The city of Southampton is a mix of modern cosmopolitan city and historic medieval town with a fantastic art scene and stacks of shopping. The city centre is effectively split in two with all the historic sights, the docks and modern marinas in the south. Below Bar, art galleries, theatres, parks and the majority of the shopping centres are Above Bar in the north. A hotel in Southampton City Centre affords easy access to shopping districts, the famous Mayflower Theatre, St Mary's football stadium and the City Art Gallery or choose accommodation near the port for easy access to cruise ships and ferry services.
Southampton was the launching port for some of history's most famous ships including The Mayflower, RMS Titanic, RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth with the new SeaCity Museum being a great starting point to find out more about their history. Enjoy some of the best views of Southampton from the water on a choice of boat trips. As well as being a great tourist destination, Southampton is also one of the South Coast's premier business hubs and many hotels cater for this. Search and compare prices for conference and wedding hotels in Southampton. The city offers a wealth of family friendly accommodation and quality B&Bs close to the historic ruins of Netley Abbey, inspiration for Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey.
Tours, trails and things to do in Southampton are extensive whether it's a historic walking trail around the city's medieval walls that once fortified the town, or a day of shopping. The city's art galleries and theatres along with the Guildhall that houses the City Art Gallery and hosts international pop and comedy acts gives culture lovers plenty to see and do while the variety of parks provide a welcome quiet oasis to rest your feet. Much of Southampton was bombed during the Second World War which left the way free for the city to develop a modern infrastructure. Unfortunately this also saw some of the historic features demolished but a good deal still survives. Southampton city centre is split between Above Bar and Below Bar. "Bar" relates to Bargate, the medieval town gate that is a useful landmark in the centre of town. Most of the historic attractions and the waterfront are Below Bar. Above Bar is where you'll find the main shopping centres, university buildings, art galleries, theatres and parks.
The Tourist Information Office is Above Bar just opposite the Civic Centre and within easy walking distance of the train and bus stations. Here you can buy a useful city street map as well as find a plethora of information on things to do in and around the city. The walking trails like the Jane Austen Trail and the Titanic Trail will take you around the majority of the city's visitor attractions and provide some useful background as to how Southampton has developed through the centuries.