The top 10 prettiest Soton parks to go to for a walk during lockdown
Stripped of your social life and still don’t fancy doing uni work? Go for a procrastination walk
I’ll admit it: I’m a London snob and I have never been convinced of Southampton’s beauty. To my surprise, lockdown walks have given me a newfound appreciation for the local area. The cities outdoor spaces are particularly pretty in the winter, including both coastline and countryside paths, whilst the city centre offers a range of parks for some shorter strolls.
So, with the hope of converting a few more home-town snobs into Southampton admirers, here is a guide to some of the best walks to go on in Southampton during lockdown:
Ocean Village Marina
The marina is by far the most insta-worthy location in Southampton (no wonder Dani Dyer called Southampton “beautiful”). Whilst it’s only a short walk around the harbour the views of the boats are spectacular, especially in the evening. What better way to inspire your own degree success than spending the evening gazing at millionaire’s yachts?
This hidden gem is a park of two halves: The River Itchen pathway and the main park. The River Itchen overflows on rainy days, so be sure to check the weather before taking the riverside route. This side of the park also seems to be the meeting point for local four-legged furry friends, so this is one for those of you missing your pooches at home.
The main park is open and flat, an ideal route for those of us who swore this would be the lockdown we kept up running. You can also spot black swans on the river, making it a perfect walk for wildlife enthusiasts.
If you’re suffering from deadline insomnia and find yourself awake as the sun is rising, take a walk to the Common and you might be lucky enough to spot the deer. At a more sensible hour, be prepared to bump into everyone you know because the Common is a classic lockdown destination for Southampton students. There are plenty of hungry ducks on the three ponds that like to be fed. However, be aware of the swarms of seagulls that will steal this food.
Lakeside Country Park
Lakeside Country Park is well worth the 50-minute walk from campus. Before strolling around the park’s three lakes, be sure to grab a takeaway coffee from the café to keep you warm. The park has a miniature railway train and whilst it is not open due to Covid restrictions, the tracks provide a great path.
After aimlessly walking to find the park’s cows, I was slightly disappointed that the wildlife sanctuary was empty for the season, but I’ll be sure to visit again when they return for the warmer weather.
After having spent nearly three years in Southampton I only recently came across Mayflower park, an open green space that sits right next to the cruise port. If you’re a sucker for a good sunset I’d recommend timing this walk for the early evening to watch the sun go down over the sea. It’s not exactly a tropical island sunset, but it will definitely suffice.
River Itchen Bridge
Don’t let the rather unappealing surrounding industrial estates put you off when approaching this bridge – the view from the centre point is amazing. With the bridge over-looking the river’s widest point, you can catch views of boats docked up at the shore, as well as St Mary’s football stadium. This is a delightful place to see Southampton from a different perspective.
Southampton Outdoor Sports Centre Park
This treasure is tucked away behind Winchester Road. It has an outdoor 400-metre athletic track, available to University of Southampton Sport and Wellbeing members. The sports facilities are surrounded by a quiet well-kept park, perfect for a walk to catch your thoughts.
St Andrews (East) Park
If you have ever stumbled from Switch to Bedford Place for some post night out food, then you have most likely walked past St Andrews Park. Take a walk back there when you are sober and I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised. The gardens that are beautifully well kept, surround ponds and memorials which make an interesting read.
Continue walking through St Andrew’s, and you will reach the neighbouring park, Palmerston Park. The park is small but central to the city centre, making it a great place to catch a quick breather, or eat your meal deal, after your stressful Asda lockdown shopping trip.
The uni gardens
Finally, if these all seem like way too much effort, then look no further. The university gardens are a charming little secluded area near the SUSU building, surrounded by trees and pathways, making it a great place to take a short stroll. As it is located right on campus, it’s a perfect spot for our first year students to catch a break away from the noise of the busy lockdown student halls. Happy walking!