Houndwell Park is one of Southampton's Central Parks, notable for its fun and accessible fenced-in playground. As well as the play area, the park has treelined paths that act as thoroughfares to connect people with the other parks and parts of the city. If you're in the city centre with kids in tow, this is an essential stop.
The park sits just south of Palmerston Park and is surrounded by Palmerston Road, Pound Tree Road, Vincents Walk and Hanover Buildings. It's only a short walk from the park to Above Bar Street and Westquay Shopping Centre, but the playground is worth a trip regardless of what you're doing in the area.
The whole play area is fenced in, with at least three gates at different corners of the playground. The two biggest pieces of equipment each signify important aspects of Southampton's history. The nautical style play area features a poster for the RMS Titanic aboard a ship your children can captain. The equipment is varied, allowing for both imaginative and hands-on play. In the sandpit, there's also a 'sunken ship' to explore, a crows nest to climb, and some climbing nets. The other highlight of the sandpit would be the fossils buried in the sand. Kids can channel their inner archaeologists and dust away the sand to reveal large dinosaur fossils.
On the other side of the playground, a large castle represents The Bargate and Southampton's Medieval walls. The playground can be a fun stop if you're exploring some of Southampton's historical sites and kids can see how their play world represents some real-life historical landmarks.
There are accessible pieces of equipment designed for children with disabilities, as well as a special smaller section of the playground perfect for toddlers, but even the main pieces of equipment provide fun for children of all ages and abilities. There are benches throughout the fenced play area for parents to sit, as well as a covered rotunda that provides shade and is a good gathering spot for birthday parties and other get-togethers.
There aren't any toilet facilities within the park or playground area, but there are public toilets nearby further up Pound Tree Road. There are also numerous toilets nearby at any of the shopping centres along Upper Bar Street.
Aside from the playground, Houndwell Park is a nice place for a stroll or even a picnic under the trees. There aren't too many facilities in the park, but you will find a few benches and some nice spots to sit. The other main feature of Houndwell Park is the William Chamberlayne Gas Column, the large column is a 50 foot fluted iron Doric column erected in honour of William Chamberlayne, MP to Southampton from 1818-1829.