A port, rather than a traditional seaside destination, this historic coastal town in the south of England nevertheless has plenty to delight curious visitors, from its Solent Sky Museum, boasting an array of vintage aircraft, to the SeaCity Museum, where the piece de resistance is an interactive scale model of the Titanic – the ill-fated ocean liner actually sailed from Southampton’s docks on its maiden (and famously final) voyage back in 1912.
Further good news is that the hotels here are reasonably priced and varied, ranging from rooms above traditional pubs to those that hark back to the regency heritage of the English coast. Whether you’re after a place for one night before heading on, or somewhere to base a longer holiday, we’ve searched high and low to bring you five of the best.
From £45/ night
Recently refurbished, this friendly pub offers rooms that straddle the line between a no-frills and minimalist aesthetic. Immaculately clean, with comfy bedding, and large flat screen TVs, there’s also a separate entrance to the bar, so you can keep a low profile if you wish. In the bar, there’s a billiards table and darts board, as well as frequent live music events, which are great for meeting locals. WiFi is available throughout, even the TVs have an internet connection.
From £32/ night
Located within a large traditional townhouse, the Claremont offers a variety of different-sized rooms. Most have vibrant, sometimes playful decoration, though some just riff on a simple black and white theme. The beds are comfortable, and there’s free WiFi throughout. It’s clean, and while luxury features may be a little thin on the ground, it makes for a good, un-fussy place to bed down for one evening before heading on elsewhere. The cooked breakfast, for which there’s also a vegetarian option, is very good.
From £65/ night
Probably the most famous bar in Southampton, the centrally located Grapes was once a sailors’ haunt, and the final watering-hole of many passengers on the Titanic – one story tells of three brothers who had such a good night here that they missed the ship’s fateful sailing. It remains a bustling popular venue in the mold of a traditional English pub, while the rooms it offers are modern, bright, and clean. Every room is fitted with a TV, tea & coffee making facilities, and WiFi access, and the beds are uncommonly comfy.
From £80/ night
As snug and English of a place to stay as it’s possible to imagine, this family-run guest house in an early 20th century building on a residential street offers a quiet place to lay your head close to the town’s cruise terminal, making it ideal if you’re planning a single night in Southampton before setting off on a grand voyage. The hosts are quite exceptionally welcoming and cook a splendid breakfast, catering for a multitude of tastes. The style may be a little quaint for some, but the mod cons are not neglected with WiFi throughout, and TVs in every room.
From £80/ night
A building that’s been in the hotel game longer than most, the Star was originally a coaching inn, being then, as now, less than half a mile from the town port, and thus an excellent staging post before an onward journey overseas. Its heritage is clear the moment you set eyes on the building, which is Grade II listed, though inside has been refitted to cater comfortably to modern tastes, with TVs and WiFi in every room. In the centre of town, it remains remarkably tranquil in the evenings. There’s also an onsite lounge bar, where it’s still possible to imagine lending an ear to travelers’ tales.