6 Things To Do On A Dark Evening!

Winter is en-route but your serviced property and beyond can be a fun place to be!

Duplex view

Grab The Bean Bag

Turn down the lights, snuggle into the bean bag and read. These is nothing better than being all cosy whilst reading a good novel. And if you are feeling even more up for it duvet it up on the balcony of selected properties and enjoy with a cup of something hot!

Not brought your book with you? Pop into our Oxford Street office and browse a selection or two…

Cheese and Wine Night

Not only can we fill your fridge but we can do our best to source you the right food for you and get it delivered. So if you fancy a cheese and wine tasting night get in touch and we’ll do the rest. (And don’t worry about any spillages on the carpet, our housekeeping team are experts in cleaning).

All ’round To Your’s!

The beauty of a serviced property is that you have the space to accommodate friends and family. Cook up a hearty meal in our fully equipped kitchens, serve in our dining space then retire to the sofa for a board game.

Box, Set, Match

All our serviced properties and fitted with flat screen TVs and the fastest WiFi around. Bring your downloads, spill onto the telly and enjoy. And with a selection of the finest HD channels on Freeview there is plenty to choose from like sport, news and films. Or maybe you fancy a boxset binge – we have the place to do it.

Late Night Walk

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Southampton and Portsmouth have plenty of history so get all intellectual. Enjoy an organised stroll around the city, from the delights of our very own South Western House apartments to Southampton docks and the old town this place really comes alive at night. Keep an eye on here and of Facebook page for more.

Fireworks

Yep, it’s that time of year again. The moment it gets dark you know a fireworks are only a blast away. This year sees the return of some spectacular displays in both cities:

Gunwharf Quays Fireworks 2017, Thursday, November 9, 2017

  

Mayflower Park Fireworks
Presented by Southampton Round Table No. 4
Saturday 4th November
The gate opens at 3pm for access to the fun fair. Live entertainment starts at 6pm.
The fireworks start at 7:45pm.
The gate closes at 7:15pm. Late arrivals may be refused entry.
Tickets:
Adults £6, Children aged 15 & under £4, Under 5’s Free
Ben Glover

 

 

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How Will We Get About In Ten Years?

You’ve heard it all before, oil is scarce, diesel and electric cars are going to be banned and we are all going to go to work on hover boards. Nah. Whilst the latter may not be true and a figment of the imagination (thanks Doc Brown) the reality is we must change.

The world is being strangulated by our own inventions; rain forests are being cut down, ice bergs melting quicker than your 99 whippy in a sauna and our lungs have so much CO2 in them we may as well ditch the flake and suck on a tasty exhaust pipe.

Fast forward to ten years and it seems electricity will be the chosen fuel to get us about. Back in the 80’s the future once was laughed at with visions of us all making our way to work on glorified milk floats or at best the Sinclair C5. But the decade that brought us the battery powered car may have been on to something.

Today it is actually quite cool to join #TeamElectric with some exciting cars including the Tesla X, 0-60 faster than a Bugatti Veyron or the Porsche GT with it’s petrol/hybrid engine. And there it is. I tried so hard not to mention the ‘H’ word but it is the future.

Yes we have the Toyota Prius which has led the way for many years and a Hollywood favourite. Volvo, BMW and Volkswagen have pledged to go all or part electric with their range by 2040.

This is all well and good but how will electric power our bigger modes of transport? Planes, articulated lorries, tankers? Only recently one of the world’s largest car transporters, MV Auto Eco, arrived in Southampton powered by a diesel and natural gas turbine. Auto Eco is powered by LNG and joins other vessels in port using this technology today. Solar power and hybrid technologies are also being used in the port and we have also seen significant reductions in power requirements for ships as new technology reduces the load.

So how will we get to and from the serviced property to work or around the city in the future? Radio Taxis and even Uber offer the chance to ride in hybrid cars or even the fully electric powered Nissan Leaf. That’s a start. 

YoBike

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YoBike is a completely new style of shared-cycling programme and has recently landed in Southampton. There’s no docking stations, limited bike availability or 30 minute maximum cycling penalties. Our motto is pretty simple ‘Get Around for Just £1’ and that simplicity is something we carry right through our scheme. With YoBike it’s as simple as 1, Download the app 2, Locate & Unlock, 3. On your bike.

Trams

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A ‘sexy’ looking tram in Birmingham

The days of trams around Portsmouth and Southampton are long gone, although it’s past can still be spotted if you head into the back streets of the city and slide your way across remaining track. Like trains trams are powered by electric, efficient and reliable. They share the roads with other vehicles or in some cases use existing track infrastructure for dedicated access to key points.

With many cycle ways that once played home to the train across the south it is already laid out and ready to roll, give or take a few Quid and a trim of some over grown trees.

Solent Go

Solent Go is the hub locating car clubs that you can simply just turn up to and rent a car. With many options across the south coast, including Eastleigh in Southampton they offer a full range of propelled options including hybrid. Handy for those guests who are staying short term and did not bring their own car. A good way of getting about for a small fee and with their own parking spaces.

Water Taxi

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OK, so Venice it ain’t. But for those who need to commute from city to city a water taxi is not a bad option. Set off from the jetty of Port Solent and by in Ocean Village Southampton within the hour (weather depending of course).

These are just a few of the options left on the table when it comes to getting about the city. The question is: will the infrastructure be in place by 2017? Will the cycle ways be safe enough for us to travel down? Will there be enough power points about to charge our vehicles? Will electric costs go through the roof? Who knows. For now though stick to the free power that can easily be charged and won’t cost a lot to replenish…your own body.

Ben Glover

Writer, contributor, social media commentator.

 

 

The Best Team Building Places On The South Coast

Team building, bonding, call it what you like it is good to have colleagues who are working in harmony and producing good performance. Forget the days of building a raft out of barrels and some old rope or climbing old telegraph poles in homage to Bear Grylls, get on board with these.

 

Cocktail Making – Southampton

Shale like a pro with this fun & interactive 90 minute session offering the perfect opportunity for team building, networking or rewarding colleagues. Mix cocktails both alcoholic and non.

Team building cocktail making classes in Southampton include a fabulous 90 minute cocktail making masterclass with some delicious sharer food platters. The cocktail making masterclass begins with an introduction to your bar tender, who will familiarise the group with the equipment (strainers, shakers, muddlers, glasses) used to make fabulous cocktails. After a short cocktail making demonstration the group will take turns going behind the bar to learn how to create and shake their own cocktails, this is the perfect time to take photos. After the cocktail making class is over, your group will be shown to some reserved seating, where you can finish your cocktails and enjoy some sharing food platters.

More info click HERE

Escape Rooms

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Anyone who is ‘old’ enough to remember the Crystal Maze will definitely be up for the Escape Room!

Exciting Escapes is an entertainment and great team building company supplying the fun Escape Room experience ideal for team building. Based in Southampton and Basingstoke, Hampshire, it was started in 2016 by the two brothers David and Peter Gale.

The notion? You have 60 minutes to take part in a story as a team, to search for clues, uncover secrets, solve puzzles and complete tasks. Success comes from good teamwork, great communication, and a willingness to get involved and have some fun!

So far to date almost 9,000 people have now played a mission at Exciting Escapes. From corporate team building to school outings, Date nights to Hen and Stag Parties, and ages from 8 to 80. Everyone seems to find something they can enjoy about taking on one of their Escape Room challenges.

Rock Up, Whiteley

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An indoor centre with plenty of choice walls to scale. Be the biggest star of the group by getting to the top first and stopping the clock. Or why not climb over 15 ft and jump the ‘Leap Of Faith’. Either way Rock Up offers plenty of fun and team building. And there is a coffee shop with food on offer too.

Check out the latest attraction the Death Wall Slide…always a winner when you want to hear your colleagues scream.

Military Mentors

Run by ex-military personnel you know the team building exercises are going to be rewarding. And yes, there maybe a raft build chucked in to the event but each can be catered to you and the team involved.

  • Toxic Waste – Teams plan then remove ‘Toxic Waste’ from hazardous area
  • Hostage Rescue – Teams plan then execute the rescue of a hostage caught by the enemy
  • Raft Building – Can your team build and sail a raft before the other teams do?
  • The Big Dilemma – Scenario based on deceit, a love affair, illicit liaisons, betrayal, and a few alligators with some thuggery thrown in.  This always gets very vocal with divided opinions!
  • Save the Baby – Will your team be able to rescue the baby from shark infested waters?
  • Assualt Course Challenge – Teams compete over, under and through a variety of  obsticles. Gets very competitive and you may well get a bit mucky!
  • Space Hopper Football / Netball – Bounce about like a bunch of kids trying to play the game.  You cannot help but laugh whilst playing! Good for the thighs as well!

 

RIB Boat Rides, The Solent

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Onboard RIB charter offers the chance to thrash your way through one of the UK’s busiest and most picturesque sea channels.

You get the exclusive and corporate use of one of their five exciting, powerful 8.0m RIBS for half-day & full-day charters. Ideal for Teambuilding events, Corporate Incentives, unwinding after Meetings or promotional events and product launches. Leave the Speedos at home.

Ben Glover

 

 

Win At Life! Handy Tips To Save Some Money

It’s the end of the month. You have just been paid, which gives you the green light to live and spend like a king or queen if only for just 24 hrs. Then the haemorrhage of bills ensues its exit from your account. But, there are still ways to keep your luxuries and spend less on them.

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Go For The Filter Coffee

With the average price of a large coffee hitting the £2.90 mark, it’s verging on the same as a pint from ‘Spoons, without the pie chucked in with it. Switching to filter coffee is usually £1 off in most coffee houses, tastes just as good and is always fresh. Plus a top-up is usually free and if you re-use a paper cup or one for life then you’ll get some money off too.

The Reduced Section

Three times a day one section of your supermarket gets special attention as items that are about to hit their ‘Best By’ date are about to be thrown out. Go sift through them all, scoop up all the meat (bread too) and throw them into your freezer. It’ll still be good to go a month later. And it’s not just the meat, it’s the fruit and vegetables too. All still good for another 24 hours and a few quid off.

Get With a Work Colleague

Awkward. Well, actually not. Shacking up with other friends from work in serviced accommodation is the perfect way to save some money. Pay per property and not per person. You can also save money by using the fully equipped kitchens to cook. Aprons optional.

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Our Neptune Serviced Apartment

Used Take Away Tubs

Whilst its purpose is to deliver complete stodgy goodness to your place of residence, they have a second life. Cooking up your meals for the week and storing them accordingly takes the beef out of the morning and wondering what to make for the lunch hour. It’ll save you a shed load of cash on food bills too.

Get Out Of The Zone

Who here does the same routine: wake up, go to work, go home, sleep, repeat. Chuck a bit of variation into your day. Park the car a few streets away or get off a station earlier on the train and walk the rest. Beneficial for those who work in the city. Grab a tube map and work out if you can get off in the zone before, saving you a few pennies daily on the ride. (Our serviced properties come with secure parking, for an extra fee and with close links to public transport and the city, a nice walk is just what you need).

Did you know we are the only Serviced Accommodation company on the south coast to offer exclusive money off to guests with our Discount Card?

Ben Glover

 

The iPhone X – is it good for business?

The much anticipated iPhone was launched this month with a hefty price tag of $1000 but is the price good for business and the solo traveller?

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Our smartphone is pretty much part of the family, it sits there living in our pockets/bags like a baby that needs to be close by it’s mother. When we drop it or the screen cracks we mourn like it’s a friend hurt or that has passed away. Over dramatic? Maybe. My point is it will always be needed.

Step up the iPhone X – launched in a live broadcast across all mediums with big features and not so big featured that make it ‘the one’ to have. While others feel that it has finally caught up with the Samsung S8 Apple appear to have gauged their baby at the business professional:

Big Display

Not only does it boast a 5.8 inch retina (Super Retina to you) screen it’s toughened glass makes sure that any drop to a concrete floor won’t be like the slow motion movement it appears to be now with current smart phones. The X also features a double edged screen, water and dust resistant but nothing like the Samsung…of course. That said the Japanese giant is set to take a cut from the X due to it’s OLED technology.

The huge screen makes light work of scanning the internet, drawing or taking notes with the optional Apple Pen ($300). Downloading PDFs are made easy viewing as are videos from live conferences.

Intel – A11

Intel provide the driving force to the speed of the X, in fact it makes up 15% of the phone value itself. Good news for fast processing of documents, videos and photos. To date the A11 is the most powerful and smartest chip ever in a smartphone, with a neural engine that’s capable of up to 600 billion operations per second. With four efficiency cores in the all‑new CPU up to 70 percent faster than A10 Fusion the two performance cores are up to 25 percent faster, hopefully at full speed when nearing the end of space in the internal memory. This is good news for games too.

Security – FACE ID

Hold tight James Bond or fans of Mission Impossible, security on the X is tight. 3D sensors are on board to provide facial recognition, all laser technology based which made US makers Lumentum a nice hefty £150m in orders. Gone is the Home button and the tedious finger print recognition, that quite frankly, held up many queues in coffee shops around the world.

Face ID is enabled by the TrueDepth camera and is simple to set up. It projects and analyzes more than 30,000 invisible dots to create a precise depth map of your face, adapts over time and so secure that this is the new Apple Pay. That should make the coffee shop queue more entertaining…

Camera

The 12MP camera gives a sharper image and contrast features, great for selling products or sending customers information. Face timing and conference calling have just become even more hi-def. Both cameras at the rear have optical image stabilization and fast lenses for outstanding photos and videos even in low light, something that previous iPhones suffered with.

A wide-angle and telephoto camera on the iPhone X enable optical zoom, as well as digital zoom of up to 10x for photos and 6x for videos, on the fringe of SLR technology.

The True Depth camera can analyse over 50,000 muscle movements for that perfect selfie which works hand in hand with the Animoji feature, thus giving you the chance to be that panda you always wanted to be. Let’s hope there won’t be a movie to follow.

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Charging

How many times have we heard, ‘Anyone got an iPhone charger?’. This is now a thing of the past. Introducing AirPower mat. Set your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods anywhere on the mat to charge them wirelessly. Wireless charging is now in force with the X, Apple assuring us that charging mats can be found in cafes, hotels and airports around the world. Forthcoming is a travel and car optional pad.

Software

The latest IOS makes sure business features of the X stay bang up to date with easier sharing options and user friendly navigation. Siri stays which is good news for the solo traveller giving you at least someone to talk too. Siri can come in handy for translating and getting about in a foreign country.

Maps looks superb on the more refined screen and gives more accuracy thanks to the newest of internal processors.

iCal and emails are processed faster with better features to sync with other Apple devices.

The iPhone X is set to be Apple’s best product to date, more featured, re-fined for the next generation and offering much more for the business user and traveller. Overall it is the best companion for anyone, anytime. It will wake you up, sort your daily routine out but it won’t make the bed. Yet.

Ben Glover

Research:

Apple

BBC Business

 

 

 

 

 

iTunes – what you may or may not know

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If like me you spend more money on coffee than booze each month welcome to the club. Chances are you probably have a gym membership, spend more time with your mates (sober at least) and have a healthy array of songs on your smartphone.

I’ve been stuck in the 90’s since, well 1999. Maybe not physically, the silver hair testament to a ‘harsh’ work regime but musically. That particular moment in time was when I grew up. Sure ‘growing up’ could be perceived as the first ten years of your life have memories etched into your brain of being around the grandparents, your first school, your first funeral or the moment your dad went crazy and bought a Porsche. For me it has been 1990 on wards. From this humble decade of Naff Naff beginnings there were plenty of firsts to be had.

My secondary school career began and from a lanky framed person as myself was not an easy task. My mother constantly un-hemming trousers to stop the bigger lads taking the piss and undoubtedly shouting out ‘bell bottoms’ or ‘ankle bangers’ as I patrolled the corridors with my market bought or often hand me down ruck sack. My head hitting every door frame of the classroom and why was I always at the back of the yearly photograph?

But what carried me through this decadent time frame was music. A healthy obsession for club music that packed in everything from trance to what we now know as big anthems. Aged 14 it was easy to get into raves with warehouses crammed from of sweaty bobbed haired fellas and dungaree wearing girls, each magnetised to the huge bass bins vibrating on every speaker. Most of their heads on the Mitsubishi Ecstasy tablets doing the rounds whilst I only ever went for the music and the dancing.

It is no surprise that my iTunes is packed full of anthems, taking me ‘back in the day’ to the old skool bangers that gave me freedom of movement on the dance floor, constantly giving it the ‘ooop ooop’ and reaching for the lazers. in the hallows of a warehouse in Plymouth. Accept they aren’t.

My 90’s playlist would put Judge Jules and Dave Pearce (DJs by the way) to shame. I’ve spent well over £200 a year on songs, not just the anthems. My most played was ‘Born Slippy – Underworld’, a 12 minute hedonistic journey that stepped me back into the clubs, each lyric harping back to my first ‘obsession’ with a girl called Kerry (much older than me at the time, I had no chance). At a recent Boot Camp I needed a pick me up anthem, a ‘Rocky’ style pump ready for 60 minutes brutality in my active wear. Imagine the horror when I find it’s no longer there. It is like losing a best mate you often see for lunch or coffee. I searching every thing, title, artist, albums, downloads and even purchased – nothing.

Apple are not always the easiest people to get too – whilst we are asleep in our beds we assume they are awake and working from their sunshine glinted office in California. I jumped on the Support tab and sent an email. I was quite surprised to find a reply within an hour.

So why does iTunes trash your tunes?

When you download a song to your iTunes did you know that you do not technically own it? Not even with the whole 99 p you worked so hard for to buy it. Here is what the lovely Bernard told me:
‘Ben, upon carefully checking your account thoroughly, I do apologize (how they spell in the U.S), I’ve determined that the reason why you cannot re-download the “Born Slippy” is because the content was modified by the content provider.

Please note that an item can be modified for several reasons such as change in version, upgrades/updates that the content provider, production company or record label do.

In addition to that, when the changes are applied by the developer, the item goes back to the store as a new version and the older version becomes obsolete and is therefore, deleted. Thus, preventing you to re-download the item.

I know your files are valuable to you, so I encourage you to back up your hard disk regularly. If the disk needs to be replaced, you can restore your purchases and other data from the backup and avoid the need to purchase replacement copies of your collection’.

A fine reply from Bernard that has taken a part of my life way and lesson learned. I did reply hoping for a refund alas I was given credits to download some new tunes, of which, sadly my 12 minute trip into 1995 can no longer revived and will just have to settle for the 7′ 32″ version instead.

So, back up your files else not only will you loose your tracks back your fine memories too.

Ben Glover

FAST and FREE WiFi is available in ALL Town Or Country properties…ideal for backing up your files.

Bank Holiday Outings

Not sure what to do for the Bank Holiday weekend? Let us wet your weekend whistle.

Southampton Pride -The Stage Door

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The Stage Door opens all it’s doors for one of Southampton’s biggest festivals. Pride Southampton brings together a celebration for all genders, backgrounds and ages.

The Stage Door will be on hand contributing with live music, food & drink, entertainment for the kids and all topped off with a parade of love including, this year the emergency services.

The fun starts from 11am in the Guildhall Square daily.

 

 

 

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Man Overboard Race – The Elephant Boat Yard, Old Bursledon, SATURDAY.

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If you are looking for some fun on the water then the Bursledon Regatta will float your boat. Whether you fancy your chances in the kayak race or want to test your ability to try and stand up on a paddle board much fun will be had. Just pop a few coins into their charity coffers and take a change of clothes! Register from 1230 pm.

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The Titanic Walk, Southampton SATURDAY

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On the Titanic Trail there is a walk through the streets where the Titanic crew lived and drank. Many buildings of the period survive today including; the Terminus Station, arguably the oldest railway station in the country; the luxurious South Western Hotel, where first class passengers stayed, including Thomas Andrews, designer of the ship, and Bruce Ismay, chairman of the White Star Line. Stop at the White Star Office and reflect on the families, who waited days for news. Hear the true story of Jack Dawson. See the pub where Titanic stokers had their last drink before sailing. These historic streets still resonate from the loss.

Afterwards relax in the Docks Coffee House, which could not be better located in one of Southampton’s most historic and pleasant streets. Look at a fascinating pen and water colour illustrated map of historic Southampton by local artist Carloline Misselbrook. And enjoy one of Dan and Dishi’s delicious cream teas.

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Wake Up Well – Five Ways

  1.  Make Your Bed (straightaway!)

Research has shown (and this did come from the U.S.) that if you make your bed straightaway after waking up then all the other tasks for the day will fall into place. I tried this theory out this very morning. Since making the bed I have got showered, dressed, ironed and I wrote this blog. I kid you not. (And for those lazy days let our housekeeping team make it for you).

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2. Down A Pint

Water is the key to all well being. And with the body packing over 90% of the stuff it is essential we keep it topped up. Starting off with a pint of the clear stuff not only re hydrates the body is is good for the heart, kick starting it into a good rhythm for the day. It also contributes to the 2 litres we should be drinking daily.

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3. Wake Up To Music

Waking up to Chimes or Cosmic on your iPhone daily can have a negative affect on your day, especially if these are your daily risers. Set your alarm to some middle of the road music from your music playlist and edit your alarms accordingly. Coldplay, The XX or something with a nice intro build up are key.

Avoid the Bedtime function; your brain will be aware that your iPhone or Smart device is on ‘standby’, it’s like keeping one eye open when awake.

4. Stretch

You can’t beat a good click of the back in the morning. Pull out the yoga mat, poor the water and stretch those limbs into a new day. By doing this you’ll free up all the bunched up limbs from the night and be warmed up ready for the day.

5. Avoid Coffee…for at least an hour

And this is from a coffee lover. As beautiful as the ‘c’ word is a caffeine hit first thing in the morning could come crashing down on you middle of the morning. Start with a green tea or anything light such as fruit tea, that will be a good refresher and motivator to your day.

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Ben Glover

Three Events To Look Forward To!

The nights may be drawing in (boo) but fear not dear guest, there are some things to look forward to in and around your serviced property!

Southampton Pride

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August 26th 2017

This year the parade will take place outside The Guildhall Square at 2pm, where it will continue up West Marlands Road, down Above Bar Street to the Bargate Monument, around the monument, back up Above Bar Street to Guildhall Square and back along West Marlands Road.
Full details on the route are online; the idea is to get dressed up, bring your kids, your parents, your dog, your family and your friends! Be as colourful as you can and make some noise!
Then after it is all back to The Stage Door for an after party…

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Prosecco Festival, Port Solent

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14 Oct 2017 6.30pm – late

Join in for the inaugural Port Solent Prosecco Festival – an evening of fun, decadence and glamour by the waterside.

 

Port Solent is offering Prosecco lovers an evening to remember with a show stopping, Hollywood-style festival of Prosecco spread across the whole of the Boardwalk.

Included in your ticket price:

Five glasses of Prosecco

Souvenir glass

Goody bag

Live music

Fire dancers

Martini glass dancer

and much more…

So, to enjoy an evening of glitz, glamour and bubbles, come down and join us at our 2017 Port Solent Prosecco Festival.

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Southampton Boat Show, Mayflower Park

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15th – 24th September 2017

TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show is a spectacular world class annual event held in September and attracts visitors, exhibitors and investors from all over the world. An on-water Show boasting Europe’s purpose built Show marina located in Southampton, the cruise and boating capital of the UK.

The Show started in 1969 and is held annually in September. An important sales platform for both national and international businesses attracting over 110,000 visitors. The Show attracts high net worth individuals from the UK and around the world. TheYachtMarket.com Southampton Boat Show is one of Southampton’s biggest events and takes over the City for a 10 day period, whilst people of all walks of life discover what the marine industry has to offer them.

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