The port city offers coastal living that’s rich in culture and activities, as well as great connections to the rest of the country.
Southampton is one of the greenest cities in the UK, which makes it easy to see why it regularly makes the HSBC’s list of top 10 best places for property investors. There's 326 acres of fields, wetlands and wildlife in Southampton Common alone.
With a teaching hospital, two universities, theatres, music venues, a port, a revamped marina and a developing cultural hub, plus excellent connections by land, sea and air, Southampton is a favourite for students, young professionals, families, retirees and the sailing and cruise-loving fraternity.
Firstly, where is Southampton?
Southampton is a port city in Hampshire on England’s south coast. It’s the closest city to the New Forest National Park.
How much will it cost me?
The average price of a property in Southampton is £293,318. The table, below, shows how many properties have sold in the county over the past 12 months, the average sale price, and how values are changing.
What about renters?
Average asking rents in Southampton currently stand at £1,316 per month. Renters will need to budget £867 for a two-bedroom flat and £1,379 for a four-bedroom house.
What the experts say…
You’ll find brand new properties in the up-and-coming Cultural Quarter close to arts venues and Southampton Solent University. The townhouses and luxury apartments with views across the River Itchen and the marina at sought-after Ocean Village command higher prices.
The suburb of Hedge End is popular with families, thanks to its good schools, shops, parks and pool. Shirley offers easy access to Southampton Common and is a brisk walk to the mainline station, Southampton Central.
Portswood and Highfield, (the latter is one of the University of Southampton campus sites), offer a good mix of housing close to St Denys railway station.
Bassett is a dream location for golf lovers – Southampton Golf Club is on the doorstep - while West End, home to Hampshire County Cricket’s Ageas Bowl ground, suits cricket lovers.
A little further out, over the M27, family-friendly Chilworth offers substantial properties for house-hunters with deep pockets, while Hythe, across Southampton Water, has good schools and access to the New Forest.
Best ways to get around Southampton
By rail: There are two main stations in Southampton – Airport Parkway and Central - with smaller stations serving the port, football ground, universities and suburbs. Fast trains to London Waterloo take 80 minutes; to Bristol, 100 minutes at peak times and this can rise to two hours.
Car: The M3 links Southampton and south west London. The M27 runs between Southampton and Portsmouth. The A31 links to the South West, the A36 to the North West.
Air: Southampton Airport flies to major British and Irish cities, including Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds Bradford and Newcastle, Cork, Dublin and Belfast (all in under 90 minutes). Holiday and business flights to the continent include Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland and more.
Sea: A fast passenger service (25 minutes) sails between Southampton and West Cowes on the Isle of Wight. A slower car ferry sails between the docks and East Cowes.
Southampton ferries link to both France and Spain. Southampton is the cruise capital of the UK and ocean liners regularly sail worldwide. Or keep your own boat at one of the city’s marinas. The Mayflower sailed from Southampton to take settlers to the New World – America.
There's a variety of types of schools in Southampton, from infant schools, through to secondary schools, special schools and independent schools.
There are 42 schools and colleges rated ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED within a 10-mile radius of Southampton.
They include St Anne's Catholic School, Springhill Catholic Primary School, Bitterne Manor Primary School, Bitterne Park Primary School, Beechwood Junior School, Highfield Church of England Primary School, Sholing Infant School, Portswood Primary School, Marchwood Junior School, Rosewood Free School, Harefield Primary School, Townhill Infant School, Springwell School, Orchard Infant School, Kanes Hill Primary School, Sinclair Primary and Nursery School, Hounsdown School, Eastleigh College, Wildern School, Wellstead Primary School, and Hazel Wood Infant School.
Southampton is home to some of England’s best-preserved medieval town walls. The Old Town has more than 90 listed buildings and 30 ancient monuments, including wine vaults and churches. The historic entrance to the medieval town is Bargate. Look out for Medieval Merchants' House on French Street and Tudor House on Bugle Street.
It was from Southampton that the ill-fated Titanic set sail on her maiden voyage in April 1912. Just a few days later, it struck an iceberg and sank. The Titanc Memorial can be found in the city centre, opposite the Cenotaph, in Andrews (East) Park.
Where to eat, drink and make merry
Bistros, restaurants and café-bars, including the Olive Tree and Grand Café, are centred around Oxford Street, conveniently placed for shoppers. The new marina is fast becoming a go-to place for trendy eateries such as Banana Wharf.
Southampton’s theatre lovers are spoilt for choice. The Nuffield was voted Regional Theatre of the Year in 2015 by The Stage. The Mayflower Theatre draws big names to tread its boards.
Meanwhile, Turner Sims at the University of Southampton has been named one of the top concert halls in the country. The city’s students also ensure there’s plenty of action at Southampton’s other venues. Check out The Brook for bigger bands, The Joiners and the Talking Heads (relocated to the Polygon) for up-and-coming and indie names.
Southampton’s vibrant new Cultural Quarter is being developed around Guildhall Square, flanked by Southampton Solent University. The area is already a draw thanks to the Southampton City Art Gallery, which houses a permanent collection and displays covering eight centuries of art from painting and drawing to photography and film.
Next door, the SeaCity Museum provides an insight into Southampton’s history and place in the world, with interactive displays.
Southampton Football Club is a Premier League club, so even if you’re not a supporter of the Saints (the club’s nickname) you can see other top-flight teams marching into St Mary’s Stadium.
The annual Southampton Boat Show will already be in the diary of most sailing and watersports enthusiasts. It offers insights into everything from bilge pumps to wooden boat building and is held at Mayflower Park and Town Quay.
Head over to WestQuay, where you’ll find big-name stores such as John Lewis, M&S and Next. Or for clusters of independents, visit Bedford Place and Portswood, where you’ll find bustling boutiques and shops.
There are regular specialist markets in the city centre, including vintage and retro, antiques and collectables, arts and crafts, as well as farmers’ and artisan food markets.
The Phoenix Cinema Club, one of the oldest film societies in the country, holds regular screenings at Union Films Cinema in Southampton University Students Union.
What’s for sale…
…for the first-time buyer?
This new-build bungalow comes with a garden, single garage and off-street parking as well as the latest mod cons, including double glazing. The Help to Buy scheme is on offer with this property.
Available via Radian Homes
…for the family?
This new-build home features an energy-efficient heating system and a high level of insulation. It's located on a private cul-de-sac and boasts landscaped, southern aspect gardens with views towards Telegraph Woods. The Help to Buy scheme is on offer.
Available via Connells
This top-floor, fully furnished apartment comes with a modern kitchen, generous storage, parking space, balcony and communal garden. Rent excludes tenancy deposit and any other charges or fees.
Available via Leaders
…with the biggest discount?
This apartment is one of a number of brand new waterside homes situated along the banks of the River Itchen. There's a wealth of bars, shops and restaurants nearby and numerous transport connections.
Available via Leaders
The most popular Brighton property currently for sale is…
This modernised property boasts a new kitchen that leads out to the garden, separate dining room, new family bathroom as well as a rear and side garden and off-street parking.
Available via Fox & Sons
The most expensive streets to buy….