Known as Clausentum in Roman times, Southampton latterly forged itself as an industrial centre in the south of Britain. Famed for its shipbuilding, Southampton was the original port that launched the Titanic, and it is still the occasional home of the QE2 and the Queen Mary 2. Before and after the Second World War, Southampton was also the base for various aviation construction companies, which built planes for the war effort, including the Spitfire.

Bombed during the war, Southampton has since been rebuilt as a fully modernised city, complete with shopping centres, two universities, a successful football team and The Rose Bowl, a concert venue and home to Hampshire’s County Cricket Club. Named the 'Fittest City in the UK' by Men’s Health magazine in 2006, Southampton also boasts many parks, including Southampton Common, which is bigger than London’s Hyde Park, earning it the nickname the 'Green City'.


In terms of visitor attractions, Southampton boasts an excellent Maritime Museum and the Solent Sky Museum, which is home to the legendary Spitfire fighter plane, as well as a zoo and a Titanic memorial.

Despite the ravages wrought by WWII, Southampton also retains some interesting mediaeval architecture, including the second-longest stretch of city walls in England, and Bargate, the old entrance to the city. Southampton also plays host to the oldest surviving bowling green in the world.

Southampton has a pleasant harbour and delightful marina area, which centres around Ocean Village, a new development that has attracted high profile residents, including Southampton Football Club legend, Matthew Le Tissier.

Outside of Southampton, there are numerous drives and walks that both locals and tourists can enjoy, especially in and around the South Downs and the New Forest area. The local Hampshire countryside was early inspiration for Pride and Prejudice author Jane Austen and painter JMW Turner.


The West Quay Shopping Centre is a shop-til-you-drop complex that caters for nearly every need, it having been the largest city-centre shopping mall in Europe when it opened. If you prefer smaller, more idiosyncratic shops, however, head to Bedford Place, whilst Bargate will reward shoppers with its many cafés and bars.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Southampton has an enormous range of pubs and bars, as well as laying claim to a vibrant live music scene. However, you can quickly find yourself wandering from a lovely area like Oxford Street and on to the much-to-be-desired St Mary’s Road, which, despite the proximity of one to the other, is like going through a time warp. There are friendly ale pubs in suburb Freemantle, such as The Waterloo Arms and The Wellington Arms.

Southampton’s nightclubs, meanwhile, are generally defined by students, cheese, alcopops and short skirts in February.

For eats, you shouldn’t go to Southampton without trying fish and chips – although Oxfords on Oxford Street also comes highly recommended with its European cuisine.

Tourist Information

Southampton Tourist Information Centre9 Civic Centre RoadSouthamptonHampshireSO14 7FJTel. 02380 833


Southampton Airport, which is located in neighbouring village Eastleigh, offers flights to the European mainland, as well as to other destination within the British Isles.

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