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The City Centre is on the Southern point of the City and runs from Town Quay (on the Water front) upwards to the top of Above Bar Street, which borders the Bedford Place area. The City Centre has seen substantial growth and development over the last 10 years and not only has it become the major commercial hub of the South Coast, but also one of the main shopping centres with three main shopping arcades and surrounding retail parks.
As with most City Centre's, the housing tends to be flats and apartments and Southampton doesn't have a shortage of those. Recent developments tend to be at the lower part of the main high street and include "Telephone House", "Oceana Boulevard" and "City Court" to name just a few - with many more sites being ear-marked for future residential development.
The shopping scene is dominated by "West Quay Shopping Centre", which when it opened was one of the largest Shopping Malls in Europe, with around 100 shops including John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and many more. There are two other shopping arcades, "The Bargate" and "The Mall". Southampton does have a very prominent high street with a very good selection of retailers. On the outskirts of the City Centre there are a number of Retail Parks and a large Ikea store that opened in 2009.
Pubs, Bars & Clubs - As with any major City, there is always a very wide choice of Bars & Clubs and Southampton is no exception. The main areas tend to be in Above Bar Street, Oxford Street, Town Quay and Leisure World.
Restaurants - Southampton doesn't have a shortage of restaurants in the City Centre and certainly a wide selection of cuisines - probably the most popular area for eating is Oxford Street, where there is a wide selection of restaurants.
Theatre - The Mayflower Theatre is located just off the main City Centre in Commercial Road and offers a wide range of shows.
Cinema - there are three cinemas in Southampton, the largest being at Leisure World and two more in Ocean Village.
Casinos - Gamblers are also spoilt for choice in Southampton, with three main Casinos’ around the City Centre.
Solent University - approx. 17,000 Students and the main campus is located just off the High Street. It is a Centre of applied research in design and advanced technology, maritime, fine art, history of collecting, film, media and cultural studies, political and international studies, law and a broad range of business disciplines.
City College - The largest further education college in Southampton. The college provides a range of courses to students from the local area, including NVQs, BTECs, Apprenticeships, ESOL programmes and Access courses.
Road - There is a very good road network into and out of the City Centre. To the North is "The Avenue" (A33), which links straight to the M3 motorway. Westwards, the A3024 / A35 follow the docks out of the City towards Totton and the M27 towards Bournemouth. To the East, there is the A3025 heading towards Woolston and the A3024 towards Bitterne.
Rail - The main Central Railway Station is located just off the main City Centre and offers a wide selection of direct routes including London (Waterloo) in approx. 1hour 10 min's.
Coach - Just behind the West Quay shopping Centre is the National Express Coach Station which offers a very comprehensive Coach network to all the main Towns and Cities in the UK as well as the main Airports.
Bus - The main two Bus Route operators in the City are Bluestar and First Hampshire & Dorset, who offer a very comprehensive range of services throughout the City including Night Buses. The main City Centre bus stops are on Bargate Street, Portland Terrace and Hanover Buildings / Vincent's Walk.
Ferry - The main Isle of Wight ferry is operated by Red Funnel and sets sail from Town Quay, to Cowes on the Isle of Wight. There is a vehicle ferry which docks at East Cowes (approx. time 55 min) and a pedestrian only service that docks at West Cowes (approx. time 35 min's). There is also a small ferry operating between Hythe and Southampton.
Cruise Ships - Southampton boasts a very large cruise terminal operated by P&O.
Airport - Southampton Airport is approximately 5 miles from the City Centre
Having a very strong maritime history, Southampton has more than its fair share of places of interest, ranging from the Titanic Museum, to the Old City Walls, but the following are worth a look:
There are many recent new build flats and developments in and around Southampton City centre, the most popular ones being:
South Western House