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11 places every fresher should visit in Southampton

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The port city from which the Titanic set sail and home of the Spitfire, Southampton has its fair share of heritage, but you’d be foolish to think that all it has to offer is museums.

With students from both the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent residing in the city, there is plenty on offer for freshers to occupy themselves - so what better way to impress your new flat mates with some sure-fire recommendations for what to see and do?

Eating Out:

1. Pizzazz Pizza

Not all takeaway pizzas were created equal, and as the staple item in every student’s diet it’s essential you get it right. Though it may look like the kind places you’d wind up after a night out - having exhausted every other available option - Pizzazz offers some of the best tasting value-for-money pizzas around. The £5.49 12” pizza collection deal is a no-brainer and The Pizzazz Special with its garlic butter base will soon be your weapon of choice. Situated on Burgess Road, it’s also conveniently placed on the walk back from campus to Wessex Lane halls, and only 10 minutes from the Hartley Library.

2. The Rockstone

A notorious haunt for meat lovers, The Rockstone offers a cosy country pub atmosphere near to the city centre. Alongside an eye-watering selection of both decadent and depraved burgers stands a great range of cask ales and fine spirits. Located in Bevois Valley, the Rockstone is hard to miss when following the intersection between Portswood and the city centre, and is well worth a visit.

3. Banana Wharf

It’s the one for when your parents come to visit. Sporting tranquil views over Southampton’s marina, Ocean Village, Banana Wharf is your go-to for classier occasions. The food is pricier than your standard student joint but doesn’t disappoint. The chefs offer a broad choice of world food covering British classics, Italian, Mexican and more - so you can be sure there’s something to please everyone, plus the backdrop of trendy apartments and moored boats allows you to daydream of the Wolf of Wall Street style yacht parties you’ll be throwing once you’ve graduated and landed your dream job.

Drinking:

4. The Hobbit

Many freshers have taken on the mighty Fellowship drinking challenge, but fewer have managed to consume the 12 sickly Lord of the Rings themed cocktails that must be bested to earn the coveted Hobbit pub t-shirt. The Hobbit is also home to a spacious beer garden with plenty of space for drinking games, plus Tolkien-inspired murals and a raised wooded corner taken straight out of the Elven home of Rivendell.

5. The Stable

Guildhall Square has plenty of great eateries and waterholes, but for cider enthusiasts The Stable is a must. The menu of pizza and pies is tailored around locally sourced produce and the extensive range of ciders, selected from far and wide, will leave you spoilt for choice. If you can’t quite decide, the sampling sharers are well worth a try with friends to help you find your favourite.

Going Out:

6. Jesters

Most of the time you’ll wear your best pair of shoes for on a night out… not in Southampton. Jesters has earned itself a warm fuzzy place in the heart of most Southampton students with its finely curated playlist of shamelessly indulgent pop clangers and courageous disregard for any sense of self-respect or dignity. It’s going to be the elephant in the room throughout your freshers’ week; the rumours of what has happened in this hallowed place will fill you with either a feeling of reckless curiosity or abject fear. Jesters is a divisive club: you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it, and the sooner you find out the better!

7. Junk

Nights out don’t just have to be about drunkenly bellowing the chorus to the same old chart toppers of yesteryear. Junk is an intimate venue with an impeccable sound system, from which you’ll have the pleasure of hearing world class DJs play from every Saturday. The team at Junk pride themselves on a no-nonsense music policy that is focused around the sole agenda of keeping the dancefloor moving.

8. The Bargate and old castle wall

Arguably Southampton’s most famous landmark, this striking monument splits the high street in the city centre in two. Once part of the castle walls, this gatehouse is now freestanding, however other portions of the aged city walls can still be traversed and provide truly unique views.

9. Southampton Common

With its gentle slope down to town, and duck pond aplenty, Southampton Common is an idyllic escape from deadline and exam stress. In the summer the common comes alive with picnics, barbeques - and who could forget Rob da Bank’s latest festival, Common People? Southampton Common remains picturesque throughout the year, so you can guarantee that evening walks will provide plenty of ammo for your Instagram.

10. Southampton’s Medieval Vaults

Southampton is a little short on landmarks as many of its oldest buildings were demolished during the blitz. However underground Southampton still has architecture dating back centuries. Dotted around the old town are a wealth of medieval vaults used to store wine and food for the inhabitants of Southampton Castle. Usually the vaults are closed to the public, so getting a glimpse inside can be rare, however there are still opportunities to explore them when they are opened up as venues for special gigs and other intimate parties.

11. Harbour Lights

A slight cheat for my final entry, however, on a rainy day the sights seen on the silver screen are a practical alternative. Of Southampton’s cinemas Harbour Lights offers the most diverse programming - from blockbusters, to arthouse and archival re-runs. The building itself is totally unique, and as part of the Picturehouse Cinema chain, you can benefit from the perks of their student membership which includes two complimentary film tickets, discounted rates, and free screenings with E4’s Slackers’ Club.

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