Family Itinerary

 We’ve had an amazing day at Southampton International Boat Show today! Ben and Sophie are spent after a day running around in the fresh air and trying new water activities.


 Parked at the multi-story car park at West Quay Shopping Centre, we walked the few meters to the entrance. Pre-booking came in handy, as we just had to show the digital tickets and, as they’re both under 15, the children went free which is a big plus.  


Coffee to go in hand, we studied the map and attractions schedule and our two were eager to set off on the treasure hunt they were given at the entrance. They both had been excited all week because they’d get to go onto the Morgenster, which looks like a real pirate ship!


Passing by the experience booking centre just behind the entrance (just inside the watersports zone), we arranged a kayaking session for the afternoon for all of us with Get Afloat in partnership with Rockley Watersports – they assured us that it was perfectly safe as experienced guides would be with us at all times. Ben and Will also booked a ride on a high-speed RIB with Try-a-Boat in partnership with Flexisail and we surprised Ben – we had read that, aged eight, he could actually go out on a trip with the Morgenster!


 We started with the Watersports Zone. They even had a pool for taster paddleboard and diving sessions which were great fun! By the time we had wandered through the dinghy and classic boat zones as well, Ben and Sophie had collected sweets, windmills and pens from exhibitors while we were chatting at the stands. A quick walk through Ocean Hall browsing holiday destinations and the latest marina equipment and off we went to see the stunning boats in the marina.


 By now, all of us had built up an appetite. The street food looked tempting and I was impressed that most trucks had a children’s option, but we wanted to sit down. At the Borrow a Boat Quarterdeck Bar & Restaurant overlooking the marina, we had a perfect view to see the spectacular show on the On The Water Stage. Ben and Sophie couldn’t stop staring when the experts flew over the water like superheroes on TV or did loop after loop.

After lunch, we saw Ben and Will off to their trip on the RIB, while Sophie and I had a leisurely mini cruise around the Solent. Luckily, I had brought some towels and once the boys were dried off, it was our slot for kayaking. Even aged five, Sophie did amazing!

By now, the children had completed the treasure hunt and got their reward for having discovered the correct password in the Pirate Story Session on the Morgenster. Having actors dress up for storytime on the ship was really sweet and the children loved it!


With Sophie asleep in Will’s arms and Ben slurping on a slushy, we finally made our way back to the car. It was such a great day, we both agreed to have been surprised at how many options there were even for younger children on the water. We’ll have a look at to see what’s on offer closer to us.