To think Southampton city centre is disappointing?

(129 Posts)
Perplexing Wed 26-Mar-14 08:40:08

I visited yesterday for first time in about 21 years. Apart from the West Quay centre which, unless I missed a lot of it, I found underwhelming, there didn't seem to be much else. And what little else there is seems to close at 5.30. The place felt rather soulless and almost seedy, even at 6pm. The top end of town is now pretty derelict (where Tyrrell & Green used to be) and unless I've gone deaf in the intervening tears, the civic centre clock has stopped chiming. There were also lots of people swearing in public, I mean you expect to hear a few, but it seemed literally every other person was saying F-this or that (very loudly) confused

Perplexing Wed 26-Mar-14 09:19:20

Guildford sounds worthy of exploration. Am surprised Basingstoke sounds good - would never have occurred to me to go there.

Stinklebell Wed 26-Mar-14 09:20:11

Yah, All Saints is in west Quay. If you're walking out to go to the main high street bit, it's on your right hand side.

I think Southampton is fine for actual shops - there are loads that I love and don't get to very often, I just don't like the place very much

Stinklebell Wed 26-Mar-14 09:20:59

I didn't actually write 'yah' by the way, it should have been yes, shitepad makes me look like a knob

Perplexing Wed 26-Mar-14 09:22:01

Stinklebell grin

Perplexing Wed 26-Mar-14 09:23:34

And Stinklebell yes I think that was it, just the atmosphere of the place seemed depressed somehow. It used not to feel like that though..not to me anyway. Sad how a place can change.

I suppose it does depend where you live too, I live mid way between Basingstoke, Winchester and Guildford now, so I rarely venture to Portsmouth and Southampton for shopping as there's no need (apart from John Lewis / Ikea).

However I used to live in Fareham 12 or so years ago when West Quay opened and used to go there fairly regularly and always found it disappointing. Also the shops outside it all seemed to go downhill rapidly at that time, they may have revived since. On the odd occasion I've been back since I have thought it really doesn't compare well with Basingstoke for big indoor shopping centres. Basingstoke is supposed to be getting a combined John Lewis / Waitrose soon too.

Guildford is another one without JL, but it does have a House of Fraser, most of the chains, including more upmarket ones (eg Jo Malone, Space NK) and little side streets with independent shops / less well known chains.

lainiekazan Wed 26-Mar-14 09:45:44

Southampton was no. 4 in the "More Crap Towns" book.

In addition to the depressing city centre, there is also a noticeable exclusion zone around the city as far as culture is concerned - bands, plays etc give it a very wide berth.

Sidge Wed 26-Mar-14 11:00:27

Even Fareham is better than Southampton for shopping!

West Quay is a bit 'fur coat and no knickers' I think; looks great from the outside but is a bit crap inside, JL is great as it's huge but there's a lot of wasted space in WQ and many shops you'd expect to find just aren't there.

Portsmouth is much better IMO, Gunwharf Quays is good for outlet stuff and even the main precinct isn't bad. Luckily they knocked down the hideous Tricorn centre years ago! Southsea isn't bad.

I love Chichester but it is rather upmarket in shopping terms, Petersfield is the same.

I rarely go shopping any more, much prefer to shop online.

Rebecca2014 Wed 26-Mar-14 11:03:30

I lived in Bournemouth for a couple of years and loved going down to Southampton at Christmas, was so nice.

Bournemouth shopping centre not good.

Yes, Fareham's pretty good for a smaller town, it was the first indoor shopping mall I ever went to, been around longer than most and it has stood the test of time pretty well. Did Debenhams get built in the end? I know Tesco did.

Sidge Wed 26-Mar-14 11:11:51

WhoKnows there is a new shiny Tesco on the old foundry site near Quay Street roundabout, and they've rejigged the old roundabout - it now has one of the most complicated traffic light systems in the South grin

There is a Debenhams, also M&S and BHS. They closed Woollies (sniff) and it's now a Next.

Yes, I've driven past and seen Tesco. Woollies was the 99p Store last time I went in (at least 2 years ago). I used to like the fact that there was a such a massive branch of Boots for a smallish town, and M&S. Use to get all my baby clothes and toys in Woollies, that was a big branch too

That roundabout was hairy before - I used to use that car park on the derelict land below the police station and it was horrible pulling out of there onto the roundabout to head back down towards Gosport (I worked down the A32 and used to go shopping in my lunch hours). Surely it can't be any worse than the Johnson and Johnson roundabout replacement traffic lights towards Cosham?

Manchesterhistorygirl Wed 26-Mar-14 11:30:09

Southampton is a dump, it really shouldn't be given the amount of money that oases in and out thanks to the docks, but it is.

Liverpool is much better. grin

TheZeeTeam Wed 26-Mar-14 11:32:32

That's a shame. I went to Uni in So'ton (pre big redevelopment) and I loved it there. It was never the prettiest place in the world but it had a certain charm.

LittleBearPad Wed 26-Mar-14 11:36:13

There's knight & lee in Southsea, I think it's the only John Lewis store still with its original name. It's not big but it is a bit quirky. Southsea has nicer, though fewer shops than Commercial Rosd, in the centre of Portsmouth, does.

Yeah for the Portsmouth fans. Scumton is grotty.

I think the downside for Portsmouth is that the shopping areas are so scattered about, so you have Southsea which is itself split into Palmerston Road and Albert Road, Commercial Road which is a couple of miles away and Gunwharf which is again a mile or so away. If you want everything close together Southampton might be better. Totally irrationally, I always feel a bit nervous out and about in Southampton in case people detect by mind-reading that I'm a Pompey fan and run me out of town.

Dancingqueen17 Wed 26-Mar-14 11:57:10

Southampton has it's place, if you are going shopping to buy something specific it has a good range of shops and if it's piddling down with rain west quay is great. I have to admit though step outside and it's a bit skank. Although casting my mind back to the summer when
They had the art on rhinos there was a lovely feel throughout the city, particularly in the parks, which are beautifully kept, with families chasing round snapping the rhinos. I. Have to disagree with those rating fareham, it is possibly. One of my least favourite town centres, it has a fair range of shops but all are small and only stock the most basic ranges. I do however rate the new whitely development. If it's the experience you are after as opposed to a particular item in a particular shop taking the extra 20 mins to drive to Winchester is. By far the best bet.

Is the new Whiteley development outlets again, or normal shops?

Normal shops.

Currently sat in costa with dd grin

Hazelbrowneyes Wed 26-Mar-14 12:11:27

Whiteley is now normal shops but still shit.

I live near Fareham. Tend to prefer Portsmouth but DH prefers Southampton. We both rate Chichester though and Winchester is good too.

TheArticFunky Wed 26-Mar-14 12:12:20

I haven't been to Portsmouth or Southampton for over 10 years and it sounds as if they have both changed by the sounds of it.

Portsmouth in my opinion was always rough round the edges and a bit bleak. Southampton on the other hand had a good vibe about it. I was there on a sunny day which always helps! I had lunch at the Quay and then went to the shopping centre which had decent shops.

Hazelbrowneyes Wed 26-Mar-14 12:14:24

I should qualify my "whiteley is shit" comment. It's the layout which sucks. Most of the restaurants overlook the car park and there is little sun on that side.

Given the fact that when I shop, I like to relax with a glass of wine after, there isn't really anywhere I can do that and the places I can have a crap view. grin

tutu100 Wed 26-Mar-14 12:16:56

I have lived in Southampton all my life, I used to love it, now I loath it. The town planning office should be sacked. I don't know how successive councils have so successfully managed to strip the character from the city as well as creating a useless road system which regularly jams up for no apparent reason. I hate it here now and would love to move somewhere else. DP works in Winchester which I love, but we can not afford the house prices there.

I went to Southampton to Primark for a few bits yesterday, god it was clautrophobic in there I think the last time I went to town was 6 months ago, I didn't even go at Christmas. It was so depressing I just bought what I'd gone for and left after paying £2.20 for 1hrs parking.

It always felt exposed and windswept before (Whiteley that is). I guess new shops can't change that, but sounds as though they got the sunny side the wrong way. I've always though Port Solent suffers from that too, all the sit-out bits are in the shade.

cory Wed 26-Mar-14 12:25:43

I find when it comes to life in the evenings, the town centre has simply shifted: it is pretty dead in the traditional town centre, but more alive (if you don't mind students) in the Portswood area. I pass through both areas most evenings, and though I never feel particularly unsafe in the city centre I don't exactly feel stimulated either.

Wouldn't say Soton is totally culturally dead: it's not that bad for theatre, and the university does a fair bit of music.

I quite like the market in the town centre on Fridays/weekends, not enormous but quite pleasant.

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