Southampton, the biggest city in Hampshire, is also home to one of the largest shopping centres in South-East England, Westquay.
In December 2016 a Westquay expansion project was completed, making Southampton a truly modern city. In late 2018, Southampton’s Bluestar company unveiled the UK’s first air-cleaning bus, helping the city to win Transport City of the Year. Also, earlier this year, Southampton City Council reviewed the idea of car-free days in the city centre.
Southampton has a long, proud history too. Its most famous achievement is perhaps its role as host to the Thornycroft shipbuilding yard, where over sixty destroyers and submarines, which helped Britain in the First World War, were built. In 2003, the yard sadly moved to Portsmouth, but one piece of important history which remains in Southampton is the memory of the invention of the Spitfire, a fighter aircraft (below) used by the Allies in the Second World War.
The plane was produced in greater numbers than any other British aircraft, and its designer, R J Mitchell, was a resident of Portswood (a blue plaque marks the location of his house). Southampton was also the home of author Jane Austen and her family for two years, and is the place where the Titanic set sail in April 1912 – the SeaCity Museum in the heart of the city is an excellent place to learn more about the tragic British ship which sunk in the North Atlantic Ocean on its maiden voyage and the city’s importance as a port.
To find out more about Southampton’s history and look at historic places to visit, click here.