With a great brunch and buzzy night scene combined with fun activities like a paddle to the pub and steam boat ride through the Solent, plus hands-on galleries and shopping options too, there’s plenty to pack into a hen weekend in Southampton. Visit Southampton’s top picks include:
Lively and stylish, and with a seasonal all-day brunch, Revolution’s rooftop Sky Bar is the ideal venue to get the hen weekend started. Its outdoor seating area overlooks Bedford Place, a bustling boutique area of the city that sits beside the cultural quarter.
Ideal for hens who want to add some culture into the mix – and perfectly located for a post brunch browse - is the Southampton City Art Gallery. Free and home to one of the finest art collections in the south of England, works span the centuries with artists from Reynolds to Rego. The venue also hosts a regular Saturday art club too, with the two-hour tutor-led session costing £18 including materials.
Art aimed at those with an eye for the contemporary, can be found at the John Hansard Gallery, which offers an ever-changing programme of exhibitions that champion up and coming artists. Entrance is free.
Also, in the city’s cultural quarter is the Sea City Museum which pays homage to Southampton’s maritime heritage including a fascinating look into the Titanic tragedy and the impact it had on the city (it was home to some 500 crew and passengers). There are also plenty of interactive exhibits – offering the perfect opportunity for hens to channel the inner Kate Winslet’s ‘Rose’ (adults £9.50).
No trip to Southampton would be complete without an on-the-water trip, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Located 10 minutes from the centre of Southampton, Woodmill Activity Centre is a woodland oasis beside the river Itchen. Making the most of the centre’s waterside location, there’s a selection of hen party experiences from wet ‘n’ wild raft, kayak, canoe and stand up paddle boarding and a paddle to the White Swan pub session with fun and games on the way. Groups can also try axe throwing, high ropes or a combination of everything. (packages from £40).
Hens who prefer to relax while someone else takes the helm, can book an afternoon trip aboard the historic SS Shieldhall. Regular summer excursions embrace the golden age of steam and take in the sights of Southampton Water, the Solent and beyond, often with a live band aboard (from £38).
Hens who love an arcade game can take a trip to the action packed High Score arcade, a free-play amusement centre with over 60 games from old school classics like spaces invaders to sports games and the latest arcade fun.
No hen weekend would be complete without some night time action and Southampton doesn’t disappoint. Current hotspots include the newly opened Tap & Tandoor, an award winning Indian gastro pub, offering a great selection of craft beers on tap and craft gin, on a rotational menu. The fabulous Ruby’s at the Grand cocktail lounge, Grumpy Monkey and art deco inspired Rita’s Bar and Kitchen.
Alternatively, there’s live music, DJs and dance at Cafe Parfait, Switch, Orange Rooms, Popworld and Trilogy plus theatre and performance at Mayflower Theatre, MAST Mayflower Studios or The Stage Door. God's House Tower offers GHT Lates an after-hours evening of music, art and heritage on the last Friday of every month.
Room2: A heavenly self-catering hometel, is ideally located beside quiet and leafy Queens Park yet close to the marina and buzzy Oxford Street – lined with restaurants and bars. Stylishly decorated, each room has an en suite shower room, fully equipped kitchenette and seating area for ‘pres,’ plus an onsite bar and café area. Stays are for 24 hours with check in and check out at 2pm. Sleeping four, the M Loft is an ideal friend-sharing space. Prices from £184 for the night on room only.
The Moxy: Industrial chic meets nautical is the theme at Southampton’s Moxy. In a prime central location, the experiential Marriott International hotel brand is close to the West quay Shopping Centre and the marina. As well as receiving a complimentary Moxy cocktail on arrival, guests can make use of the hotel’s 24/7 self-service food and beverage concept. Prices start from £90 per room night based on two sharing room-only. Tel: 0238 168 0269