Southampton. It’s the city that you usually drive through to get to the Isle of Wight ferry. Or to stay for a mere hour or so while waiting to board a cruise ship that’s bound for a more tropical climate and luscious beach. But if you ever take the time to stick around and explore this large port city you’ll discover it has so much to offer. Even when it’s raining and you have to stick to indoor activities in Southampton!
With England’s mediocre climate and not to mention the seemingly endless winter months from December to February, there needs to be a variety of choice for strictly indoor activities in Southampton in order to escape those grey days. Luckily enough, Southampton is so much more than a convenient pitstop. Here are 11 fun indoor activities in Southampton, guaranteed to be a great day out. (Pinky promise!)
This article is written by Faraway Lucy writer, Lauren Russell.
1. The Hobbit Pub
Address: 134 Bevois Valley Rd, Southampton SO14 0JZ
Phone number: 023 8063 7900
If the name wasn’t enough to catch the attention of all Middle Earth fans, then the decor and themed cocktails certainly will. Whether you fancy a Frodo (vodka and peach schnapps) or a non-alcoholic version of a Pippin (blackcurrant and lemonade), this pub is certain to give you a night to remember. Or maybe not if you take on The Hobbit challenge. Can you finish all twelve novelty cocktails in one night?
Every time you visit there is another piece of movie memorabilia that you didn’t spot the last time. Even those who aren’t fans of the franchise can find something of interest. Alongside the faultless theming, The Hobbit doubles up as a pub and live music venue with frequent live music acts. From indie nights to punk, local bands such as The Order regularly come to perform. This unique and beloved Southampton venue is extremely popular with students and definitely one to visit.
2. Mayflower Theatre
Address: 22-26 Commercial Rd, Southampton SO15 1GE
Phone number: 023 8071 1811
Situated in the heart of the city centre, this Grade II listed theatre is guaranteed to fulfil all your theatre needs. Being a key stop on most West End and international show tours, it has already seen the likes of Les Miserables and Mamma Mia grace the stage.
Playing host to exciting shows such as Sister Act, comedienne Sarah Millican, and Michael Flatley’s famous Riverdance, there is no doubt a show to match everyone’s tastes. With just over 2,270 seats, making the Mayflower the biggest theatre on the south coast, this theatre strives to maintain a diverse programme of quality arts experiences. It’s definitely deserving of a visit.
3. SeaCity Museum
Address: Havelock Rd, Southampton SO14 7FY
Phone number: 023 8083 4536
Get to grips with Southampton’s marine history at SeaCity Museum. Located within the Cultural Quarter of the city and only five minutes from Southampton Central station, the museum guides you through a rich history. With three main galleries (Southampton’s Titanic Story, Gateway to the World and Southampton Stories), they tell the fascinating stories of the people that lived in Southampton, its connections to the legendary Titanic and those who only passed through Southampton but left a lasting impact.
The museum is the best place for a whistle-stop tour of Southampton’s past. It explains exactly how Southampton came to be the diverse and cultural city it is today. With interactive elements and a ‘learning deck’ which is perfect for children, the museum is a fun and educational day out for all ages.
Tickets start at only £8.50 for adults, and £6.00 for children under the age of 16 and concessions (including students), with discounts available for NHS staff. After exploring the past, you can indulge yourself at The Gallery Cafe. Whether this is with a traditional cream tea or just a light lunch, it’ll be a great addition to your day.
4. Tudor House
Address: Bugle St, Southampton SO14 2AD
Phone number: 023 8083 4242
Continuing your exploration into Southampton’s past, the Tudor House and Garden is a must. With over 800 years of history on one site, allow yourself to be transported back to the turbulent times of King Henry VIII. And dare I say even further with an adjacent Norman House that’s accessible from the Tudor gardens.
Piecing a long and fascinating history together using various artefacts, the Tudor House displays items from history. You’ll see everything from a sedan chair that dates back to c1747-80 to a late 15th-century personal prayer book known as The Book of Hours.
It’s easy to see why it’s named as one of Hampshire’s top attractions. If you’re looking for a day filled with antiquity and rare treasures to match, the Tudor House is one of the best indoor activities in Southampton for you. To remain inside, The Tudor House Cafe provides the perfect vantage point to enjoy the garden.
5. St Mary’s Stadium
Address: Britannia Rd, Southampton SO14 5FP
Phone number: 0845 688 9448
From the past to the present but just as legendary, St Mary’s Stadium is a Southampton hotspot. And for the reasonable price of £15, you can take a 90-minute access-all-areas guided tour. The tour showcases the dressing room, warm-up room and players tunnel. The home of Southampton FC since 2001 and only a short walk from the city centre, this is one of the best indoor activities in Southampton for Saints fans!
6. Locked In A Room Escape Room
Address: A Room, Unit, West Quay Shopping Centre, Locked In, 11c Portland Terrace, Southampton SO15 1QD
Phone number: 0117 929 1759
2019 saw the rise of the ‘escape room’ and Southampton has one of the best on offer. Located in Westquay Shopping Centre, Locked In A Room sets you and a team of five others the challenge of solving a series of tests, puzzles and clues in order to escape. With 60 minutes on the clock and two themed rooms to choose from, this is one of the best indoor activities in Southampton if you love a challenge!
‘Timelock’ sees you as a scientist working on a secret government-funded project, but one of your colleagues holds a deep dark secret. Whereas ‘Parallax’ features time-travel and a missing colleague you need to find. Escape the realms of reality through entering an escape room. For £20 per person, up to 24 people this is especially great for large groups of people.
7. Indoor Go Karting
Address: Barton Park, Chicken Hall Ln, Eastleigh SO50 6RR
Phone number: 01252 732300
How do 375m of multi-level track, 200cc petrol karts with a top speed of 40mph, and a 2020 Trip advisor Travellers’ Choice venue sound to you? If you answered yes to any of these things then Team Sport Go Karting is definitely the place for you. Whether you’re a karting expert or a complete newbie, with the help of the staff you’ll be able to successfully tackle the complex and winding courses. Leave the track feeling like Lewis Hamilton after yet another F1 win.
With fully protective clothing provided including a jumpsuit, balaclava and helmet, you’ll be so safe here. And after whizzing around the tracks, there are pizzas to snack on and hot and cold beverages to quench your thirst. This fully licensed high adrenaline activity is perfect for thrill-seekers, and the best part is that it’s all indoors!
Address: John Montagu Building, Beaulieu, Brockenhurst SO42 7ZN
Phone number: 01590 612345
Perhaps one of the best-known attractions in the county of Hampshire is Beaulieu. Having multiple accreditations to its name, there is so much to explore on this historic estate. One of the attractions that keep a roof over your head is the National Motor Museum.
Named as one of the finest collections of cars, motorcycles and motoring memorabilia in the world, visitors to this attraction will get their fill seeing the development of modern motoring unravel before their eyes. Including real-life F1 cars, and some very recognisable vehicles used on TV and the silver screen, there’s no attraction that will get your engines going as much as Beaulieu.
Museum guided tours are available for no extra cost. Plus at 2 pm on weekends and school holidays, you’ll get the chance to witness some of the vehicles roar to life. Not only this, but the price of one ticket includes the admission to all attractions available at Beaulieu. These include the Palace House, Beaulieu Abbey, the Monorail and the Secret Army Exhibition. Retelling the stories of WWII Special Operations Executive Agents and their time at Beaulieu finishing school, the last is especially worth a visit.
9. Board in the City CIC
Address: 38-40 Onslow Rd, Southampton SO14 0JG
Phone number: 023 8178 3240
Board games may only come out in your household at Christmas. But at this tabletop gaming cafe, every day is a game! With the sole aim to spread the love of gaming, this unique and friendly cafe is the perfect way to spend a rainy afternoon. Or, heck, even the whole day.
As soon as you enter, the appropriately named ‘games masters’ are on hand to answer any query you may have and most importantly recommend you to one of the 700+ games on offer. If you are a sucker for a game of Cluedo or fancy trying your luck at a game you discovered on the shelf, Board in the City CIC takes you back to basics, allowing you to connect with your competitive side. There’s even a private room available to hire for when games get really serious!
Alongside the games, there’s a varied food and drink menu that includes vegan and vegetarian options. The first three hours will set you back £3 (or £2 for children). You then have to pay an additional £1 for each hour stayed. But if you spend £15 or more on all available amenities, you won’t have to pay the additional £1 per hour.
10. Boulder Shack Climbing Gym
Address: Unit 4, Imperial Park, Empress Rd, Southampton SO14 0JW
Phone number: 023 8017 1808
As the name suggests, Boulder Shack Climbing Gym is a hands-on, physical workout for the body and mind. Not just your average rock climbing wall, bouldering is a sport in its own right. Yep, it’s soon to become an official event at the Olympics. Free from any rope or protective gear, all that’s needed is a crashpad. And this is exactly what Boulder Shack offers.
With a 45 minute essential induction for beginners or newcomers, a coach will show you the metaphorical ropes, teaching you everything that you need to know about bouldering. You are then welcome to stay and climb for as long as you like, exploring all the facilities that Boulder Shack has to offer.
If bouldering doesn’t take your fancy, there are a variety of fitness classes on offer too! From yoga and pilates to dynamic strength classes, there’s plenty to pick from and prices start at just £6 each. Boulder Shack offers an alternative to regular gym workouts. And with no specialist equipment needed, it couldn’t be easier to give it a go!
11. The Joiners Arms
Address: 141 St Mary St, Southampton SO14 1NS
Phone number: 023 8178 2021
This small and plain-looking venue and former pub can be easily missed by the untrained eye, But with the insider knowledge that The Joiners Arms has played host to a lengthy list of musical legends, you’ll definitely want to stop and pop inside. Celebrating 53 years as a live music venue, NME recognised its significance in British music awarding it the title of Best Small Venue back in 2013.
Holding only 200 people, it’s one of the best places to attend a gig. This is supported by its incredible backlog of artists and bands who have played there, ranging from Arctic Monkeys and Oasis to Ed Sheeran and Coldplay. Its importance in the touring scene is not to be denied. A ticket to any gig, even if you are unaware of the artist and their music is definitely worth purchasing. Even if just to experience first-hand the atmosphere The Joiners creates.
So there you have it: 11 of the best indoor activities in Southampton! Spanning from cultural and historical landmarks that have shaped the city into what it is today, to the unusual and unique places that provide a sense of adventure, there is plenty to choose from.
Of course, this is only scratching the surface. With the New Forest National Park and Isle of Wight in close proximity, there are endless activities to try, inside or out. There’s also the addition of mammoth shopping centre Westquay, located amongst the remains of the original city gates. Westquay provides keen shoppers with all the retail therapy they may need. Plus, a varied selection of restaurants to wine and dine the evening away. Boredom is hard to come by in Southampton.