Day trips from Southampton are a great way to experience the surroundings of this port city. There’s so much to see and do that you’ll always be entertained. Whether you want to learn more about the history of the local area, head to the coast, or visit a nearby city, there’s something for everyone. With beaches, theme parks, and water parks only a short drive away, you can decide what kind of trip you want to take. Grab a hire car in Southampton for added flexibility so you can go on as many day trips as you want.
- Distance from Southampton: 46 miles
- Travel time from Southampton: Around 55 minutes
- Suggested route: Take the A33, M3, A34, and A303
- Great for: UK heritage
Take a trip to one of the United Kingdom’s most treasured sites, Stonehenge. It’s still a mystery why the legendary Neolithic monument was built, but nonetheless, it’s an extremely valuable part of history that you won’t want to miss out on. Book a VIP experience to the centre of the stones to take an even closer look.
Follow the A33 and M3 out of Southampton towards Winchester. From here you will get the A34 until you reach the A303, which takes you the rest of the way.
SIXT’s top tip: Whilst you don’t need to book tickets in advance, you’ll find that they are cheaper if you book online before you arrive.
2. The Isle of Wight
- Distance from Southampton: 11.5 miles
- Travel time from Southampton: Approximately 1 hour 20 minutes
- Suggested route: Ferry to East Cowes
- Great for: Island escape
The Isle of Wight is a delightful place for a day trip from Southampton. You can jump on the ferry with your vehicle and arrive at Easy Cowes in just over an hour. Once you’re on the island you can enjoy golden sand beaches like Compton Beach. There are also historical landmarks such as Osborne and Wolverton Manor. Alternatively, you can spend the day enjoying the Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
If you want to see the entire island, you can drive around it in approximately 3 hours.
SIXT’s top tip: There’s plenty of accommodation on the island should you feel that this deserves more than just a day trip.
3. New Forest National Park
- Distance from Southampton: 10 miles
- Travel time from Southampton: Around 23 minutes
- Suggested route: Take A33 and A35
- Great for: Fresh air
One of the great things about Southampton is that it’s sandwiched between National Parks. To the west of the city, you’ll find the New Forest National Park, which is a delightful hiking area where you can get close to nature. With lots of deer and horses roaming around in the countryside, you’ll love the freedom you feel when you are there. Take a look at a village-like Lyndhurst, which has pubs, cafes, museums, and hotels for you to enjoy too.
It’s easy to drive to Lyndhurst, which is in the heart of the New Forest. Follow the A33 and A35 out of Southampton until you reach your destination.
SIXT’s top tip: If you want to see more wildlife, head over to the New Forest Wildlife Park, which has a range of species such as otters.
- Distance from Southampton: 13 miles
- Travel time from Southampton: Around 25 minutes
- Suggested route: Take the A33 and M3
- Great for: Medieval architecture
If you love medieval architecture then look no further than Winchester, which has the extremely impressive Winchester Cathedral. Add to that the 17th century Morley Library and a Normal Crypt, and it’s easy to see why Winchester is so popular with tourists. You’ll also find the ruined Wolvesey Castle and 18th century Winchester City Mill nearby. To top it off, in The Great Hall of Winchester Castle, you’ll find King Arthur’s round table.
Get there by driving north on the A33 and M3 until you reach the medieval city.
SIXT’s top tip: There is a range of top-quality food and drink options in the city itself, so be sure to try them before you set off back to Southampton.
5. Bournemouth Beach
- Distance from Southampton: 33 miles
- Travel time from Southampton: Around 50 minutes
- Suggested route: Take the A33, M271, M27, A31, and A338
- Great for: Beach trip
Whilst Southampton is by the coast and has beaches close by, there aren’t many better seaside trips than to Bournemouth. Voted one of the top beaches in Europe, you can enjoy a vast stretch of golden coastline which is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and walking on.
Depart Southampton using the A33, which becomes the M271. Once you reach the M27 take this motorway, which will eventually turn into the A31. Stay on it until you reach Ringwood, where you should take the A338 to Bournemouth.
SIXT’s top tip: Visit Bournemouth Pier, which has a range of amusements, a theatre, a café, and opportunities to take a boat trip.
6. Marwell Zoo
- Distance from Southampton: 10 miles
- Travel time from Southampton: Around 30 minutes
- Suggested route: Take the A33, M3, B3335, and B3354
- Great for: Animal lovers
What better way to put a smile on the whole family’s face than to take them to the zoo for the day. Marwell Zoo has a range of great animals, such as giraffes, tigers, leopards, and penguins. Five adventure playgrounds will break up the day for your kids, so they stay entertained throughout.
To get to the zoo, depart Southampton using the A33 and M3. Then take the A335 until you reach the B3335. Continue on this road until you reach the B3354 and then the B2177, which takes you to your destination.
SIXT’s top tip: You’ll need at least 4 hours for your trip and you can download an app before you arrive so that you make the most out of your day.
7. Chessington World of Adventures
- Distance from Southampton: 70 miles
- Travel time from Southampton: Around 1 hour 20 minutes
- Suggested route: Take the A33, M3, M25, and A243 southbound
- Great for: Thrill seekers
If you want to get your blood pumping for the day then head out to a theme park such as Chessington World of Adventures. Offering a range of exhilarating rides, slides, and rollercoasters, as well as a safari, there’s something for everyone.
You can reach the theme park easily, by departing Southampton on the A33 until you join the M3. Continue northbound towards London until you reach the M25, which you’ll join anti-clockwise until you reach the A243. This road will take you the rest of the way.
SIXT’s top tip: Save money and take a packed lunch and some refreshments with you to enjoy at one of the picnic tables in the theme park.
- Distance from Southampton: 33 miles
- Travel time from Southampton: Around 1 hour
- Suggested route: Take the A33, M271, M27, A31, and A347
- Great for: Making a splash
If in doubt, take the family to the water park for the day. Splashdown offers a range of fun water slides for both adults and kids, so everyone can join in the fun. There is also a water play area for young children who are not confident swimmers, so you can teach them the joys of water.
Similarly, if you drive to Bournemouth Beach, take the A33, M271, M27, and A31 towards Bournemouth. When you get to Bournemouth, take the A347 towards the water park.
SIXT’s top tip: The water park can get extremely busy during school holidays, so if you want to avoid the crowds you should try booking a weekday during term time.
- Distance from Southampton: 79 miles
- Travel time from Southampton: Approximately 2 hours
- Suggested route: Take the A33, M3, and M4
- Great for: Big city experience
Whilst it might take nearly 2 hours to get to London, it’s well worth the trip. Leave early in the morning to avoid rush hour and you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the sights. Head to Buckingham Palace or the Tower of London if you want to learn about the royals. Go shopping on Oxford Street or Carnaby Street. Or relax at one of the many green spaces such as Hyde Park or Clapham Common.
It’s easy to get to London, depart on the A33 and M3 towards Slough. Then take the M4 into London and follow the signs for the centre.
SIXT’s top tip: Head to the West End to see a world-class play or visit the Royal Opera House to see a famous ballet or opera.
- Distance from Southampton: 24 miles
- Travel time from Southampton: Around 48 minutes
- Suggested route: Head north on the A33, M271, and A36
- Great for: Historic city
Salisbury is well known for its medieval 13th-century cathedral which has a 123 metre spire. It also has a working clock from the 14th century, as well as an original copy of the Magna Carta. With so much to offer tourists, it’s a great location for a day trip. You can also find out more about the city at the Salisbury Museum, which is a must-see.
Travel on the A33 and M271 out of Southampton to the A36. This road will then take you to your destination.
SIXT’s top tip: Spare some time to take a tour of Longford Castle on the way into Salisbury, which is a site brimming with history.