Southampton is a wonderful gateway to the South of England and beyond, while the city is rammed packed full of exciting, fun and interesting things to do.

Here are our top five picks of what to get up to for the rest of 2017 when you fly to Southampton...

 

Boat show

1. Southampton Boat Show: 15 - 24 September
This is the gold standard of boat shows, and this 10-day event is the biggest festival of boating this year. It’s not all about buying boats though, far from it. It’s a place for entertainment, with two music stages. It’s a place for the kids – with CBeebies presenter Gemma Hunt from the programme Swashbuckle will be heading along. There will also be ‘bumper boats’, just like bumper cars except way, way cooler. It’s also a place for history, with an old United States Navy patrol boat, which used to have the River Rhine as its beat during the Cold War, on display.

 

 Crickey

2. England Vs West Indies Ageas Bowl: 29 September
To round off the summer, why not head to that most British of games – cricket. England take on the West Indies at the Ageas Bowl for a potentially series-deciding Royal London One Day International on 29th September. Plus it’s England’s final home-soil match of the year, and seeing as it could well be a nail biter, if you’ve not seen a match this year, this would be the one to go for. There’s even a Hilton hotel attached.

Once at the airport, it’s really easy to get to the ground thanks to the transport options being put on for the day, including a free shuttle from Southampton Airport Parkway – bus services will begin at 10:00 and run continuously until 13:30 when they will run every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour. Bus services will run continuously once the game has finished.

 Watermark

Image credit: © Hammerson
3. WestQuay
If you’ve been to Southampton, the chances are you’ve visited Westquay shopping centre. Well, it might be time to visit again. Late last year the centre opened the doors on its huge new £85m. extension – which includes 20 restaurants, a bowling alley and a 10-screen cinema.

But that’s not all, because hurling that sort of money at something doesn’t mean you get regular run of the mill stuff, nope. Because this cinema is being hailed as ‘game changer’, and is the first in the UK to have laser-projection. Which means the images are even sharper, and with Dolby Atmos as standard in every screen, you’ll be truly immersed in the action from start to finish. One of the screens is also a wall-to-wall Xplus - which sounds jolly awesome - but basically means the screen is truly, properly massive. Some seats recline electrically and there’s a brilliant bar for you to grab drinks from as well. This cinema is guaranteed to make your favourite movie even greater.

Afterwards, before (or even during if you’ve picked a dud of a movie), you could head to the Hollywood Bowl. Yes let the good times roll at this brand new multi-million pound bowling venue which adds a huge element of fun to a game already packed full of it. Whether you’re there with friends, for a birthday party or simply to see if you’re any good, it’s a great time for all. Book the VIP lanes for colourful pins, pool-style bowling balls and table service to take the experience to the next level.

 

 Christmas markets

Image credit: © christmasmarkets.com
4. Get festive
A traditional German Christmas market is such a huge amount of fun it just had to make it onto the list. In fact, Southampton take it to the next level, calling it a Christmas Festival, which runs from the middle of November until 23rd December. Featuring a twice-daily ‘flying Santa’ at a height of 35 metres, before the main man dishes out a small present to each child, there are Christmas goodies galore at this local institution. Featuring a German beer hall, hot chocolate, mulled wine and a hog roast to name but a few, you’ll also be able to find some presents. Wooden toys, scented candles, clothes, vintage jewellery are just a few of the items on offer. There’s also Santa Claus village, a giant advent calendar, and free festive goodwill for all.

 

Football

5. Live football fix
There's nothing better than watching the beautiful game live, and not on TV, actually live and soaking up the incredible atmosphere and enjoying the terrace humour. With Southampton and Bournemouth football clubs both in easy reach from Southampton Airport if you're looking for a fix of top-flight football, then head to St Mary's to cheer on the Saints or catch a train to Bournemouth and watch the Cherries at the Vitality Stadium. 

 

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