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Southampton town guide

Southampton, is still today a great seaport, with a history that stretches back centuries. Southampton was the main port of call for Venetian ships until the 16th. Century. It became a fashionable port in the 18th. Century and in the Napoleonic Wars was used as an embarkation port. The first dock built in 1842 helped Southampton develop into the great passenger port of recent times.

The Titanic sailed from her company's home port of Southampton on her maiden voyage on 10 April 1912. Five days later, in the early hours of 15 April, she sank with great loss of life after striking an iceberg. The disaster, which made headlines across the world had a devastating effect on the people of Southampton. Most of the crew lived in the town and over 500 households lost at least one family member.

Famous ships that have sailed from here are the great Cunard Liners- the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, QE 11 and the recently launched Queen Mary 2 - which now takes six days sailing from Southampton to New York in the ultimate in comfort and style.

A boat trip around Southampon docks is fascinating. A sail further afield can take you by boat or Hovercraft to the Isle of Wight. In the summer, Cowes week sees the Solent awash with boats of all classes racing and partying. Visit the S.S. Shieldhall- a fully operational old-fashioned steamship, berthed at Ocean Village when now sailing down the coast or around the Isle of Wight with passenger groups.

The nearby New Forest is well worth a visit by hire car. There is so much to see at The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu - an exbibition of Minis, cars of the Stars, James Bond Experience - plus the Palace and gardens.

If you wish to visit a unique 18th. Century village where warships for Nelson's navy were built, Buckler's Hard is only three miles away from Beaulieu.

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