Southampton is England's leading passenger port, and as the home port of Henry V's fleet bound for Agincourt, the Mayflower, the Queen Mary, and the ill-fated Titanic, along with countless other great ocean liners of the 20th century, the city has one of the richest maritime traditions in England. Parts of the center can seem shoddy, having been hastily rebuilt after World War II bombing, but bits of the city's history peek out from between modern buildings. The Old Town retains its medieval feel, and considerable parts of Southampton's castellated town walls remain. Other attractions include a decent art gallery, extensive parks, and a couple of good museums. The Southampton Boat Show, a 10-day event in mid-September, draws huge crowds.
Mayflower Park and the Pilgrim Fathers' Memorial
This memorial was built to commemorate the departure of 102 passengers on the North America–bound Mayflower from Southampton on August 15, 1620. A plaque also honors the 2 million U.S. troops who embarked from Southampton during World War II.
Devoted to Southampton's storied maritime history, this museum brings together artifacts from Roman, Saxon, and medieval times with models, mementos, and pieces of furniture from the age of the great clippers and cruise ships. The Titanic gallery displays a wealth of memorabilia relating to one of the most famous of the cruise ships that sailed from the city—footage, photos, crew lists, and so on. Boat buffs will relish plenty of vital statistics dealing with the history of commercial shipping.