About Southampton

Located on the south coast in the county of Hampshire, Southampton is a friendly and diverse city enjoying the UK’s mildest climate. Its waterfront location gives Southampton its own distinctive character with a rich maritime heritage and a focus on water sports, sailing and ocean racing.

City of Southampton

Southampton is one of the most lively and dynamic cities in the south of England. 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 you will find 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. 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 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 still 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.