coast.
Even though Southampton is best known for its nautical significance, it also plays host to Solent Sky Museum – one of the country’s best-loved aviation museums. The museum is recognised as the birthplace of the Spitfire and features a stunning monument to the celebrated aircraft. The former RAF fighter jet first took off from nearby Eastleigh Aerodrome (now Southampton Airport) and is still very much a part of local folklore.
The museum is located less than a mile from the ocean cruise terminal and includes a number of exhibits which are well-suited to the whole family.
Just further up the River Itchen, is the highly respected Quay FIFTEEN restaurant. Serving British and international cuisine, the restaurant benefits from a stunning location overlooking the waters. Even if you are about to embark on an all-inclusive cruise, you’re sure to enjoy one final beautiful meal on dry land before setting sail.
The menu is full of contemporary twists on classic dishes, with plenty of choice for lovers of seafood – appropriate for its waterside position.
Sticking by the river, the Banana Wharf Ocean Village is a lovely spot to enjoy a cocktail or two the night before taking to the seas. If you’re travelling in the middle of the week, 5pm-7pm is happy hour – offering 30% off all drinks. The cocktail list is pretty comprehensive as well, offering classics such as martinis and margaritas alongside more unusual drinks such as gin & mango smash.
The bar celebrates the maritime history of Southampton, named for the region’s wharf which has welcomed large orders of Fyffe bananas since the 1880s.
The brand new Hilton at the Ageas Bowl hotel has proved to be popular with cruise guests since it opened up earlier this year. Built into the stunning Ageas Bowl cricket ground, the hotel is located just seven miles from the Port of Southampton and offers comfort and luxury in spades.
Many of the rooms offer views over the cricket pitch, so you might get lucky and be able to watch a few overs from the comfort of your balcony.
Recognised as serving the best English brekkie in the whole city, Halladay’s Tea Rooms are hugely popular with locals and visitors alike. The breakfasts are all prepared with great care using top local ingredients. The best way to kick of your jollies.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Robert Pittman, Alan Wilson, Marnie Joyce