Solent sailing, Bounding Hares, Free Family Festivals, Walking Trails and Art
It may have been pipped to the post as UK City of Culture 2025, but Southampton has reason to celebrate this summer with a packed programme of cultural events and experiences. Visit Southampton’s top what’s on picks include:
See the liners, get on the water with the round-the-island yachties and catch the Bournemouth air show from the deck of the historic SS Shieldhall
A member of the National Historic Fleet and a registered charity, the SS Shieldhall offers a novel way to catch all the summer goings-on in the Solent. Bringing the golden age of steam to life above and below decks, the vessel and its crew of experienced volunteers offers regular summer excursions often accompanied by a live band. Summer highlights include the opportunity to get close to Cowes-racing yachties beside the Isle of Wight, a new coastal trip to see Portsmouth from the water, several cruises to see magnificent ocean liners up close and a weekend of sailings that take in the Bournemouth Air Show from the water. Prices from £38 for adults and £13.50 for children, family tickets from £90.00 www.ss-shieldhall.co.uk
Take in the Summer of Sport for FREE on Westquay’s The Esplanade
With Southampton’s old city walls as a backdrop, some of the summer’s main sporting events can be enjoyed for FREE on The Esplanade, at Westquay from now until 7th August. Featuring deckchairs, a pop-up village bar plus mini-golf, ping-pong and big outdoor screens, Southampton’s ‘Summer of Sport’ offers the perfect way to watch the tennis and big events such as Royal Ascot, UEFA Women’s Euro Football, the Commonwealth Games. For more information visit: https://www.west-quay.co.uk/events/summer-of-sport
Join in the football fever as the UEFA Women’s Euros head to Southampton
The UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 is coming to Southampton in July when the city’s St Mary’s Stadium plays host to three games Norway v Northern Ireland (8pm on Thursday 7 July); Austria v Northern Ireland (5pm on Monday 11 July) and Northern Ireland v England (8pm on Friday 15 July). As well as watching the games (tickets from £10), on match days, the city is hosting a series of FREE fun-filled Fan Festivals. From midday until just before kick-off, the events will feature live music, roaming performers, football activities and an art exhibition showcasing the history of women’s football across several of the city-centre locations including Houndwell Park, Palmerston Park and Above Bar Street.
The fascinating history of women’s football in Southampton will also be explored in a new exhibition opening on 25 June 2022 at SeaCity Museum. This heritage goes back to the First World War, when teams were formed by women workers in the local factories. The Museum will run an oral history project to interview ex-players and fans, as well as current players and local artefacts relating to the women’s game for the Museum’s collection. For information about all the events taking place: https://visitsouthampton.co.uk/womenseuro.
History ahoy at the Seacity Museum with a free walking tour of the Titanic sights
As well as the football, celebrating two millennia of sea-faring heritage, more of the city’s maritime connections, including its fascinating interactive Titanic exhibition, can be explored at the SeaCity Museum (£9.50 adults, £7.00 children, £29.00 family ticket 2 adults and three children). There is also a free to download self-guided Titanic walk from the museum, which retraces the city’s connections to the doomed vessel www.seacitymuseum.co.uk
Bounding into Southampton: The Hares of Hampshire until 25 August
The Hares of Hampshire have bounded into Southampton on a free to experience public art trail. Perfect for posing alongside, there 30 brightly painted and larger than life statues are scattered across various locations in and around the city and beyond until 25th August. www.haresofhampshire.co.uk
Get Knitted: Art and history unite at God’s House Tower
God’s House Tower has welcomed a new art installation by acclaimed British-Ghanaian textile and performance artist, Enam Gbewonyo for summer, exploring the many reincarnations and history – from prison to wine vault – of the heritage arts venue located in the city’s medieval wall.
Gardez L’Eau draws on themes of trade, travel, colonialism and piracy; and uses materials from God’s House Tower’s past to create a knitted artwork that runs through the entirety of the building. Gardez L’Eau is on display at God’s House Tower, Southampton, until Sunday 14 August. www.godshousetower.org.uk
Festival Fever – from the cultural delights of Asia at the Mela Festival
One of Southampton’s biggest cultural celebrations, the Mela Festival, is a huge free event showcasing a colourful fusion of Asian music, dance and family activities. On 16th July at the city’s Hogland’s Park, international musicians and dancers together with local talent, will provide festival goers with live on-stage performances, with an arts and craft market, food pop-ups and a children’s activity zone adding to the festival programme. https://artasia.org.uk/mela-festival/