One of England’s most important maritime cities, when you explore the walks around Southampton, you’ll be walking through sailing history. No matter where you ramble here, you’ll find boats tucked up creeks, ferries chugging across the Solent, cruise ships blaring horns and sailing yachts unfurling. A city soaked in history, you can discover old walls, historic harbours and even catch a ride across the water.
Further afield, hikes in the Southampton area lead you into the glorious New Forest National Park’s eastern boundaries. Or you can follow trails alongside the Rivers Itchen, Test, Hamble and Blackwater to discover blissfully quiet riverbanks.
As a fairly low lying area, there isn’t much in the way of hills around here, so explorations are fairly easy on the thighs. Wth so many footpaths, bridleways, tracks and lanes, you can ramble for as long as you fancy. Ready to start exploring?
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
Walking around the Water
It’s hard to avoid some kind of water on your walks around Southampton as it’s not just on one waterway, but several. The city sits at the top of Southampton Water, which is the confluence of the Test, Itchen and Hamble. The Water is a major shipping zone, with vast container ships, car transporters, cruise ships, ferries, research vessels, and leisure craft all making prolific use of it. On sunny summer weekends, you can hardly see the water for the boats.
You can catch the Hythe Ferry from Town Quay in the city and reach the New Forest at Hythe in just 10 minutes. From there, you can explore this corner of the national park as well as walk south to the Solent and its shingle beaches. On the east side of the Water, you can follow the shoreline south to the Hamble and beyond. If you fancy river walks, some of the best hiking trails in Southampton follow the Itchen and the Test rivers.
You find an amazing number of hikes in Southampton’s parks. To the north of the city centre, Southampton Common makes for a lovely place to amble. You can begin in the historic centre and walk to the common to seek out its three pretty lakes. To the north east, the Itchen Valley Country Park makes for a lovely place to walk to, particularly if you follow the Itchen from the city to get there.
To the south east lies Royal Victoria Country Park and there’s the River Hamble Country Park to the north east of that. If you go a little further afield, you’re utterly spoilt for choice when it comes to woodlands, plantations and fields. If you fancy an even greater maritime adventure, you can catch a ferry from Southampton’s historic quay and reach Cowes on the Isle of Wight by catamaran in 30 minutes.
Road Cycling Collection by komoot
Bike Touring Collection by komoot
Mountain Biking Collection by komoot
Explore more of England: Browse the best Hikes in other regions.