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A visit to Town Quay in Southampton, UK should be on the agenda of any water lover visiting this maritime city. It’s a small quay, but with so much going on around it, you could easily spend a few hours here.
If you are travelling to the Isle of Wight on the Red Funnel ferry services, this is also a great little place to explore if you have arrived early.
Getting to Town Quay, Southampton
Town Quay connects the sea and the city in Southampton. It’s just a 10 minute walk from the city centre or the major WestQuay Shopping Centre. It is also accessible by the Quay Connect bus. This public transport route loops from Southampton Central Train Station, through the city and down to Town Quay throughout the day. To walk from the train station would take about 20 minutes. There is currently a Voi scooter parking bay here too.
Town Quay boasts excellent road links. The M3 and M27 are both within 3 miles. Southampton International Airport is less than 20 minutes drive away, or 5 miles.
From the water, Town Quay is home to both Red Funnel ferry services from the Isle of Wight. It is also where the Hythe Ferry docks from the other side of the River Test. Town Quay also hosts its own marina with guest berths available. Marina facilities onsite include chillout deck and barbeque, laundry room, shower facilities, free wi-fi and free cycle hire.
Parking at Town Quay, Southampton
There is plenty of paid car parking available in Town Quay. This car park is managed with ANPR cameras on entry and exit points and tickets do get issued on a regular basis! Parking is available along both sides of the quay as you drive in along with Car Park 1. Car Park 2 is reserved for office tenants but opens to the public on weekends and bank holidays. For the best views of the water, head to the parking at the far end of the quay. From here, you can stay in your car and still enjoy most of what there is to see.
What is there to do in Town Quay, Southampton?
There is more to see than do at Town Quay. Head there during the day or early evening and grab a Starbucks. It’s a small Starbucks but doesn’t get that busy during the week. At weekends, there is often a queue for takeaway customers. Take a seat in their outdoor area and watch the Red Funnel ferries load and unload with their Isle of Wight passengers.
Take a short walk around the quay where you’ll no doubt find a few fishing rods bobbing in the water from the waterside. Admire the giant red vehicle ferries as they luckily shuttle off to the island across the Solent. Soak in the panoramic views of Southampton docks, Hythe and the gateway to the busiest shipping stretch of water in the world. Watch the tug boats march back and forth, awaiting the next commercial vessel to be welcomed into the port. See the smaller Hythe Ferry meander across the other side of the river. Observe how majestic the fast Red Jet passenger ferry is as it glides elegantly across the water.
Take a visit to Town Quay at night and it comes alive, being lit up from all angles. See the port lit up like Christmas trees eagerly awaiting its next delivery of presents, cruises ships loading their next excited passengers lit up like small cities and vessels heading out into the darkness across the Solent. Take in the views of Town Quay marina, stood peacefully still in the foreground as marine activity continues around it throughout the night.
Stroll behind Starbucks and you’ll find Town Quay Marina. If you love the tranquillity and sounds of a marina, you’ll love this spot. With Dock 4 in the background and shuttling of ferries, you could easily get lost in this space for a while!
If you are looking for more water related things to do, check out our Ultimate Travel Guide to Southampton for Water Lovers highlighting water activities, waterside restaurants and waterfront accommodation across the whole city.
Town Quay Restaurants
Many moons ago, there used to be a grill restaurant at the end of Town Quay which unfortunately has now been converted into offices. It used to have some of the best waterside views in Southampton. However, there are still other restaurants around Town Quay in Southampton.
Next to the quay, you’ll find Kuti’s Brasserie in the old Royal Pier Pavillion. This building is impressive but not as impressive as the cuisine on offer. The views of Town Quay from this restaurant are gorgeous.
Across the road, you’ll find Ennio’s Italian Restaurant – voted the best in Hampshire and one of the top 10 in the UK. Its fine dining style within a converted Victorian warehouse is simply stunning. Next to Ennio’s, you’ll find La Regata. This beautifully decorated Spanish restaurant has kept its maritime roots and is perfect for indulging in authentic Tapas, day or night.
Don’t miss an experience at the Dancing Man Brewery. This gorgeous venue, a converted woolshed is often voted the best pub in Southampton. With quality, craft ales and a beautifully British inspired menu, you won’t forget this place in a hurry!
If you are looking for something a bit more casual during the day or evening, don’t forget Town Quay Starbucks.
Can you walk around Southampton docks?
This is a question that gets asked a lot. Unfortunately, the answer is no due to the commercialisation around the waterfront, and the restricted security in place for cruise ships and the port.
However, there are still some nice walks around part of Southampton’s waterfront. From Town Quay, take a short walk to Mayflower Park for continued panoramic views, getting even closer to the small cities floating on water, in the form of majestic cruise ships. For a longer walk, head to Ocean Village for a premium world-class marina, with more to see and do. You can continue on from Ocean Village, dipping in and out of the water’s edge where you will find a number of smaller, hidden marinas and quays. Follow the River Itchen inland and you’ll find Riverside Park, a gorgeous setting to relax, enjoy a picnic, let the kids have a run around on the playground or make the most of the sports facilities there.
Take a visit to Hythe across the river (you look directly at it from the end of Town Quay) for some more waterside walks, or head further towards the Solent and explore Calshot and Lepe Country Park. Closer to the city, there is a nice gentle walk from Weston Shore to Netley beach.
Do you have a favourite part of Southampton to explore? Do you enjoy visiting Town Quay in Southampton? We would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.
Water loving British girl who moved to Australia and seriously caught the travel bug! Loves to explore and share destinations that inspire others to spend more time on the water and in the great outdoors. Typically, you’ll find her on a boat or next to the ocean, often in a daydream!