68th European Study Group with Industry

| University of Southampton | 30 March - 3 April 2009 |


Things to do in Southampton.

There is a wealth of activities in the city centre.

Southampton Common: The university borders Southampton Common. This is a mixture of secluded woodland glens and open spaces.  Always good for taking exercise on whether you are  you a jogger or footballer. 

Shopping: The centre of Southampton is dominated by shopping Malls.  The largest is West Quay, which is so large and new, you really can’t miss it.  Just follow the crowds, or look out for the John Lewis or Marks and Spencer signs.  It may not be the Arndale centre, but it has most of what you could possibly want. The John Lewis top-floor café is laid out like a salon on an modern ocean liner and being one of the highest points in the area gives a good view of the maritime comings and goings in Southampton. 

Walk the City walls: The city still possesses part of its mediaeval city walls.  These can be accessed and walked on from near to West Quay shopping centre.

Museums: The city has several museums that are worth a visit. 

Mediaeval Merchant’s House (French Street) is one of the few mediaeval buildings that survived the blitz.  It is run by English Heritage and is furnished in the style of its merchant owner in 1290. 

The Hall of Aviation (Albert Road South, next to Ocean Village, £4 admissions charge) contains aircraft associated with Southampton’s past from flying boats to the ubiquitous Spitfires.  You can find details at  (complete with Merlin engine soundtrack).  

The Maritime Museum is situated on Town Quay, next to the Isle or Wight ferry.  It tells the history of the development of the port of Southampton since 1838.

The City Art Gallery is located in the Civic Centre (the big white building with the campanile). 

Sports Facilities: The university has recently opened the Jubilee Sports Centre and there are great facilities for swimming, basketball, working out etc.  If you want to wander into town then The Quays is the city's principal swimming pool, which is next to…. yes, West Quay shopping centre.  The City Sports Centre is situated just off the Avenue as you enter Southampton from the North.  There is even a ski slope if you have remembered to bring your board with you.   Alistair Fitt no longer has his membership of the most exclusive golf club in the area, but the municipal golf course can be found at the City Sports Centre. 

Things to do within 30 minutes of Southampton

The New Forest is just 15 minutes away by car from the university to the west.  It is an extensive unspoilt area of woodland and scrub area ideal for walking, that has been used since Saxon times as anything from Royal hunting ground to a staging ground for the 1944 Normandy invasions.  If you don’t have a car, you can get a train from Southampton Central to Brockenhurst and almost immediately get out into the countryside.  Beaulieu with its motor museum and Abbey is situated in the heart of the New Forest about 30 minutes by car away to the South West.

Winchester is 15 minutes by car or train, 30 minutes by bus to the north of Southampton.  Winchester is to Southampton what Bath is to Bristol.  If you have the odd half-million to spare you can start to look for a council flat to buy in Winchester.  Unlike Bath, Winchester’s proximity to London means that it is more of a dormitory town.  For a City that became the capital of Wessex (after Wilton) and one of the principal Bishoprics in England, some may find it somewhat of a disappointment.  Whilst it has all the “olde worlde” charm, the cathedral is gradually subsiding into the surrounding water meadows and needs extensive repair.  The best place for cream teas is in the cathedral grounds.  Marwell Zoo is about 15 minutes by car, between Southampton and Winchester on the B2177 to Bishops Waltham, accessed from Junction 11 on the M3.

The city of Salisbury (Old Sarum) is about 30 minutes away along the M27 and then A36.  There is also regular train service from Southampton Central there and back.  It arguably has a more beautiful cathedral than the nearer Winchester, and unlike Winchester has more of a country-town feel to it with the mediaeval walls and layout still in evidence.  On the way you pass Porton Down (shh!).  For the Druids, Stonehenge is located near to Salisbury, on the A303, 2 miles west of Amesbury.  A bus leaves every hour to and from Salisbury station for Stonehenge.

Portsmouth is about 30 minutes by car or train to the East and  is dominated by its association with the Royal Navy.  It also used have the highest density of drinking dens per head of population in the country with  one pub to every twelve residents. The dockyard has many  attractions including HMS Victory and the Mary Rose.  Curiously, the admission desks at the dockyard seem now to be staffed by Frenchmen.  Other areas worth visiting are the historic old town, the rejuvenated dock front at Gunwharf Quays and the spectacular Spinnaker Tower where you can get wonderful views of the areea.  There are numerous other museums around devoted to every aspect (mostly unpleasant) of Naval life.  Trains to Portsmouth can be caught at Southampton Central Station.

To the south, is the Isle of Wight.  Regular catamaran services are available from Town Quay.  These take 20-30 minutes to reach Cowes.  “The Island”, as locals call it, is hillier than the mainland, the reserve of the “boaty set” or members of the public detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.  In  some places, time seems to have stood still.   Attractions include Carisbrooke Castle,  where Charles I was first imprisoned, and Osbourne House, built for Victoria by Albert as their summer retreat.  Why, when you have the largest empire the world had known, you should choose to take all your holidays on the Isle of Wight appears to be somewhat myopic.

If you just want to take in sea views, then Victoria Country Park near Netley (Junction 8 M27, or train to Netley) on the eastern shore of Southampton water or Lepe Beach (A33 east to Totton, then south on the A326) near Calshot are about 20-30 minutes away from the university.

An interesting place?

...Oh yes!

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