Billing itself as Britain’s Great Boating Festival, Southampton International Boat Show is a highlight of the calendar in Southampton. It’s widely recognised as one of the key events on the global boat show circuit – and while it attracts a lot of marine-based business in September, the show has always revelled in the sheer thrill of being out on the water, too. That means it’s an inclusive event offering plenty of opportunities for the general public to participate, an array of lovely food and drink options and some relaxed entertainment as the summer draws to a close. Tickets start from £21 for adults if you buy in advance, and most of the attractions and activities are then free.
How to get there
Getting to Southampton International Boat Show by train is as straightforward as it gets – buy advance train tickets for the cheapest train fares. The closest station is Southampton Central, 500 metres from Mayflower Park and Town Quay, where this festival of boating is anchored. You can also take the City Link Bus to Town Quay.
What to expect
What makes Southampton International Boat Show so refreshing is that it’s not just a trade event featuring loads of expensive boats on a glistening marina – although that is of course one of the main attractions for the real enthusiasts. The show genuinely embraces family participation, which means there are loads of ways for people of whatever age or skill level to experience water-based fun. These include a mini cruise on Southampton Water, the chance to start canoeing, paddleboarding & diving, and explore an RNLI lifeboat - most of which are free of charge to ticket holders. What's more, there are watersports activities and thrills for younger visitors. The show also has plenty of bars around the Marina, live shows on two stages and an iconic Tall Ship – a rare chance to climb aboard one of the largest remaining wooden ships in commission.