Last July was not the greatest time I’ve had this year. It was intensely somber and grim, and wow, I didn’t realize how much it was reflected on my posts. Now that it’s August, I’m trying to be more cheerful.
However, since I’m still feeling a bit nostalgic about Southampton (why hasn’t it diminished, by the way?), I’ve compiled a list of the most memorable places there. Most of it have something to do with personal experiences, but there are some places that truly are beautiful, and I’m being impartial when I say that. For me, in a really short period, Southampton gave so much that would take long to relinquish. So here’s the list of my favorite places in Southampton.
1. Southampton Uni
Hartley Library, including the Quiet Zone, shelves of children books and folktales on level 1 (laugh all you want, but they were all delightful), and what my friend called the ‘secret’ room on level 4. SUSU building. Stag’s. Nuffield Theater. Turner Sims concert hall. The secret garden. That inconspicuous bench in the little corner near Eustice building, which was perfect for observing passers-by or just having a solitude moment amid the restless library sessions. The roof of Physics building. The little corner just outside NHS building. So many things, so many memories.
2. Southampton Common
Before I went to Southampton, I did some research (i.e. googling) about the city, and what I found terrified me. Southampton was among the cities with highest crime rate. In all fairness, all cities have dodgy areas, and so did Southampton. I can’t remember how many times I read news about someone being assaulted/raped in the Common, and so it was pretty clear for me to avoid this place at all costs after dark. In the daylight, this place is stunning, and in the warmer days this place got more lively with barbecue, picnics, ice cream trucks, and all sort of happy things. I liked having a walk from the uni through the path behind the Physics building. This park is HUGE, and my favorite spots are all over the place, including the Old Cemetery and the little chapel, the Cemetery Lake, and the Ornamental Lake.
3. The Cowherds
A little bit of walk from the Old Cemetery, there’s a country pub and restaurant, very close to Winn Road. I went here sometimes, after a long walk at the Common with friends to have ciders, and on a sunny day, it felt glorious. Being a bit obsessed with anything rustic, I fell for The Cowherds so easily, despite the ordinary menu and occasionally bad service. Some of the most memorable conversations happened here, which made this place extra special to me. It was always packed on the weekends and particularly on sunny/warmer days.
4. Wessex Lane Halls
I’m totally biased here because this was where I lived for the first 9 months in Southampton. Once I moved out, I missed the long line at the bus stop in the morning as everyone rushed to the 9 am lecture, the drunken shouting in the middle of the night when the club-goers got home, the kitchen that had witnessed lots of parties, the benches outside that had heard more confessions than any other places, and the nights spent sitting on my friend’s window sill with wine and cigarettes. My fondest memories about this place are the things I was quite blasé about, it seems.
5. Riverside Park
One of the perks of living in Wessex Lane was the proximity to Riverside Park, one of the most beautiful places in Southampton. Its ultimate beauty was at sunrise, but it was still stunning nonetheless at any time. Adventures in the night including seeing a police officer chasing guys high on weed, smelling (and probably seeing) some people smoking up, looking up at the night sky and getting explanations about constellations and stuff while chatting about things that mattered.
6. The docks
Prettiest during the night, not so much during the day. Sometimes big ships docked in here, with fireworks for celebrations. I initially thought that Southampton wasn’t that pretty, but this has changed it.
7. The city center
I still think the city center doesn’t have much to offer, to be honest. Among the very few things that might be slightly interesting are the Bargate, SeaCity Museum, and the metal plates on the pavement, engraved with quotations or information about the city and famous people who used to live here. Being the place where Titanic began its unfortunate voyage, there are many monuments and memorabilia of Titanic spread around the city. If you’re a fan of Titanic, or if you’re just curious how much it impacted the families and people in Southampton, I really recommend going to SeaCity Museum for a more personal insight about the tragedy.
For some reasons, guys always chose this place for a first date. I guess it’s sweet, casual, and innocent, pretty much risk-free for a first date. This place was also perfect for mood-boosting after a hard day. Exam went awry? Got heartbroken? It was always Sprinkles to the rescue. There’s nothing waffles and ice cream couldn’t fix. Nothing.
Sprinkles, I miss you heaps.
Delicious food and cocktails, warm ambiance. Another favorite spot for dates, or to just hang out with friends.
10. The Crown Inn
There were many reasons to love this place. 1) It’s an old pub, 2) it’s only 5 minutes’ walk from Highfield Campus, 3) great food with generous portion (firm favorites: nachos and filled potato skins). There’s something comforting about this place, and as a result, it had heard many hearty conversations, and secrets (it always did when I came over). To top it off, I spent Christmas Eve here and it was one of the best Christmas Eves in my life (on a par with the previous one).
Ah, good times.