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Previously known as ‘The Gateway to the World’, for years people have come to Southampton to reach distant and exotic locations. As one of England’s foremost commercial ports, Southampton has a unique cultural heritage and a thriving commercial centre.
As well as being the south’s leading destination for shopping and entertainment, it is also the greenest city in the region with numerous beautiful parks and beaches.
Business in the local area
The economy, which was formerly based on traditional manufacturing industries and port-related activities, is now much more diverse. Approximately 7,200 businesses operate in the city with the most significant sectors being distribution, tourism, business and financial services.
The city is home to the Big 4 and Top 20 firms, including BDO, Grant Thornton and Smith & Williamson.
The local economy is dominated by the OMB sector with a few large international corporates. This economic mix means the Big 4 tend to link their Southampton offices with their Reading operations.
Southampton offers unrivalled access to a wealth of leisure activities and its coastal location means there are great opportunities to enjoy watersports including sailing, windsurfing and waterskiing. The city’s proximity to the New Forest means that there are great opportunities to enjoy woodland walks and mountain biking in all seasons.
For those who prefer a more leisurely approach to life, Southampton itself offers great shopping with the large West Quay shopping centre home to the likes of John Lewis and M&S. There are a number of theatres in the region including the Mayflower, which plays host to numerous large tours that bring international stars to Southampton.
Southampton has excellent links to major cities throughout the UK and Europe whether you wish to travel by rail, road or air. Southampton Airport offers flights to destinations all over the UK and Europe.
South West Trains operates a direct service every 30 minutes from Southampton Central to London Waterloo.
There are several other services which provide excellent links to destinations such as Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Brighton and Gatwick Airport. Longer distance services provide direct links with Bath, Bristol, south Wales, the midlands, the north and Scotland.
The city is easily accessible by road from both the M27 and the M3. London is 81 miles north (approx 1 hour 20 minutes), Bristol 100 miles north-west (approx 1 hour 30 minutes) and Brighton is 64 miles east (approx 1 hour).
Other transport links include a free City Loop bus service that operates between the north and the east of the city centre and ferries leave the port on a daily basis for the Isle of Wight.
The population of Southampton is around 237,000 and city centre living is growing in popularity with the rapid increase of modern accommodation options. The centre of Southampton offers a vibrant mix of original architecture and new developments such as West Quay, which has been completed over the last couple of years and has effectively repositioned the town centre.
The more recent development of Town Quay has brought new marina and waterside apartments along with a number of chic bars and restaurants, adding a taste of café culture to the south coast.
Outskirts of Southampton
Away from Southampton city centre, many people choose to live in the surrounding towns and villages which offer affordable property within a short commute of the city. Locations include Romsey, Eastleigh, Fareham and Winchester, all of which have good road links into Southampton itself via the M3 and M27. The New Forest is popular with both couples and families for whom the buzz of city life does not appeal.
The average cost of a detached house in December 2010 was £264,000, with the average flat costing £145,000.
For more information visit primelocation.com
Southampton offers excellent schooling in both the private and state sectors. Independent schools include
- Bedales School in Petersfield
- Stanbridge Earls in Romsey
For more information visit ofsted.gov.uk