Medieval vaults

March 2024 update

The Castle Vault will be closed during the summer for about a month so that some of the damp problems can be addressed.

Quilter’s Vault in the High Street is now safe to enter again, but care is needed on the steep steps into the vault. Safety checks have been completed on the roof and some of the stonework has been repointed and cracks filled.

Exterior of and entrance to Quilter's Vault. It is a stone building with railings on both sides

Quilter's Vault.

Vault under 11 St Michael’s Square and St Michael’s Prison Vault

One of Southampton's medieval vaults. New lighting highlights the bare stone walls and ceiling

New lights reveal the stonework in the vault under 11 St Michael’s Square.

In 2022, Southampton’s Culture Team led a project to install new lights and handrails in two of the medieval wine vaults near St Michael’s Church, known as St Michael’s Prison Vault on Castle Way, and the vault under 11 St Michael’s Square. The lighting installation was designed and fitted by Southampton City Council electricians to cope with very damp conditions.

As well as guided tours, six of the vaults are available for hire.

Find out more and hire a vault

Most of the vaults reflect an age when Southampton was at the centre of the wine trade, when most of the wine imported from France came through the port on its way to London and other parts of the country. St Michael’s Prison Vault is the exception as its medieval stonework is largely obscured by features built to convert it into an air-raid shelter during the Second World War.

St Michael’s Prison Vault