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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

SequinsOfEvents Wed 26-Mar-14 08:44:38

Ahhhh, what a shame!

Used to go there back in the day (closest large shopping centre to my home town) but recently have only been (v briefly) to Quay thing...

Sad to hear that though as one day I will move back to the UK and I just wish everywhere / everything would stop changing so much in my absence!!! grin

McPheezingMyButtOff Wed 26-Mar-14 08:44:52

What were you expecting?

Stinklebell Wed 26-Mar-14 08:47:18


I like West Quay but the rest of it...I don't know, it's just...I prefer Portsmouth

HesterShaw Wed 26-Mar-14 08:47:57

Everyone knows Southampton is awful. It suffers from not being Portsmouth.

HesterShaw Wed 26-Mar-14 08:48:13

Everyone knows Southampton is awful. It suffers from not being Portsmouth.

Sangelina Wed 26-Mar-14 08:49:49

Basingstoke is nicer for shopping. Much more lively. If it wasn't for the John Lewis I wouldn't bother with Southampton. Or Winchester. That's really pretty.

Perplexing Wed 26-Mar-14 08:49:49

McPheezeing, well assuming that's not a rhetorical question; I suppose more character, more individuality. I used to remember it as a city with quirks, but everything seems to have been swept away in favour of this huge homogenous shopping centre which, as I said, just seemed lacking somehow. Very large but not much inside. Maybe it was poor design and I missed some of it. It didn't feel intuitive to navigate.

Soapysuds64 Wed 26-Mar-14 08:51:47

I'm a Southampton girl, but only go back to visit family. Portsmouth has been developed in a much more interesting way - the view from JL cafe over the retail park says it all to me. Can just remember paddling in the lido.....

Wilding Wed 26-Mar-14 08:52:52

Southampton's always been a bit shit, I think, though I agree the rest of the town centre's suffered since West Quay opened up. Winchester's much better for shopping.

Perplexing Wed 26-Mar-14 08:57:15

Might be that I was just set in a grumpy mood yesterday, but even the john lewis seemed to have a difficult layout...lots of caged structures around the perfume counters. And an annoying assistant who kept asking if I was ok when I had several times politely said yes thank you...I am sure it was coded speak for 'are you shoplifting?' Er no, I'm trying to browse in peace for a Mother's Day present thanks.

McPheezingMyButtOff Wed 26-Mar-14 09:01:11

It was rhetorical, yes wink

I much prefer Salisbury or Chichester.

Perplexing Wed 26-Mar-14 09:01:28

Wilding..maybe it always was shit but was shit with its own kind of charm...I liked Tyrrell and green. I like shops with a bit of character. I am not sure what the rationale of the S'oton planners was.

Stinklebell Wed 26-Mar-14 09:01:54

I live in the arse-end of nowhere where H&M is the highlight of my shopping experience, so I'm like a kid in a sweet shop when I go to Southampton - JL, Zara, All Saints, Gap, Hollister for DD once I'd finally worked out where it was (blush), Top Shop, Primark.

But it's so blah.

But then it's a million times easier to get to than Portsmouth from where I am

But I prefer Portsmouth

Perplexing Wed 26-Mar-14 09:02:43

I've never been to Chichester, and only once to Winchester. Need to visit/ revisit those places clearly!

GlassCaseofEmotion Wed 26-Mar-14 09:04:00

Other than West Quay it is a bit scummy. Maybe try Bournemouth for a further afield trip?

Perplexing Wed 26-Mar-14 09:04:16

I didn't see All Saints! Well hidden then. Is there a Russell & Bromley in Southampton?

And can anyone tell me why the clock tower doesn't chime anymore?? Or was it just broken yesterday?

Perplexing Wed 26-Mar-14 09:06:16

Glass interesting you say Bournemouth, I remember that as being a bit scummy about - ooh 10? - years ago. Has it had a revamp?

Perplexing Wed 26-Mar-14 09:07:09

Is there a John Lewis in Portsmouth?

Perplexing Wed 26-Mar-14 09:07:46

Sorry I could've googled the john lewis thing, just nice to get real feedback!

GlassCaseofEmotion Wed 26-Mar-14 09:13:43

Bournemouth centre has a Beales, Debs and House of Fraser plus all the usual chains, h&m, Zara, topshop etc. The gardens in the centre are lovely and plenty of independent cafés etc for lunch. My favourite part is The Arcade which leads to Westover Road. SpaceNK, Karen Millen, Cath Kidston etc then all the "high end" shops where I can only window shop and drool! Plus lots of little vintage jewellery places and independent boutiques. All right near the beach! Plus Bournemouth people are really friendly ime. Although lots of the girls do look like they just stepped off a beauty and fashion shoot!

GlassCaseofEmotion Wed 26-Mar-14 09:14:34

Oh and I think there is a John Lewis but it's only Home and isn't in the centre.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Wed 26-Mar-14 09:16:13

Chichester and Winchester are lovely to wander round with their cathedrals and everything being outdoors, a lot more independent shops. Guidlford also nice in a more up-market way.

Basingstoke is great if you want all the chains laid out under one roof, easy to navigate etc, etc, way better than West Quay. Southampton is only worth going to for John Lewis and Ikea.

Portsmouth - well I'm biased here, I love Portsmouth and used to live there. Shopping wise it's a bit hit and miss, Gunwharf is great for the outlets, but not the mainstream high street stores. Southsea shopping centre was always nice, but I haven't been for a while. Commercial Road / Cascades was always pretty crap (Tricorn anyone?), not sure if it's improved, it's probably 10 years since I last went, we only tend to go to Old Portsmouth, the seafront, the dockyard and the football ground nowadays.

Perplexing Wed 26-Mar-14 09:17:01

Thanks Glass, sounds nice! The gardens in S'oton were a bit if a disappointment, they looked well kept, but I didn't feel it would be safe to walk through them, whereas I dud routinely, even in dusk, back in the day <old gimmerette emoticon>

McPheezingMyButtOff Wed 26-Mar-14 09:17:18

No JL in Portsmouth. You need to travel a bit further, to Southsea for that. Its only very small though.

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