Old Town Walk
Old Town Walk is a great way to discover more about the city's hidden charms. Follow the line of some of England’s best-preserved medieval town walls and step back in history to find out more about Southampton’s Old Town. A new series of panels guides you around the Old Town's encircling walls.
We recommend you start the Walk at the Bargate, the historic entrance to the medieval town, but you can begin at any point. The Old Town has over 90 listed buildings and more than 30 ancient monuments, with medieval wine vaults, an array of medieval churches, and fine Georgian houses and hotels. You can see all of these and views of the waterfront, where ships continue the sea-going tradition of Southampton.
Southampton has some of the most complete medieval town walls in the country. They were built in stages over 300 years, the first being Bargate and Eastgate dating from 1290. The western walls were not built until after the French raid of 1338, when Edward III ordered that walls be built to “close the town”. These were completed in 1380. The walls – including eight gates and 29 towers – stretched for one and a quarter miles around the town. Now, roughly half of the walls, 13 of the original towers and six gates are still standing.
There was no stone in the local area suitable for building the town walls, so all of the limestone needed was brought on ships from Bembridge and Quarr on the Isle of Wight.
A free guide can be picked up from Tudor House and Garden, Southampton City Art Gallery, or the Tourist Information Centre in the Central Library. Click here for opening times.
To download a .pdf of the Old Town Walk, please click here.