Caught between the fringes of the New Forest and the shores of the English Channel. Southampton is a history-rich maritime city with plenty of tales to tell. From its links to the Titanic that you can explore in the SeaCity Museum, to its traces of Tudor history. Read on to find the best attractions and things to do for the elderly living in or visiting Southampton.
The iconic Bargate is thought to be the finest and most complex example of a medieval town gateway in Britain. Marking not just the original main entrance to the old town, but also the first point in time that Southampton became historically important. Despite evidence of dwellings since the stone age. The inner arch was constructed in Norman times and has been modified and added to repeatedly throughout the years. Becoming the intricate design that you see today. While there used to be a toll to enter the city in medieval times. You can now visit the Bargate at any time of day for free.
The Tudor House and Gardens
This fine example of Tudor architecture is one of Southampton’s most historically important buildings. The old timber frame building holds over 800 years of history and information, while the peaceful garden is a lovely place to relax with some delights chosen from the cafe. There is a reduced price of £4 for over 60s, opening times vary.
The SeaCity Museum conserves a fascinating piece of history for Southampton. It’s worth a visit whether you live in the area or are just visiting and know a lot about the Titanic, or not. Entailing details of the devastating iceberg incident and the lives it affected, it also has lots to offer in the way of maritime history and some natural history of the area. Opening times, admission and event details here.
Holyrood Church Ruins
The ruins of this church bombed during WWII now stand as a memorial to the men of the merchant navy who died in said war. Close to the other old town attractions, this site is worth a quick visit and is open dawn until dusk. Look out for the functioning clock that still chimes on the hour.
The Wool House
Among Southampton’s oldest buildings, the Wool House is a 13th century stone construction that has served as fortified building. Protecting precious woolstock in pirate times, a jail for prisoners of war, an early aviation workshop, a Titanic museum until 2012 and finally a wonderful pub and microbrewery. The restaurant and bar currently run by Dancing Man Brewery is an excellent spot for a meal or a drink with a great atmosphere and history oozing out the walls.
Medieval Merchant’s House
The medieval merchant’s house is another glimpse into the town’s history and way of life in medieval times. Situated down a quiet street, this is a great opportunity to get away from the bustle of the city and view some English heritage for free.
The Ocean Village Marina is a lovely mixed use area comprising of residential, leisure and business developments. It is the ideal place for a leisurely stroll with several restaurants and hotels in which you can sit, eat and drink as you watch the world go by. You can also enjoy a film while in the area at the quirky arty cinema, Harbour Lights, along with drinks and snacks at their bar.
Southampton City Art Gallery
For those who enjoy fine art, the impressive Southampton City Art Gallery in the heart of the cultural quarter is free to visit and has more than fine art on display. Check out the events list for details on talks, exhibitions and classes available at the gallery throughout the year.
South Hampton Common & Hawthorns Urban Wildlife Centre
The Common is a very popular spot among locals for walking, observing nature, entertaining the kids or just to get some peace and quiet. There are a couple of pubs nearby, The Cowheerds and The Bellemoor. So food and a drink are just around the corner, or you could take a picnic. The Hawthorns Urban Wildlife Centre is situated in the South East corner of the common and can be a nice pitstop to learn more about the wildlife and its management.
Hythe Pier, Railway and Ferry
Just two miles from Southampton across the estuary lies the pretty village of Hythe with its own shopping area, marina and its famous pier. You have to jump on the half-hourly ferry across the Southampton Water and you’ll disembark at the end of the pier just in time to catch the engine for 640m ride towards the town. Tickets and pass details here.
These are just some of the activities suitable for elderly people that Southampton has to offer. As a popular cruising destination, there are plenty more things to do and see within the city’s medieval walls.
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