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Often named the ‘Port City’ on the southeastern coast of England, Southampton is the largest city in Hampshire country. It is situated 120 k southwest from London and 30 km northwest from Portsmouth. The modern city today was settled back in Roman and Saxon times and ruins from that period can be seen in the Bittern Manor suburb. During the Saxon times, the town used to be the premier trading post of Britain. Later, during the Middle Ages it was walled and centuries after that during the Second World War, the city was destroyed.
In the last three decades, Southampton became one of the twenty largest cities in England, featuring two universities, many businesses, restaurants, etc.
Arriving at Southampton Airport
Southampton International Airport is positioned a short distance outside the city, in Eastleigh. This is a small airport, serving flights to Ireland and UK, France and the Channel Islands, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
There is a bus U1C that goes from the airport to the center of the city. Those who wish to be more independent can use the economy car rental, which is offered by the car rental companies.
If Southampton International Airport is not suitable to be used, an alternative is offered by flying to one of the London Airports and then reaching Southampton by one of the airport rentals, rail or bus. Affordable car rental is also offered by the website airportcarrental365 – a great place to compare rates of the top car rental companies and get an unbeatable deal.
Driving in Southampton
Since Southampton is a major port city in UK, it has very good transport links to the rest of the country. The motorway M3 connects the city to London, the motorway M27 links it to the southern coast of England (West Country and Bournemouth, as well as Brighton) and the motorway M271 links the city with the Western Docks.
The driving rules that apply in Southampton are those that apply for the entire country. The car parking is easy and there are many paid and display parking places to be found in the city center. There are also free 2 hour car parks too, where one can park one’s advantage rental car.
Things To See & Do in Southampton
There are many things that one can do and see in Southampton. Among them are the following landmarks:
- The Bargate – this is a medieval gatehouse to be found in the middle of the shopping centre. Its top floor is now used as a Heritage Visitor Centre.
- The Central Parks – these have been established in the 19th century and listed Grade II on English Heritage’s Register of Historic Parks.
- Sea-City Museum
- Tudor Hous
- The yearly Southampton Boat Show – that is a must see event.
- Visit one of the many Theatres including: The Mayflower which is the largest theatre in southern England; The Nuffield Theatre, based on the university campus; The Turner Sims Concert Hall; The Southampton Guildhall, etc.
- Visit one of the Art Galleries, including The Bargate Monument Gallery, the City Art Gallery, the Millais Gallery and The John Hansard Gallery.
- Enjoy a walk on Southampton Common – huge area of grass and woodland, including a Wildlife Centre, paddling pool, play area and fishing lake. The region is very busy during the summer months.
- Walk the historic town walls, gatehouses and towers, which are amongst the most complete in England. Around half of the original one mile circuit still survives, including the famous Bargate.
- Watch a football match when Southampton FC plays at the new St Marys Stadium.
- Take a ride on the Hythe Ferry from Town Quay, watching the shipping in the docks.