The City of Southampton is a popular tourist destination. Attractions include historic sites, waterfront restaurants, boats for hire, parks, concerts, and the well-known Mayflower Theatre. This article can cover only a few local attractions. The Port of Southampton's City Council has created an excellent and comprehensive tourism website with information for visitors.
Located on England's southern coast, the Port of Southampton has a warmer climate than many northern cities. Showers are frequent in this coastal city throughout the year, but the wettest months are December and January. The Port of Southampton's best weather comes from June until August, when cafes spill outside. Summer days can get hot and humid, and winters are relatively short. Temperatures range from an average high of 21 ° C (69 ° F) in July and August to an average low of 2 ° C (36 ° F) in February.
The Port of Southampton has long been a maritime center, and the Maritime Museum tells its story with exhibits, displays, and educational information about that history. The museum is located in the 1499 medieval Wool House warehouse with its own long and varied history. After the wool exporting business diminished, the warehouse served as a cloth-dying facility, a storage area for alum, and a prison. The first floor still bears the carved names of French prisoners of war (Napoleonic War) from the early 19th Century. Today, the museum offers special exhibits on the great liners that have anchored in the Port of Southampton, an impressive model of the docks built for the 1939 World's Fair in New York, and a poignant exhibit about the impact of the Titanic disaster on Southampton.
In about 1290, merchant John Fortin started to build his house, which also served as his business location in the Port of Southampton for his trade with Bordeaux. Standing on one of medieval Southampton's busiest streets near the town wall, Fortin's home has been restored to its 14th Century state and furnished with replicas of the period. Visitors can get a sense of life in the 14th Century at the Medieval Merchant's House which is open through the summer tourist season.
The Southampton Common is almost 132 hectares of grass and woodland north of the city center. With wetlands, ponds, nature trails, a fishing lake, a paddling pool, a model yacht pond, and a playground, the Common is a popular location for community events. It contains the Hawthorns Urban Wildlife centre on the site of the earlier Southampton Zoo and an historic cemetery with a pond that attracts many birds. Near the park is the Cowherds Public House, a 17th Century landmark that once housed the town's cowherd who cared for the cattle grazing on the common land.
Travelers who want to see the Port of Southampton by sea will find a long list of scheduled cruises on the Cruise Compete website.