Hidden gems in Southampton that everyone must visit

From bars to vintage shops to record fairs

At first glance, Southampton’s array of bars, shops and hang out spots may leave a little to be desired, but after 3 years living in Southampton, we have found a few gems that are definitely worth a visit.

Harbour Lights, Picture House, Ocean Village

Harbour Lights is a small and charming cinema situated harbourside in Ocean Villiage. Its quaint location showcases one of the few waterside areas in Southampton that is actually pleasant. The Picturehouse shows a brilliant selection of arthouse and mainstream films and screen classic films every Sunday. If the location and brilliant selection of films don’t persuade you, then perhaps the bar might. You can enjoy a pint of beer or a glass of wine and lounge in the reclining chairs while watching your chosen film.

The Basement, Mango Bar & Lounge, Ocean Villiage

Southampton is graced with three Mango bar and restaurants, one located in Portswood and another in the city centre. The third, further afield from the UoS campus, is Mango Bar & Lounge No.5, Canute road. Every Thursday and Saturday night, they open up their fittingly named Basement, to host live music and comedy events. Grab a cocktail upstairs made by their specialist mixologists and head downstairs where the basement opens up into a dance floor, bar and lounge area. The Thai-themed decor runs throughout, with lanterns ambiently lighting the space. This bar provides a welcomed element of sophistication to Southampton’s nightlife; a hidden gem I wish I had known about sooner.

La Baronia, Portswood

Before making Wild Lime your regular Portswood cocktail spot, walk a little further down the high street towards the city and you’ll find La Baronia. This Mexican restaurant & bar provides a brilliant alternative to Wild Lime, with great atmosphere, and delicious and far more alcoholic cocktails. I cannot recommend their cocktails enough, but if you need any more convincing, from Sunday t0 Thursday they do 2 for 1 on cocktails before 7 and after 9.30. It’s a great place to celebrate an occasion, have a catch up with mates or stop for one last pre-drink on your way to Sobar or Jesters.

The 1865, Brunswick Square, Southampton

Hidden away from the main city centre, The 1865 is a venue who host live music events, comedy nights and from time to time record fairs. If you are a music lover and record collector, we would recommend you piece your way to The 1865 and dig through the extensive collections of records for sale. If you are into Jazz, Reggae, Electronic, Soul and much more, you will not be disappointed. Entry to the fair is free and the bar is open all day so enjoy a point while you browse.

Beatnik Emporium, Above Street, Southampton City Centre 

This small but extensively stocked vintage shop has a brilliant selection of items. Their range of fancy dress is extensive, from 90’s to Bollywood and much more. Additionally, they have a vast selection of vintage clothing and jewellery. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, the owners are very helpful and will check from the storage that’s not on display. Keep an eye out for their pop-up vintage fairs which a held in different locations around Southampton, often at UoS campus.

Mini golf, East Park, Southampton City Centre

Southampton’s one-and-only mini golf course is easily missed, tucked away in the East Park, east of the city centre. It is found hidden behind the park’s various gardens, connected to the Flying Aubergine Cafe. It only costs £2.50 per person so is a great and affordable activity to do with your friends on a sunny day.