Southampton: A Basic Guide to Living and Working in Southampton
Southampton is considered one of the happiest cities to work in the UK. It is a city not only full of history, but it is also one of the most active commercial points in the south of the country.
During the last thirty years the city has been the protagonist of an important growth. Mainly among the students who each year join its two important universities.
As a place of residence, the city of Southampton has much to offer.
If you have chosen Southampton as your new home in the UK, the following Guide to Living and Working in Southampton shows you all the important information you need to know about the city.
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Southampton: General Information You Should Know About the City of Southampton
Located approximately 110 kilometers southwest of London, Southampton has received a large number of immigrants in recent years.
About 10% of the population is of Polish origin, while the other important communities are those of Irish and Asian origin.
It is the closest town to the New Forest National Park and is located at the mouth of the Test and Itchen rivers.
It is known, as we have said, for its great port . The historical place from which, in addition, the famous transatlantic Titanic departed .
Originating in Roman times, when it gained importance as a major port city in the empire, Southampton was a walled city, a fact that made it stand out architecturally and urbanistically.
Only a few scattered remains of the wall remain, as it was destroyed during World War II. In fact, almost the entire city was destroyed during the war.
Therefore it was rebuilt and you can find a large number of new buildings .
Despite being an important port, the city of Southampton maintains a peaceful environment and an excellent quality of life for its inhabitants.
Most of its neighborhoods are quite safe , although there are some red zones, mainly the areas closest to the port. Despite this, crime rates remain much lower than in other cities.
WHAT ARE THE BEST AREAS TO LIVE IN SOUTHAMPTON?
Shirley: area where a good amount of immigrant population is concentrated . It is close to the train stations and allows excellent access to the city center.
It is a fairly safe sector with parks, restaurants, hospitals and schools.
Millbrook: similar to Shirley but with better house prices . It is a more affordable area because it is a little further from the center. Access to city services is less and there is very little nightlife.
For this reason, it is a good sector to enjoy a quiet life.
The Polygon – This zone has the best of the previous two zones. Good access to all services and amenities, but without losing the tranquility and security of the sector.
The price of housing is quite accessible considering the advantages.
Saint Mary’s : It is the student sector due to its proximity to the universities and the city center. It is a noisy area with a lot of convergence and vehicular traffic.
Although it is not the best sector to enjoy a quiet life, it is more affordable in terms of rental value.
Ocean Village : the most exclusive area to live in Southampton, which is why it is also the most expensive.
It is ideal if you have enough budget. Generally house prices in this area exceed one thousand pounds.
The climate of the city is considerably warmer than in other cities in the United Kingdom, but without reaching extreme temperatures.
Being so close to the sea, the summers are warm and the winters mild, you can enjoy a very pleasant climate throughout the year.
The only climatic factor to take into account is that during some times of the year strong winds can occur
Southampton: We Give You 5 Reasons Why Living in the City is a Good Idea
1. Outdoor living – It has a fair amount of green space.
2. Universities : these carry out important research with international repercussions. For this reason, they attract a large number of young people who maintain economic activity.
3. Its history , since it gives it an air and a unique atmosphere.
4. The tourist and cultural offers are important. The Mayflower theater, for example, is one of the most important after London.
5. The concerts that take place in the city, despite the fact that there is no specific space for them, are numerous and varied.
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How to get to Southampton?
By plane :
The city of Southampton is connected to the rest of the UK and the world through Southampton International Airport , which is located just a short distance from the city center .
It is a small airport , so most of the flights come from European cities. From the airport you can take the U1C bus, which goes to the city center.
By land :
Bus, the companies that operate most frequently are National Express and Megabus .
By Train : There are five train services connecting to Southampton and the station is in the heart of the city.
If you plan to arrive by car , from London it is best to access the M4, M25, M3 or M23 roads.
Southampton Transport and Communication
On foot or by bike
Southampton is a very friendly city for those who enjoy getting around on foot or by bike .
The central area there are many streets intended exclusively for pedestrians. For cyclists, although there are few special lanes, traveling in this way is not a problem.
Southampton has a good bus service system. Some of them operate on routes ten minutes apart during the day.
Most of the lines depart from the center, although there are also some that move exclusively in the outskirts of the city.
A single journey costs approximately £1.20 , although if you are going to take several buses during the day, it is more convenient to buy the day pass that gives unlimited travel on the bus service for one day.
The central bus station is also in the center of the city and routes can be checked at this station or at each of the stops around the city. The bus service runs until midnight.
Giffgaff is the most recommended mobile phone company. With excellent coverage , it is very cheap. In addition, you can ask for the SIM card to be sent to you before settling in the city.
For internet and telephone in your home and for the public television license , which is not included in taxes, get the necessary information in our articles .
Currency and Money in Southampton
Because the official currency throughout the United Kingdom is the British pound (GBP – £) so we will have to change our euros to pounds .
The best option is to take available pounds in advance, in case you need them as soon as you arrive.
Changing currency at the airport is not recommended as the costs are higher and there are additional fees.
In the city you have exchange houses that will always be more profitable, such as:
Eurochange – 106 Above Bar Street
Kanoo Foreign Exchange – 99 Above Bar Street
On the other hand, if you come to Southampton to settle, it is best to open a free bank account in any British bank and transfer your euros to pounds through Transferwise;
which will apply the exchange rate but without commissions.
Salaries are usually balanced in terms of overall cost. In our articles we tell you what are the minimum expenses that you have to take into account when living in a British city.
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Healthcare in Southampton
Southampton’s health system complies with the country’s characteristic quality of service regulations.
European citizens can receive free emergency medical care by presenting the European Health Card.
But, once settled in the city and with your Social Security Number (NIN) , it is best to officially register at a medical center in order to receive any type of medical care.
Some of the most recommended medical centers and hospitals in the city are:
- University Hospital Southampton – Located on Tremona Road.
- Spire Southampton Hospital –Chalybeate CI
- Royal South Hants Hospital – Brintons Terrace
- Remember: Emergency number in the UK is 999 or 112
Work in Southampton
In the city of Southampton the unemployment rate falls . This is because the number of people who come to the city looking for a job is much lower than in other areas of the UK.
The two sectors that employ the largest number of people in the city are the port and the hospitals .
In relation to the port, the city offers a large number of options that range from office jobs in the port, work at the operational level in the loading and unloading areas, jobs on ships and cruise ships.
The health system also offers good opportunities for doctors, nurses, dentists or physical therapists.
One point to keep in mind is that Southampton brings together a large number of young people who emigrate looking to study;
but when they arrive in the city they look for jobs that allow them to pay for their studies.
At the Southampton Job Center Plus you can get information about companies looking for staff or get job search advice.
Although, despite the offer and the possibilities, it is always advisable to have something saved in case it takes longer to find a job.
If you are a member of the European Union , you do not need any special permission to work, but you do need to apply for a National Insurance Number (NIN) .
You must remember that the Curriculum Vitae must be written according to the British format . In our guide to finding a job successfully in the UK you can see what kind of CV you need.
Culture and Leisure in Southampton
Southampton offers a wide variety of activities and cultural visits as well as different leisure activities, both for visitors and those already installed in the city.
The Bargate : Located in the commercial center of Southampton, it is a construction from medieval times where you can take a tour to learn more about the history of the city.
On the top floor of the building there is a special room for visitors where you can see different works of art and relics. Around this building there are still some remains of the wall that surrounded the city.
Sports Centers : The Southampton soccer team is a member of the country’s league and the city places great importance on sports in general.
Around the city there are some sports centers where you can practice soccer, swimming or different fitness activities.
Plays : The city offers a good number of theaters where West End plays are presented. The Mayflower is the best known and also the busiest of all.
Museums: The city has several interesting museums, among them are: the Archeology Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Tudor House museum and garden.
The Archeology Museum has one of the most amazing collections in the UK and is housed in what was England’s first artillery fort.
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At and drink in Southampton
There is a large selection of restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. From fast food to a gourmet dinner.
In Southampton you will always find a good place. The best areas are Oxford Street, High Street and Bedford Place and some good recommended places are:
- Kutis – Specialty in Indian food. Located on Oxford Street.
- La Lupa – Specialty in Italian food. Located on the High Street.
- Elias – Greek and local food. Located on East St.
The city offers a large number of bars and pubs.
Being a city where so much student population and an important port congregate, one could not expect less than an active nightlife, with a variety of options to go out on a night of drinks .
Accommodation in Southampton
Where to find a flat to settle in Southampton
The ideal is to make an appointment with the owners and/or agencies from your country of origin and once you are in Southampton see the flats and decide.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO LIVE IN SOUTHAMPTON?
Southampton is not an expensive place to live. Rental prices can start from £550 a month in areas like Saint Mary’s or Shirley and you can find real bargains on shared flats.
Our guide to finding a shared flat in the UK can help you, as well as our article where we talk about your rights and obligations as a tenant .
On the way
Southampton offers hotels to stay in the city centre, close to the motorway, or in quaint inns amongst the hills. From four-star hotels, famous Break & Breakfasts and Holiday Homes to homey apartments.
The offer is prepared for all tastes and budgets .
For big budgets, the only five-star hotel to be found in the city is De Vere Grand Harbour . For more comfortable budgets, some good places to stay are detailed below:
- Holiday Inn Express Southampton – Botley Road, West End.
- Ibis Budget Southampton Center – Western Esplanade 3 West Quay Road
Another option that many people choose is to rent an apartment through Airbnb .
Study in Southampton
Whether you are looking to specialize in a practical or technical subject, want to learn English or are looking to study at university in the UK , Southampton is ready for you.
Although its educational offer is not one of the most important in the country, it has its options and opportunities .
Universities and Learn English
The city of Southampton is a favorite among university students due to its two centers of higher education, the University of Southampton and the Solent University .
Numerous scientific studies are carried out in these universities.
In addition, the University of Southampton is among the 10 best universities in the United Kingdom, mainly for careers related to oncology, statistics and oceanography.
At Saint Mary’s College there is also a high educational offer for different specialties, mainly in the branches of administration, education and the world of fashion.
And to study English, some of the offers in educational centers that can be found in the city are:
- City College Southampton – Located on Saint Mary’s Street, offers English courses at all levels.
- Language College Southampton – Located at 1 Brunswick Place offers a large number of courses in different languages and times.
You must bear in mind that improving your level of English is the best way to adapt to the new city and its people.
Find with us the best books to Learn English On Your Own . But, if you prefer to attend face-to-face classes at an academy, find out how to choose the best academies in the country.