We were lucky enough to find a leaflet in our hotel for 'Heritage Walks' in Southampton.
They leave on Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays at 10.30am (June-Sept) and again at 2.30pm (July-Aug) from Bargate in the city centre and are FREE.
The walks is scheduled to last 1.5 hours but you can leave whenever you wish and ours was more like 2 hours.
It was really interesting and we found out about the history of Southampton and visited places we wouldnt have known existed. We also visited the vaults in the city walls.
The walks are sponsored by the City Council.
Definitely worth doing!
The RMS Titanic set sail on her maiden voyage from Berth 44 at the White Star Line dock in Southampton at noon on 10 April 1912. Less than five days later, at 2.20am on 15 April 1912 she struck an iceberg. Although the ill-fated ship was actually built in Liverpool, most of the crew were Southampton men, and some of the survivors returned to live in the city. The UK's only living Titanic survivor, Millvina Dean, who was only 9 weeks old when the ship sank, still lives just outside the city, in the New Forest. Frederick Fleet, the lookout who first spotted the iceberg, also survived and, after he retired from the sea, sold the local newspaper, the Daily Echo, on the streets of Southampton. He is now buried in the city's Hollybrook Cemetery.
Five days after the tragedy, the Hampshire Chronicle, in its 20 April 1912 issue, reported on scenes of "grief in London" and "gloom in Southampton", where nearly a 1,000 local families were said to be directly affected by the disaster. In fact, more than a third of the people who died, mainly crew, were Sotonians.
The Titanic Engineers Memorial was unveiled in Southampton's East Park in April, 1914. You can obtain a free Titanic trail guide booklet from Southampton Tourist Information Centre, which gives information about the various places around the city which have connections with the Titanic.
St. Michael's Church is the oldest church in Southampton. The original church was built in 1070, and the central Norman tower still remains, with its massive stone blocks and rounded arches.
The church was originally cross-shaped, but in the late 14th Century the North Aisle was widened. In the 15th Century the South Aisle was similarly widened and the West Door rebuilt.
A spire was constructed at this time, although the present one dates from 1878. The last major alterations were made in 1826-8 when the Nave was heightened and cast iron pillars installed. Some alteration was also made to the Chancel later in the 19th Century.
The stained glass is mostly recent, replacing that damaged by German bombing. The East Window depicts the five churches that were once within the old walled town. The West Window depicts St Michael slaying the dragon.
The church's brass lectern is the oldest in the country, dating back to 1350. It was moved here in 1940 from Holy Rood Church when that church was badly damaged by German bombs.
The cockerel at the top of the church spire is hollow and whenever any work is done to the spire, a note is placed inside the weathervane.
The "sun" deck was a bit of a misnomer in the late May winds, but it was a lovely place to read or take a snooze, wrapped in your "blankie", by the solicitous steward.
One of the big differences between a cruise and a transatlantic crossing is that there are no ports to share and a view of water that changes little from day to day. It seems to provide a chance for rest and reflection that is unique in our fast-paced society.
The Bargate was the northern gateway to the old walled city. It was built in the twelfth century as the main entrance to the city and was the first part of the medieval walls to be constructed. Originally, it was a single archway, but It in the thirteenth century two round towers were added. The gate controlled who entered or left the city by land and merchants had to pay tolls here for goods passing through the gate. In the fifteenth century, the Bargate was extended to house the town's administrative centre, the Guildhall. This is now a museum and the modern Guildhall is in the Civic Centre.
The Bargate divides the old town from the modern city. The main north-south street through the city is called Below Bar south of the Bargate and Above Bar north of it.
On May 1st each year May Day is greeted in Southampton by the choir of King Edward VI School singing from the top of the Bargate.
The Dolphin hotel is the most historic hotel in Southampton. Originally a 13th century coaching inn, guests here have included Queen Victoria and Lord Nelson. Jane Austen attended dances here and William Makepeace Thackeray wrote part of his novel 'Pendennis' whilst staying here. Today it is a 3 star hotel with a pleasant bar and restaurant.
Holy Rood Church was the last church the Crusaders prayed in before setting sail for the Holy Lands. In 1554 Philip of Spain heard mass here on his way to marry Queen Mary at Winchester Cathedral. The church was badly damaged by German bombs during the night of the 30th November 1940. It was deliberately left roofless and in ruins as a memorial to seamen of the merchant navy who lost their lives in the Second World War. It also houses the Titanic Memorial Fountain.
If you look up at the clock tower, you can see small figures emerge beneath the clock. The brass lectern in the church, dating from 1350, was the oldest in the country. It is now used in nearby St. Michael's Church.
The Wool House was built as a warehouse for the medieval wool trade. Now it is a museum telling the history of the port of Southampton. There are old photos and artifacts illustrating the maritime history of the city, including models of the old docks and great ocean liners that sailed from them. such as the Titanic, the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth. In the Napoleonic War French prisoners were held here in the Wool House and you can still see where they carved their names.
Sorry I don't have more pictures, but photography is not permitted inside the museum.
Admission was free until 2007, but now it is:
Adults - £2
Children - £1
Children under 7 - Free
Family tickets - £5
Concessions - £1
Tuesday to Friday: 10.00am - 4.00pm.
Saturday: 10.00am - 1.00pm and 2.00pm - 4.00pm.
Sunday: 1.00pm - 4.00pm.
Southampton was the first local authority in the country to call its town hall a civic centre. Southampton's massive Civic Centre was built between 1930 and 1939. The foundation stone was laid by Prince Albert, the Duke of York on July 1, 1930. The west block includes the famous clock tower, nicknamed Kimber's Chimney, after the mayor of the city who first proposed its construction. The area called Marlands, which the Civic Centre stands on, is a corruption of its original name of Magdalene Fields, the site of a leper hospital dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene.
The city centre police station, central library, art gallery, local government offices and the Guildhall are all housed here.
As well as the Titanic Engineers' Memorial, Southampton also has the Titanic Memorial Fountain. This was paid for by the family and friends of the crew. It was originally erected on Cemetery Road, as a drinking fountain, on 27th July, 1915 and moved to its current location in Holy Rood Church on 15th April, 1972, the 60th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Next to the memorial there is a talking post, where you can hear the story of the Titanic.
Southampton City Art Gallery is definitely worth a visit and admission is free.
The Gallery’s collection numbers over 3,500 works and spans six centuries of European art history. The collection's earliest work is an Italian Renaissance altarpiece by Allegretto Nuzi from the 14th century. Other highlights are Burne-Jones' Perseus Series, seventeenth century Dutch landscapes and French Impressionist paintings.
There is also a collection of ceramics by potters like Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada. The main emphasis, however, is on 20th century British Art, including paintings by Sir Stanley Spencer, Matthew Smith and Philip Wilson Steer.
One of my favourite paintings there is L.S. Lowry's painting of Southampton's famous old floating bridge.
Tudor House is a magnificent, black and white, half- timbered building. It was built in about 1492, but originally consisted of a row of three dwellings dating back to 1150. It has housed some of Southampton’s most prominent citizens, including John Dawtrey, who created the building we know today, Sir Richard Lyster, who was Chief Justice of England, and George Rogers, a successful artist.
£2.3 million has been spent on recent restoration work for the re-opening of the Tudor House Museum. Behind it is the authentically reconstructed 16th century Tudor Knot Garden.
The Pilgrim Fathers set sail from West Quay aboard the Mayflower and the Speedwell on August 15th, 1620. They were driven back by bad weather and put into Dartmouth, then Plymouth, for repairs, before continuing their voyage to America aboard the Mayflower only, as the Speedwell was no longer seaworthy. They arrived in New England in November the same year.
The Mayflower Memorial, which was unveiled in 1913, has a copper replica of the Mayflower on top of a stone column. The Pilgrim Fathers originally came from Babworth in Nottinghamshire and came to Southampton, via Holland, to escape religious persecution. Anyone who can trace his or her ancestry back to the Pilgrim Fathers can have a plaque added to the memorial.
God's House Tower was built early in the 15th century, to protect the sluice gates which controlled the flow of water into the town moat. It later housed the debtors' prison.
It is now the home of the Southampton Museum of Archaeology.
Opening hours: Tues-Fri 10am-4pm, Sat 10am-12noon & 1pm-4pm, Sun 1pm-4pm
One of the newest monuments in the city is the Queen's Peace Fountain, which was built to celebrate six decades of peace under Queen Elizabeth II: something of particular importance to Southampton, as it has always faced the brunt of enemy attacks in times of war, from the Viking raids, through the Medieval wars with France, to the Second World War German bombing raids.