They offer an informal public garden, lake cruises, live animal exhibits, and natural science education programs.Guests can take self-guided or docent-led tours on the impressive grounds, into mature forests, across meadows, and along marsh boardwalks that connect to natural interactive exhibits.The settlement was known as Hamwic Southampton's prosperity was assured following the Norman Conquest in 1066, when it became the major port of transit between Winchester (the capital of England until the early 12th Century) and Normandy.The Domesday Book indicates that Southampton already had distinct French and English quarters at the time of the Norman Conquest Lacking proper finance for the construction of a full defensive wall, the solution involved joining the existing exterior walls of existing merchant houses together to form part of the defensive structure.
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Southampton became an important port in medieval times, experiencing several hundred years of fluctuating fortunes until it was expanded by the Victorians.
As a centre of commerce, an industrial town and an important military embarkation point, Southampton was a strategic target for the Luftwaffe and was severely damaged in World War II.
Having been an important regional centre for centuries, Southampton was awarded City status by The Queen in 1964.
Its history has been affected by its geographical location, on a major estuary on the English Channel coast with an unusual double high-tide, and by its proximity to Winchester and London; the ancient and modern capitals of England.