Southampton City Guide


Photo Credit: Mike Beales

Southampton is a buzzing city on the south coast deep in the county of Hampshire. It’s got plenty to see and do and two unis to its name! With a large students population and a whole host of great bars and clubs to check out, Southampton is a great choice for any student.

If you’re new to the city, our Southampton city guide will help you find your feet and experience the best of it.


Getting Around

Southampton is quite compact, so you shouldn’t have trouble getting around town by foot. All of the high street shops are located in on strip and the city is very easy to get around.

Southampton Solent campus is a short walk from the city centre. If you want to get to either of its campuses, the university runs a shuttle bus service that you can use to easily get to each campus.

The University of Southampton is easy to get to by bus. Use the UniLink bus to go straight from the city centre, right to the uni campus.

If you need to get a taxi, there are taxi ranks in the city centre and each journey shouldn’t cost you much more than a fiver.

TIP: Get around the city faster by renting a bike for as little as £5 a day! Find out more here.


Things to do

Southampton has loads of great things to see and do! From historic sites, to beautiful parks to awesome clubs, this city has it all!

To see a little bit of history, head over the Bargate. Here, you’ll see a section of what was once a large medieval gatehouse. It’s quite a bit smaller now than it was in its heyday, but it’s still a stunning site to see and adds some interesting history to Southampton city centre. Southampton has got ruins scattered all over the town, which intertwine with modern buildings. See if you can discover them all!

On a similar note, go and see the city’s historic Town Walls. These stone walls were once used for defensive purposes in the Middle Ages. You can walk along them and learn about their history.

If you’re a bit of a thrillseeker, check out Go Ape at Itchen Valley Park. Go Ape is an adventure park where you can go on zip-wires, abseil and take part in adventure courses. If you’re not a fan of heights, maybe stay away, but if you’re looking to release your inner Tarzan, Go Ape is perfect!

If you want a bit of fresh air, Southampton has loads of cool parks to see. Southampton Common is a lovely place to spend an afternoon. It has a stunning lake in the park as well as lots of pretty walks for you to have a stroll around. If you really want to see some countryside, Southampton is a short train or bus ride away from the New Forest. There are loads of beautiful forests, fields and places to explore in the New Forest. It’s filled with lots of ponies as well! Places like Brockenhurst and Beaulieu are peaceful places to go to. There are lots of charming little towns to discover as well like Lymington and Milford-on-Sea, all within a half an hour train ride!

If you’re looking to grab a drink with some mates, Southampton has loads to offer. Dock cities tend to be quite lively by nature, and Southampton is no exception! Ninety Degrees is a lively bar and is perfect for the first stop on a bar crawl. It’s got great DJs if you want to have a dance! Stein Garten is styled after German Biergartens. This is a perfect place to go with mates and have a stein or two! Pre-Bar is the perfect place to ‘pre-drink’. It’s got a cosy atmosphere and great pool tables.

If you fancy a big night out, Southampton is perfect for you. With a huge students population and a reputation for messy nights out, this city is perfect for students who like to party hard! Oceana is a favourite night for lots of students. This is your standard ‘superclub’; lots of floors, lots of people and lots of fun! If you’re a fan of EDM, check out Switch. It gets loads of big-name DJs to host nights regularly and is a great club if you’re looking to party all night! If you love live music, you’re in luck. The Joiners is an amazing place to see live bands. It won the NME best small music venue in the UK award in 2013 and has a reputation for showcasing up-and-coming bands before they ‘blow up’! Finally, one place Southampton students have a soft-spot for in their hearts is the club Jesters. Jesters is not your typical club night, it’s got a certain run-down charm to it and it’s a popular night amongst students. It’s also known for its insanely cheap drinks. Their signature cocktail is a ‘jesticle’ and is as odd tasting as it is strong!

Looking to pick up a great cup of coffee? Coffee Lab, The Artisan, Naked Coffee are all lovely places to grab a cuppa! The Artisan is especially nice and has a gorgeous interior.

If you’re a fan of sports, Southampton has a lot to offer. Their local side, Southampton FC has seen a boost over the past few years and become a solid team in the Premiership. They play at the incredible St.Mary’s Stadium and are known for providing an amazing atmosphere at games. Nicknamed The Saints, you’ll soon be chanting their songs on the way to lectures (“oh when the saaaaaints, go marching innnnn….”).

Photo Credit: Solent Creatives


Eating Out

Southampton is a fairly big city, so you’ll find all the major restaurant chains here.

If you’re looking to share a slice with some mates, Smokey Pizza is a great place to check out. For something a little different, go to Fusion Noodle. This place specialises in Malaysian-style street food.

Southampton specialises in one thing more than anything else though. Gelatos. Southampton is obsessed with them, with some gelatos even being next door to other ones. A place you have to try is Sprinkles. Waffles, ice cream, pastries; you name it, Sprinkles has it.

Photo Credit: Charleston’sTheDigitel

For vegetarians and vegans, places that are veggie-friendly are Bacaro, Quay Fifteen and Cove. All of these places have loads of great meat-free options!



Southampton has loads of great shops you can visit. It’s got tons of range, from mainstream brands to quirky vintage shops. Whatever you fancy, you’ll be able to find it here!

The shopping centre West Quay will cater to most of your shopping needs. It’s absolutely massive and is smack-bang in the city centre. It’s got everything you’ll need, you’ll find all the big brands here. (it’s also especially pretty at Christmas time!).

Southampton’s high street is conveniently located right next to West Quay and all of the major shops are all in the same area.

If you’re looking to pick up some vintage clobber, Beatnik Emporium has loads of cool vintage clothes to rummage through. This place has quite a range though, from the weird to the wonderful, so maybe go with a mate to avoid any fashion nightmares, eh?



Southampton has a large and vibrant student population. There are a few places that students tend to live in and they’re occupied by students from both Solent uni and University of Southampton. The main areas are Polygon, Portswood and Highfield.

Polygon is close to the city centre and this area tends to be more popular with Solent students. The houses are quite nice in this area and Polygon is known for being a bit of a social hub. If you prefer the club than the library, this place is probably best!

Portswood is probably the most popular student area. Students from both unis live here, you’ll be amongst your own in Portswood. It’s in a great location, there are tons of shops and restaurants all nearby and it’s within walking distance to the city centre.

Highfield is best for students who want to work hard! It’s very close to the University of Southampton campus and is quite a way from the city centre. You’ll only need to hop on a bus to get to town, but this area tends to be favoured by students who are here to learn first and party second.

Looking for accommodation in Southampton? Search thousands of rooms, right here.