City of Southampton
Southampton is a vibrant city with a unique waterfront location and a diverse population. 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.
Music, arts and culture
As well as the University’s arts venues, the city has a range of venues for theatre, music, art, and comedy, including:
- the Mayflower Theatre, which has a varied programme including West End musicals, ballet and comedy
- the O2 Guildhall, where you can see touring bands and comedians
- Jongleurs Comedy Club, which hosts top comedians from all over the UK
- the Southampton City Art Gallery, which houses an impressive permanent collection as well as a programme of exhibitions
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 Medieval Merchant's House and Tudor House, which give a flavour of life in the city’s past
- 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.
Southampton has several large shopping centres so you'll find all the big high-street brands in easy reach. With over 100 stores, West Quay shopping centre has become one of the top shopping destinations on the south coast.
Parks and open spaces
Southampton is one of the UK’s greenest cities and has several large parks in the city centre. Four of our campuses are close to Southampton Common – over 300 acres of managed woodland in the heart of the city. It’s the perfect place for walking, jogging or a game of football with friends. It is also the venue for community events during the year, such as fairs, gigs and charity races.
Nightlife and eating out
Whether you fancy lunch with friends or a night on the dance floor, Southampton has the right venue for you. From intimate lounge bars and roof terraces, to Leisure World, which houses a casino, bowling alley, several restaurants and bars, a 13-screen cinema and a nightclub, there's something to suit every taste.
Historic Oxford Street is home to Southampton's finest restaurants, but wherever you are in the city you'll be spoiled for choice. You’ll find a wide variety of cuisines from around the world and options for every budget.