The port city of Southampton is protected from English Channel storms by the Isle of Wight. Much battered over the centuries—and particularly during World War II—it presents a patchy mosaic, but the historic parts near the waterfront are well worth seeking out.
Spend some time walking the city walls and seeing the archaeology and maritime museums, the Mayflower memorial (it, as well as the Titanic, sailed from Southampton; the Mayflower returned to Plymouth for repairs and began its trans-Atlantic crossing from there), the old Norman arches (called the Bargate) and the Medieval Merchant's House. One of our favorite sights in town is the well-preserved Tudor House.
Other highlights of the area include nearby Winchester (a Roman and medieval town with an outstanding cathedral) and the New Forest. The forest is a great spot for cycling or walking, and within its borders is Beaulieu, a grand estate with an ancient abbey and a fantastic car museum.
Southampton is located 70 mi/115 km southwest of London.
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