Located on the south coast of the UK in the county of Hampshire, Southampton is a friendly and diverse city enjoying a mild climate and fast transportation links to other UK and global cities. Southampton has its own distinctive character with a rich maritime heritage and a focus on water sports, sailing and ocean racing, as well as being one of the most important ports in the UK. Southampton is also the major port for cruise ships and a candidate for the City of Culture in 2025.
City of Southampton
Southampton is one of the most lively and dynamic cities in the south of England. It is also a city with two Universities and a large number of the South’s science and innovation companies. Recognised as the cultural, retail and commercial capital of the south of England, it’s a great place to shop, eat, socialise and enjoy sports and the arts.
Southampton is one of the greenest cities and has several large parks in the city centre. Southampton Common has over 300 acres of managed woodland in the heart of the city perfect for a walking or jogging. it is also the venue for community events during the year such as fairs, gigs and charity races.
Not far from Southampton there are areas of natural beauty and stunning coastlines including the New Forest National Park, Isle of Wight and coastal resorts of Bournemouth and Poole.
History and maritime heritage
Southampton is a historically important maritime port and has played a significant role on the world stage over the last 500 years.
In 1415, King Henry V’s forces sailed from Southampton for the Battle of Agincourt and in 1620 the Mayflower took the pilgrims to the New World (now the United States and Canada). The Titanic began its tragic maiden voyage from Southampton’s docks in 1912. The luxury ocean liner Queen Mary 2, designed by University of Southampton graduate Stephen Payne, also set out from Southampton on its maiden voyage in 2004.
There are various places where you can explore Southampton’s rich history, including:
- the state-of-the-art SeaCity Museum, which focuses on the city’s connection to the sea, including its link to the Titanic
- the Southampton medieval Town Walls, Bargate, Medieval Merchant’s House and Tudor House, which give a flavour of life in the city’s past and can be seen on the Southampton Old Town Walk.
- the Solent Sky Museum, a showcase of local aviation history including the story of the iconic Spitfire, which was designed and built in Southampton
Southampton is a major centre for maritime activities today; it has four dedicated cruise terminals and hosts the annual Southampton Boat Show, the largest on-water boat show in Europe. Nearby on the Isle of Wight, Cowes Week attracts the world’s best sailors for a week of competitive racing every August.