Heather and John (our Kiwi friends who will be joining us on the cruise) flew in this morning. They’d flown all night from somewhere in the US so by the time they got to Southampton they were in dire need of showers and sustenance. As their room wasn’t yet ready we commandeered some extra towels so they could take care of the former before heading out to the massive shopping plaza a short walk away to deal with the latter.

Caffeine supplied, we (thankfully) left the plaza behind and set off to explore the old town – much more to my liking.

Because of its geographical position and other things such as an unusual double tide (don’t ask), Southampton’s past can be tracked alongside the story of England itself. Archaeological relics from the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages (hopefully I got them in the right order) have been found, as has evidence of Southampton’s importance in Roman times.

Moving through to the Ango Saxons – who named it South Hamtun – it became an important port for trading with the continent. This, however, was interrupted somewhat by the arrival of the Vikings. See what I mean? They’ve all been here.

Apparently it was here that the Viking King Canute the Great (who defeated the unfortunately named Ethelred the Unready) was crowned. It was also here where he is said to have commanded the tide to halt. That one didn’t work out quite as well for him.

After the Norman conquest Southampton was again an important trading post and, in 1620 was the original point of departure for the pilgrim fathers aboard the Mayflower. Since that time it has been the last port of call for millions of emigrants to the New World ie US Canada, South Africa, the West Indies, Australia and New Zealand.

Almost 300 years later Southampton was famous for the departure of another famous ship – The Titanic.

During the Georgian and Regency periods it was known as a spa town, and it was during this period that Jane Austen lived here for a time.

While Jane didn’t spend long in Southampton, the plaques scattered around town tell us all about it. The house she lived in at 2 Castle Square, backing onto the town walls, is now a pub, The Juniper Berry.

And during WW2 the city was almost levelled by German bombing.

Anyways, enough of the history lesson.

After lunch (at the White Star Tavern) and some more walking we all retired to our respective rooms – Heather and John to catch up on some sleep, and us to repack suitcases ready for the cruise tomorrow.

Dinner tonight at Thaikuhn where the food was fabulous.

Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

3 thoughts

  1. You always make England look so good in your photos! I miss all the layers of history but not the day to day of life living there.

  2. Laughed at entering the mall, a useful place for somethings and the exit door is always welcomed. Historical buildings I miss the weather not so much. Like Wellington on a good day 🙂

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