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Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Southampton

5th March 2024

Southampton is an exciting place to be and unsurprisingly it is a popular destination to visit for a weekend break.

The port city has a rich maritime history and here visitors can get their culture fix in the numerous museums, galleries and theatres that are dotted across the city.

This guide takes you through the best and most accessible attractions to visit, tours you can go on, restaurants you can eat at and other activities to try.

How to get to Southampton

Travelling to Southampton by road

The city has excellent road links as you can drive to the city via the M3 and M27 motorways.

Travelling to Southampton by rail

Southampton Central railway station is served by direct trains to and from many cities across the country, with services to London, Brighton, Bournemouth, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester.

Travelling to Southampton by air

Southampton International Airport offers flights to and from many UK and European destinations, including France, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, the Channel Islands, Italy and other destinations in England. The airport is located on the northeast side of the city, near Eastleigh, and it has easy access from the M27 and M3 motorways. It takes around six minutes by train and around 20 minutes by bus to reach the city centre from the airport.

Travelling to Southampton by sea

Seen as the cruise industry capital of Europe, Southampton is home to lots of luxury liners that travel to destinations across the UK and the rest of the world. There are many accessible cruises from Southampton, and you can even enjoy regular ferry services to the Isle of Wight, France, and Hythe to access the New Forest National Park.

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Best accessible attractions to visit

There are lots of great attractions in Southampton. Discover a few great places to visit below.

The Solent Sky Museum

Visit the Solent Sky Museum to learn about aviation and aircraft manufacturing companies in the Solent area over the past century.

There are more than 20 aircraft that visitors can discover and explore at the museum, and these range from models researched and developed from 1910 to 1960. There are displays which focus on the First World War and tell stories about the first plane to sink a submarine, as well as exhibitions about the iconic Spitfire aircraft.

Some of the models you can see include the Supermarine Spitfire, the Supermarine S6A, the Hawker Siddeley Harrier and the Folland Gnat single-seat jet fighter.

All areas of the museum are accessible to visitors with limited mobility. There are also parking areas for  wheelchair-users and there is ramp and level access to the museum.

SeaCity Museum

In the heart of Southampton is the SeaCity Museum and this fascinating attraction tells visitors about the people of the city and their connections to the sea.

The museum brings the city’s maritime history to life with interactive displays such as Southampton’s Titanic Story.  Nowhere was the tragedy felt more as over 500 households in the city lost a family member. This moving display describes the sequence of events from the time the ship struck the iceberg to when it sunk.

Other exhibitions look at the incredible stories from the city’s maritime history and recount tales about the people who have departed or arrived at the port.

Visitors with mobility impairments can use a lift to access all areas of the museum. They will also find adapted toilets on the ground and first floor as well as parking spaces for Blue Badge holders too. You can find out more about the accessibility at the SeaCity Museum here.

Southampton City Art Gallery

If you’ve visited the SeaCity Museum, then the Southampton City Art Gallery is just around the corner and it is home to an internationally renowned collection of contemporary British art.

There is also western art from the Renaissance period to the present day, as part of the 5,000 works that are on display at the venue. It is this impressive collection that has meant the gallery has ‘designated’ status that has been awarded by Arts Council England.

There are various displays that you can enjoy during a visit, and the museum has exhibitions dedicated to Renaissance paintings, 18th Century British Paintings, French 19th Century Paintings, surrealists and contemporary art.

The art gallery has wheelchair access available from the street to the ground floor gallery foyer and there is a lift that takes visitors to the exhibition space on the first floor. Toilets have wheelchair facilities in them and these are located on the ground floor. You can hire mobility scooters at the venue, and assistance dogs are welcome throughout the art gallery. To find out more about the different facilities that are available, you can read the accessibility page for the Southampton City Art Gallery.

Westquay Shopping Centre

Westquay has something for everyone, all under one roof. From a cinema to an incredible food court, it’s also home to over 80 shops, including big brand names such as Lego, The White Company, Zara, Marks & Spencer, and John Lewis & Partners.

If you are visiting Southampton with children or as a group of adults, the shopping centre has attractions for people of all ages. There are more than 50 cafes, bars and restaurants, so if you are a bit of a foodie, you can enjoy cuisine from all over the world.

You can watch the latest movies at the Showcase Cinema de Lux or visit Hollywood Bowl. Westquay has various events that run throughout the year, so you may want to check to see if there is anything on that you would be interested in. In the winter there is an ice rink and during other parts of the year there are live performance shows that you can enjoy.

At Westquay, there are a range of motorised and manual wheelchairs that are available to use for anyone who needs help with mobility – young or old, and there are more than 90 car parking spaces for wheelchair-users. You’ll also find accessible toilets and lift access to all shopping levels. You can find out more about the facilities that are on offer at Westquay Shopping Centre here.

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Best restaurants in Southampton

Southampton’s food scene is looking better than ever. Below are three accessible restaurants to try out during your weekend break.


Kesarum is a modern plant-based bistro and bar that is rated on the likes of TripAdvisor as one of the best restaurants in Southampton.

The owners of the bistro and bar aim to defy perceptions of Indian, vegan and vegetarian dining, by re-inventing flavours with contemporary flare for herbivores, carnivores and omnivores alike.

Speaking about the aim of the restaurant, they said: “We warmly invite you to allow us to take you on a sensory journey. As we explore the boundlessness of modern Indian cuisine, we promise to create vibrant culinary art that contains authentic flavours, is respectful to tradition, yet incredibly balanced to the palate.”

The venue where the bistro is located is unique, as the building was a bank during the 1800s, and it is a grade II heritage building located on the QE2 Mile in central Southampton.

The restaurant is accessible for people with limited mobility and diners who are wheelchair-users, and the staff at the eatery will be able to help assist you if you are in need of anything.

Uptons of Bassett



Uptons of Bassett is an award-winning butcher and delicatessen, but it recently opened its steak bar and bistro which has quickly become a popular place to eat for locals.

A popular choice for many is their bacon sandwich as this bacon is cured by the team at Uptons of Bassett with fennel, black pepper, salt and brown sugar. Another favourite amongst diners is the full English breakfast as the black pudding and chipolatas are made in-house and the bread and eggs are locally sourced.

There have been several pop-up evenings that take place throughout the year and these range from ‘steak night’ to ‘Christmas night’ – so keep your eyes peeled.

The steak bar is accessible to wheelchair users and visitors who have limited mobility. There is lots of room to manoeuvre around, accessible toilets and lots of parking close-by.

La Regata

If you want a taste of some delicious Mediterranean foods, this authentic Spanish restaurant is a must-visit.

Located on Southampton’s waterfront, La Regata is famed for its traditional Spanish tapas, as there are lots of dishes to choose from and a huge selection of main courses on its specials board. There is also a selection of wines, gins and other drinks to wash down your food.

You can try meals such as seabass filet, scallops and king prawns, fillet steak, fresh mussels and fresh duck breast.

The popular restaurant is accessible to visitors with mobility issues as there are very few steps, it is spacious, and toilets are accessible to diners with mobility impairments.

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Best accessible tours

There are lots of accessible tours you can go on in the city. Below are three great options that are available.

Tour and tea at the Tudor House and Garden

The Tudor House and Garden is Southampton’s first-ever museum, which opened to the public back in 1912.

A great way to explore this top attraction is to go on a tour of the museum to see all of its highlights. There are accessible tours available where you can follow a guide through the gardens, and other highlights around the house.

During a tour of the Tudor House and Garden, visitors will learn about the 800 years’ worth of history, look at hauntings in the house and find out information about the Southampton Blitz. Of course, you can explore the house on your own and walk through the oak-panelled Banqueting Hall, explore the Georgian Room, and see what Tudor and Victorian kitchens looked like.

The house and garden are accessible to visitors with mobility problems and the only area that is not accessible is the basement, as steep steps are leading down to it. There are platform lifts to the upstairs areas, there are accessible toilets, and there are parking spaces close-by that Blue Badge holders can use. You can find out more information about the access at Tudor House and Garden here.

Hidden History

The Hidden History tours are offered by See Southampton, and they take you on gentle strolls through the city, exploring attractions that give you an insight into the history of Southampton.

Guides will tell you about Southampton’s association with the Romans, Saxons and Vikings, and will bring to life historical characters, and life-changing events. You will also explore Town Walls  – standing since the 1300s – and can access locked doors of the Medieval Towers and Wine Vaults!

Walks are gently-paced and can last between one hour and 90-minutes. Some tours can include stairs, but walks will be adapted by guides for people using wheelchairs or those with limited mobility.

Starting from the Lions at the Bargate in the City Centre, tours cost around £7, whilst children below 16 can go on them for free, but must be accompanied by an adult. Walks will take place on Saturdays and Sundays during the winter months, October – March, commencing at 1.30 pm.

New Forest Tour


If you’re staying in Southampton, then something to consider is going on a tour to the iconic New Forest. Here you will experience its peace and will be amazed at its ancient woodland, open moors, heathland and clifftop walks.

There are ponies, cattle, donkeys and deer that roam free, and it has become a hugely popular holiday destination in itself.

With the New Forest Tour, you can travel from Southampton and then enjoy the hop on-and-off bus wherever you like. With the same ticket, you can switch routes, but the tour gives visitors an insight into the people, places and animals through the audio commentary it provides.

You will be able to ride open-top through the treetops and experience this beautiful part of the world as you’ve never seen it.

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Other activities

Go and watch a show at the Mayflower Theatre

The Mayflower Theatre is the biggest on the south coast and a variety of shows come to the city.

From dance and musicals to ballet and comedy, there are lots of performances you will be able to enjoy so keep your eyes peeled to see what is coming up by looking at their what’s on page.

There is an award-winning restaurant on-site called The Ovation and here you can enjoy pre-show dinners. Menus are seasonal and over the winter, you can feast on South Coast sea bass fillet, free-range chicken supreme and lots more.

The theatre has previously received the Beautiful South Access for All Gold Award in recognition of the effort put in to provide accessibility for all, within the confines of a 1928 building. They also offer an exceptional Access Membership Scheme for visitors that need to bring a companion.

There are  wheelchair spaces in the theatre and there is a lift for visitors who cannot walk up the stairs. There are motorised doors, accessible toilets and there is a lay-by next to the accessible entrance to drop off visitors with limited mobility. You can find out more about the access at the Mayflower Theatre here.

Ride on the oldest pier train

Another great activity you can do whilst in Southampton is to go and ride on the Hythe Pier Railway, which is Britain’s oldest continuously operating electric pier train and has been given a certificate to that effect by the Guinness Book of World Records.

There are lots of other things you can do here like ride on the Hythe Ferry, who offer wheelchair accessible cruises from Southampton from Hythe Pier to Town Quay. You will be able to relax and take in the scenery during this harbour crossing boat trip.

The pier and surrounding area are also accessible to visitors with mobility issues as there is accessible parking, ramp and level access along the pier. Wheelchair users can enjoy an open-top New Forest tour from the pier as well.

ALSO READ: Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Plymouth

This article was brought to you by Handicare, working with Age Co, who provide a range of home mobility products such as stairliftshomelifts and walk in baths and showers. For more information about how they can help make your home more accessible, please get in touch.


This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.