Why this vibrant, unique city is one of the UK's most popular places to live.

With its wealth of history and culture, a thriving shopping hub and access to the tranquil Hampshire coastline, Southampton really is the city that has it all.

There are a number of popular residential areas surrounding the city centre, giving plenty of options when it comes to choosing the right area for you, whether you're a family with small children, empty nesters looking to downsize, or are in search of the dream home to enjoy your retirement.

There's no shortage of things to do, with a wealth of shops and places to eat in the centre of town, as well as the Mayflower Theatre and the city's 02 Guildhall, which host regular concerts and musical productions direct from the West End. There's a lively food and drink scene too, with new eateries such as Blue Jasmine and Figurati making the most of the marina views at Ocean Village. Alex Aitken's The Jetty, in the Harbour Hotel is also worth a visit for fresh fish and seafood.

Great British Life: Ocean Village marina now boasts an array of high end restaurants, as well as a luxury hotel with spa. Ocean Village marina now boasts an array of high end restaurants, as well as a luxury hotel with spa. (Image: Getty)

Southampton has its fair share of museums and galleries with more than 90 listed buildings and 30 ancient monuments, not forgetting of course, the fame it has found for being the city from which the Titanic set sail.

For those in search of a more tranquil lifestyle, you're a stone's throw from a host of coastal walks, green spaces and the nearby New Forest National Park..

Transport links are good, with trains running direct to London in around 90 minutes from Southampton Central and the M27 and M3 motorways are just a short distance away. It also has its own airport, with regular flights around the UK and to Europe.

Great British Life: The city's old walls can still be seen today, with boutique hotel The Pig in the Wall, being a popular place to stop over before a cruise. The city's old walls can still be seen today, with boutique hotel The Pig in the Wall, being a popular place to stop over before a cruise. (Image: Getty)


There's a huge amount to see and do in Southampton, whatever your interests.

When it comes to shopping, the city centre boasts two shopping centres - Westquay and The Marlands – as well as a pedestrianised high street offering a huge variety of shops, bars and restaurants. Bedford Place and Portswood offer a host of independent boutiques such as the oldest and largest independent shoe shop in Hampshire, W. J. French & Son, and there are also weekly street markets which take place in the Shirley and Bitterne suburbs.

For a spot of culture, pay a visit to the Southampton City Art Gallery and its art collection covering six centuries of European art history, or the SeaCity Museum, which offers a hands-on exploration of the city's important maritime history, including its links to the Titanic, Mayflower and the Queen Mary 2. Today, a host of cruise liners can often be spotted at the docks, awaiting exotic voyages.

Great British Life: The SeaCity Museum showcases Southampton's global connections. The SeaCity Museum showcases Southampton's global connections. (Image: James Newell)

Southampton resident RJ Mitchell designed and built the Spitfire in Woolston, east of the Itchen River, and it had its maiden flight from what is now Southampton airport. You can discover more at the Solent Sky Museum.

Entertainment is abundant in the city, with concerts at the 02 Guildhall and stage shows at the Mayflower Theatre. Southampton also hosts a number of festivals each year including Let's Rock – a must for '80s fans – Summertime Live on Southampton Common and Beats & Eats, combining live music and delicious street food, at Hoglands Park. The city's diverse culture is celebrated with the Southampton Thai Festival and the Mela Festival, designed to be a celebration of modern and traditional Asian culture.

Active residents will love the range of sporting activities on offer, including the Southampton Water Activities Centre, Boulder Shack Gym, 1st Base Batting Cage and Sports Bar and The Outdoor Sports Centre. Walking, hiking and cycling opportunities are also easy to find – Southampton is hailed as one of Britain’s greenest cities with more than 50 parks to enjoy.

Whether it's the draw of vibrant city living, or the appeal of waterside elegance, you're sure to find a home to suit.

Great British Life: Southampton is one of the UK's greenest cities, with over 50 parks. Southampton is one of the UK's greenest cities, with over 50 parks. (Image: Getty)


Talking about the current market, Daniel Tarrant of Savills residential development sales team in Southampton, says: 'Southampton is a vibrant city on the south coast which has broad appeal and has become increasingly popular with commuters in recent years. A thriving educational sector all the way through to university attracts residents from all over the world.

'There has been an increase in the development of luxury apartments within the city centre, in addition to modern estates being built on the outskirts. These new homes are attracting a broad range of buyers including professionals, families and downsizers from both the local area and further afield, as well as investors, with Southampton being recently named as one of the top five buy to let locations in England for investment.

'The average second hand sale price in Southampton is £260,000, which, despite seeing a slight fall of -1.3 per cent over the last year, has increased by 3.9 per cent in the last three years and 15.2 per cent over the last five years. This compares to an average second hand sale price of £393,000 for Hampshire, which has increased by 2.3 per cent in the last three years and 20 per cent in the last five years.

READ MORE: Southampton's most expensive streets revealed in new data

Great British Life: Verity Babbs. Verity Babbs. (Image: Karla Gowlett)


Verity Babbs is an art critic, presenter and comedian who moved to Southampton in 2022 to live with her partner who was studying at the university. She remembers: 'I was working as a freelancer in the art world and paying an extortionate amount to live in a cupboard in London. Luckily for me, Southampton turned out to have an art scene which not only competed with London’s, but surpassed it in community spirit. The quality and variety of exhibitions on at any given time across Gods House Tower, John Hansard Gallery, and Southampton City Art Gallery is phenomenal. These venues also put on wonderful events, from film clubs to lectures. The biggest blessing for me has been the shows put on by the RIPE and ZEST artist collectives, which are breathing new life into the Old Northam Road. We are so lucky here for the calibre of our cultural scene, with the Mayflower Theatre and Turner Sims concert hall hosting world-class performances each week, and Harbour Lights Picturehouse regularly screening plays, ballets, and operas from around the world. It surely won’t be long until Southampton is rightfully recognised as one of the UK’s most artistic cities.' @veritybabbsart