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The Best List Of Free Things To Do In Southampton

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Play wooden airplane in a playground

Including free kids places and free child activities to entertain everyone.

With half-term first approaching, you won’t be the only one feeling the pinch of the dreaded holiday season.

There’s no need to break the bank though, as there’s loads of free for kids activities that will keep everyone busy, and a few deals and tricks to help you enjoy your family day out more.

Whether you’re a local or just passing through, check out the free museums and art galleries dotted around town. The SeaCity Museum is a real gem, with exhibits that’ll teach you all about Southampton’s seafaring history. And if you’re into your culture, the Southampton City Art Gallery has an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures that you can ogle at no cost.

Now, if you fancy getting some fresh air, there are plenty of lovely parks and gardens to explore. Wander through the lush greenery of the Common, or take a stroll along the picturesque waterfront. And if you’re feeling active, why not hire a bike and cycle around the city’s cycle paths? It’s a great way to soak up the sights without spending a penny.

We’ve included everything including outdoor and indoor ideas that cover the whole of the city of Southampton.

If you are looking for things to do in Southampton then have a look at:

11 Fun Things to do in Eastleigh for the Whole Family – Not far from Southampton, Eastleigh is a great place for the whole family.

Things to do in Romsey with Kids – We love Romsey! It’s not far from Southampton and has some great walks and parks to visit on sunny days.

21 Portsmouth Attractions for the Whole Family – Not only has Portsmouth got the seaside but it’s also got loads to do for a family of mixed ages.

Things to do in Hampshire Guide

Wondering what to do today? Then our guide for ALL things Hampshire is for you!

If you are looking for things to do in Hampshire with kids then this guide is for you. We have over 200+ ideas that you can use to keep your whole family amused while exploring everything Hampshire has to offer!

Have a look at our Things to do in Hampshire Guide here.

This is an up to date spreadsheet, in activity order, that you can use when you have no clue what to do. We’ve included everything from country parks, to splash pools, lakes, castles, days out, playgrounds and walks. You get lifetime access to this spreadsheet, so any updates we do, you get them, all included in the price!

Outdoor Activities

New forest

Going out for walks or bike rides are the best days out with kids of all ages. Make sure you have a look at our full list of walks in Hampshire that are great for kids here.

1. Netley Abbey (Southampton)

This makes a great half day activity. Netley Abbey is an old relic of a church that is great for a run around. Parking is free and it’s just along from Weston Shore and Victoria Country Park.

This place is an absolute gem! If you’re into your old buildings and want to get a feel for some real English history, this is the place for you. 

The abbey itself dates back to the 13th century, and it’s one of the best-preserved monastic ruins in the country. You can wander around the crumbling walls, imagine what it would have been like back in the day, and soak up all that medieval atmosphere. It’s beautiful! 

The grounds are gorgeous as well – loads of green space to explore, with lovely views over the Solent. Bring a picnic, have a kickabout, or just chill out and take in the scenery. It’s the perfect spot to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. 

Whether you’re a history buff or you just fancy a chilled-out day out, Netley Abbey is well worth a visit. Trust me, you’ll have a brilliant time exploring this little slice of the past.

You can find Netley Abbey at Abbey Hill, Netley, Southampton SO31 5FB.

2. Southampton Common (Southampton)

Southampton Common is a brilliant green space right in the heart of the city. It’s the perfect spot to escape the hustle of the city, have a kickabout with the kids, or just chill out on a sunny day. The Common has been a beloved local landmark for centuries, and it’s easy to see why.

There’s always something going on – from festivals and fairs to sports matches and dog walks. It’s a real hub for the community. You’ll find kids playing on the swings, joggers powering around the paths, and old fellas having a natter on the benches. It’s proper lively, but still manages to feel like a little oasis of calm.

The best thing is, it’s completely free to enjoy. No entrance fees or anything – you can just rock up whenever you fancy. Pack a picnic, bring the dog, or simply go for a wander. It’s the sort of place that has a bit of something for everyone. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the Southampton area.

You can find Southampton Common at The Avenue, Southampton SO15 7NN.

3. New Forest National Park

Tree in a forest

A short drive from the center of Southampton, The New Forest is full of great places to let the kids run.

A lot of the landscape is flat and is great for long cycle rides and walks with the whole family. Many of the walks are signposted too.

Pick a spot and see how many ponies you can spot or donkey’s that roam free.

Our favourite places to stop are The Cricket Ground which is a huge area that can get busy in the summer but is great for kids to ride their bikes as the grass is kept low.

Boulderwood is another great place with parking and toilets. If you are really lucky then you may spot some deer wandering in the woods.

The best places in the New Forest though are those that you find off the beaten road. Take a drive and find your own little bit of treasure.

Have a look at our A Huge Guide to Things to do in New Forest here for more ideas.

4. Southampton Walls

Let’s talk about something truly fascinating – the historic walls of Southampton. These bad boys have been standing tall for centuries, and let me tell you, they’re a sight to behold.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “Walls? Seriously?” But trust me, these aren’t just any old walls. They’re a testament to Southampton’s rich past, and they’ve got some seriously cool stories to tell.

Back in the day, these walls were built to protect the town from invaders and marauders. Can you imagine the kind of action they’ve seen over the years? It’s like something straight out of a movie!

These days, the walls are more of a tourist attraction than a defensive structure, but that doesn’t make them any less impressive. You can actually walk along the top of the walls and get a bird’s-eye view of the town. It’s like stepping back in time.

So, if you’re ever in the area and you’re looking for something to do, don’t miss out on the chance to explore the Walls of Southampton. It’s a slice of history that you can literally walk all over. 

You can start your wall journey right outside of West Quay and follow them through the Bargate and all around the city center. 

Find the Southampton Walls at High St, Southampton SO14 2DJ. 

5. Junior Park Run

Junior parkrun is the perfect way for little ones to get active and have fun. These free, weekly events are all about having fun while getting fit – no pressure, just pure enjoyment. Kids aged 4-14 can take part, whether they want to power through the 2k course or just jog and chat with their mates. It’s a brilliant chance for them to explore the great outdoors, make new friends, and feel proud of their achievements. So why not give it a go? Sign the family up, pack a picnic, and get ready for a great morning out. Trust us, they’ll be begging to go back week after week!

The local Southampton Park Run is at Riverside Park at Manor Farm Rd, Southampton SO18 1NQ.

6. Local Southampton playgrounds

Dowds Farm Playground in West End

In Southampton, we’re lucky enough to have a load of large open spaces with FREE parking. Many of these have green fields to play games on or to have a picnic too.

Look here for more playgrounds ideas in Hampshire.

Playground NameAddress
Aldermoor PlaygroundOlive Rd, Lordshill, Southampton SO16 5NH
Archery Road PlaygroundArchery Rd, Woolston, Southampton SO19 9EQ
Blandford House PlaygroundBlandford House, Irving Rd, Southampton SO16 4ED
Butts Road Playground4 Shooters Hill Cl, Sholing, Southampton SO19 1FW
Cardinal Place Playground46 Cardinal Pl, Southampton SO16 9ET
Cobden Meadows Playarea1 River View Rd, Southampton SO18 1NW
Compass Way PlaygroundCompass Way, Southampton SO31 7PS
Cuckmere Lane Park135 Cuckmere Ln, Southampton SO16 9AS
Daisy Dip Playground35 Bluebell Rd, Southampton SO16 3LR
Deep Dene play areaSouthampton SO18 1FP
East Park PlaygroundAbove Bar St, Southampton SO14 7DW
Eddies Pirate Play TrailCopenhagen Towers, International Way, Weston, Southampton SO19 9NW
Freshfield GreenFreshfield Rd, Southampton SO15 8QX
Hinkler Green PlaygroundHinkler Rd, Thornhill, Southampton SO19 6GH
Hoglands ParkSouthampton SO14 1JZ
Holyrood PlaygroundSouthampton SO14 3DG
Houndwell Park Playground563 Vincents Walk, Southampton SO14 1JX
Ivy Dene PlayareaIvy Dene, Sholing, Southampton SO19 0AD
Jersey Close Play AreaSouthampton SO16 9PW
Kingsdown Way Playground4 Kingsdown Way, Southampton SO18 2GH
Lawn Road PlayareaLawn Rd, Southampton SO17 2EY
Leaside Way PlaygroundLeaside Way, Southampton SO16 3LY
Lloyd Recreation GroundMarchwood, Southampton SO40 4XD
Lordswood Rd Playground50 Lordswood Rd, Southampton SO16 6LP
Lowry Gardens PlayareaLowry Gardens, Sholing, Southampton SO19 0ST
Lydgate Green Play AreaLydgate Rd, Thornhill, Southampton SO19 6LJ
Mandela Way PlaygroundMandela Way, Southampton SO15 5RZ
Mayflower Park PlaygroundSouthampton SO14 2AN
Mill Gardens Play AreaWest End, Southampton SO18 3AG
Moorgreen play areaWest End, Southampton SO30 3HL
Nelsons Gardens PlaygroundSouthampton SO30 2ND
Newtown Adventure PlaygroundNorthumberland Rd, Southampton SO14 0EL
Nursling Play Area15 Knowles Cl, Nursling, Southampton SO16 0UX
Ordnance Way Play ParkMarchwood, Southampton SO40 4UX
Palmerston ParkPalmerston Park, Southampton SO14 1ND
Queens ParkOrchard Pl, Southampton SO14 3BW
River Hamble Country ParkPyland’s Ln, Southampton SO31 1BH
Riverside PlaygroundManor Farm Rd, Southampton SO18 1NX
Rollesbrook Greenway Play AreaSandhurst Rd, Southampton SO15 2FP
Saltmead PlaygroundSaltmead, Southampton SO17 2JU
Sandhurst Road PlayareaSandhurst Rd, Southampton SO15 2FP
Sea Road PlaygroundSouthampton SO19 7GU
Shirley Pond ParkSouthampton SO16 6YE
Sholing Road PlaygroundSouthampton SO19 2EH
Small Kent Street PlayareaNortham, Southampton SO14 5SL
Southampton CommonThe Avenue, Southampton SO15 7NN
St James PlaygroundSt James Rd, Shirley, Southampton SO15 5SD
Sullivan Road PlaygroundSullivan Road Park, 120 Sullivan Rd, Sholing, Southampton SO19 0JP
Thornhill Park Playground6 Malory Cl, Thornhill, Southampton SO19 6FF
Toplands, Manor Farm Country ParkBotley, Southampton SO30 2SZ
Warren Ave Playground173A Warren Ave, Southampton SO16 6AB
Watts Park Playground21 Cumberland Pl, Southampton SO15 2BB
West Quay Play Area20 Harbour Parade, Southampton SO15 1BA
Weston Shore PlaygroundWeston, Southampton SO19 9NY
Weston Lane PlaygroundWeston Ln, Weston, Southampton SO19 9HL
Winton Street PlayareaCossack Grn, Southampton SO14 1LQ

7. Local Southampton Skate Parks

Skate park

Skate parks are unsung heroes of the urban landscape have been providing a space for kids and adults to shred, grind, and ollie to their heart’s content.

Whether you’re a seasoned skater or just someone who appreciates the art of balancing on four wheels, skate parks are where the magic happens. They’re the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of city life, offering a little slice of freedom and creativity amidst the concrete jungle.

And let’s not forget the community aspect of these hangout spots. Skate parks are where you’ll find a diverse mix of folks, all united by their love of the sport. It’s where friendships are forged, tricks are perfected, and the sound of wheels on ramps becomes the soundtrack to your day.

Southampton has so many anamzing free Skate parks for you to enjoy! 

If you are looking for more skate parks in Hampshire then have a look here. 

Skate ParkAddress
Hoglands Park skateparkPalmerston Rd, Southampton, SO14 1LP
Hamble skateparkHamble-le-Rice, Southampton SO31 4ND
Hythe skateparkJones Lane, Hythe, Hampshire, SO45 6AW
Marchwood SkateparkMarchwood, Southampton SO40 4SR
Hoglands Park skateparkSkate Park, Southampton SO14 1HU
New Alresford skateparkArle Close, New Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 9BG
Riverside skateparkWoodmill Ln, Southampton SO18 2HU
Shirley skateparkWarren Ave, Southampton SO16 6GD
Swanmore SkateparkSwanmore, Southampton SO32 2PF
Veracity skatepark138 Sholing Rd, Southampton SO19 2EJ
Woodhouse Lane SkateparkWoodhouse Ln, Southampton SO30 2GD
Bartley skateparkAshurst Bridge Rd, Totton, Southampton SO40 7EA
Burlesdon skatepark5 Foundry Crescent, Bursledon, Southampton SO31 8FY
Butlocks Heath SkateparkOff Woolston Road, Butlocks Heath, Southampton, Hampshire, SO31 5FJ
Fawley skateparkNewlands Rd, Southampton SO45 1GA
Hardley skatepark81 Elm Cres, Hythe, Southampton SO45 3PQ
North Baddesley skateparkNorth Baddesley, Southampton SO52 9EA

8. Royal Victoria Country Park Beach

Fancy a day out at the beach? Look no further than Royal Victoria Country Park in Southampton! This hidden gem has got a cracking little beach that’s perfect for a casual day by the sea.

The park itself is a beautiful spot, with lush greenery and loads of space to run around. But the real star of the show is the beach – it might not be the biggest, but it’s got a proper seaside vibe!

You can spend hours just chilling out on the pebbles, having a paddle in the waves, or exploring the rocky bits. And when you’ve worked up an appetite, there’s a cute little cafe right there that does all the classic beach snacks. 

So if you’re looking to escape and find a beach just outisde the city, get yourself down to Royal Victoria Country Park. It’s the perfect spot for a laidback day by the coast. Just don’t forget your sunscreen!

You can find Royal Victoria Country Park at Netley Abbey, Southampton SO31 5GA.

9. Weston Shore Beach

Weston Shore is a little bit of heaven! 

First off, the views are out of this world. You’ve got this gorgeous stretch of pebble beach that goes on for miles, with the sparkling blue waters of the Solent lapping at the shore. It’s the perfect spot to lay out a towel, soak up some rays, and just chill out.

But it’s not just about the scenery, oh no. Weston Shore Beach has got all sorts of fun activities to keep you entertained. You can go for a leisurely stroll along the promenade, have a go at some watersports, or even try your hand at a spot of fishing if that’s your thing.

And let’s not forget the all-important food, eh? There are plenty of cafes and restaurants nearby serving up some proper tasty local fare. You can’t beat a good old fish and chips while you’re taking in the salty sea air. 

So, what are you waiting for? Grab the family, pack a picnic, and head on down to Weston Shore Beach for a cracking day out. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

You can find Weston Shore Beach at Southampton SO19 9EF.

10. Calshot Beach

Calshot Beach is the perfect spot for a laidback day out. This Hampshire gem has got it all – sandy shores, epic views, and a chilled-out vibe that’ll have you feeling right at home. Whether you’re up for a seaside stroll, building sandcastles with the little ones, or just soaking up the sun, Calshot’s got you covered. And the best part? It’s only a stone’s throw away from Southampton, so you can escape the hustle and bustle without going too far. So why not pack a picnic, and get yourself down to Calshot for a proper good time? 

You can find Calshot Beach at Calshot Close, Calshot, Southampton SO45 1BP..

11. Lepe Beach

If you’re looking for a proper lovely beach to spend a day at, you’ve got to check out Lepe Beach. It’s one of those hidden gems on the UK’s south coast that doesn’t get nearly as much hype as some of the other seaside spots, but trust me, it’s an absolute cracker.

The views are stunning, with the Isle of Wight just across the water. And the beach itself? Pristine golden sand that’s perfect for strolling, sunbathing, or even having a cheeky game of beach cricket if that’s your thing. Plus, there are some great little cafes and shops nearby if you need to refuel.

What I really love about Lepe though is that it never feels too crowded, even on a sunny day. You can actually find a nice quiet spot to yourself and just soak up the peaceful vibes. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel a million miles away from the city. 

You can find Lepe Country Park at Country Park Lepe, Exbury, Southampton SO45 1AD.

12. Itchen Valley Country Park (Southampton)

If you’re looking for a great day out in the Hampshire, you need to check out Itchen Valley Country Park. 

First off, the scenery is stunning. You’ve got rolling hills, lush meadows, and a lovely river running right through the middle. It’s like something straight out of a postcard, I swear. And the best part? It’s all yours to explore.

Whether you’re after a peaceful stroll or a proper hike, Itchen Valley’s got you covered. There are loads of walking trails to choose from, so you can really get your steps in. Just make sure you pack a decent pair of boots – you don’t want to be slipping and sliding all over the place.

And if you’re feeling peckish, there’s a cracking little cafe on-site that does all the classic country park grub. Bacon sarnies, homemade cakes, the works. Grab a bite and refuel before you head out for round two.

Itchen Valley is the perfect spot to escape everyday life. So grab the kids, pack a picnic, and get yourself down there. You won’t regret it, I promise.

You can find Itchen Valley Country Park at Allington Lane, Southampton SO30 3HQ.

13. Riverside Park (Southampton)

This spot is an absolute must-visit, whether you’re a local or just passing through.

First off, the views are top-notch. You’ve got the River Itchen running right through the middle, with lush greenery and towering trees all around. It’s the perfect spot to kick back, relax, and soak up some nature, innit?

But it’s not just a pretty face – there’s plenty to keep you entertained as well. You’ve got the play areas for the kiddos, walking and cycling paths for the fitness fanatics, and even a skatepark for the more adventurous types. And let’s not forget the cafe – perfect for grabbing a cuppa and a bite to eat when you need a breather.

So if you’re looking for a little slice of tranquility in the heart of Southampton, head on down to Riverside Park. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

You can find Riverside Park at Manor Farm Road, Southampton SO18 1NQ.

14. Telegraph Woods (Southampton)

Telegraph Woods sign

Telegraph Woods is located in Telegraph Road in West End, Southampton. Parking is on the road and is free! There’s so many ways you can walk. We started by walking along the main path through the middle of the woods. If you turn to the right then you’ll find a hill that takes you deeper into the woods. Turning left into the trees takes you down further by the pond which, in the summer, is covered with lily pads. Keep walking further down and you’ll find the Ages Bowl peaking through the trees too.

You can find Telegraph Woods at Telegraph Rd, West End, Southampton SO30 3EX.

15. Eling Ren Splash Park

There is so much to do at Eling Ren Splash Park. Open throughout the summer holidays, you can enjoy the splash park, the on-site play area, and kick a football around on the field. Bring a picnic blanket, then go for a walk along the local river and through the trees to cool off on a hot day.

You can find Eling Splash Park at Totton, Southampton SO40 9JG.

16. Portswood Recreation Ground

This place is an absolute gem, and trust me, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t been there sooner.

First off, the grounds are proper lush. We’re talking acres of green space, perfect for a stroll, a kickabout with the kids, or just chilling on the grass with a picnic. And the best part? It’s totally free to access, so you can enjoy all the good vibes without breaking the bank.

But it’s not just about the wide-open spaces. Portswood Rec has got all the facilities you could want – tennis courts, a skatepark, a play area for the little ‘uns, and even public toilets (crucial, let’s be honest). So whether you’re after a bit of friendly competition or just want to let the kids run wild, this place has got you covered.

Right in the heart of Portswood, just a stone’s throw from all the shops and cafes. Perfect for popping over on your lunch break or making a proper day of it on the weekend.

You can find Portswood Recreation Ground at 41 Kitchener Rd, Southampton SO17 3SF.

Related Posts: 

Inside free things to do

If it’s raining outside and you need something to do that’s free then have a look at our ideas below.

If you are looking for more museums in Hampshire then please look at this post here. 

Find all of Hampshires amazing castles here.

17. Southampton City Art Gallery

Southampton City Art Gallery is one of the coolest spots in the city. It’s got a proper eclectic mix of modern and historical art that’ll keep you entertained for hours on end.

Whether you’re into the classics or more contemporary stuff, there’s something for everyone at this place. The exhibitions are always changing, so you can pop in time and time again and see something new.

The best part is, entry is totally free. You can wander round, soak up the atmosphere, and get your culture fix without spending a penny. It’s an absolute gem hidden away in the heart of Southampton.

So next time you’re at a loose end, give the Southampton City Art Gallery a visit. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

You can find Southampton City Art Gallery at Civic Centre, Commercial Rd, Southampton SO14 7LY.

18. Ikea Southampton

Forgetting the very cool soft play creche, Ikea Southampton also offer craft weekends in the kids section, have tablets in the restaurant to keep them amused and have local clowns and entertainers visit in the holidays. Check the website for more details.

You can find Ikea Southampton at West Quay Road, Southampton SO15 1GY.

19.  Pet handling at Pets at Home

Pets at Home runs free workshops for kids between the ages of 5 to 11 that are anything from 30 minutes to an hour long. You don’t have to bring anything and they get a very cool certificate and/or stickers helping out. You need to book online for your chosen store, date and time though.

You can find Pets at Home at Shirley Retail Park, Winchester Rd, Southampton SO16 6TP.

20. Libraries in Southampton

There are so many amazing libraries in Southampton.

Library NameAddress
Bitterne LibraryBitterne Road East, Southampton, SO18 5EG
Central LibraryCivic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LW
Lordshill LibraryLordshill Centre, Southampton, SO16 8HY
Portswood LibraryPortswood Road, Southampton, SO17 2NG
Shirley LibraryShirley Precinct, Shirley High Street, Southampton, SO15 5LL
Woolston LibraryCentenary Quay, Victoria Road, Southampton, SO19 9EF
Burgess Road LibraryBurgess Road, Southampton, SO16 3HF
Cobbett Hub and LibraryCobbett Road, Southampton, SO18 1HL
Millbrook Community LibraryFamily Hub Pickles Coppice, 65 Windermere Avenue, Southampton, SO16 9QX
Thornhill Community Library328 Hinkler Road, Southampton, SO19 6DF
YMCA Weston Community Library68 Weston Lane, Southampton, SO19 9HG

21. John Hansard Gallery

The John Hansard Gallery is a real hidden gem in the heart of Southampton. This contemporary art space is the perfect spot to spend a lazy afternoon browsing the latest exhibitions. The vibe is super chill, and the staff are always up for a chat about the artwork on display. Whether you’re an art buff or just looking to kill some time, this place is well worth a visit. Just don’t expect anything too stuffy or pretentious – the John Hansard Gallery keeps things nice and down-to-earth. Definitely one to add to your list if you’re in the area!

You can find John Hansard Gallery at 142, 144 Above Bar St, Southampton SO14 7DU.

Laura x

If you enjoyed this post and would like some more ideas on things to do in Hampshire then head over to the Things To Do section here on Things To Do In Hampshire With Kids where you’ll find over 50 day out ideas in Hampshire that the whole family will enjoy. You could also pop over and follow our Facebook page here or our Hampshire days out Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on what you can do as a family in Hampshire; Days Out For The Kids in Hampshire and Cheap and Free Days Out in Hampshire.

This is a huge list of free things to do in Southampton that are great for the whole family. These include everything from inside and outdoor ideas by Laura at Things to do in Hampshire with kids.

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