Southampton's shipbuilding history is famous across the world, and as its Port serves as the terminal for several major cruise companies in addition to being the UK's busiest container port, Southampton is still an important location in the maritime industry today. However, there's so much more to Southampton than just its Port - beyond the coastline lies a cosmopolitan and culture-rich city with excellent shopping, restaurants, bars and nightlife to enjoy, as well as plenty to see and do whether you are visiting Southampton for business or for pleasure.
Below you'll find inspirational tips on where to stay in Southampton, things to see during your visit and where to eat and drink to enjoy every moment of your visit.
If you're visiting Southampton on a business trip, take a look at our Business in Southampton page to help you find the perfect meeting room or conference venue to impress.
Flybe works in partnership with Booking.com to make it even easier for you to find the perfect hotel in Southampton. From budget-friendly hotels for business travellers to luxury boutique boltholes to relax in ahead of your cruise, you'll find all types of accommodation in Southampton to meet your requirements.
Things to see
With excellent connections to the rest of the world via its Port and airport, Southampton - known as 'Europe's cruise capital' - has developed into a friendly and diverse city with an outstanding culture and arts scene. Whatever the reason for your flight to Southampton, and however much time you have to spare, you'll find plenty of things to do and see in Southampton, whether you'd like to find out more about the city's history, hit the shops, soak up the nightlife or just grab a bite to eat. Not sure how to get to Southampton city centre from the airport? Our Southampton Airport Arrivals page has all the information you need.
Immensely proud of its heritage, you'll see many tributes to Southampton's shipbuilding past around the city, including monuments and museums such as the SeaCity Museum where you can discover the story of the HMS Titanic (Southampton was its home port) and see artefacts from the ship and replicas of its cabins and rooms. However historic buildings such as the Grade II listed Mayflower Theatre sit comfortably alongside contemporary architecture in Southampton, particularly in the regenerated Cultural Quarter which is home to an arts centre, as well as entertainment, bars, restaurants and live music venues.
To see Southampton from a different perspective, you can take a short cruise around the harbour to hear the sights and sounds of its busy Port, as well as see the vast cruise liners that dock at Southampton including the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2. Or if you have more time to spare, you can take a longer cruise up the rivers that flow into the harbour to see more of the scenic Solent region.
Whether you want to pick up a last-minute outfit before boarding your cruise from Southampton, love to browse local independent boutiques or just have some time to spare before your flight from Southampton, you'll find plenty of great shopping in and around the city centre. For all your high street favourites plus a choice of big-name restaurants too, head to WestQuay shopping centre, or visit the stores and department stores on Queensway and East Street.
Want to discover something a little different? Bedford Place is Southampton's independent shopping hub, where you'll feel like you are stepping back into a different era - the small boutiques and shops here give the area a friendly community feel, and there are several restaurants and bars too to keep you fuelled.
Southampton is home to a large student community, so the nightlife is vibrant and diverse - but whether you want to have a night on the tiles or just a quiet drink with your team after your business meeting in Southampton, you'll find a venue to suit. The stylish bars around Ocean Village offer a view of the marina to go with your chosen tipple, or if you're a fan of craft beers and real ales, spots such as The Butcher's Hook and Overdraft Craft Ale Bar offer the best choice in the city.
Bring & Mix offers a unique cocktail experience in Southampton - they don't have an alcohol licence, so you bring the alcoholic spirits, and their expert mixologists use them to make cocktails for you at your table! It makes a memorable way to end the day with friends, or to impress your clients. If the dancefloor is calling, many of Southampton's top nightclubs can be found around Bedford Place, or if you'd prefer to spend a more refined evening at the theatre or enjoying live music, Southampton has several excellent venues including the Mayflower Theatre and the O2 Guildhall with shows almost every night of the week.
From elegant restaurants with scenic waterfront views to budget-friendly eateries that are big on taste, Southampton has it all when it comes to dining. If you're feeling peckish after your flight to Southampton, cosy pubs such as The Rockstone offer filling, comforting meals which you can wash down with a pint, or you can grab a freshly made wood-fired pizza from It's a Pizza Thing, a pizza truck parked outside of the South Western Arms where you can take the pizza inside to enjoy.
If you're celebrating a special occasion, looking for a restaurant to impress your business clients or just want to treat yourself whilst visiting Southampton, you'll find a great choice of extra special eateries too. Quay FIFTEEN at Shamrock Quay Marina is a family-owned fine dining restaurant with an Indian-inspired seasonal menu with dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients, and the view over the water is a real talking point too. At Enoteca, tuck into sharing plates and charcuterie from their Italian-inspired menu, or enjoy a gourmet lunch or dinner in style at The Oxford Brasserie or the Olive Tree bistro.
Should you have plenty of time to spare on your trip to Southampton, you can get so much more out of your visit and explore further beyond the city. The Bombay Sapphire Distillery in Hampshire is a must-visit for gin lovers and you can take a guided or self-guided trip, complete with samples of the world-famous spirit, of course! The event spaces at the Distillery would also make the ideal venue for a meeting or conference, should you be visiting Southampton for a business trip.
If you're in need of a spot of fresh air, take a day trip into the New Forest, one of the UK's most outstanding areas of natural beauty - and don't forget to pack a picnic. Or if you packed your sea legs on your flight to Southampton, be adventurous with a Red Funnel ferry trip to discover the Isle of Wight, just one hour away.
For more information on flights to Southampton with Flybe, take a look at our dedicated Southampton Airport page, as well as Getting to Southampton Airport for advice on how to travel to the airport for your flight.