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Known as the cruise capital of Europe, Southampton plays host to over four million visitors per year, as well as boasting an impressive cultural offering, from museums, music and art, to award-winning parks and fabulous shopping opportunities. It is noted for its association with the RMS Titanic, the Spitfire and as one of the departure points for D-Day, and there’s a long list of famous Sotonians, which the city has produced throughout its history, ranging from hymn writer Isaac Watts, to modern-day musician, Craig David. Being a port city, Southampton has crossed paths with a number of seafarers including Charles Fryatt, who rammed a German U-boat with his civilian ship during World War I, John Jellicoe, who served as Admiral of the Fleet during the same war, and the last survivor of RMS Titanic, Millvina Dean.
Southampton has the longest surviving stretch of Medieval walls in England, along with a great number of museums that pay homage to its maritime connections. The annual Southampton Boat Show is held in September each year, with over 600 exhibitors in residence, and Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre is the largest theatre in Southern England, hosting the best that the West End has to offer. There are many innovative art galleries in the city, two large live music venues, and everything that the keen sportsman could desire! Men’s Fitness Magazine once named Southampton the ‘fittest city in the UK’, as sport plays a huge role in the lives of its many residents, from supporting Southampton Football Club and watching Hampshire County Cricket Club play, to taking part in amateur men and women’s rugby, enjoying a host of water-sport activities, and learning the ropes of American football... The options are endless!
Just over a quarter of the jobs available in the city are in the health and education sector, while other prominent businesses are in property, wholesale and retail. Significant employers include Southampton City Council, the University of Southampton, Solent University, Southampton Airport, Ordnance Survey, BBC South, the NHS, and cruiser operator Carnival UK. Southampton has always been a port, and the docks provide further employment opportunities, with luxury cruise ships being the mainstay of the business, as well as it being a freight port, with several container terminals.
Southampton has two universities, namely the University of Southampton and Southampton Solent University. Together, they have a student population of around 40,000. There are 79 state-run schools in Southampton, two sixth-form colleges and a further education college, along with a few independent schools such as The Gregg School, King Edward VI School and St Mary’s Independent School. A number of Southampton pupils will travel outside the city to attend other educational establishments in the local area including Barton Peveril College in Eastleigh.
Geographically, Southampton is south-west of London, north-west of Portsmouth and the closest city to the New Forest (if you haven’t visited this national park before, it’s a definite must, with wild horses roaming freely). It has good transport links with the rest of the country, thanks to the M27, M3 and A34, as well as rail services to Portsmouth, Winchester, London, Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester, Weymouth, Salisbury, Bristol and Cardiff, plus local train services operated by South Western Railway. Southampton Airport offers flights to UK and near European destinations, but for longer flights, you need to head for Gatwick or Heathrow, which are not too far to go.
Average property prices in Southampton are around £244,581, which is up 5 per cent on the same time the year before. Most of the house sales are flats, which tend to fetch around £169,514.