The Westgate is a particularly well preserved part of the Old Town's walls, built in the twelfth century to defend it from attack by land and added to in the fourteenth century after a brutal French raid from the sea in 1338. The King ordered sea defences to be built to protect his wine cellar on the West Quay. At that time the river lapped at the foot of the walls. Imagine the scene without the sprawl of business development spread out before you on reclaimed land, as you gaze out from the top of the walls and towers. Imagine looking out over the river with no forest of chimneys on the skyline, just trees.
I love exploring Southampton's Old Town. Among the densely packed housing you come across some very well preserved medieval buildings. Beside the Westgate there's the Westgate Hall fish market and wool store, originally built in 1634 in another location, but dismantled and rebuilt here.
I would recommend a Blue Badge Guided Walk of the Old Town with an official Southampton Tourist Guide, which start at the Bargate, describe the history of the walls and buildings and may take you to a medieval tower, cellar and vault not open to the public. Ask at the Tourist Office nearby for days, times and cost of tour.
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