Southampton Beer Festival is held at Southampton O2 Guildhall, the heart of Southampton's Civic Centre located in the Culture Quarter. The Civic Centre buildings also house the city's Art Gallery and the Sea City Museum.
Southampton itself was a Norman walled town and the city's Bargate (photo from Wikipedia) and walls are highly visible in the southern part of today's city centre - there's loads to see and do. The Discover Southampton website is great to help you plan your visit and accommodation. If shopping is your thing, the Above Bar shopping precinct, West Quay shopping centre and West Quay Retail Park are for you!
Before or between sessions there is the opportunity join See Southampton tour guides to take a short guided walk looking at Southampton's Hidden History, illustrating the lives of the people and city of Southampton from the time of the Romans up to that of Henry VIII and beyond, including visits to some of the City's many vaults.
Of course, beer is most probably your thing... We therefore recommend that you consult the Good Beer Guide (GBG) for the best pubs to visit in the area. The GBG is available for mobile phones too... simply visit m.camra.org.uk from your phone and it'll tell you how to download it (iPhones, Android phones and Symbian phones [most Nokias] are all supported). The Good Beer Guide for Sat Nav is also available to help you navigate your way to these pubs.