Travel with SWR to the Southampton International Boat Show

Southampton International Boat Show

In this article, you'll learn the following:

Returning 16-25 September 2022 as the UK’s biggest (and best) festival of all things nautical, the Southampton International Boat Show is the definitive showcase of everything you need to enjoy life in, on, or around the water, from kayaks to catamarans.

The Marina at the Southampton International Boat Show

But it’s not all about aspiring captains and superyacht enthusiasts – it’s also a great day out for families! And with every adult ticket entitling two children to free entry, it doesn’t cost the earth either. 

What’s on at the Southampton Boat Show


Perfect for surfers, paddleboarders and water-skiers – here you can get tips from watersports professionals, see the latest equipment, and even have a go with a high-speed trip on a RIB!

Dinghy Zone

Covering everything from trailer boats to foiling dinghies, the Dinghy Zone offers a budget-friendly way for aspiring captains to make their first foray onto the water. Whether you’re looking to rent or buy, or just learn a bit more about getting started, the exhibition team will happily take you through the different types of dinghies and equipment. And once you’re ready to try, head to the On The Water Zone for a quick foray onto the water.

Classic and Day Boat Zone

Classic Day Boats at the Southampton International Boat Show

Fans of beautiful craftsmanship need look no further than the Classic and Day Boat Zone. Highly varnished decks, shiny sleek hulls and traditional brass fittings are the order of the day here – from the latest designs to painstakingly restored classics like the 1946 Osbourne Day Cruiser from Dennett Boat Builders. Make a visit to Willow Bay Boats who will be building a dinghy on their stand over the weekend, or head to Cornish Crabber to discover the Shrimper 21 – a classic design yacht with an eco-friendly all-electric pod drive motor.

Mayflower Park

The heart of the Southampton International Boat Show. Here you’ll find the biggest brands, live entertainment and places to eat and drink.

Meet sailing idols here as they pop by for interviews and a Q&A, or get to know some of Southampton’s best music while you sip on a pint at the Guinness Bar – along with tasty street food and a selection of sweet treats.

Head down to the waterfront to find the Quarterdeck Bar & Restaurant for a fuller dining experience with friends and family overlooking Europe’s largest purpose-built show marina.

Show Marina

People stepping onto a boat at the Southampton International Boat Show

Hundreds of the world’s most prestigious sailing, power, tender and chase boats can be found here at the marina. You’ll also find some of the launches for the latest designs by global, European and UK boat builders. Free to access for all show visitors, it’s a great chance to see some of the best in boating. Plus, for serious boat buyers, you can book time with manufacturers to discuss the boats in detail.

On The Water Zone

The On The Water Zone is your opportunity to explore the waves yourself. Action-packed fun for the whole family can be found with the Try-a-Boat feature, letting you speed across the Solent in a high-speed RIB, or take a more sedate pace under sail – all for free! For a fee, you can even stay out on the water for longer and explore some of the most spectacular vessels at the show – including the Morgenster, the Jolie Brise, or even HSL 102 – the only surviving 100 class high-speed launch and saviour of 38 downed aircrew in the English Channel during the Battle of Britain.

The On The Water Stage at the Southampton International Boat Show

You can also try dinghy sailing or paddleboarding with Rockley Watersports at no extra charge, take a trip on the Island Scene for a twenty-minute cruise around the Southampton International Boat Show (and maybe even get up close and personal with the gigantic cruise liners that flank the show marina). Or for those that prefer to stay on dry land, head to the Water Stage for adrenaline-packed shows, from hoverboards to boat racing and stunt shows on jetskis.

Festival Green

Highlight of an exciting day at the show, Festival Green is the hub of the Southampton International Boat Show come the evening. With live music and ample seating, it’s a perfect spot to wind down the day (and for new captains, to toast your new vessel!).

It’s a great spot to grab a bite too – from fresh-out-of-the-water oysters to international street food, there’s something for everyone. You’ll also find a selection of bars offering everything from champagne and cocktails to mocktails and soft drinks.

Tempted to discover this incredible nautical festival? The best way to travel is by train, with Southampton Central station just a short walk to the show – or take the City Link bus to Town Quay. Get great deals on advance tickets when you book ahead, or use a Railcard or GroupSave to save a third or more on your ticket.

Things to do in Exeter for Christmas

Exeter has some of the best festive activities in the South West. From grottos to markets, read our list of Exeter’s best Christmas activities.

Find out more

What's on in December in London and the South West

Explore the best things to do in London and the South West over the festive season, including pantos, ice rinks, Christmas markets and more.

Find out more

The best light festivals in London

Are you in the festive mood yet? You can’t miss the best light displays in London this Christmas. Read our guide here.

Find out more