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Fun things to do in Southampton

Last updated: 21/03/2024

Perched on the south coast of England, Southampton is a historic port city in Hampshire filled with culture, life and, best of all, adventure. Located less than 30mins away from both the sea and the New Forest National Park, you’ll be spoilt for choice for fun things to do, which are suitable for all ages.

In this article, we'll delve into the world of adventurous outdoor activities, natural beauty spots, historical landmarks, museums & art galleries, tasty treats, and day trips from Southampton.

Family Adventures in Southampton

Go Ape Southampton


For an unforgettable outdoor adventure, Go Ape Southampton is your ideal destination. Nestled in the green expanse of Itchen Valley Country Park, there is something for every flavour of thrill-seeker.

Young and old(er) adventurers alike can swing, climb, and zip through the canopy on a Treetop Adventure, Treetop Adventure Plus or Treetop Challenge high-ropes experience. Or, closer to the ground, enjoy an action-packed hour of Axe Throwing in the great outdoors. Remember it’s about skill rather than strength, as you aim for that all-important bullseye.

If you’re looking for even more adventure, Go Ape Moors Valley Country Park (Dorset) is just over 30 mins away from Go Ape Southampton.

The Quays Swimming and Diving Complex

The home of Great Britain’s Olympic diving team, The Quays Swimming and Diving Complex is a family favourite day out, complete with world class swimming and diving facilities. There are three swimming pools: a 25m 8-lane pool; a diving pool and a leisure pool complete with flumes, slides and a whirlpool. The Quays is the ultimate destination for water lovers.

Alpine Snowsports Centre 

If you're after some winter fun, the Alpine Snowsports Centre is the place to be. Get your favourite winter sport fix all year round at the Alpine Snowsports Centre. Whether you’re a pro or still learning, you can try skiing, snowboarding or just sliding down the dry slopes on inflatable donuts!

Beautiful Natural Spots in Southampton

Itchen Valley Country Park

Home to Go Ape Southampton, it’s well worth exploring the 440 acres of woodland and meadows in Itchen Valley Country Park after your adventure! There are loads of things to do for families and groups, including self-led adventure and play trails, digital orienteering paths and off-road cycling routes.

Free activity sheets can be downloaded to your phone or printed off online to keep little ones entertained. P.S. The Woodland Café is a great place to refuel, with a range of fresh, locally sourced food and hot drinks.

Manor Farm National Park

If your little ones are animal lovers, Manor Farm Country Park is a great day out. This hands-on farm lets everyone meet and interact with friendly animals, including cows, sheep, goats, donkeys, rabbits, guinea pigs and alpacas.

The Play Barn also includes indoor and outdoor spaces with accessible play pieces for children of all ages.

Old McDonald's Farm becomes a reality here with a whole host of farmyard animals to greet you on arrival. Be prepared, your heart will melt.

New Forest National Park

Horses and wild donkeys in the New Forest | Fun things to do in Southampton

Just 15 minutes away from central Southampton, the New Forest National Park is a natural paradise filled with wildlife. Spanning over 140,000 acres, the New Forest is home to some of South East England’s most beautiful natural locations and wildlife.

Expect to see free-roaming horses, donkeys, ponies and even pigs roaming free in the ancient woodland and open moors. Discover some of the best walking routes in the New Forest.

Historical Sites for the Whole Family

Tudor House and Gardens

One of Southampton’s most important historic buildings, the Tudor House and Gardens reveal over 800 years of history. Set in the heart of the old town, every nook and cranny of the house and gardens is filled with stories, telling a tale of the many occupants through the years and how Southampton has changed around it.

It's a true testament to Southampton's past and there is a bursting calendar of seasonal activities and events throughout the year.

Visit the Old Town

Southampton old town walls | fun things to do in Southampton


Said to have more hidden treasures than any city in the UK, Southampton's Old Town is situated just south of the city centre. If you're looking for sightseeing opportunities, you've come to the right place.

There are a variety of themed guided walks on offer, including ones about the Titanic, Jane Austen and Perils and Plots to name just a few.

Strolling along this well-preserved, third longest stretch of medieval town wall in England, you'll feel like you've stepped back in time. Don't forget your camera!

Museums & Art Galleries

Solent Sky Museum

Solent Sky Museum in Southampton | Fun things to do in Southampton


Home of the Spitfire and the largest flying boat in the world, the Solent Sky Museum is an ideal cultural family activity.

Immerse yourself in the history of aircraft development manufacturing over the past century as you peruse 20 aircraft exhibitions, featuring the Schneider Trophy S6 Seaplane, Sea Vixen and the Spitfire.

SeaCity Museum

Located in the centre of Southampton’s emerging Cultural Quarter, SeaCity is a state-of-the-art, interactive museum, housed in a Grade II listed building. The museum takes you through Southampton's connection with the sea, focusing on the people who have travelled in and out of the city through the centuries, with a particular focus on the city's fascinating Titanic heritage.

Treats and Eats

The MayFlower

Built in the 1920s, The Mayflower is the biggest theatre on the South Coast and features a diverse range of productions, from West End touring shows to dance, opera and ballet. The theatre also boasts three bars which are open before curtain-up and during the interval.

Harbour Lights Picturehouse

 Overlooking Southampton’s Marina, The Harbour Lights Picturehouse showcases a range of films from Blockbusters to indie-movies and classic films. The venue has two comfortable screening rooms, and the café-bar has a picturesque view across the Marina.

Places to Eat

Places to eat in Southampton | Fun things to do in Southampton

Southampton is a food lover's paradise, with a wide range of dining options to suit every palate. Whether you’re after fine dining or good old-fashioned grub, Southampton is filled with great places to eat.  

Oxford Street is a great place to start, with a large choice of restaurants independent shops and bars but don’t be afraid to do your research. There’s so much on offer, here are just a few great places to eat.

Find your next adventure at Go Ape Southampton

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Two women in black throwing axes with Go Ape instructor | Fun things to do in Southampton