Situated on the South coast of England, Southampton is a sunny port city with a vibrant lifestyle and longstanding nautical history. With over 3 million visitors a year it offers everything from sports, shopping and culture to historical landmarks and a wealth of other attractions.
History of Southampton
Dating back from medieval times Southampton has a great deal of ancient points of interest that are just waiting to be discovered. On the Quay side you can see where the pilgrims set sail in 1620 for America and where the Titanic launched on its ill-fated voyage in 1912. Fancy a historic stroll? Then take on of the guided walks to learn more, such as the Titanic walk or the QE2 mile. Both the Mayflower and the Titanic set sail from Southampton docks on their historic voyages and the city is known globally as the'Cruise Capital of Europe'.
Famous names from Southampton include author Jane Austen, wildlife presenter Chris Packham, footballer Matt Le Tissier and Spitfire plane inventor R.J. Mitchell.
Culture in Southampton
There is a wide variety of cultural activities available in Southampton - for the dramatic we have the Mayflower Theatre, the largest in the South of England - which plays host to a number of West End Shows and other productions. For the artistic we have the Southampton City Art Gallery which houses a huge collection, for more contemporary works try the Solent Showcase.
For the more musically inclined we have the Turner Sims Concert Hall, where all manner of performances take place and for a film treat why not pop along to the cosy Harbour Lights Picture House which is situated on the Marina?
Living Costs in Southampton
It is over 30% cheaper to live in Southampton than London, according to figures provided by Expatistan. All areas of life are significantly cheaper, from food, housing through to transportation and Man and Van hire.
Average flat prices inSouthampton are around £155,000, for a semi-detached house around £245,000 (compared with £630,000 in London) and average rental costs for a 2-bedroom property in Southampton come in at around £840.
Employment in Southampton
Much of Southampton's employment sector is situated around the docks, which provide over ten thousand jobs. Cargo handling still plays an important part in the city's economy, as does the luxury cruise sector - with global employers operating there such as P&O, Royal Caribbean and Carnival.
Southampton is regarded as Hampshire's economic centre and has a good job market as would be expected. Southampton is ranked high in national tables on jobs, income, health, skills and new business.
Amongst other sectors that are strong in Southampton there are the service industries, hospitals, council, construction and larger global employers such as Ericsson, Ford and Ordnance Survey. For those wishing to commute London is 80 minutes away by train.
Southampton boasts a good standard of education, over 80% of primary and 70% of secondary school pupils attending good or outstanding education places according to the latest Ofsted tables. Southampton has a global reach education-wise, students from all across the globe come to the University of Southampton to study. The university is consistently ranked within the worlds to 100 educational institutions and is renowned in the fields of electrical and electronic engineering especially.
Top Southampton schools include Bitterne Manor Primary School, Springhill Catholic Primary School, Applemore College secondary school and Bitterne Park School.
Sports and Outdoors
For nature lovers the New Forest is a major attraction - with over 130,000 acres this national park is abundant with wildlife - from the wild ponies that roam, through to deer and even wild boar!
The Saints, Southamptons football team are a Premier League side with many fans both inside and out of the City, fans can see them play home and away.
Due to the coastal nature of the city there are a multitude of activities both on and off the sea to enjoy in Southampton. Learn to sail, play gold, jog through the parks or enjoy the facilities at the huge Outdoor Sports Centre with it's multitude of facilities including a BMX track and football pitches. Fancy the slopes? There's the Alpine Snow-sports Centre offering all-year skiing and snowboarding, or for more of a splash dive into the Quays Swimming and Diving Centre that has seen Olympic athletes train on it's premises.
With evening activities for all ages Southampton boasts a dazzling array of attractions. Dining out is as exotic as you might expect from a port City, there's a plethora of international restaurants on offer. After the meal why not head out to one of Southamptons many historic pubs, flowing with real ale - or catch a local band at one of the many small music venues? For the more lively evening check out the Guildhall venue, or one of the many gigs and nightclubs on offer such as Club Junk or the retro-styled Orange Rooms.
At a more sedate pace during the day there are many museums in Southampton. The SeaCity museum houses an impressive Titanic exhibit with interactive parts to explore for the kids. If you're more interested in the sky than sea pop along to the Solent Sky Museum where there are many vintage aircraft on display, including the iconic Spitfire.