Rhino in Southampton

It took a herd of rhino to introduce me to some interesting places in my own city of Southampton that I never knew existed. Marwell Zoo near Southampton release the rhinos in to the City Centre a few weeks back and they will not be rounded up until 22nd September 2013.

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A rhino in the park

The rhino are all static and have been placed in parks, streets and shopping centres around the centre of Southampton. Each rhino is unique having been decorated by artists community groups and schools.

A rhino in the old boat building yards

Starting at the town pier where the Isle of Wight ferry docks the trail leads you through the old walled city of Southampton where I discovered among other things that the Mayflower actually sailed from Southampton to the New World but had to turn back and put in at Plymouth. I also learned, from a wall plaque that Jane Austen lived in Southampton for some time.

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This rhino is looking out over the Solent

The trail led me around the old walls and ship building yards then in to the old city where there are several old buildings still surviving.

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Tudor House

The Tudor House and Knot garden is just one of these another is the ruin of  Holy Rood Church left as a war memorial much like Coventry Cathedral.

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Rhino at Bargate (spot the Isle of Wight)

The rhino trail took me through Bargate, the landward entry to the city and after a quick loop through the West Quay shopping centre headed out to Southampton’s award winning city centre parks.

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Display of flowers in the city centre parks – look out for rhino

The trail takes a detour around the civic buildings before once again finishing in the parks.

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Outside the Civic Centre

Go Rhino 008 Go Rhino 016I discovered that Lord Palmerston was MP for South Hampshire and has a park all to himself. Another famous Southampton resident was the prolific hymn writer Isaac Watts who also has a park named after him. In east Park there are several gardens including a rose garden, a rock garden and a mosaic garden in which I found a rhino.

In the Civic Centre complex I discovered the Art Gallery and the new Sea City Museum opened for the centenary of the Titanic.

In a future post I will detail more of what there is to see and do in my own city but for now I just enjoyed walking with rhino and discovering not only outdoor art but some hidden gems and green spaces I never knew existed. It has inspired me to explore Southampton more thoroughly… Who knows what other surprises await.

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This rhino references that Supermarine, the makers of the Spitfire, was based in Southampton
Rhino found in the mosaic garden
Rhino found in the mosaic garden
This one is sponsored by Balfour Beatty
This one is sponsored by Balfour Beatty

The Go! Rhinos Trail is to raise awareness of the plight of the rhino and to raise money by auctioning them off after the event to raise money for two local charities and for the conservation work of Marwell Wildlife. In addition to all the large rhinos there are many small rhinos along the trail decorated by local schools. The sculptures will be removed on 22nd September 2013 but will reappear at Marwell Zoo from 10th – 14th October 2013.

Links: Marwell Zoo; Go! Rhinos



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Travel Unpacked is all about travel; from luxury to adventure travel and all related topics. There are reviews of accommodation, eateries, airlines,  ferries, books and much more. You will find stories, lists, hints and tips as well as experiences you might want replicate on your travels. It’s about travel as you want it