So you’ve made it to Southampton – what a place. There is so much intrigue and curiosity written into the many bricks of this walled city, but it does beg a very obvious question – where should I go first?
Look no further.
The main shops to stick on your map are the big Sainsburys in Portswood or the ALDI that is a bit further down the exact same road. Other supermarket choices are a bit further away from the campus, but there is an ASDA quite close to Mayflower Halls if you’re over in that direction. The city itself has two shopping centres: Marlands (which is like every typical dilapidated town centre) and Westquay, which is where you’ll find most of the popular shops as well as a large variety of eateries.
Outside of Westquay, there are quite a lot of restaurants to finish off any day out, including everyone’s favourite pizzeria, L’Osteria. Other popular venues beyond Westquay are such places as 7Bone (burgers), Mango Thai (Thai food) and of course, Charcoal Grill (for when you’ve finished with your night out). McDonald’s has a high delivery charge, so students in Wessex Lane halls may want to consider walking over to the end of Burgess Road. If you’re into brunch, Bedford Place has a number of restaurants that fit the bill, from Revolution and XOXO to Turtle Bay if you want to journey a bit further.
This has been a very disappointing few years for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most prominent is the closing of Oceana (the most decent club in Southampton). It now has a takeover night over at Switch which otherwise predominately plays DnB. For the LGBT+ scene, there is The Edge which is a bit further towards the city, and there is always Jesters, known as ‘the worst nightclub in the UK’ but oh how it holds a very special place in many Southampton hearts. Along this same road is The Hobbit, for Lord of the Rings ‘themed’ drinkies and Manzil’s, a happy little curry house that loves to take care of drunk students at 3 am.
If you’re into live performance, Southampton is home to a whole host of venues. The MAST theatre is where you’ll find your dramatic theatre, the Mayflower is where you’ll find musicals, the O2 Guildhall is the place to find some popular music performances. That being said, there are also some more quaint music venues, including the Joiners, The 1865, and, quite exclusively, Stags on a Thursday night.
Somewhere that doesn’t really fit into any categories is Southampton Common, a huge park that is almost central to Southampton. This is where many societies choose to meet, where barbecues are held and where ducks have a swim. It’ll become a part of your university experience, which is quite nice, natural, and simple. If you want more adventures from your Wild Card, get yourself into a car and travel to the New Forest which has wild pigs, the ocean, and an inflatable watercourse.
*I hope this guide serves you well as a starting point to life in Southampton, but remember – this is your opportunity to experience life for yourself, so get out there and have yourself some fun!