Southampton is a city on the southern coast of the UK located in the county of Hampshire. Back in February I had the chance to visit when I traveled there with my cousin to interview for their medical school.
We arrived in the city two nights before my interview, and ended up having a whole day in Southampton to wander around and take in the sights.
We ended up getting a late start to the day (hello jetlag) and so we didn’t end up fitting in everything I had looked into before we left but we were able to see quite a bit and at a nice relaxed pace.
Our day started by catching a cab into the city center (we were staying at a hotel that was closer to the university but there is lots of options for hotels in the city). Our first stop was breakfast, our cab driver laughed when we asked for breakfast suggestions because it was already after 11. We ended up at a place called Stakks Pancake House located in Marlands Shopping Center (which my cousin found with just a quick google search for restaurants near us). They have a selection of both sweet and savory pancakes, and omg were they delicious. We opted for a savory one. Each option comes with three pancakes (some you have the option to downsize to two). We got ‘the weekender’ with three pancakes and just split a single order, which was more than enough. ‘The weekender’ is a pancake, then a layer of bacon, another pancake, a sausage patty, then another pancake, all topped of with hash brown patties and an egg. I have to admit it was not a photogenic as some of the sweet options we saw coming out but man it was good.
Tudor House & Garden and St. Michael’s Church
After we finished eating we headed out to find The Tudor House & Garden and St. Michaels.
It wasn’t too far so we just walked (plus we needed to walk off those pancakes). We stopped into St. Michaels first (which was lucky as they were going to be closing to visitors soon.) There has been a church on this site since about 1070 with the current church being built in the medieval period and being altered over the years.
I loved all the stained glass windows. This this one here was destroyed by bombing in 1940 and was replaced with the glass you see now.
It was a really beautiful church and even if you’re not religious I recommend taking some time to look around.
One of my favourite things was the cross-stitched prayer cushions they had. They were all unique, some had little sayings and other were commemorative like the ones they had for the Titanic.
After we finished in the church we headed over to the Tudor House & Garden, which is literally just across the street. I have to admit it wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it was still pretty cool to see.
The house is an interactive exhibit/ museum that takes you through the history of the house and Southampton as you walk through. Since we were there in the off-season it wasn’t busy at all (there was one other person going through at the same time). You have to pay for entry but it was only about £5.00. They also have a little café that looks out onto the garden (which I imagine is even prettier in the summer).
After leaving the Tudor House & Garden we wandered along the Medieval walls of the city. You can book a tour to take you around the walls but they are also free to just walk along on your own. Look out for these “Walk the Walls signs” when you around the old city for a place to go up. Once you’re up on the walls there’s little plaques dotted around where you can read about different sites.
Waterstones in WestQuay
As we finished up our walk along the walls it started to rain, and we of course had left the umbrella back at the hotel. Luckily we were coming up on the WestQuay shopping centre so we decided to stop inside Waterstones for some tea while we waited out the rain. If you are not familiar with the UK Wasterstones is a bookstore chain similar to Chapters here in Canada (or Barnes and Noble in the States) but it also has a little café inside. We each got a pot of tea and then shared an apple caramel cake with some pouring cream. Once we were finished we wandered through Waterstones (who could resist a bookstore?) and then made our way into the rest of the mall.
WestQuay Shopping Centre
WestQuay is a nice sized mall located in the city centre. It has a good selection of stores including Apple and H&M. We mostly wandered into stores we don’t have in Canada like Marks & Spencer, Waterstones and John Lewis. There is also a bunch of places to eat up on the upper level that we didn’t explore.
After we had finished in the shopping center we had planned to walk to the art gallery and Titanic museum (Officially the SeaCity Museum) however, unfortunately both were closed by the time we got there (It wasn’t too far of a walk we just weren’t paying attention to the time and I didn’t think to check their hours).
Since everything we wanted to see was closed we decided to get some dinner at Gusto just across the street from the Titanic museum.
Gusto Bar & Bistro
This was a cute little place and the food was good. I had their prawns which were delicious but a little bit messy lol. (I had already dug in by the time I thought about taking a picture)
After dinner we headed back to the hotel for an early night (I had to be up early to get to the university for my Interview).