Town or County - Southampton and surrounding villages

Southampton's Tudor House

Southampton's Tudor House - Credit: Emma Caulton

If you work in Southampton you can live in the lively thick of it all or escape to surrounding villages, as Emma Caulton finds out.


1) Easy road, railway and airport access.

2) Great facilities.

Southampton is a prosperous port city known as the cruise capital of the country, home to the prestigious Southampton Boat Show and forever linked to the Titanic; its tragic story told at Southampton’s SeaCity Museum. Much of the town was levelled in the Second World War when, as Britian’s number one military port and home of Spitfire production, it was heavily bombed. Postwar redevelopment lacked vision; however remnants of medieval Southampton remain and are worth seeking out, including the old town walls and Tudor House.

For those moving to the area, Southampton offers a great lifestyle mix. It is one of the greenest cities in the country with numerous parks and open spaces including a 326-acre common right at its heart. The retail offering includes popular names such as John Lewis and Zara in West Quay shopping centre, an Ikea, and quality independents in Bedford Place; Oxford Street is Southampton’s buzzy restaurant quarter with tables spilling out onto the pavements Mediterranean-style.

There is a lively arts scene with venues including the Nuffield Theatre and the Mayflower Theatre, while Turner Sims Concert Hall, The Guildhall and The Brook showcase a wide variety of live music between them. Other entertainment venues include Harbour Lights picture house and internationally renowned City Art Gallery. Leisure time pleasures encompass golf (there’s the very good Southampton City Golf Course on the outskirts), sailing and rowing opportunities, and a 150-acre outdoor sports centre with tennis courts, assault courses, football pitches and Alpine sports.

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Housing runs the gamut from Victorian terraced cottages to big contemporary homes swish enough to attract a premier footballer (Saints, Southampton’s football club, is currently well positioned in the Premier League).

Particularly popular areas include Bassett, Chilworth, Highfield (home to the University of Southampton) and Upper Shirley (adjacent to Southampton General Hospital). Development is progressing at Ocean Village, too, Southampton’s waterside marina.

All this and great communications with easy access to motorways (M3 and M27), Southampton International Airport and a mainline station with a decent service up to London makes Southampton a very attractive option.

Did you know? Wildlife expert and TV presenter, Chris Packham, was born in Southampton.


1) Waterside location.

2) Socialble community.

Charming Hamble-le-Rice, cornered by the River Hamble on one side and Solent Water on the other, has an international reputation as a mecca for yachties. It is the home of the Royal Yachting Association and a plethora of marinas, sailing clubs and yachting-related businesses.

For a small waterside village it also manages to support an astonishing array of pubs and restaurants, from The Bugle to Banana Wharf, frequented by sociable boatowners and their crews. Otherwise some rather lovely local independents include a deli, art gallery and home style shop.

Hamble has the feel of a quiet backwater (there is a railway station, but it is not a mainline station) until events such as Cowes Week get it buzzing. The commute to Southampton is good, and the local primary school has been rated Good by Ofsted.

A mix of properties includes quaint cottages and some good new builds; those houses with river views fetch a premium.

Did you know? Olympic cyclist Dani King was born in Hamble

West End

1) Well connected: just of the M27.

2) Good community spirit.

Nudging up against the M27 and Hedge End’s retail park, West End is best known as the home of Hampshire County Cricket Club. Prior to the motorway opening, West End was a hamlet. Today it has the feel of a Southampton suburb although it is technically part of Eastleigh. Amenities are good including a community hospital, surgery, library, youth club and primary school. A useful parade of shops has a supermarket, bakery, chemist and award-winning fish and chip shop among a selection of take-aways. At its centre is Hatch Grange, 38 acres of parkland, woodland and play areas. Property is mostly new developments although older properties can be found in the leafy roads of the favoured ‘Telegraph Woods’ area.

Did you know? The Ageas Bowl has been named Best International Ground and is to become Britain’s first Model Test match ground.


1) Waterside location.

2) Strong community.

Warsash is another centre for all things boaty and is home to Warsash Maritime Academy, the world’s premier maritime education and training provider. There are three pubs and a variety of shops as well as a lovely nature reserve of some 500 acres. Recreation grounds include Strawberry Field, taken over every other summer by the popular Warsash Festival. Activities at the village hall include indoor bowls, badminton and more, while there is a tennis club and football club at Warsash recreation ground. For families there is a pre-school, day nursery and Hook with Warsash primary school - rated Good with Outstanding features by Ofsted. Property varies: there are period cottages, modern houses with balconies and big country piles.

Did you know? Thousands of British and Allied naval and commando units sailed from Warsash as part of the D-Day landings.

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