Southampton is a busy port town on the south coast of England and a lovely setting at the head of the Solent. The Museum of Archaeology houses one of the top ten archaeological collections in Britain. It traces Southampton’s history from Roman times through to medieval times to the present day displaying a fascinating range of personal possessions such as pottery, glass and jewelry.
The Tudor House Museum is the city’s main museum, complete with a minstrels gallery, creaky floorboards, old kitchens, one of Henry VIIIs cannons and the ghost of Anne Boleyn! The Tudor building itself warrants a visit, but the museum also houses interesting exhibitions. The courtyard features a mulberry tree planted by Huguenots in 1570 and on sunny days the Tudor knot garden is full of scented herbs and flowers, making it perfect for some quiet contemplation.
Also of great historic interest, the Mayflower Memorial that can be found close to Mayflower Park marks the voyage of the Pilgrim Fathers in the Mayflower and Speedwell from Southampton in August, 1620. There is a copper replica of the Mayflower on top of the memorial and plaques that pay tribute to the pilgrims and the US troops who left Southampton during World War II more than 300 years later. If you can trace your ancestry back to the pilgrims, you can have a plaque added to the memorial.
The area surrounding Southampton is so full of castles, houses and historical monuments that it really has to be explored by car. Longleat House in Warminster is a magnificent example of Elizabethan architecture. Originally the home of the Marquess of Bath, it was the first stately home to open its doors to the public, over 40 years ago. Queen Elizabeth I visited the house during its construction in 1574, and the present Queen joined the current Marquess for a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the completion of the house.