The welcoming city of Southampton lays fewer than 70 miles south-west of London. Bounded by rivers and forests, and never too far from the sea, the city enjoys an altogether warmer and sunnier climate than that of its northern counterparts. It hosts four million tourists a year who flock towards its stunning coastal areas, acres of lush greenery and exciting medley of heritage, culture and entertainment. Car hire in Southampton is one of the cheapest, fastest and most comfortable ways to travel, making it possible to go from sun-kissed beachside to bustling downtown in a matter of minutes.
There’s a wealth of places you can punch into your sat-nav while exploring Southampton. The thriving city centre, sitting right between the sparkling rivers Test and Itchen, is the ideal place to start your holiday. Step into Southampton’s Old Town and you’ll find enough heritage and history to satisfy even the most avid culture-vulture. From the looming Arundel Tower, with its related melancholic legends, to the regal lion statues fiercely guarding the northern Bargate entrance, there’s certainly plenty of material to fill your SD card. When you’re tired of stately buildings, wind down by watching a football match or some first-class cricket – Southampton is renowned for its fondness of sports of all kinds and has the stadiums to prove it. Or spend an insightful few hours at the SeaCity Museum, an enlightening building dedicated to exploring Southampton’s intricate relationship with the sea throughout the ages.
After you’ve visited Westquay Shopping Centre for some serious retail therapy and stopped at a riverside eatery for a bite to eat, it’s time to hop into your rental and venture further afield. Before that, though, don’t forget to meander down to one of Southampton’s four cruise terminals for the chance of catching a peek at a majestic cruise liner docked at the port – the city is known as the cruise capital of the world.
Southampton’s proximity to the sea means that the beach is never far away. Towards the south, and under a mile’s drive away, several sandy, rocky and shingle beaches await. Families looking for some well-spent quality time should head for Milford-on-Sea or Avon in Dorset, while those with a thirst for adventure should point their vehicle in the direction of Lepe Beach.
A multitude of other must-sees lie within easy reach. Why not hop onto a ferry from Southampton and spend the day on the Isle of Wight for some stunning scenery, challenging walks and trails and quaint villages? Or treat the kids to a visit to Marwell Zoo, near Winchester.
There are several reasons why car rental in Southampton is the best way of getting around: