Family Day Out in Historic Southampton
When looking for a family day out, what is it you look for? I think of fun, food, and a little bit of education sprinkled in for good measure. To get just that, you need look no further than Southampton so here are my three top tips for families visiting the area, perhaps on a day trip from the Isle of Wight.
The Seacity Museum
The Seacity museum really does strike the perfect balance between fun and education. Titanic is a story people of all ages are interested in, and the main exhibit here tells the tales of the souls on board the infamous vessel. You can read letters written on board, witness a lifejacket used by a survivor, see some of the china used in the dining rooms, and gaze upon an intricate model of the ship. You can follow one person’s story throughout the museum through use of their headsets, which really brings the tragic story to life. A favourite of visitors (children and adults, it must be said) is the chance to captain the titanic through a simulation wheel, and also to stoke the fires to keep the engines running.
Titanic may be an international bestselling movie, but in Southampton it is personal. Around 500 households lost a family member in the disaster, who would have worked on board in one capacity or another. The ship set sail for its maiden, and final voyage from the docks here. You can hear original testimonies in the court case that followed her sinking, and see a pocket watch frozen in time as it ceased working as water swallowed her. There are a number of other exhibits at the museum, but this one is sure to interest the whole family.
Recently opened in a new extension of the West Quay shopping centre, the Showcase Cinema is a cinema experience like no other. The seats are luxurious and spacious, and recline almost fully so you could potentially get in a little cheeky shut eye whilst the little ones enjoy one of the new films. The prices are extremely reasonable compared to some of the larger cinema chains, and the quality simply cannot be matched. This stands when it comes to refreshments too. A great place to wind down after a day out taking in the sights.
Food at Cosmos
Also situated in the new quarter of West Quay, Cosmos is every child’s dream. It is an all you-can-eat buffet with stations offering food from all over the world, from Italian to Chinese, Japanese to Thai, English to Indian. Unlike most buffet restaurants the food here is really fresh, and there are various dishes at each station above and beyond what you would expect to find. It is a great place to get the little ones to branch out and try something different, like sushi perhaps. It has a canteen type atmosphere which is great for kids, but also an air of sophistication in its decor, and with a lovely cocktail menu for the grown-ups. Top tip – head for the fresh grill placed awkwardly at the centre of the islands (it is known that these buffet places situate the good stuff in the most hard to reach places to ensure they stay in profit!), the escallops are my personal favourite.
What more could you want from a family holiday in Southampton?