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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > United Kingdom > England > Southampton

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Things to do in Southampton

Hit the south coast's ski slopes

Let's face it, England rarely gets any snow - least of all Southampton and the South coast - but that doesn't mean keen skiers and snowboarders have to go without their fix. An hour's drive north west of the city, the Alpine Snowsports Centre (tel +44 1252 325 889; http://activenation.org.uk/leisure-centre/alpine-snowsports-centre-aldershot) boasts three floodlit dry slopes and beginner lessons.

Pull on your walking boots and explore the South Downs

With over 3,300km (2,050 miles) of marked trails, the expansive South Downs (tel +44 1730 814 810; www.southdowns.gov.uk) is a hiker's paradise. Indeed, there are more routes to be found here, than in any other UK national park. For a serious stroll, follow the 160km (100 mile) South Downs Way, starting from England's first capital, Winchester.

Raise the main sail with yachting lessons

Southampton is one of England's busiest ports, with many cruise ship operators departing from its water. It's also a brilliant place to learn how to sail. Don't worry, lessons take place at the calmer, less crowded, River Hamble where Hamble School of Yachting (tel +44 23 8045 2668; www.hamble.co.uk) will show you the ropes.

Tear around on two wheels in the New Forest

The New Forest is a vast 571 sq km (57,100 sq hectares) national park that flanks the west of Southampton. With over 160km (100 miles) of trails and plenty of pubs at which to refresh, the park is brilliant for tearing around on two wheels. Forest Leisure Cycling (www.forestleisurecycling.co.uk) offers bike hire.

Trapeze the treetops at Go Ape

Tucked away in Itchen Valley's ancient woodland, Go Ape (tel +44 333 920 6011; http://goape.co.uk) is a thrilling treetop adventure course and a great family day out. With tunnels, rope bridges and zip-wires, who will prove themselves the king of the swingers? The course takes three hours to complete and climbers require sensible shoes.