Visit Southampton

History and Heritage Attractions

Southampton’s Old Town has more hidden treasures than many other cities can boast and is located just south of the city centre. It has attracted famous residents and visitors including William The Conqueror, Henry V, William Shakespeare, the Pilgrim Fathers, Isaac Watts and Jane Austen, among many others.

Originally built as the main gateway to the medieval city, the 800 year old Bargate stands as a prestigious entrance to the Old Town where you will find the third longest stretch of unbroken medieval defensive walling in England.  Eleven pairs of plaques have been laid from the Bargate down to the waterside, marking key events in the city’s history. The plaques mark key moments, from the early Roman settlement, to the opening of the National Oceanography Centre.

The Old Town and its hidden treasures provide visitors with a truly memorable ‘step back’ experience into Southampton’s past.
 

All History and Heritage Attractions: Click on a marker to find out more

Medieval Merchants House

0.74 miles to city centre

Type

58 French Street
Southampton
SO14 0AT
GB
Get Directions
Tel: 0870 333 1181
Web: Visit Website

The Medieval Merchants House is tucked away within walking distance from the busy city centre. Escape from the city life and take in the history of Southampton’s “old town”. John Fortin, a merchant who traded with Bordeaux, started building this house c. 1290. A residence and place of business, it stood on one of the busiest streets in medieval Southampton. Now restored to its mid-14th-century appearance by the removal of later additions, it is equipped with replica period furnishings. It stands near the medieval town wall, built to defend Southampton against seaborne attacks. Netley Abbey, Calshot Castle and Hurst Castle are all within reasonable travelling distance.

Mottisfont Abbey

10.75 miles to city centre

Type

The National Trust
Mottisfont
Romsey
Hampshire
SO51 0LP
GB
Get Directions
Tel: 01794 340 757
Web: Visit Website
Admission: Paid Admission

Mottisfont  is a lovely old house set in glorious grounds by the River Test. A medieval priory that was gradually changed into a comfortable country house, it’s now a great place to come to relax, have a breath of fresh air and see something different. 
 

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SeaCity Museum

0.18 miles to city centre

Type

SeaCity Museum
Havelock Road
Southampton
Hampshire
SO14 7LT
GB
Get Directions
Tel: 023 8083 3007
Web: Visit Website
Admission: Paid Admission
This innovative, state-of-the-art museum focuses on Southampton and its connection with the sea, including the city’s Titanic heritage and the stories of the people who have travelled in and out of the city through the ages. 
 
Situated at the heart of Southampton’s emerging Cultural Quarter and housed in the grade II listed former Magistrates’ Court, SeaCity is an interactive experience designed for visitors of all ages.
 
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Solent Sky Museum

0.96 miles to city centre

Type

Albert Road South
Southampton
SO14 3FR
GB
Get Directions
Tel: 02380 635830
Web: Visit Website
Email: Email now

Solent Sky Museum showcases the history of aviation in Southampton and Solent area. Geographically this area was the most important area in the country, if not the world, for aircraft experimental and development work between 1908 and the late 1960s, the most famous being the Spitfire. We have 18 aircraft of various types, including the Spitfire and Supermarine S6b (N248). Our Engine Bay also has a good selection of engines.We welcome people aboard the Sandringham Flying Boat, which was built as a Short Sunderland Bomber in 1943 and converted in 1946; while on board why not take a tour onto the flight deck. Or you can imagine that you are flying the Swift or Harrier Jump Jet while sitting in their cockpits.Opening in October 2012 will be our new Schneider Trophy Exhibition.

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Southampton City Art Gallery

0.12 miles to city centre

Type

Southampton City Art Gallery
Civic Centre, Commercial Road
Southampton
SO14 7LP
GB
Get Directions
Tel: 023 8083 3007
Web: Visit Website
Email: Email now
Admission: Free Admission

The gallery is internationally renowned for its permanent collection, spanning eight centuries, which tell the story of western art from the Renaissance to the present day.

The core of the collection is twentieth century and contemporary British art.  Strong clusters within this element include Post-Impressionism (notably the Camden Town Group), Surrealism, St Ives and progressive contemporary art from the mid-1970s. Also, the gallery offers high quality exhibitions ranging from painting, sculpture and drawing, to photography and film, as well as displays that change regularly to ensure new experiences with each visit.

Conveniently located right next to SeaCity Museum, the venue caters for families, with gallery trails through the exhibitions, monthly art clubs and a fantastic range of activities for all ages.  

Tudor House and Garden

0.68 miles to city centre

Type

St Michael's Square
Southampton
SO14 2AD
GB
Get Directions
Tel: 023 8083 4242
Web: Visit Website

Encompassing over 900 years of history on one site, Southampton’s most important historic building, the Tudor House, has recently been restored with great new displays and facilities.  Visitors can enjoy the accessible house and the lovely garden in the delightful setting of Southampton’s Old Town. 

It has a fascinating history, lived in by the rich, the famous and the poor, from the Tudor Lord Chief Justice Sir Richard Lyster to the Victorian milliner Eliza Simmons.  Find out more about these characters’ stories as you explore the House. 

Visitors are given an insight into the lives of former residents of the house through free audio guides, while reconstructed Tudor and Victorian kitchens demonstrate how far mod cons have come in the 21st century.  A selection of restored artefacts of historic importance are on display in the fascinating museum, including examples of Georgian and Victorian jewellery, as well as a number of archaeological finds dating back to the medieval and Tudor periods.

A new café has been built overlooking the tranquil Tudor knot garden, which has also been restored and offers plenty of opportunities for children to explore safely.