City Guide

Things to Do in Southampton

Ben Maples  · Nov 30th 2021
Southampton docks

Southampton is one of the most popular cities in the UK for students to study in and is home to a rich and vibrant culture with a strong history.

In this guide, we will show you the different things to do in Southampton.

Things to do in Southampton


Situated in the county of Hampshire on the South Coast is the city of Southampton. One of the most popular places for students to go to, Southampton has a rough population of 253,651 according to the very most recent figures. The city shares a rivalry with the neighbouring city of Portsmouth, which extends just beyond the two city’s excellent football teams.

Things to do in Southampton

Many cities are picked for their nightlife too. It’s true many students want to go out and explore the sprawling nightlife of their new city and Southampton has a nightlife that everyone is talking about, and we’ve compiled a list of three places that we think that you’ll love.

First up we have Oceana, which is renowned for its amazing atmosphere, it’s brilliant music, and it’s chilled out and relaxed atmosphere. The club is also holding a fresher’s week (As it does every year) and you’d be a fool to miss it! We recommend you go and check it out and learn a little more about the club too. Next up we have The Orange Rooms. This place is truly a wonder, and you’ll be hard-put to stop yourself coming back. Some of the best music you’ve heard, coupled with some of the most exotic cocktails that you’ve ever seen in your life. Do not miss out on this excellent experience or you’ll probably regret doing so! And finally, we have Cafe Parfait. On Thursday nights this place is jumping, and they have some of the best offers that you’ve ever seen in your life. The place is open until 04:00 am as well on Thursdays, so you’ll be in it for the long haul too, so don’t worry, you’re definitely in for a great night out here!

The city has a long, rich and varied history. The city has been proud of this for some time and has long since commemorated their history with a number of museums that celebrate this. All of the museums are affordable and accessible to all members of the public. Some of these museums give you a history of the Uk too such as; The SeaCity Museum, Solent Sky and Tudor House & Garden.

There are also some cinemas in the city too, which are particularly useful if you’re looking to see some of the latest and greatest in films at the moment. Southampton has everything from an Odeon with an IMAX, a Cineworld and a Harbour Lights Picturehouse. If you’re looking for more independent features however then we recommend that you look into one of the city’s many film societies.

There are many activities and events that run throughout Southampton and keep the community together. We recommend that you make your way over to Fake Festival. As the name suggests, there are a lot of fakes here, as it’s mainly tribute bands that perform, but you’re unlikely to have a better time out than this, an excellent way to hear your favourite music, with a couple of modest changes too.

Things to do with kids in Southampton


The transportation around Southampton is incredibly efficient, offering everything that you could ever need with bus services, train stops and cycle paths.

The city is served by a number of bus services and operators, such as Bluestar, First Southampton, Xelabus and Wheelers. The biggest and most common bus provider in the city is Unilink, which is actually provided by the University of Southampton and offers trips from the university all the way through to the town centre! National Express also operates in the city as a trip to a number of different cities.

The main train station in the city is Southampton Central Railway, which provides routes to different cities such as Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff and Portsmouth.

There is one airport in the city, the Southampton Airport, which flies nationally and to various European destinations. For those looking to go further internationally, you will need to travel to Gatwick Airport or Heathrow Airport, both of which are serviced by the aforementioned National Express.

Universities in the City

There are two universities in the city of Southampton. The University of Southampton and Solent University.

The University of Southampton was established in 1862 as the Hartley Institution, however, the institute was given university status in 1952 and subsequently re-branded as the University of Southampton. The university is part of the prestigious Russell Group of Universities.

The student body is represented by the University of Southampton Students’ Union (SUSU). The union represents the students and their various student media outlets, such as Sugar Radio, which is the student radio station, SUStv, the student internet TV station, Wessex Scene, which is the student newspaper and The Edge, which is the student entertainment magazine.

The main sporting facilities are managed by the university's Sport and Wellbeing department. In 2004 the university opened The Jubilee Sports Centre, which cost £8.5m to refurbish. The university also competes in the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) South East Conference Leagues.

Solent University is the city’s second university. It was originally established in 1855 as the Southampton College of Art, the university was granted university status in 2004 and re-branded as Southampton Solent University, however, the university re-branded one more time in 2018 as Solent University.

The elements of the student body media are represented under the umbrella of Sonar Media. There is a Radio Sonar, the student radio station, SonarTV, the student TV station, Sonar Magazine, the student magazine and Sonar Film, which is the student-run cinema.

Things to do with family in Southampton


The area of Southampton can be traced back to the Stone Age. The settlement was originally known as Clausentum and became one of the most important trading ports and a very important defensive outpost as well. Eventually in 410, the settlement was abandoned.

After the Norman conquest in 1066, Southampton became a very important transit settlement. The city also saw the construction of Southampton Castle in the 12th century. In the 13th century, Southampton was one of the country’s leading ports and was a very important cog in the import of French wine and the export of English cloth and wool.

During the Middle Ages, the city was an important part of the shipbuilding industry, with many important ships being constructed in the city, such as Henry V's warship HMS Grace Dieu, in 1418.

During 1740, Southampton became a Spa Town and was attracting a lot of tourists for sea bathing, even though the town’s beaches weren’t as good as elsewhere at the time. By the time the Industrial Revolution started, Southampton began to develop some important transport links, especially with the new train link to London.

In 1912, the famous RMS Titanic sailed from Southampton before its famous iceberg crash. The city also became a very important port for fleet ships departing the city for the Great War and for returning POWs and injured soldiers.

However, in World War II, the city was targeted by the Luftwaffe, mainly due to its importance as a military embarkation point. This led to the city being bombed heavily, with 630 people losing their lives and 2,000 more injured.

The university received university status in 1964.


The sport in the city is very well regarded.

The city’s main football club is Southampton Football Club, who play at Saint Mary’s Stadium in the Premier League. The club is generally a mid-table club, but the club has enjoyed some recent successes and has also appeared in big cup finals, such as the 2003 FA Cup final, which they lost 1-0 to Arsenal.

Hampshire County Cricket Club also play close to the city as well at the Rose Bowl, which also sometimes plays host in the Southampton Evening Cricket League as well.

There are a number of men and women’s amateur rugby clubs as well, such as Trojans RFC, who play in the London South West 2 Division.

The city’s sport is well reflected in the city being awarded the Fittest City in the UK in 2006 by Men’s Fitness.

Who's from Southampton?

There are numerous famous people from Southampton too such as; Artful Dodger, Craig David, Benny Hill, Shelina Permalloo and Scott Mills.

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