Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Southampton
9th December 2019
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 to go on, restaurants to 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, 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.
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.
Best accessible attractions to visit
There are lots of great attractions in Southampton and below there are three accessible places you can visit.
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 aircrafts that visitors can discover and explore at the museum and these range from models researched and developed from 1910 to 1960.
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 who have mobility issues. There are also parking areas for disabled visitors and ramp and level access to the 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 iconic displays such as Southampton’s Titanic Story. Nowhere was the tragedy felt more as over 500 households in the city lost a family member and this display looks at this, describing the sequence of events from the time the ship struck the iceberg to its sinking.
Other exhibitions look at the incredible stories from the city’s maritime history and recount tales about the people who have departed or arrived in the port.
Visitors with a mobility impairment 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.
Southampton Art Gallery
If you’ve visited the SeaCity Museum, then the Southampton 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 lots of temporary displays running throughout the year and currently, visitors can see ‘Beyond the Brotherhood: The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy’, which looks at the movement’s influence on artistic developments including Realism, Aestheticism, Symbolism and Art Nouveau.
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 disabled facilities in them and these are located on the ground floor.
Best restaurants in Southampton
Southampton’s food scene is looking better than ever and here are three accessible restaurants you can eat it.
The Artisan is found in the picturesque Cultural Quarter in Guildhall Square and diners here can enjoy premium coffee from an establishment that has two Barista of the Year National winners on site.
There is a selection of sweet treats that can complement your choice of coffee, tea or hot chocolate or you can enjoy their famed all-day breakfast. There are also smoked salmon brunches, sandwiches and toasties that you can enjoy.
The coffee house is just a short walk from Southampton Central train station and is very accessible for those with mobility issues and wheelchair users.
The Artisan is open from 7.30am-5pm (Mon to Fri), 9am-5pm (Sat) and 9am-3pm (Sun).
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 are also several pop-up evenings that take place throughout the year and these range from ‘steak night’ to ‘Christmas night’.
The steak bar is accessible to wheelchair users and visitors who suffer from mobility problems. There is lots of room to manoeuvre around, accessible toilets and lots of parking close-by.
If you are wanting 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 their 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.
Best accessible tours
There are lots of accessible tours you can go on in the city and here are three options you have available are below.
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 its ‘Tour and Tea’ excursion. This is an accessible tour where you will follow a guide through the gardens, attic and other highlights around the house.
During the tour, visitors will learn about the 800 years’ worth of history and can end the day on a high with a cream tea. There are other tours available that look at hauntings in the house and the Southampton Blitz.
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 lifts to the upstairs areas and there are parking spaces close-by that Blue Badge holders can use.
The Titanic Trail from Holyrood Church walking tour that is offered by See Southampton is a great thing to do in Southampton.
This tour will take visitors back in time and show you where and how passengers and crew spent their last night before boarding the Titanic on her maiden voyage back in 1912.
Starting at the ruins of Holyrood Church, where the Titanic Crew Memorial is located, the walk will then take you on a trail of the famous cruise ship.
This tour lasts around 90-minutes and is accessible to visitors using wheelchairs or those who suffer from mobility issues.
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.
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 22 wheelchair spaces in the theatre and there is a lift for visitors who cannot walk up the stairs without aids like a stair lift. There are motorised doors, accessible toilets and there is a lay-by next to the accessible entrance to drop off visitors with mobility issues.
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 as it takes you from Hythe Pier to Town Quay. You will be able to relax and take in the scenery during this harbour crossing boat trip, but not all boats are wheelchair accessible so plan ahead.
The pier and surrounding area are 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.
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.