Book flights to Southampton for a cultural and historic break on England's south coast.
Don't let the modern architecture fool you. Southampton dates back to Roman times, and was Britain's most important trading town during the days of the Saxons. World War II may have put paid to the city's most historic buildings, but Southampton is still blessed with plenty of character. There are lots of reasons to book flights to Southampton, so what are you waiting for?
Airports in Southampton
Southampton Airport (SOU) is four miles away from the city centre. The airport's biggest claim to fame is that the first Supermarine Spitfire had its test flight here in 1936. A scale model spitfire now stands at the road entrance of the airport to commemorate it. In 2006 five restored spitfires took off from the airport, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first flight.
If you have booked your flights to Southampton airport or are planning to pick someone up, please check live Southampton Airport Arrivals information.
Eastern Airways and Flybe offer domestic flights from a range of UK cities, while Aurigny Air Services and Blue Islands offer flights to Southampton from the Channel Islands.
Getting into Southampton
You can take the train from Southampton Parkway Station, just a short stroll from the terminal building. It only takes seven minutes to reach the city centre. There are also a number of buses which serve the airport. The U1C links the university to the airport, and tickets cost £2*. As the university is in the city centre, this is a great option. Routes are also operated by First, Velvet and Wheelers Connect.
There's a taxi rank outside the airport: all fares are pre-quoted and you can pay in advance at the taxi booking desk if you wish. There are also seven car hire companies at the airport: Alamo, National, Enterprise, Europcar, Avis, Budget and Hertz. You'll find their desks in the car rental centre near the short stay car park. You can compare car hire prices at Southampton Airport with Skyscanner, so you always know you're getting the best rates for your dates.
*Prices subject to change
When to visit Southampton
The weather is at its best from June to September, when rainfall is at a low and temperatures are at a high. July and August are the hottest months, with an average temperature of 18°C. Thanks to its location, the weather in Southampton is generally mild all year round: the coldest months have an average temperature of 5°C. Like all British cities, the weather can be slightly unpredictable, so it's a good idea to bring your waterproofs just in case. Britain's biggest boating festival, The Southampton Boat Show, takes place every September.
What to see and do
Southampton is the perfect base for a holiday by the English seaside. There's plenty to see and do, these are just a few of our top picks.
History & Culture: You'll see very few remnants of Southampton's long past while you're walking around town, although the Bargate does date back to the Medieval era. For a true history lesson you'll need to head indoors. Southampton’s Maritime Museum and City Art Gallery offer a look at Southampton’s past and future, while a visit to the Tudor House Museum displays the city’s Tudor heritage. Plenty of the more traditional bars in the city also display Tudor heritage, but more on that later. There's a good range of art galleries too: the City Art Gallery has thousands of pieces spanning centuries of art, while the Millais Gallery is dedicated to showcasing the work of promising new designers.
Going Out: A port town with two universities: it's fair to say that the nightlife in Southampton is pretty lively. You can slum it in the student dives in Portswood, sip wine by the sea on the Marina, or enjoy a trendy night out on West Quay Street. If you fancy a cultural evening, look no further than Southampton's fantastic theatre scene. The Mayflower Theatre is the largest in the south of England, and is a great place to take in West End musicals and blockbusting operas. For something a little lower key, head to the Nuffield Theatre on the university campus. Here you'll see student productions ranging from Shakespeare to contemporary works.
Get out and about: There are plenty of opportunities for exploration around Southampton. The New Forest is nearby, perfect for a Sunday hike followed by a pub lunch. There are great rail links to other south coast towns and cities, including Winchester which is home to a famous cathedral and King Arthur's round table. Southampton also offers regualr ferry links to the Isle of Wight, renowned for its friendly locals and stunning scenery.
Where to stay
Boutique hotels, no frill chains, and family run B&Bs: whatever type of accommodation you're looking for in Southampton, there'll be something to suit you. If you haven't booked anything yet, try comparing hotels in Southampton with Skyscanner to find the very best prices. Location is everything, so we've got a few recommendations on where in Southampton you should stay.
The Old Town: History lovers should base themselves in the old town area of Southampton. Although a lot of important buildings were destroyed, you can still walk the ancient city walls: which are among the longest in Britain.
Oxford Street: This is one of Southampton's busiest areas during the evening. There are plenty of restaurants, some with al fresco dining for those balmy summer nights, and a good range of pubs and bars. This is a great place to base yourself if you like to be in the heart of the action.
Bedford Place: If you're visiting the city on a stag or hen do, we can highly recommend hotels near Bedford Place. Nightclubs, cocktail bars, pubs, and plenty of takeaways for the stumble home: it's an area designed with messy nights out in mind.
Above Bar Street: If you love to shop 'til you drop, it's prudent to book a hotel within staggering distance of Above Bar Street. This pedestrianised area is home to Southampton's biggest selection of high street stores, as well as a fantastic Christmas market in December.
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Airports near Southampton
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