Southampton: the highlights

Why visit Southampton for your weekend away

A compact city known for its busy port and fine dining, it’s has become a popular destination for people looking to eat, drink and be merry. You won’t be disappointed with the city’s varied nightlife with everything from cheesy dance clubs to sophisticated cocktail venues and cool undergroundbars.

Explore the City

Bedford Place

In and around Bedford Place is the city’s number one nightlife hotspot, with a decent amount of clubs and bars all easily within walking distance. Plenty of groups and parties make their way here for a big night out with popular places like Revolution for cocktails, BrewDog for craft beer and Popworld for cheesy chart toppers. There are also tons of fast food places ready for the end of the night.

Ocean Village

In the heart of the city, this is the best place to experience the port with one of the most stunning marinas on the south coast. This is where you’ll find more sophisticated bars and restaurants, or places with amazing views and al fresco dining like Pitcher and Piano. Even if you’re not hungry, it might be worth a walk for fresh air with the instagram-worthy scenery.

Westquay shopping centre

Southampton’s shopping hotspot is in the heart of the city centre with over 100 stores across three levels. It brings together big name brands across fashion, beauty, homewares, including all your high street favourites. It’s also home to plenty of bars and restaurant chains like Wagamamas and Pizza Express, so everyone will find something to eat.

Watersports

As a port city, it’s no surprise that there’s plenty of fun watersports activities you can take part in. You can work together to try and build your own raft and complete a series of challenges once you head out on it. Or, for something adrenaline junkies will love, go wakeboarding, or speed off in style in an amazing Jet Viper.

Gin lovers

Why not put your mixology skills to the test and try a cocktail masterclass at Oceana or Revolution? You’ll learn the tricks of the trade and, importantly, get to sample your own creations. For the true gin fans, take a trip outside Southampton and into rural Hampshire to tour the Bombay Sapphire Distillery for yourself.

Eat Like a Local

As with most UK cities, Southampton’s food scene is thriving and continuously growing to include more cuisines from around the world. There’s an abundance of Italian restaurants, a great selection of Pan-Asian cuisines, tasty Mexican food, good Greek dishes and more. Many of these can be found in Westquay or around the high street.

BBQ and burgers

There are plenty of places to get your American comfort food fix. Sadler’s Bar & Smokehouse do smoked meaty goodness in the form of burgers, chicken wings, steaks and more, plus they have their own craft beer and it’s a great place for groups. 7Bone Burger Co. has all the burgers, hot dogs and loaded fries you could ask for. There’s also Red Dog Saloon in Westquay, with it’s laid-back interiors and cracking food.

Stein Garten

Head over to this German bar on the high street for all kinds of authentic German cuisine including schnitzels, pretzels and bratwursts. There are long wooden benches, perfect for groups to gather and enjoy German beer on draught. Take on the Man vs Food challenge and see how fast you can demolish the yard long Stein Dog to top the leaderboard.

Usual spots

All your favourite chain restaurants have found a home in Southampton. For a taste of the Caribbean and tropical cocktails, check out Turtle Bay. For pizza, you’ve got Pizza Express, The Stable, Zizzis and Franco Manca. If you’re after flavoursome Mexican food, try Wahaca or Chiquito. Head over to The Real Greek for Greek dishes or Wagamamas and YO! Sushi for Japanese.

Nightlife hotspots

As a student city, Southampton has no shortage of nightlife options, whether that be pubs, clubs, live music venues or bars. That’s not to say that all of the bars and clubs are packed full of students, and there are lots of quitier options available too. Either way, there’s something for everyone, from cosy traditional pubs to late-night party bars and superclubs.

Oceana

This stylish superclub is in Leisure World with multiple themed rooms spread across three floors. Each room is designed to reflect iconic destinations from around the world, with rooms like the disco room where retro tunes transport you back. There’s also the Icehouse room with laser lighting and a state of the art sound system. It hosts some of the biggest acts, with DJs like Calvin Harris having played here.

Orange Rooms

This retro lounge bar on Vernon Walk is the perfect place for a party or large group because there’s plenty of private areas to book. There’s the Raised Seating Lava Lounge with views of the bar, stage and dance floor, there’s the Tiki Lounge, bringing exotic paradise vibes and Off Piste, an alpine-inspired bar. They boast a dynamic drinks menu and quality live acts and DJs.

Popular spots

Other favourites among Southampton students and locals include Revolution, the late-night party bar chain that has great vodka-based cocktails and comfort food. There’s also Junk, a smaller, more intimate nightclub on London Road with weekly house club nights. Popworld is a cheesy nightlife classic, with nostalgic pop tunes and bright colours.

Places to Stay

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay as a group, you’re best off booking a local chain hotel that’s fairly central. Popular choices include Jurys Inn and Travelodge where, if you choose a triple room, it tends to be better value for money. As there are rural areas around, you could always rent out a country house for the group, but that will probably be considerably more expensive.

A city with unbeatable maritime heritage

A city with unbeatable maritime heritage (this is where the Titanic departed from on its ill-fated voyage), there’s far more to this destination than cruise ships and tankers.

Southampton at a glance:

  • Sea views and the chance to sip on high-class cocktails or international beers from the many bars in Ocean Village
  • A buzzing student city, nightlife is relaxed and fun with everything from cool basement bars to cheesy pop clubs -Plenty of places to refuel in the birthplace of fish fingers, whether you want refined pub grub or high end fine dining
  • Experience the unusual with an evening in The Hobbit, a Lord of the Rings themed pub

Local knowledge:

Oxford Street and Ocean View - Southampton’s wining and dining capital Planning a little calm before the stag storm? Sit by the water’s edge and soak up those holiday vibes any day of the week. Oxford Street and Ocean Village are well placed for contemplative evenings overlooking the waters of the Solent with plenty of bars and some excellent high class eateries to choose from. Enjoy the Mediterranean feel of al fresco dining and taste the delights of international cuisine.

Bedford Place – the heart of Southampton’s party scene A must stop for stag parties is Bedford Place. Awash with clubs and bars, choose from the chilled-out sophistication of the Orange Rooms by day or the energy of the retrotastic Popworld by night. Bedford Place is also home to several food outlets should you wish to stave off hunger at any hour.

City Centre – a mix of everything to keep you entertained Hit up the city centre for a mix of shops, bars and eateries to keep you occupied before the party starts. The huge West Quay shopping complex boasts a selection of high street brands and a flagship John Lewis store, while there’s more of the same on Above Bar Street. You’ll find more restaurants across the city centre, both chains and independent gems, while the city’s hub has a selection of clubs to satisfy your wild side too – Myth and Voodoo Lounge offer a good clubbing experience, while the Soul Cellar is a sleeker spot where they often manage to pull in cool and exciting acts.

Southampton’s best pubs and bars:

The Hobbit, Portswood -www.thehobbitpub.co.uk/For a truly unique experience, try out the ‘Lord of the Rings’ themed pub in Portswood. With unique décor, 12 unique drinks that make up ‘The Fellowship’ (you’ll get a t-shirt for drinking all 12) and an unbelievably huge beer garden, this is the niche hangout spot for many in Southampton.

The Rockstone, Onslow Road -www.therockstone.co.uk/Pick from hundreds of different spirits and a whole host of local and better known ales.

Revolution, Bedford Place -www.revolution-bars.co.uk/bar/southampton/Looking for a chilled vibe by day and vibrant atmosphere by night? Revolution offers just that. It’s a staple ingredient for most major cities but it’s a place that knows how to deliver a winning formula.

Turtle Bay, City Centre -www.turtlebay.co.uk/find-book/southampton/Primarily a restaurant, but also a great hang-out when you want a cracking cocktail. Try their unique rum-based recipes and experience the flavours of the Caribbean. Perfect for spicing things up a little.

The White Star Tavern, Oxford Street -www.idealcollection.co.uk/whitestartavernThis tavern combines a traditional English pub set-up with fine dining. Plus it serves a corking pint for beer lovers.

The Soul Cellar, West Marlands Road -www.southamptoncellar.com/A cool basement bar that serves good drinks while you watch the best local musicians and live acts from further afield, while the soul-soaked DJs will tempt you onto the dancefloor. The Street Food menu adds to the tasty, relaxed vibe, while the succulent ‘Roastwiches’ will certainly fill you up.

The Grand Café, Oxford Street -www.grand-cafe.co.uk/Tucked on the end of buzzing Oxford Street you’ll find the historic South Western House. Delve inside for the Grand Café to experience a touch of class from its exceptional cocktail bar and exclusive downstairs nightspot Club 4.

The Pitcher & Piano, Ocean Village -www.pitcherandpiano.com/where-are-we/southamptonTake in wonderful waterside views in this bar in the heart of the vibrant Ocean Village. A classy and fun stop which serves up flashy cocktails and premium beers.

Orange Rooms, Bedford Place -www.orangerooms.co.uk/southampton/A unique, independent cocktail bar and lounge, the retro-inspired Orange Rooms boasts a superb location has a brilliant location, slick décor and a reputation as one of the finest watering holes in Southampton.

Lime Bar, Lodge Road A small but pleasant beer garden near Bedford Place, Lime Bar is a good shout if you enjoy unwinding with live music and open mic nights.

Best clubs in Southampton:

Oceana, City Centre -www.oceanaclubs.com/southamptonAn award winning nightclub, you’ll find numerous rooms, a plush VIP suite above the main dance floor and multiple themed ‘staging areas’. Chill out, have drinks and take part in one of the student nights on Wednesdays if you’re feeling cheeky.

Myth, City Centre - mythnightclub.co.uk/ One of the city’s latest additions, this club has an Ancient Greek theme and serves up some swell drinks offers of a weekend.

Café Parfait, Above Bar Street - cafeparfait.com/ A place for the keen clubber, here you’ll find two levels of intense dance floors with brilliant hangout spots such as the shisha garden on the roof.

Voodoo Lounge, Vincents Walk A central clubbing experience offering good drinks, good music and a good chance it will be packed.

Popworld, Bedford Place -www.popworldsouthampton.co.ukOne of Southampton’s best known and best loved clubs. This venue focuses on smash hits from the 20th century, so if you like your music with a good dollop of cheese then you’ve found your place.

Club 4, Oxford Street -www.club-4.co.uk/A swanky bar and club located beneath the Grand Café. A nice way to end the evening following a high-class dinner.

Food: eat like a local:

Oxford Street is the place to head for the best selection of high quality restaurants. Restaurants overlooking the Solent in this area include Chimichangas (www.chimichanga.co.uk/) , Medbar (http://www.medbarsouthampton.co.uk/) and Casa Brasil (www.casabrasilrestaurants.co.uk/).

For a slap-up dinner with a more classic menu, head to the Oxford Brasserie (www.theoxfordbrasserie.co.uk/) .

The Rockstone (www.therockstone.co.uk/) on Onslow Road is nothing short of amazing. It has fantastic burgers and a wonderful selection of light bites that can be mixed and matched for to make a delicious meal.

Try the authentic and exotic dishes in the much-loved Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay (www.turtlebay.co.uk/find-book/southampton/) in Guildhall Square.

For a more refined dining experience, try The Vestry (www.thevestryrestaurantandbar.co.uk/) on Commercial Road, an atmospheric eatery with their often limited, but exquisite, set menu. On The Avenue, The Cowherds overlooks Southampton Common and, if you want exceedingly high standard pub grub, it’s the place to be. Why not try some of the adventurous dishes like Wild Boar or Venison?

Scoozi (www.scoozirestaurant.co.uk/) back on Oxford Street is one of the best places for Italian food in Southampton, while Banana Wharf (www.bananawharf.co.uk/) at Ocean Village is the perfect place to start your evening as you overlook the yachts on the harbour and enjoy a diverse and effervescent menu from Thai curries to chilli con carne.

The best view of the city:

Head to The Guild Hall in the city centre for a striking architectural sight with gorgeous park surroundings or enjoy the uninterrupted views of the water from Ocean Village.

Getting about:

Southampton is a well-connected city with plenty of bus links across the destination, as well as to neighbouring Winchester and the surrounding areas. Due to its compact nature however, you’ll be able to comfortably stroll around most of the city in one day. There’s a city train station with regular links across the country too.