Go! Southampton’s Seaside in the Square has officially opened to the public, offering 34 days of more than 100 free events and activities suitable for all the family, including outdoor cinema, live music, beach soccer training, yoga, volleyball and much more.
Since opening, more than 11,000 people of all ages, and from a diverse range of backgrounds and communities in and around the city, have flocked to the 480m2 sandy beach, more than doubling the footfall into the Guildhall Square area.
The outdoor cinema screenings have been particularly popular, with 210 people enjoying an afternoon screening of Free Willy and more than 260 people attending an evening screening of Moana.
After just a week, more than 200 people have also taken part in the giant deckchair trail, which takes visitors on an adventure across Southampton – from Bedford Place and London Road in the north to Town Quay in the South – and ends with a prize to be collected from the beach.
The fun continues into the evenings with city centre employees showing up to the beach every night to enjoy a post-work beer, wine or fruity summer cocktail at its fully licensed bar. Last weekend was particularly popular with live music drawing large crowds to dance or just to relax in the adult only area, complete with chillout huts designed by members of staff at IKEA Southampton.
Carol Henery from Chandler’s Ford, said: “It’s a lovely idea and really nice to have something that is suitable for all the family, especially over the school holidays.”
Hythe’s Tracey Jennings added: “I sat on the beach while my little boy played football. He made loads of friends and had a great time while I sat and relaxed in the sun. It was just perfect.
“It’s great to have something like this in Southampton because it brings people together, and to this end of Southampton. It’s a really vibrant, lively and affordable day out for families.”
The beach, which is the first of its kind to come to Southampton, has also garnered interest from various media outlets from in and around the city, with even national broadcasters such as BBC South Today and ITV Meridian getting in on the action.
Heidi Isa, Go! Southampton’s Marketing & Events Director, said: “With this event we wanted to deliver a great city centre experience, drive footfall to the area and bring positive economic impact to the area. After the first week, I’m please to say that we are on track to achieve those goals.”
“It’s thanks to our sponsors, and the shops and businesses of Southampton that this event is proving to be the success we hoped it would be.”