"SOUTHAMPTON, HANTS., ENGLAND" Top 5 Page for this destination Southampton by MarkJochim
Southampton Travel Guide: 89 reviews and 197 photos
Southampton is Britain's leading ocean-passenger port and home of many of the world's greatest passenger ships, including Britain's flagship - the Queen Elizabeth 2 ( QE2 ). Americans may remember that the Mayflower sailed from here in 1620 and, of course, the Titanic departed from Southampton on her ill-fated maiden voyage in 1912.
Many visitors, however, know little about Southampton's span of centuries; the city's museums, classic old-town area, and beautifully preserved medieval town walls help reveal this rich and fascinating history.
When I found out that the QE2 would be in Southampton on one of her final transatlantic voyages during the time I planned to be in England, I knew I had to visit.
We bought train tickets and left Victoria Station just before 6:00 in the morning; changing trains once at Clapham Junction, we arrived at Southampton just 75 minutes later. Although free busses are available to transport you from Central Station to the city center and the docks, we chose to walk as it was a very pleasant morning.
Soon we began to get hungry and my travel companion spotted a Burger King; it seemed to be the only place open since it was still very early in the morning on a Bank Holiday. However, I insisted that we keep searching for something a bit more traditionally British. It wasn't long before we found a restaurant in the Star Hotel (see my separate "restaurant tip") on High Street. We had a wonderful buffet breakfast. Much later (after arriving home in America), I discovered some of the rich history of this hotel: a house had been on the site since medieval times and it became an inn around 1601; Benjamin Franklin stayed at the hotel for three days in 1785 and in 1831 the Duchess of Kent and then Princess Victoria visited (the Victoria Room Restaurant commemorates that visit). More recently, in 1912, the hotel manager's son was among the survivors of the Titanic tragedy. It still amazes me that we randomly selected a place to eat that had such history to it!
That breakfast set the tone for the rest of our day in Southampton; we saw ancient Roman vaults, the medieval city walls, bombed-out churches, and many reminders of the city's long maritime heritage - including several memorials to the Titanic .
Seeing the QE2 (sailing around the great liner on a very small motor-boat) was just one of the highlights of this fascinationg city. I hope to visit again someday, and spend more time exploring Southampton.
Written Jul 9, 2003
RMS Queen Elizabeth 2: A Brief History
Written Jul 9, 2003
QE2 TECHNICAL STATISTICS
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