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Southampton tours and excursions

Southampton tours

Boat tours

For a city so intimately connected to the ocean, no trip to Southampton is complete without heading out on a boat trip. Blue Funnel Cruises offer public and private charters along Southampton's waterways, passing sights such as the historic docklands area, the rivers Itchen and Test, and the departure point of the Titanic.

Tel: +44 23 8022 3278.
Website: http://www.bluefunnel.co.uk

Walking tours

Southampton is relatively easy to explore on foot, with all the main attractions concentrated around the city centre and harbour areas. Regular public walks run by the Southampton Tourist Guides Association start from the historic Bargate - check the organisation's website for times and dates. They can also arrange private walks that are available in several languages.

Website: http://www.southamptontouristguides.com

Southampton excursions

Isle of Wight

A short 20-minute ferry away is the Isle of Wight. This stunning isle of white cliffs, rolling hills and postcard-perfect little villages is the ideal escape from Southampton. Attractions include the UK's oldest theme park, Blackgang Chine (tel: +44 1983 730 330; www.blackgangchine.com), as well as endless restaurants, walks and adventure activities.

Tel: +44 1983 813 813.
Website: http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

New Forest National Park

The New Forest National Park is a short drive west of Southampton consisting of 375 sq km (145 sq miles) of open heath and woodland. It is a favourite with outdoor enthusiasts who come to use the spectacular cycle, walking and horse-riding trails. Beaulieu Abbey, Palace House and National Motor Museum are situated south of the park.

Tel: +44 23 8028 2269.
Website: http://www.thenewforest.co.uk

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Mercure Southampton Centre Dolphin Hotel

This large chain hotel has clearly spent a lot of time agonising over the finer details, including individually designed headboards created by artists in each of the 65 rooms. The buildings date from 1790 and 1890, and Jane Austen attended a ball in the hotel's Assembly rooms on her 18th birthday. A hotel with genuine character.

Premier Inn Southampton City Centre

A neat, clean and comfortable budget option well placed for exploring the city. It might not be the most exciting place to stay in Southampton, but if your priorities are location and price then this central Premier Inn can't be beaten.

Jury Inn

Book early to get the best prices at this city centre hotel, which overlooks East Park and is within walking distance of the main rail station. With 270 rooms, Jury Inn is the largest hotel in the city. Plus points include flatscreen TVs and supremely comfortable beds in all rooms, as well as free Wi-Fi.

Novotel Southampton

This hotel has a central location near the main railway station and West Quay shopping centre. It has 121 rooms, including four for disabled guests, and there is a swimming pool with exercise area and a sauna. Wi-Fi access is available. The hotel has a bar and restaurant.

The Mayfair Guest House

Most of Southampton's best budget options are chain hotels, but this neat little guesthouse is a nice exception. Set in an elegant Edwardian building, it owes its excellent reputation to warm service, a cosy lounge area with free Wi-Fi and award-winning breakfasts based on locally sourced ingredients.

Grand Harbour Hotel

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the Louvre, this iconic hotel stands out both for its architectural style and for its facilities. Many of the 173 rooms have sea views, there are suites with Jacuzzi baths and double balconies for luxury lovers, and the in-house fitness centre has a state-of-the-art gym and a pool as well as several therapy rooms.