Southampton, England’s Southcoast city, is the biggest cruise port in Europe. It’s maritime, Roman and medieval heritage is sprinkled all across the city. The Titanic set sail from here and you can follow along the Titanic trail to visit the monuments dedicated to its history.
Related: A Guide to a Day Out in St. Albans
Modern architecture and buildings have been built around its famous medieval walls. You can learn all about these famous walls on a tour with See Southampton. Southampton is a great mix of history, modern retail (loved Westquay!), college town and harbour restaurants and bars. Of course, you can’t miss stopping by the Ocean Village!
I was pleasantly surprised to discover just how many brilliant restaurants there are in the city. A cool example… The winner of the 2012 edition of the TV show Masterchef has a restaurant in Southampton’s Bedford Place – Lakaz Maman. More on our experience there below.
During my time in Southampton, I managed to tuck into some classic British dishes, an Indian takeaway (which is pretty much another British tradition haha), some trendy Italian fare, Mauritian, and Thai Tapas.
Eating at Lakaz Maman was about more than just the food. Despite me having not yet visited Mauritius, I imagined that this is what it would be like. The walls were bright sea-blue/turqois, with some chairs the same colour. Other furniture was either a pale, natural shade of wood, or painted white. This made the place bright and airy with an island feel. The family portraits and photographs from Mauritius on the wall, cook books on the shelves and mauritian songs coming from the speakers, all made this feel like not just an authentic Mauritian experience, but also an intimate one. And I haven’t even gotten to the food yet!
As expected, the food was delightful. From octopus, chicken, and king prawn, each dish was high in quality, not overly seasoned, yet served with delicious, rich sauce. Some dishes had a good kick of spice.
Mango offers a great mix of Asian dishes with varying styles. There are classics on the menu, such as Pad Thai noodles (which we enjoyed), however the real attraction to this restaurant was the Thai-Tapas menu. We went for the crispy squid chunks with a spicy Thai sauce, the coconut-batter covered chicken strips with a sweet plum sauce, and some pork & prawn dim sum.
The Platform Tavern is a divey-bar with hearty food. The place is brightly coloured, yet dimply lit, with old-style furnishings and fireplace. Pub classics and pizzas are on offer. The fish and chips doesn’t just come with any beer batter, but London Pride batter. The pork & chorizo burger was different, indulgent and tasty. Everything seemed very reasonably priced.
Bacaro (great dinner choice if you are in Ocean Village)
That Lovely Little Café
The Pig in the Wall
White Star Tavern
Boulangerie Victor Hugo
Tooti’s Gelato Bar
Fusion Noodle Bar
The Art House Gallery Cafe
Afternoon Tea at Gatehouse 1833
Coffee Lab – London Road & Bargate
Mettricks – Guildhall & Woolston
Cafe Thrive – Hanover Buildings
New Forest (Brockenhurst station)
Isle of Wight
National Motor Museum
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens (entry £11)
See Southampton offer walking tours for groups and individuals. I was lucky enough to be invited on the “Hidden History” walk on the hottest day in July!
Southampton is a very walkable city and these tours are a great addition to any trip to Southampton. I learned so many cool, historic facts that you won’t even find on Wikipedia 😉 My tour guide Geoff had so many stories and facts which made for an awesome experience. Many of the stops throughout the walk are entertwined into the modern part of the city and it was wonderful to learn about it all. The tours are offered at such a great price point, and are worth way more. This team is fantastic and I wish I could’ve taken part in some of the other tours. They offer themed tours such as “Vaults & Vino” and “Ghastly, Grim and Gory.”
Medieval Merchant’s House (£4.50 entry)
Medieval City Wall
Sea City Museum
Southampton City Art Gallery
The University Botanical Garden
Walk the Titanic Trail
Southampton Old Town, The QE2 Mile
Solent Aviation Museum
Royal Victoria Country Park
Hawthorns Wildlife Centre
The Phoenix Cinema Club
Peter Rhodes Books
This post is sponsored by See Southampton but all opinions and views are my own.