First things first, there’s not a beach here. I’m sorry. However, if you do fancy a trip to the seaside, Bournemouth is lovely and only about £10 for a return on the train. But what Southampton does have to offer you is an array of alternatives, who needs sand between their toes when this magical city is right under their nose?
Southampton isn’t a huge place, you can easily get around by foot or hop on your bike. Freshers – make the most of your free bus pass – but also go for a wander, the city has a lot of pretty places jotted around. For a smaller city, Southampton has a lot to offer, it has heart. Whether you find that heart in the cholesterol-filled, waffle-y wonder that is Sprinkles; the fresher fields of The Common or that mystery known as the Jesticle (I’m into third year and still not 100% what is in those). It is uncertain, but there’s no doubt that it’s there, you’ll feel it – postponed till the morning for that last one. After all that hyping up, here’s how to break things down;
For the sweet-toothed…
Nothing beats a good pudding. I don’t know if it is a curse or a blessing but my teeth are incredibly sweet. I could easily fill this entire article discussing the dilemma of a chocolate or custard-based dessert, but I won’t waffle on.
There are three Sprinkles in Southampton providing all sorts of sugary goodness until midnight. You can go gossip over gelato with friends, or for the romantics out there it’s undeniable that sweet food is the way to any heart. Scoops, is an alternative to Sprinkles and can be found just down the road on Portswood. And then there’s Mundy’s, at the bottom of Bedford place which is also worthy competition. Mundy’s takes the lead for entertainment since it has facilities of retro video games to play whilst munching down on your waffles and ice-cream. Which is best? Well I may have a photogenic memory of the Gregg’s confectionery section, but that doesn’t give me the right to decide for you. Guess you will have to try them all for yourselves!
For the all-you-can-eaters…
Tiger Lily, Bedford Place, was a nice little find. Tucked in by Buddha Lounge; the restaurant also gives its customers free entry into the neighbouring club.
In town, Ocean Dragon, right next to Boots, is a Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet. It has a good student deal which proves a real bargain.
Finally Global Buffet, in Marlands shopping centre. It only recently opened and is a tad pricier than the rest at £15 a pop but water is free and that’s your whole night set. Who cares if you purse is a little empty when your tummy’s full, be waddling home with absolutely no regrets.
The Palace of Dreams = eventful nights that you probably will not remember. Maybe for the best. But, if you get invited to Jesters, go. Even if it’s for the one-off experience, I wouldn’t recommend anything more highly. Keep your expectations low and your standards lower. Grab a Juicy Lucy and dance to some full-on cheesy music. Purchase ‘Jesters shoes’ – their demise is inevitable (Primark in town – £3).
The Edge is often journeyed to instinctively after Jesters since it’s open till 6am, or can be sought out as just a good night in itself. Manzils is probably still open for the trek back so you could also pop in for an early morning curry on your way home.
Switch and Oceana are probably the classiest clubs in the city. The heels can come out of hibernation, and the shirts have to stay on (unfortunately Baywatch hasn’t caught on with places outside of Jesters yet). You may need to get a taxi, but it can still be done on the cheap. Don’t worry. Again, definitely worth a visit, even only once.
So much room for activities:
Yes, you read right. No beach, but you can ski. Alpine Snowsports Centre is a dry slope very nearby to the uni that is reasonably priced. If you know how to use a T-bar lift and have a gym membership with the University, you can even use the facilities for free!
There’s an 18-hole course on East Park (just before the town centre). There is no windmill obstacle – I know, again with the disappointment, but for £2.50 per person it is well worth a go. There’s a tennis court right next to it and a nice little Mediterranean café, where you may be served by yours truly.
Ten-pin Southampton is a short bus ride away, so if the mood strikes you, take advantage of that free bus pass and head over. Trust Google more than me for the directions.
There is an Odeon down in West Quay. Alternatively, Union Films offers the latest titles shown on campus for £3 or £4.
Southampton City Art Gallery can be found just before the town centre, right next to Solent – don’t let that put you off. The exhibitions are usually very interesting to potter around. Also, the City Library is in the same building and quite often there are public speakers or events to get involved with here, and they tend to be free or very little cost. The place is quiet, like a library should be and unlike Hartley at certain times of the year. Possibly this quietness is because of the proximity to Solent but either way it’s an alternative option for study sessions.
So, yeah, overall there’s quite a lot on in Southampton.