Southampton - In Brief.

Southampton is the largest city on the south coast of England. It is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest. The city lies roughly in the centre of the coast, at the northern-most point of Southampton Water where it is joined by the River Test and River Itchen, with the River Hamble joining to the south of the urban area. The city is situated approximately halfway between Bournemouth and Portsmouth.

Southampton Civic Centre
Southampton Civic Centre.

Southampton is the biggest trading and container port on the south coast of England. It has passenger ferries to the Isle of Wight and mainland Europe, and three large cruise ship terminals, with another one in the offing.

Southampton is a vibrant, modern city which offers one of the most modern shopping complexes in the south of England and an absolute wealth of sporting, leisure, entertainment and cultural opportunities.

As well as numerous indoor sports, keep fit and swimming facilities Southampton has one of the largest open air sports and athletic arenas to be found in the south of England in its Sports Centre, situated on the northern edge of the city. In contrast to the ‘out of town’ location of the Sports Centre, Championship League Southampton Football Club has its state-of-the-art football stadium set down firmly in the heart of city’s waterside population, on the banks of the River Itchen, very near to the original Saxon settlement of Hamwic.

To the north of the city centre is Southampton's cultural quarter, with the elegant art deco City Art Gallery, containing 3,500 works of art covering six centuries. Meanwhile, the work of up and coming artists and designers can be found in the nearby Millais Gallery.

Southampton Above Bar Precinct
Above Bar Precinct.

The Mayflower, the largest theatre in southern England, offers large-scale West End musicals as well as ballet and operatic productions. The Nuffield Theatre, based on the university campus, hosts performances from Shakespeare to contemporary drama. The city is also home to some of the region's best concert halls and two large multi-purpose venues staging major rock, contemporary and classical music events.

The city represents the core of the Greater Southampton region, with a population of 228,600. The city's name is sometimes abbreviated in writing to "So'ton" or "Soton", and a resident of Southampton is called a “Sotonian”.

Southampton is noted for being the home of the RMS Titanic, of the famous World War II aircraft the Spitfire and more recently a number of the largest cruise liners in the world. Many world famous figures from history were born or made their home in Southampton. These included the likes of the composer of many popular hymns, Isaac Watts; comedian Benny Hill: Admiral Earl Jelicoe; inventor of the Spitfire, R.J. Mitchell; film Director, Ken Russel; weapons inventor, General Shrapnel; jazz Trumpeter, Nat Gonella; General Gordon of Khartoum and novelist Jane Austen, to name but a few.