For this weeks instalment, i asked Michelle to let us in to the ins and outs of Southampton, my future city of living!
Perhaps not one of the more well-known or typically popular cities in England, Southampton is a lovely little city, home to shops, restaurants and nightlife aplenty. As a student in the city, I've become quite accustomed to visiting the same places for the same types of things regularly, as opposed to trying much by way of new stores, bars, restaurants and other entertainment venues.
By far, I'd say the main attraction in Southampton is the shopping. Not quite as diverse as London's many spots for retail therapy, Southampton is famed for its' West Quay Shopping Centre, where you can find all of your typical High Street stores and a host of other lesser known stores. My only qualm with West Quay is its' awful structure and layout, where you are pressed to circle an entire shopping level before ascending or descending to the next. West Quay is also home to a department store (John Lewis) and a plentiful food court. My personal favourites are Cafe Giardino, Harry Ramsden's and Yo! Sushi. Aside from those usual suspects however, West Quay also plays host to MagiCorn, Dream Cupcakes, Millie's Cookies and Lovejuice, all of which I'd highly recommend as a little break from your shopping!
Southampton's High Street is rather awkwardly laid out: the immediate High Street outside West Quay has all of the British favourites, a Topshop, a huge Boots store, a well-stocked Primark, and other similar places. Debenhams can be found around the corner, and if you head further up on Above Bar Street, there are several little vintage and retro boutiques, where many a gem can be found!
As for food, Oxford Street, the Marina and the Docks will be your primary destinations. You can expect to find nicer, more upmarket restaurants in these places, I'd totally recommend Pilgrim House, Kuti's (an Indian restaurant), Prezzo and La Esquina (a Spanish Tapas bar and restaurant). Be wary though, any restaurant you visit on a Friday or Saturday night in Southampton will warrant a booking or at least an hour's waiting time. More recently however, a Caribbean restaurant has opened in the heart of the City Centre. Turtle Bay has the loveliest decor, cocktails and sharing platters! Perfect to feast on before a gig or comedy night.
In terms of nightlife, Southampton's offerings are especially plentiful. It is a student city, so you couldn't expect any less! I'm personally a fan of Pop, 90 Degrees and Vodka Revolutions, for reasonably priced drinks, great drinks deals and a pleasant music playlist. There are a whole host of bars and clubs for varying music tastes however! I'd also recommend Soul Cellar, tucked behind the Guildhall, for music lovers of almost any variety, who host excellent comedy nights!
If you are seeking a serene day of wandering and touristry, Southampton is, again, a perfect place to spend a day or two. Of course, the harbour city was once home of the Titanic, resulting in many a Titanic exhibition and musuem to be visited. The Marina is beautiful, as are the main Docks, but none compare to Old Southampton, a cutesy little area behind West Quay, all cobbles and old stone walls. There is a tiny little pub tucked away in Old Southampton, taking you a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre.
If you're willing to take a risk and explore a little-publicised city, I'd definitely recommend Southampton as a day out and for an exploration. And after all of your hard work and travels, you can relax with a caramel macchiato at Starbucks (or a Jaffa Cake vodka shot stick at Vodka Revolution!). Happy exploring!
If you loved reading this as much as i did, don't forget to drop by Michelle's Blog for some more fab posts - head on down to Daisybutter, you won't regret it!
Words & images by Michelle Chai at Daisybutter