Culture vultures have plenty to choose from in Southampton. Whether you’re taking in a masterpiece at one of the city’s excellent art galleries or learning more about Southampton’s maritime heritage at the SeaCity Museum, you are bound to find something you love in the south coast’s cultural hub.
Culture in Southampton
One of the key venues in Southampton’s Cultural Quarter is Southampton City Art Gallery in the Civic Centre, which has been entertaining visitors since 1939. Admission is free, and it welcomes interesting visiting exhibitions ranging from local to internationally acclaimed artists. The gallery also has a fascinating permanent collection of masterpieces and sculpture, specialising in modern British art.
Next on our gallery list is The John Hansard Gallery. Located on Above Bar Street next to East Park, this public gallery is funded by The University of Southampton and celebrates outstanding art from all over the world with five exhibitions each year. The building itself is a stunning piece of architecture and is well worth checking out during your time in the city.
Just down the street from The John Hansard Gallery on Above Bar Street is Solent Showcase. Another university gallery, this time at Solent University, its main objective is to support up-and-coming artists and art students from the university. Their exhibitions cover a wide variety of styles, so be sure to check out what’s on.
City Art Gallery
John Hansard Gallery
Cultural events happen all year round in Southampton. If you’re in the city for the May bank holiday, you will no doubt come across Common People. It is a celebration of music, arts and community in the city centre and attracts well-known artists such as Lily Allen, James and Rag n’ Bone Man. If the 80s is more your scene, then Let’s Rock Festival will be right up your street. It is a family friendly music festival in July that brings the best music of the decade to the south coast, including acts like Adam Ant, Happy Mondays and Village People.
Beer lovers, rejoice! If you are visiting in June, then you must visit the Southampton Beer Festival. It is held at St. Mary’s Stadium, which is within walking distance of our City Centre hotel, and features over 100 beers and ciders as well as some fantastic food stalls.
Southampton Pride is a vibrant and diverse festival celebrating LGBT+ culture which occurs in August each year. The event officially takes place at Guildhall Square, but you will find an assortment of activities taking place throughout the city during the festival.
As a historic port city, with links to iconic maritime history such as The Titanic, it is no surprise that SeaCity Museum in the west wing of the Civic Centre is one of Southampton’s most popular cultural destinations. It is open seven days a week and admission is reasonable, costing less than £10 for adults with discounted rates for children and concessions.
Tudor House & Garden is another popular museum. The Grade I listed house on Bugle Street just off West Quay Road is a fascinatingly well-preserved building which reveals over 800 years of local history. It also has a beautiful garden that is well worth a visit if the weather is nice during your stay.
Did you know that the Spitfire aircraft was created in Southampton? You can find out all about the city’s rich aviation history at our final museum recommendation – Solent Sky Museum. Located on Albert Road South near Ocean Village, this place is a great way to spend some time in Southampton and is affordable too, with reasonable admission prices and family tickets available.