Southampton has long been a treasure trove for culture vultures. The newest jewel in its crown, and one of the city’s biggest developments in recent years, is its Cultural Quarter. It boasts a £30m arts centre surrounded by a variety of restaurants and bars with a diverse programme of open-air events taking place in its central square throughout the year.
At the world-class contemporary art gallery John Hansard Gallery, visitors can discover a spectacular array of exhibitions from leading visual artists from around the world, and enjoy talks, workshops and masterclasses, led by experts in the art industry.
Just a few steps away from John Hansard Gallery sit three more galleries for visitors to explore: Solent Showcase Gallery, Southampton City Art Gallery and The Art House. Each one is free to enter, and again offers special events and activities alongside their scheduled exhibitions.
Solent Showcase Gallery strives to encourage engagement, discussion and participation across the local community through art. It regularly showcases exhibitions from both national and international emerging artists that portray a range of different themes and media.
The internationally renowned Southampton City Art Gallery is home to one of the largest publicly-owned collections in the UK outside of London. The gallery regularly attracts visitors from near and far with critically acclaimed temporary exhibitions alongside its permanent displays.
The Art House, meanwhile, is a much smaller, community-run gallery - and cafe if you’re also looking for a tasty bite to eat. Since its opening in 2008, The Art House has continued to bring inspiration and joy to the city’s creative community with exhibitions, poetry evenings, live music performances and workshops.
Culture vultures with a particular appetite for theatre will be more than satisfied with Southampton’s offering. The city is home to the largest theatre on the south coast, Mayflower Theatre, as well as one of the UK’s few remaining producing theatres, Nuffield Southampton Theatres.
Mayflower Theatre offers a jam-packed programme of touring musicals, dance, comedy, live music and plays - often direct from the West End. While Nuffield Southampton Theatres presents its own productions alongside visiting children’s theatre, plays, comedy, dance and circus.
Southampton also has a thriving music scene, with venues across the city playing host to a diverse range of musicians spanning an eclectic mix of genres, from 90s revival in the Engine Rooms, to independent artists at The Joiners, to rock and pop royalty at St Mary’s Stadium.
Whether you’re looking to find creative inspiration, enjoy an unforgettable night at the theatre or immerse yourself in Southampton’s live music scene, the city has a diverse arts and culture programme for all ages and interests to sink their teeth into.