Southampton Boat Show is kind of a big deal in the city. The traffic signs go up for miles around. The giant marques fill Mayflower Park. The temporary pedestrian walkway to the city is built over Westquay road.
City dwellers and visitors feel this sense of pride when Boat Show arrives. It’s Southampton. It’s part of our history and future, and makes us internationally known (it’s the largest shoe of its kind in Europe).
And we’d never been before… Until now*!!
I have to admit, that although I love the water, love the sea, love boats as a general rule, I know diddly squat about sailing. So I never really thought Boat Show was for me.
However, I was wrong. It actually makes for a really great and fun day out, with or without kids.
Sure I wish we had the spare cash to actually afford the boats being shown – oh my goodness, the Sunseekers had me practically weak at the knee they were so beautiful!
We spent the first Saturday of Southampton Boat Show thanks to Marine Super Store* exploring and chasing Henry around in the beautiful sunshine, and it was great.
We looked round the stalls, chatting to a few stands, but really the action was down on the water at the pontoons where boats of all shapes and sizes can be seen. Alongside ones that are obviously for sale, there is a police rescue boat, an RNLI boat, the oceanography centre’s exploration boat, and one of the largest remaining wooden tall boats, all available to be explored. The tall boat Kaskelot is a beautiful ship and Henry loved climbing the ladders to look around.
The highlight, aside from the ice cream (and by the way there are plenty of food stalls, but make sure you have plenty of cash as they are on the pricier side. Plentiful, so barely any queues, and lots of seating once you find the food areas, but definitely not for the budget seeker) was our tour of the marina with Blue Funnel. This was officially the boys first trip on a boat and Henry loved it. The fog horns of the cruise ships sat in Port as the boat sailed by and just generally being on a boat seemed to have our water loving lad over the moon happy. Dann took Dexter inside as it was quite windy so I got some mama and son time with Henry, and I know it’s going to stick with me for a long time, even if I did have to hold his hand extra tight to ensure I felt he was safe. Aside from being a pretty great experience for Henry, it was really informative for the adults abroad; talking about the ships docked, and the history of the piers and terminals beside Mayflower Park. Honestly, I’d have happily spent all day onboard.
So would we go again?
No we’re not in the market for a boat – where’s that lottery win when you need one? But the Southampton Boat Show does make for a great trip out, and if you’re like me, boost that wanderlust bug a little bit too. And yes, we took far too many photos again (133 including video footage according to my Google Photos backup when we got home and connected back to Wifi), so there’s a bunch below!
*tickets provided by Marine Super Store in exchange for a review of the Southampton Boat Show