Sitting just across the Solent from the Isle of Wight and boasting the biggest cruise port in the UK, the seaside city of Southampton offers plenty of holiday options to families. From across the world cruise holidays to weekends spent on the coast, there’s something for everyone.
Its perfect position on the south coast of England makes Southampton a fantastic place to spend or start a holiday.
As the UK’s number one cruise port you’ll be spoilt for choice when considering Southampton cruises. Many of the big players in cruising have ships sailing from the four cruise terminals, including P&O Cruises, Cunard, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity. These huge ships are like floating holiday resorts, with everything from waterslides to cinemas on-board. There’s plenty to keep all ages occupied during days at sea. And when it comes to where to go, the World is your oyster – cruise holidays from Southampton range from epic adventures across the Atlantic to America to short cruises from Southampton to France and our near neighbours in Northern Europe. Mediterranean cruises are always a popular choice in summer, and with no-fly cruises from Southampton you don’t have to worry about airport hassles.
Seaside City Break
If you can only squeeze in a short break then Southampton itself has plenty to fill a few days with the kids. On sunny days the waterfront is always a lively place to be, with plenty of sailing and watersports activities offered on the Solent. Nature lovers will also enjoy visits to the Itchen Valley Country Park and the New Forest Wildlife Park. Also, the Shingle Western Shore Beach is within walking distance of the city centre. The Solent Sky Museum of planes and aviation history is both educational and fun, and is a good option if the weather is less than fantastic. Similarly, the SeaCity Museum is the place to learn all about Southampton’s seafaring history, including the now infamous Titanic story.
Bournemouth makes a good afternoon out or day trip from Southampton for those who want to dig their toes in the sand. Pack up the buckets and spades and take your pick from the seven miles of beaches at this nearby seaside town. There’s plenty to do besides building sandcastles too, with the Lower Gardens Park being just one highlight. There’s also a classic pier with a zip line that you can take all the way down to the sands. Younger children might prefer the Adventure Wonderland Theme Park which is packed full of rides and attractions for under 12s.
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight sits just across the Solent from Southampton and can be reached in just under an hour on the ferry. Its combination of lovely beaches and family friendly attractions make it the perfect holiday destination, with plenty to keep all ages happy. Animal lovers will be in their element with the long list of animal attractions on the island, including Monkey Haven in Newport, the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary in Ventnor, and the Isle of Wight Zoo and Amazon World Zoo Park both in Sandown. The Godshill Model Village and the Robin Hill Adventure Park are also fun days out for both kids and grown-ups alike.
To really treat the family to a holiday to remember, why not consider chartering your own private yacht? Several companies offer fully crewed and skippered yachts for hire, either sailing on the Solent or across the Channel to France. You can either relax and let someone else do the hard work as you sail or have a go at being skipper yourself. It’s an adventure that all ages can enjoy equally. Alternatively, Southampton is a great place to learn to sail on an accredited Royal Yacht Association course, so that next time you can be the one steering your family across the water.