Advertisement feature in association with Southampton International Boat Show
On Sunday I took myself off to Southampton for a day at the International Boat Show – the biggest on-the water-boat show in Europe, (fun fact), which runs this year until September 22nd. When my mum saw the pictures on Instagram she was surprised.
‘I didn’t know you were interested in boats!’ she messaged me.
‘I’m not!’ I replied.
I’m really not. In fact, I can’t even really swim*, but it turns out you don’t have to know your jib from your mainsail to enjoy a day at the Southampton Boat Show, especially on a gloriously sunny day.
(I Googled ‘sailing terms’ for that sentence.)
I strolled in the sunshine along the two kilometre long marina, built especially for the Boat Show, while boat owners and sellers lined the water’s edge showing off their gleaming vessels. There was a sense that anything was possible, that if you just imagined hard enough it could be you lounging on deck, champagne in hand, gazing out over a sparkling blue sea while you plotted your next high-end jewellery heist. (Is it just me who thinks ‘glamorous super villain’ when they see a million pound yacht?)
Whether you’re a multi-millionaire sailing enthusiast/bank robber shopping for a new yacht or a family of landlubbers who just fancy having a go at something new, the Southampton International Boat Show has something for everyone, as I am about to demonstrate with a selection of seven things to do at the 2019 Boat Show.
Embark on a mini cruise
Okay, so really mini, as in 20 minutes, but long enough to get a sense of the scale of the show as you see it at a distance, and long enough to get your legs out for a holiday vibe. The mini cruise takes you on a tour around the boat show, pointing out interesting landmarks along the way, including the dock from which The Titanic set sail.
Check sailing times here.
Relax with a gin
Or a rum. Or a Guinness maybe? The Boat Show has specialist bars for all three, along with a handily placed play area, not far at all from the gin and rum bars. Coincidence? I think not. There are loads of places to eat too, including gourmet street food options, a luxury champagne and seafood bar or just good old fashioned fish and chips.
Try a boat
As nice as it is to put your feet up on a cruise, you can’t really go to a boat show and not try a boat can you? Try-a-boat is one of the show’s stop attractions and is a fantastic opportunity, whether you’re a family looking for a bit of fun or a serious shopper.
There’s loads to choose from, including Jeanneau 37ft and 40ft sailing yachts, a Rodman 10 metre motor boat, a Kittiwake 14 ft gaff rigged sailing dingy and lots more. It’s first come first serve, so find out here how to book your boat as soon as you arrive.
Try a boat, get afloat, see what they did there? Excellent rhyming. If you want to have a go at something a bit more hands on then anyone aged over eight years old can take part in a free one hour session on the water, having a go at things like paddleboarding, kayaking and dinghy sailing.
Step on-board a man’o’war
The frigate ‘Shtandart’ is a full-size replica of a ‘man’o’war’ and was the flagship of the first Russian Baltic fleet. It’s absolutely beautiful and was a brilliant contrast to the massive cruise liner that was sat behind it, giving a real sense of sailing history. The original Shtandart was launched in 1703 and you can climb aboard the replica for an authentic taste of what life might have been like at sea over 300 years ago.
Think ropes. Lots and lots of ropes.
Challenge your kids to a boat race
Don’t worry, it’s not speedboats. If you want to get a flavour of life at sea without any of the dampness or rocking motion, have a go at racing a Dragon 65 racing yacht in the radio sailing pool. If no one wants to race you because you’re known in your family for being way too competitive (hypothetically) then sail solo to set a personal best and see how your time measures up against other visitors.
Indulge your inner Famous Five
When I saw this beautiful wooden boat I was immediately on my way to Kirrin Island in search of smugglers. I checked my imaginary backpack – flashlight, check, ginger beer, check, rubber soled shoes, check.
One of my favourite things about the Southampton Boat Show was how much it sparked my imagination. Whether it was counting my gold bars on board my yacht or stowing tomato and ham sandwiches under the seat of my small wooden boat, heading out to sea with three chums and Timmy the dog, the show got me excited for new adventures, and to me that’s the sign of an excellent day out.
Southampton Boat Show ticket discount
If all of this has whetted your appetite for a visit to the Southampton International Boat Show then you might want to take advantage of my ticket discount offer. Adult ‘any day’ tickets on the gate are £27, but with my exclusive link you can get TWO adult tickets for £27.
What a bargain!
Get the Boat Show discount now and set sail on a brilliant family day out.
*True story. I used to be able to swim, although was never brilliant at it, and then in my twenties I lived with a swimming teacher who it turns out I didn’t like that much, and my body sort of rebelled and refused to float. I do like going in the water and I will make myself attempt a length or two when I have the opportunity, but I do look like I’m drowning and I can’t go out of my depth or I’ll sink like a stone.