Southampton is a vibrant and lively city on the south coast of England, with plenty of activities, attractions, and regular events that make it a perfect family vacation destination. Whether your family like outdoor adventure, exploring history and culture, or just enjoying the feel of a new vacation destination, there is something for everyone in Southampton.
Southampton is a delightful combination of old and new, and of urban and rural. Its stunning medieval old town center is full of ancient architecture and fascinating stories, while the harbor area offers a far more modern take on city life. The town is full of great bars and restaurants, and exciting attractions, while just a few short miles away lies the New Forest, one of the largest unenclosed areas of heath and woodland in England. In short, it is the ultimate family getaway.
So if you are planning to board a cruise leaving Southampton with the kids and want to have a few adventures in the area first, here are some of the best family-friendly activities to enjoy in and around the city.
Southampton boasts some amazing green spaces, inside and outside the city. Southampton Common and Mayflower Park are two of the best examples in the city itself, and a day in a park is a great way to enjoy the fresh air and a break from the hustle and bustle without going too far. But to really get to grips with the natural world it is worth leaving town and heading to Royal South Hants Country Park, a charming urban oasis perfect for a family walk. The New Forest is also right on your doorstep, a wild expanse of heathland, woodland, and rolling hillsides, with the added bonus of New Forest ponies to discover! Your kids will love seeing these tiny equine creatures as well as walking the trails of the Forest.
Southampton is blessed with an array of excellent family-friendly museums, exploring the amazing history of the city. Start off with a visit to Sea City Museum to learn about the city’s amazing maritime history, as well as its role in the ill-fated voyage of the Titanic. With interactive displays and special exhibitions, it’s an educational and enjoyable day out. Move on to Solent Sky Museum to discover Southampton’s equally pivotal role in the history of manned flight, and finish your day off with a visit to the Tudor House and Garden to understand the most important era in the city’s history.
The adventure playground at Eastleigh Lakeside is an absolute joy for kids and makes for a wonderful day out. With zip lines, sand diggers, climbing frames, and a range of other play equipment, it is guaranteed to distract and entertain kids of all ages and abilities.
The water and the sea play a huge part in the daily life of Southampton, from the River Itchen to the Solent channel. Enjoy the best views of the city with a boat trip on Southampton Water, or cruise across the Solent to visit the Isle of Wight and enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of traditional English life.
Southampton has a rich cultural life and plays host to a vast array of festivals and events throughout the year. Chances are there will be something exciting happening that your kids will enjoy while you are visiting. From art and music festivals to food markets and artisan craft fairs, there’s something to suit all tastes in Southampton’s varied events program.