Welcome to Southampton

Southampton is a city possibly most famous for people leaving it – being the departure point for both the Mayflower and Titanic – but there is so much more to this city that makes it a fantastic place to live, visit and do business.

Whether you are visiting the city for a conference, event or as a tourist on a short break, keen to delve into our rich heritage, or visiting on business with a few hours to spare, or in fact as a local resident wanting to explore further, Southampton offers a vibrant, cultural experience for all. The city warmly welcomes you and looks forward to your visit.

Southampton is regarded as the cruise capital of Northern Europe and plays host to over four million visitors a year. It is a diverse city with a broad range of attractions on offer, able to suit all ages and interests.

Southampton has two city centre theatres, the Mayflower being the third largest theatre outside of London, and the new NST City is part of a multi-million pound cultural development in the heart of the city and one of the only self producing theatres left in the country. The other half of this development is the new John Hansard Gallery, which in conjunction with the Southampton City Art Gallery, and museums such as SeaCity make the arts and cultural offering in the city truly world-class. For the shopaholic and foodie, the city is overflowing with some of the worlds biggest retail brands and restaurants, as well as a wealth of independent outlets.

There are over 3,000 hotel beds in the city and surrounding area which ensure Southampton remains the premier conference destination. With its world class cultural, heritage, and leisure offering, there are plenty of reasons for attendees to stay on and explore the city once an event has finished.

Southampton is largest city in Hampshire and is situated just 78 miles from London. Its great transport links nationally and internationally make it an easy place to visit by plane, train, automobile, or even by water.

The Facts & Figures

  • Population of over 222,000 of which 41,500 are students at the city’s two universities.
  • 7,300 businesses operate within the city.
  • Southampton is one of the greenest cities in Europe, with ten large parks and 326 acres of common.
  • Over 1 million passengers will pass through the CruiseTerminals during 2013.
  • More than 2 million passengers will pass through Southampton Airport in 2013.
  • More than 2.5 million passengers will travel on Red Funnel Ferries to the Isle of Wight in 2013, travelling through Southampton.

What is Southampton most famous for?

  • The UK’s premier cruise port.
  • The home of ocean sailing in the UK and hosting many international sailing events.
  • ‘Titanic’ set sail from Southampton in 1912.
  • The first prototype Spitfire was manufactured in Southampton.
  • Southampton is one of only two cities in the world that uses geothermal energy to provide fuel to the city.
  • In 1620 ‘Mayflower’ and ‘Speedwell’ carrying Pilgrims both set sail from Southampton.
  • Southampton has been the home of the Ordnance Survey, Britain’s national mapping agency, since 1841.
  • Southampton is one of the world’s natural harbours, with double tides each day, one from the west and a second hours later from the east.

West Quay Shopping complex and Showcase Cinema at night


The city is home to more than 400 shops, ranging from large department stores to small independent boutiques with modern shopping centres and a retail park.

An incredibly diverse dining offer includes intimate independent restaurants, world famous brands, and large buffet restaurants serving over 150 different dishes.

The annual Boat Show, with over 600 exhibitors, and the more recent addition of Sailing Week has put Southampton on the map as a top location for boating enthusiasts.

The sporting venues of the Ageas Bowl and St. Mary’s Stadium offer unique spaces for conferences, events and exhibitions as well as host a number of top concert acts throughout the year.

With over 50 parks and green open spaces, Southampton is one of the greenest cities in the UK.


Southampton is home to the longest surviving stretch of medieval walls in England, many of which you are still able to walk along.

The Pilgrim Fathers set sail on the Mayflower from Southampton on their journey to the new world. The legacy of the voyage can still be seen in Southampton as its Mayflower Memorial stands proudly opposite the city’s Mayflower Park.

The fateful Titanic left from the port of Southampton in April 1912, never to return. Now the SeaCity Museum in the city’s Cultural Quarter pays homage to the local crew members and enlightens visitors on Southampton’s rich maritime history.

Jane Austen famously spent 3 periods of her life in Southampton and danced in the main conference room of what is now the Mercure Dolphin Hotel in the High Street.

Henry 5th marched his troops through the city’s medieval West Gate en route to The Battle of Agincourt. The West Gate remains open to visitors to walk in the legendary king’s footsteps.

The iconic WW2 Spitfire fighter plane was RJ Mitchell designed and built in Southampton. The city’s aeronautical heritage can be seen at the Solent Sky Museum.

Sightseeing walks and tours in and around Southampton offer visitors great opportunities to explore the heritage, taking in medieval walls and vaults, Norman-era churches and monuments to the city’s important historical events.

Southampton Bargate medieval gatehouse
Mayflower Theatre Southampton Matilda Musical Stage Finale


The Mayflower Theatre is the third largest in the country and biggest touring theatre outside of London. The theatre seats 2,300 and group bookings are welcome.

The new NST Theatre and John Hansard Gallery opened in 2018, expanding the city’s cultural offering hugely and providing two major new events venues.

Southampton City Art Gallery houses one of the largest collections of art in the country and is free. Why not include a visit to the gallery as part of your event?

With over 40 public events taking place in the city centre each year, Southampton is a city in which there is always something going on.

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From big brand high street staples to independent boutiques, Southampton has the lot. With two indoor shopping centres, a pedestrianised High Street, an IKEA store and retail park you will be spoilt for choice.

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With a tantalising choice of eateries across the city, there is something for everyone. Choose from waterside dining at Ocean Village, bistros and coffee houses on Oxford Street, and themed restaurants and bars at Westquay or the city’s Cultural Quarter.

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Whether you prefer a traditional pub, elegant cocktail bar or booming night club, you will be sure of a great night out! Enjoy a West End production at the Mayflower Theatre, a Hollywood film at one of four cinemas, or watch a live band at one of the many live music venues.

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