Southampton Town Walls

JUN 19,2016 - JUN 19,2016 (1 DAYS)

United Kingdom

1 DAYS

Citywalk

Central Southampton:

Main Attractions: The Cenothaph, Monument to the Engineers of the Titanic, Guildhall, SeaCity Museum, The Bargate, Arundel Tower, Juniper Berry Pub, Western Esplanade, West Hythe Quay and Biddle’s Gate, The Arcades, Blue Anchor Lane, Tudor House, St. Michael's Church, Town Quay, God's House Tower, Holyrood Church.

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Duartion: 1/2 - 3/4 day. Weather: Any weather. I did this route during a windy and rainy day. I must admit that the Southampton harbor and bay look totally different (far more gorgeous and attractive) on sunny days ! Distance: 7 km.

Start: The Cenotaph. End: The Bargate (Above Bar Road).

Introduction: I chose Southampton as my base for 8 nights. It is the optimal site for exploring Hampshire, the Cathedral cities, Stonehenge. Southampton, is fairly good base, even, for visiting Bath - due, to the horrible accommodation prices in Bath. The train lines from/to Southampton - are really punctual, convenient, reasonably-priced and efficient. Keep in mind just one rule: find accommodation near the train station. My lodging, for 8 nights, was Rivendell Guest House - 19, Languard Road, Southampton - 10 minutes walk from the Southampton Central station. A wonderful and brilliant choice (see Tip below).

Medieval Southampton was completely enclosed by fortified town walls, large parts of which survive today. For a brief period Jane Austen was at school in Southampton, then a small port at the head of Southampton Water, and although she nearly died of typhus there, this did not deter her from returning more than two decades later. From late 1806 to early 1809 the Austens lived in a house in Castle Square,

We start our route in the Cenothaph. It is the junction of the Commercial Road (west) and the Above Bar Road. We start walking down along the Above Bar Road, with our back to the north, our face to the south, the West Park on our right and the East Park on our left. On our right, in the  green space (West Park or Watts Park) is the bulky stone masonry Cenotaph, by Edward Lutyens.  The monument was planned to be abstract and graceful, with a perception of a soldier having fallen in a "peaceful"  death. This Cenotaph precedes Lutyens', far more famous, monument in Whitehall, London. It was originally dedicated to the casualties of the WW1. But, weather damages to the memorial stone monument led to a glass wall being built alongside it in year 2011, incorporating the names of Southampton citizens who died in subsequent wars and conflicts. The glass panels list 3,298 names of people killed serving in the two world wars and subsequent conflicts:

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Nearby, across Above Bar Road, the park continues on your left (it is called East Park), with at the corner the excellent Monument to the Engineers of the Titanic (15 April 1912): a granite construction with bronze panels to left and right of a ship's prow, showing two engineer crew members on deck. Central and above, a large bronze angel with wings, wreaths and exceptional drapery and figure. Joseph Bell was the Chief Engineer Officer on the RMS Titanic. His staff consisted of 24 engineers, 6 electrical engineers, two boilermakers, a plumber and a clerk. None survived the sinking. In total 1,523 people died on the Titanic in this ill-fated voyage. The memorial was designed by Whitehead and Son. The granite memorial monument was originally unveiled on 22 April 1914. The event was attended by an estimated 100,000 Southampton residents. The impact of the disaster was felt all around the world, but nowhere more so than in Southampton:

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Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

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150 m. down the Above Bar Road, on our right starts the Cultural Quarter. An area alive with arts, heritage, entertainment, events, music, colour and dramatic architecture. Notable sites include the Guildhall Square,Southampton City Art Gallery, The Guildhall, Mayflower Theatre, City Library and Archives, BBC South Broadcasting House, and the historic city centre parks.

First, we see the Southampton Solent University Conference Centre, 157-187 Above Bar Street - Southampton main site setting for conferences and exhibitions:

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Next, a bit further southward, is the Cultural Quarter or Civic Centre. It hosts the SeaCity Museum, council offices, the Guildhall venue, the well-endowed city art gallery, and the city library.

The Central Library:

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Southampton City Art Gallery: FREE to enter and conveniently located right next to SeaCity Museum, the venue caters for families. You can enjoy gallery trails through the exhibitions, monthly art clubs and a fantastic range of activities for all ages. Open: MON - FRI: 10.00 - 15.00, SAT: 10.00 - 17.00.

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Lady Darling, circa 1882 by John Collier (1850–1934):

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The Captain's Daughter (The Last Evening) by James Tissot (1836–1902):

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The Second Visit by Howard Hodgkin (b.1932):

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From the Above Bar Road we see the east wing of the Guildhall. Work on the Guildhall (the east wing) began in March 1934. The Guildhall was intended as a social location for municipal functions. The Guildhall was opened on 13 February 1937.

The Guildhall (east wing), with colonnaded façade:

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The west wing, originally courts, now hosting SeaCity Museum, and the monumental clock tower also holding many council offices:

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The south wing of the civic centre, containing mostly council offices:

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The city’s new maritime attraction, SeaCity Museum, tells the story of the people of the city, their fascinating lives and historic connections with Titanic and the sea.It continues to attract hoards of visitors to the city. Featuring a number of exhibitions including a major Titanic exhibition, the museum will be a lasting legacy to the fateful Titanic ship. As the port from which the 1912 White Star liner Titanic set sail, Southampton is at the very heart of the Titanic story. Many lives and families were affected by the tragedy. You can see the 1:25 scale interactive model of the ship, experience the ‘Disaster Room’, and immerse yourself in the 1930s court room which depicts the Inquiry held in London after the disaster. It is the Titanic story which makes a visit particularly worthwhile. The museum was opened on the centenary of the Titanic in April 2012. Open: daily, 10.00 – 17.00. Prices: Adults: £8.50, Concessions: £6.00. You can enjoy the museum café without needing to pay for admission to the rest of the building. The café is  located on the ground floor:

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Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The impressive Guildhall Place, a pedestrianized walkway that links Guildhall Square to East Park and Above Bar Road has been just reopened in 2016:

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On our way down (south) along Above Bar Road - we can dine in various restaurants, cafe's or eateries. The Art House, 178 Above Bar Street, Southampton - an Art Cafe' is a very good option: tasty, very special place, atmospheric, organic veggie food, fantastic cakes, excellent coffee, cultural clientele.  For the Sunday dinner - you must order a place well in advance. Jacket potato with small salad: £4.  No gluten menu (Falafel Salad: £8). Open: TUE - SAT: 10.00 - 22.00, SUN: 12.00 - 17.00. Closed: Mondays. Another reasonably-priced and filling option, a bit further south, on your left, is Nando's, at WestQuay Shopping Centre, Food Terrace (2nd floor), West Quay Shopping Centre.

Our way from north to south along Above Bar Road is dotted with many parks on our right and left. We start with the East Park (Andrews Park) and West Park which are particularly attractive.

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We continue with the Houndwell Park and Palmerston Park. So plenty of green spaces here ! The parks date back to the Middle Ages and beyond when they were outside the walls of the city and were used for strip farming. Palmerston park, on your left (east) is absolutely beautiful with all its flowers and plants and at night it has gorgeous rope lights illuminating it. It is full with camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias. Hydrangeas and various summer flowering bulbs extend the flowering season into the summer. You can find, here, the statue of former Prime Minster the 3rd Viscount Palmerston. It was unveiled on 2 June 1869, four years after Palmerston’s death in 1865:

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Houndwell Theme Park lies to the south of Palmerston Park and is separated by Pound Tree Road:

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We continue southward when the Marlands Shopping Centre is on our right (and, later, the West Quay Shopping Centre) and the Palmerston Park is , still, on our left. At last, in the end of Above Bar Road, in the centre of the street, is one of Southampton's medieval constructions, the Bargate, associated with the city's defensive walls, much of which survive. Although Southampton was ruthlessly bombed during the last war, some ancient relics survived, including the famous Bargate, which once served as the main gateway to the city at the northern end. The gate was once the site of town council meetings, the local court, and road toll collectors. Constructed in Norman times as part of the Southampton town walls, the Bargate was the main gateway to the city. Two lions rampant in lead, with inscription on base dated 1892 noting replacement of 1743 pedestals. The two lead lions are said to protect the city and the original Norman arch dates back to about 1175, with the tower being added a century later. The far side of the gate has carved heads in poor condition adorning the sides of the windows, and centrally placed, a statue of George III in Roman costume of Hadrian (modelled after the British Museum statue and emplaced after 1809). To the left (looking back at the statue) a city wall walk begins, but we shall see it later. Looking over the parapet is a nicely posed modern bronze statue John le Fleming (1991) by Anthony Griffiths. The northern side of the gate is under massive constructions:

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Here, starts the old town, surrounded by walls,  which has over 90 listed buildings and more than 30 ancient monuments,Georgian houses and hotels. Southampton still retains England's second-longest stretch of surviving Medieval wall (the longest is in York). These huge stone walls were first built to defend the town from attack by land, and then extended to protect it from sea-borne enemies, following the devastating
French raid of 1338. Although earlier Roman and Anglo-Saxon settlements around Southampton had been fortified with walls or ditches, the later walls originate with the move of the town to the current site in the 10th century. GuIded Walks: Southampton Tourist Guides Association offer guided walks on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year, starting from the Bargate at 11.00, £3, under 16s free.

With our face southward, we turn right (west) to Bargate Street. On our left the old town walls and Arundel Tower. On our right the West Quay mall. It was originally known as Corner Tower. In the 14th century it was renamed after Sir John Arundel, governor of Southampton Castle 1377-39. Arundel tower may be also named after hirondelle, the magical horse of sir Bevois, one of the mythical founders of Southampton. legend has it that hirondelle (‘swallow’ in French) was so named because he could out-fly swallows. When Sir Bevois died the horse flung himself from the tower in sorrow. Unfortunately access to the bridge is closed at the moment so you miss the interesting larger-than-life statue of early mayor Le Fleming peering over the wall:

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Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Arriving to the end of Bargate Street - we turn LEFT (south) to Castle Way. On our right signpost indicating the location of the past Castle Gate. Rising high above the town walls stood Southampton castle. Built after the Norman conquest of 1066, the king and his court would stay here on their way to France. After gradually falling into disrepair the castle
was rebuilt in 1805, but demolished 10 years later. Walk 160 m. south along Castle Way and turn right in the 2nd turn, Castle Lane. Turn left onto Castle Square and you see a gorgeous Tudor wooden house, the Juniper Berry Pub (and lodging) on your right. Following her father George's death in January 1805, Jane Austen, her mother and sister Cassandra eventually settled in Southampton, where they stayed until mid-1809. In March 1807 they took a house in Castle Square, on the site of the present Juniper Berry Pub. This pub is stunning on the outside but a typical English pub on the inside:

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We walk along Castle Lane until its western end. With the Juniper Berry on our left, We descend the stairs in the end of the path and we turn LEFT (south) to the Western Esplanade. Walking southward along the Western Esplanade, we cross, on our left, the splendid Simnel Street with many, charming red-bricked houses. In the mid 1700s, doctors prescribed salt water bathing as a cure for many illnesses, and Southampton became a fashionable place to visit. This area was home to
Mr Martin’s Baths and the assembly rooms:

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Immediately, behind the Simnel Street - we see, on our left the most beautiful section of Southampton walls: West Hythe Quay and Biddle’s Gate and, Later, the Arcades. in medieval times, this was a bustling waterfront lined with the houses of wealthy merchants. After the French raid in 1338, the merchants were forced to move and the walls of their houses were blocked up to create the town walls. You can still see the outlines of the medieval doorways and windows.

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The Arcades form part of the surviving west walls and are a unique feature in England; their closest architectural equivalent are in Rouen, France.[31] The West Gate still stands three storeys high and was originally defended by two portcullises; the windows on the west side of the gate are the original medieval designs. Along the south side of the walls one of the twin towers protecting the South Gate still stands, largely intact. The Arcades form part of the surviving west walls and are a unique feature in England; their closest architectural equivalent are in Rouen, France. The West Gate still stands three storeys high and was originally defended by two portcullises; the windows on the west side of the gate are the original medieval designs:

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Several steps further south and we cross, on our left, the Blue Anchor Lane.  Blue Anchor Lane led from the medieval quayside into the town and the market in St. Michael’s Square. the stone arch forms part of the town walls. The portcullis slot is still visible. The Blue Anchor Lane slides it’s way down a steep incline alongside the Tudor House towards the quayside, that in Medieval times, would have been just outside the city walls. The Blue Anchor Lane ran from the market square outside St. Michael’s church to the waterfront via the Postern Gate, one of Southampton’s original seven gates. It was used to carry goods from the quayside up to the market square. The carters would have piled onto their carts all manner of imported goods and worked hard against the gradient to deliver them to the market place in front of St Michael's church. In the late medieval period the lane was called Lord’s Lane.
It was renamed in the 18th C after the Blue Anchor Inn which was located in the lane:

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We shall climb up east along the Blue Anchor Lane and end up with the Tudor House and St. Michael's Square on our right and St. Michael's Church in front of us.

St. Michael’s Square is dominated by the iconic Tudor House. This square was once the location of Westgate Hall. Wool was stored upstairs, and a fish market was held beneath. In 1634 the hall was dismantled and
rebuilt next to Westgate. Paving slabs show where it once stood. The Tudor House, a timber-framed building facing St Michael’s Square was built in the late 15th Century, with King John’s Palace, an adjacent Norman house accessible from Tudor House Garden, dating back a further 300 years. Tudor House gives a unique and atmospheric insight into the lives and times of both its residents through the years, and of Southampton itself. the existing Tudor House and Garden that is seen today traces its roots back to around 1495 AD, when Sir John Dawtry, an important local official, had the building constructed from those houses which previously stood here. Open: TUE - FRI 10.00 - 15.00, SAT - SUN 10.00 - 17.00. Closed Mondays. Prices: Adult: £5.00, Child 5 and over: £4.00, Child under 5: free, Concessions: over 60s and students: £4.00. Tudor House and Garden & SeaCity Museum: Adult: £12.00, Concession: £9.00:

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Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

The St. Michael's Church occupies the east side of St. Michael's Square off Bugle Street. St. Michael's Church is the oldest building still in use in the city of Southampton, England, having been founded in 1070, and is the only church still active of the five originally in the medieval walled town.  Worth a visit, a lovely and welcome place: fine stained glass and a good modern wood carving.  It is frequently closed and opening times clarification on line is hard to find:

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We end our visit in the Blue Anchor lane and return west (left) to the Western Esplanade, continuing walking southward. After 75 m. of walk we see on our left, the Westgate - another medieval gate to the city (nowadays - Westgate Hall). On our right are the Grand Harbour and Holiday Inn hotels. The Westgate  includes the relocated timber framed Medieval Cloth Hall which was relocated to this site:

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Near the Pig in the Wall Pub (and small hotel), we pop into the walls and return walking southward along the Western Esplanade:

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After 200 m. in the Western Esplanade we arrive towards the Town Quay and the docks. Here,  we turn northward to the High Street. Here, stands the Town Quay. During the 1400s, wool was the single largest export from the town. The wool house was built to store wool right on the quayside. The town mayor, Thomas Middleton, built a large crane next to it for moving heavy cargo. Houses along the esplanade and the quay are very special looking (note the Ennio's restaurant/hotel building). This section of our route offers lovely views to the sea, and cruise liners, passing ferries and container ships with tugs:

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Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

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Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

Citywalk in , United Kingdom, visiting things to do in United Kingdom, Travel Blog, Share my Trip

In the intersection of Town Quay and High Street - we enter, with our face to the east, onto Winkle Street to see, on our left the wall and the God's House. God's House Tower is a late 13th century gatehouse into the old town of Southampton. It stands at the south-east corner of the town walls and. The complex was named after nearby God's House Hospital, although it has many alternative names including the South Castle. In the past, it permitted access to the town from the Platform and Town Quay. An original simple gatehouse was built in the late 13th century and in the early 14th century it was extended to its current dimensions. At the same time a large room, possibly a guard room, was built above the gateway. The great tower at the eastern end of the building and the adjoining gun platform were built in the 15th century to strengthen the gate's flank defences. The tower was also called Mill Tower (or Mill House) from the tidal mill installed at its east extremity and worked by the waters of the town moat. It housed the city Museum of Archaeology (opened to the public in 1961 and then closed in September 2011). Tower House, which adjoins the gateway to the west, was built in the 19th century, replacing an earlier building. In 2012, it was occupied by "a space arts", providing studio space for "emerging" artists. Opposite the gateway, in Winkle Street, is the only other remaining substantial part of the original hospital, the Church of St. Julien. Just outside the gate is the Old Bowling Green, the oldest bowling green in the world which dates back to at least 1299.
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Try to walk as east as possible in Winkle Street and find the way to turn LEFT (north) in  the Lower Canal Walk (the extensive, a bit hidden, Queen's Park is on your right).  In the end of this road, slightly turn left, again to Briton Rd. to see another section of the walls - opposite Friary House (former Franciscan priory). We continue walking west (left) aling Briton Street until it meets the High Street. Here, we turn right (north) and walk along High Street. After 160 m. - we see on our right (east) the northerern wall of the destroyed Holyrood Church. Several churches were within walking distance of Castle Square, including the Holyrood Church in the High Street, right at the centre of the medieval town. Built in 1320, the church was destroyed by the Nazi bombing during the blitz in November 1940. In 1957 the shell of the church was dedicated as a memorial to the sailors of the Merchant Navy. Southampton lost seven churches during the blitz, as well as the nearby Audit House, the Ordnance Survey offices and many shops, factories and homes. During the night of 30 November 1940, when the church was destroyed, 214 people were killed in Southampton and nearly 500 properties were totally destroyed. The only parts of the church still standing are the tower at the south-western corner and the chancel at the eastern end, together with large parts of the north walls. The wooden spire was lost as was the great west window, whilst the central area of the church was completely destroyed. Among the memorials inside the ruin is one to the crew of the Titanic, most of whom came from Southampton. Inside the church, under the tower is a memorial fountain, erected in 1912–13 for those who lost their lives in the sinking of the Titanic ship. The fountain is supported on four stone columns, with a curved pediment on each side with carvings depicting the "Titanic", surmounted by a four-columned cupola. The artist metal worker, Charles Normandale created a series of wrought iron metal screens, gates and railings for the Chancel and Titanic Memorial Fountain. The chancel, now with a glass roof, and nave are used for temporary exhibitions and musical events. The whole edifice is dedicated to the men of the Merchant Navy and hosts the annual Merchant Navy Day memorial service. In the corner of the former nave is an anchor (bearing the name of Cunard shipping company, behind which is a plaque bearing the legend:

"The church of Holyrood erected on this site in 1320 was damaged by enemy action on 30 Nov 1940. Known for centuries as the church of the sailors the ruins have been preserved by the people of Southampton as a memorial and garden of rest, dedicated to those who served in the Merchant Navy and lost their lives at sea".

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Walking further northward along High Street - brings you to the Above Bar Road and to the Bargate. It is 1 mile (1.6 km.) walking to our start point - the Cenotaph.

Accommodations

Rivendell Guest House - 19, Languard Road, Southampton:

Fantastic place. You feel like at home. Very friendly, welcoming and generous owners. A quiet place. 10 min. walk to the railway station. Delicious breakfast. Very pleasant bedroom and bath. Highly recommended.

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