Shieldhall is a Heritage steam ship and a flagship of the National Historic Fleet. Recognised to be the largest working steamship of her type in Britain and probably Europe, she serves as a tribute to Britain’s maritime heritage and a living reminder of the golden age of steam.
Shieldhall is licensed to carry a maximum of 200 passengers, has a fully equipped galley serving hot and cold food, plus a licensed bar, and is available for charter or meetings both alongside and underway.
The machinery on board is very similar, on a smaller scale, to that carried on the ill fated "Titanic", which makes "Shieldhall" a unique link with the past.
The Bridge is fully open to visitors along with the Engine Room, Boiler Room and steering gear.
The 2013 sailing programme has now been released. Featuring Fine Dining Cruise around the Solent, regular cruises to view the departure of cruise ships visiting Southampton, cruises to view the Cowes Week Yacht racing, and cruises to view the start of the Fast Net Race.
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Tudor House is just down the road from the Bargate in Bugle Street opposite a church in a secluded square. Very interesting, you walk into the reception and it takes an hour to explore the house and gardens. First there is a show where you sit in a candlelit banqueting hall with fireplace and minstrels gallery.
A history of the house is shown which is very good. The garden is a must to visit, also there are stairs which lead down to another area, but take care because they are quite steep. There is a fountain in the gardens, and the view is spectacular with views towards the docks.
There is a cafe which overlooks the garden which has some good deals like tea and sandwiches for £4.00, opposite is an educational room.
All the rooms are panelled, the floor creaks with age; must have seen some history. You can have weddings and other functions here. The building is also haunted…
There’s a WW2 shelter with air raid sirens and bombs dropping. A frightening place during the war you can understand how terrifying it must have been after the lonely wail of the siren and the thud of the bombs getting closer.
Tudor house is highly recommended.
This museum was a highlight of my time in Southampton. Located on the docks in a beautiful building dating back to the 13th century, the Maritime Museum features all kinds of naval paraphernalia. On the first floor, there is an extensive guide into the history of the Ordnance Survey as well as an area dedicated to items relating to the Titanic which set out on its ill-fated maiden voyage from Southampton on the 10th of April 1912 before hitting an iceberg and sinking five days later, killing 1,517 people. The Titanic exhibition gives an insight into the jobs of those employed on board and the devastating effect of the loss of the ship on the people of Southampton.
A small gift shop is located at the entrance of the museum where reminders of your visit can be purchased. Note that there is also a small entrance fee to this museum.
Southampton's primary example of medieval architecture is the Bargate, a gateway which used to form part of the walled fortifications of the city in Norman times. Dating from 1180, the upper room is now used as an art gallery but in the past it was used as a prison and as the guildhall of the city. Unfortunately due to its city centre location, the majesty of this building has been somewhat overshadowed by the shopping area that has sprouted up around it. To illustrate my point, an outlet of a well-known burger chain now sits in the shadow of this historic building!
The RSYC is one of the oldest in Britain, having received its Royal Charter in 1875. The Club moved to its present location in the Ocean Village Yacht Marina in 1988. The clubhouse includes a bar, lounge, and restaurant. There's also a full range of training facilities.
My middle daughter loves the sad story of the Titanic, and on our way back home from England to Holland we stopped in Southampton. This is were the Titanic left in 1912, and at the tourist information of this city you can buy a map of the Titanic Trail (only €0,50) It leads you to all the memorial buildings, the Maritime Museum (with a beautiful Titanic exhibition on the first floor) important and "funny" details of the Titanic leads you through the city. It is a 2,5 hour walk including a visit at the Maritim Museum
For those who appreciate a good pub the Red Lion should be your first port of call here. This is Southampton's oldest pub, and claims to be one of the oldest in England. It has miraculously survived the Victorian expansion of the city, the German WWII blitz and the subsequent onslaught of the post-war city planners.
The distinctive black and white frontage, with its leaded windows, merely hints at the possible treasures within. Inside the pub is tardis-like with a spaciousness belied by its narrow exterior. The timbered, high-vaulted, ceiling reaches to the third floor (the highest oak-beamed structure of its kind) with a ballustraded minstrels' gallery halfway up overlooking the bar area.
The ornately carved fireplace is the main bar's centrepiece and all around the walls are Medieval antiques and even a suit of armour. The pub's cellars date back to Norman times whilst most of the "modern" interior is Tudor. Even on a quiet midweek evening you need never lack for company as the pub boasts a reputed 31 ghosts. And if none of these turn up then there's always the cockateel for an interesting bar companion.
The main room, to quote the website below, is " [the] half timbered apartment known as Henry V's 'Court Room'.
This was used for the trial of Richard, Earl of Cambridge, Lord Scrope of Masham and Sir Thomas Grey of Heton, all of whom conspired against the life and crown of Henry V in 1415, immediately prior to Henry's departure from Southampton to Agincourt.
The trial was a famous landmark in English history. The conspirators were found guilty of high treason, condemned to death and summarily executed outside the Bargate.
History aside though, the pub is a friendly local which serves an excellent range of beers and the bar and restaurant menu offers excellent value traditional food.
PS It also does "Bed and Breakfast" and you never know who you are going to wake up with ;)
Tucked away on a back street running parallel to the city's High Street you might come across the town's oldest house (and indeed one of the oldest in England) amongst the non-descript modern housing that surrounds it. This sort of typifies Southampton's confusion with its past in that the building, originally constructed by a wealthy merchant, John Fortin, around 1290, has been fully restored and fitted out with replica furnishings but apart from a little sign on the side doesn't seem to get much of a mention elsewhere.
It is open to the public but only on summer Sundays between 12 noon and 5 pm.
During the 12th to 14th centuries Southampton was a major importer of wines from continental Europe and its quays and docks became incorporated into the town's walls which were built as defence against raiders. Strangely enough, despite the town's then Norman roots, it was the French who inspired the late 14th century stregnthening of the walls.
Following a raid at the early stage of the Hundred Years War when a fleet of 50 galleys arrived and looted the town, killing a substantial number of people and making off with the King's own wine supply Edward the Third decreed that the town be fortified.
Despite the German bombing of the town during WWII and the subsequent modern development about a third of the original walls remain, along with several of the gates and defensive towers. Most of these have been, or are being, restored and renovated and make for an interesting wander. There are guided tours available (details from the tourist office) and the main places of interest are well signed for those who prefer a casual walk about.
Although Southampton was ruthlessly bombed during the last war, some ancient relics survived, including the famous Bargate, which once served as the main gateway to the city at the northern end.
Southampton still retains England's second-longest stretch of surviving Medieval wall (the longest is in York). The two lead lions in front of the Bargate are said to protect the city and the original Norman arch dates back to about 1175, with the tower being added a century later.
You can walk straight through the remains of the Bargate, although up to the 1930s, you could be whisked through under the arches in trams with specially designed dome-shaped tops to fit the narrow space.
You can get a good view of cruise ships departing/arriving at Mayflower Cruise Ship Terminal in the Western Docks from the top of West Quay Shopping Centre multi-storey car-park.
...This seems to be a well-kept secret, as I was the only one up there watching P&O's Adonia depart. You're not as close to the ships as you would be on the quayside, but you do get a good, uninterrupted view of them.
This memorial to the Titanic's crew was erected in 1915 by family and friends of the crew, stewards, and firemen lost in the disaster. Originally a drinking fountain, the memorial was carved by local stonemasons Garret & Haysom in Portland stone. It features the Titanic underway and originally stood near the eastern end of Cemetary Road, by the entrance to Southampton Common. It was moved to its current location at the Holyrood Church ruins on April 15, 1972.
Holyrood Church was established in 1320 and known for centuries as the "Church of the Sailors". It was damaged by German bombers on November 30, 1940, and has been preserved as a memorial and garden and rest dedicated to those who served in the Merchant Navy and lost their lives at sea.
This bridge over Southampton's River Itchen was officially opened in 1977 by HRH Princess Alexandria, replacying a floating bridge which transported vehicles for 141 years. The floating bridge was a car and people transporter which worked on cables pulling across the river. For a few years, the floating bridge was anchored in Woolston and used as a nightclub called "floaters".
Work first started on the new bridge in March 1974 and a cask with newspapers, coins, souvenir brochures and a scroll commemorating the day was built into one of the piers. There are over seven million vehicle crossings on the Itchen Bridge each year, and tolls are charged according to the type of vehicle.
Our small boat made one last pass of the QE2, approaching from the opposite side of Southampton Water. By the time we cruised under the great liner's bow, a number of sailboats were also checking out the ship from close quarters. The crew was finishing their maritime re-certification lifeboat drill as we rounded the QEII Berth and we began up the River Itchen.
More photos, technical statistics, and a brief history of the Queen Elizabeth 2 can be found in my Southampton Travelogues.