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World Travel Guide > Guides > Europe > United Kingdom > England > Southampton

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Local time Southampton

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Travel to Southampton

Flying to Southampton

Eastern Airways and Flybe operate flights to Southampton from cities in Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland. There are no direct flights from the USA.

Flight times

From Edinburgh - 1 hour 35 minutes; New York - 10 hours (including stopover); Los Angeles - 16 hours (including stopover); Toronto - 11 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 26 hours (including stopovers).

Travel by road

Main roads are designated by a letter, followed by up to four numbers: ‘M' (motorway), ‘A' (major road) and ‘B' (minor road).

Traffic drives on the left and drivers must be at least 17 years old. The speed limits are 113kph (70mph) on motorways, 97kph (60mph) on single-lane main roads and 48kph (30mph) in built-up areas. Overseas driving licences and International Driving Permits are valid for up to one year. Insurance is mandatory.

Overseas visitors bringing their own cars should bring registration documents and check with their insurance company as to whether a Green Card is needed.

Breakdown service, traffic updates and general motoring information are available from the AA (tel: +44 121 275 3746; www.theaa.com) and the RAC (tel: +44 844 891 3111; www.rac.co.uk).

Emergency breakdown services

AA (tel: 0800 887 766, in the UK); RAC (tel: 0800 828 282, in the UK).

Routes

Southampton is situated 122km (76 miles) southwest of London and is connected with the capital by the M3 motorway. The M27 runs east towards Portsmouth and west towards Bournemouth.

Coaches

National Express (tel: +44 871 781 8181; www.nationalexpress.com) operates regular coach services connecting Southampton with various destinations in the UK including Victoria coach station in London.

The National Express terminal is located in the centre of the city on Harbour Parade, within easy walking distance of the Central Railway Station.

Time to city

From London - 1 hour 50 minutes; Birmingham - 2 hours 20 minutes; Cardiff - 2 hours 20 minutes; Edinburgh - 7 hours 30 minutes.

Travel by Rail

Services

Southampton is connected by a good rail network, with a station in the city, Southampton Central, offering connections with the airport (Southampton Airport Parkway).

Local rail services connect Southampton with Portsmouth and Brighton to the east, Basingstoke to the north, and Bournemouth to the west, and there are regular connections with London. Southampton also has rail connections with the West Country, South Wales and Scotland.

Operators

Rail operators include South West Trains (tel: +44 345 600 0650; www.southwesttrains.co.uk), Virgin Trains (tel: +44 344 556 5650; www.virgintrains.co.uk) and Great Western Railway (tel: +44 345 700 0125; www.gwr.com).

For rail enquiries contact National Rail (tel: +44 345 748 4950; www.nationalrail.co.uk).

Travel by boat

Southampton is a departure point for ferries to the Isle of Wight, as well as a popular stop for cruise ships. For more information on the port, contact the Port of Southampton (tel: +44 23 8048 8800; www.southamptonvts.co.uk).

Ferry operators

Red Funnel (tel: +44 23 8001 9192; www.redfunnel.co.uk) operates crossings to the Isle of Wight. Car ferries run to East Cowes, while high-speed foot-passenger ferries connect Southampton with West Cowes.

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Featured Hotels

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Mercure Southampton Centre Dolphin Hotel

This large chain hotel has clearly spent a lot of time agonising over the finer details, including individually designed headboards created by artists in each of the 65 rooms. The buildings date from 1790 and 1890, and Jane Austen attended a ball in the hotel's Assembly rooms on her 18th birthday. A hotel with genuine character.

Premier Inn Southampton City Centre

A neat, clean and comfortable budget option well placed for exploring the city. It might not be the most exciting place to stay in Southampton, but if your priorities are location and price then this central Premier Inn can't be beaten.

Jury Inn

Book early to get the best prices at this city centre hotel, which overlooks East Park and is within walking distance of the main rail station. With 270 rooms, Jury Inn is the largest hotel in the city. Plus points include flatscreen TVs and supremely comfortable beds in all rooms, as well as free Wi-Fi.

Novotel Southampton

This hotel has a central location near the main railway station and West Quay shopping centre. It has 121 rooms, including four for disabled guests, and there is a swimming pool with exercise area and a sauna. Wi-Fi access is available. The hotel has a bar and restaurant.

The Mayfair Guest House

Most of Southampton's best budget options are chain hotels, but this neat little guesthouse is a nice exception. Set in an elegant Edwardian building, it owes its excellent reputation to warm service, a cosy lounge area with free Wi-Fi and award-winning breakfasts based on locally sourced ingredients.

Grand Harbour Hotel

Bearing more than a passing resemblance to the Louvre, this iconic hotel stands out both for its architectural style and for its facilities. Many of the 173 rooms have sea views, there are suites with Jacuzzi baths and double balconies for luxury lovers, and the in-house fitness centre has a state-of-the-art gym and a pool as well as several therapy rooms.