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Overview

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While it may not top the list of cities to visit in Europe for most high-flyers, Southampton is well worth a trip for countless reasons - not least because it serves as a gateway to incredible cruises all around the world.

Sitting pretty on the Solent - the not-so-secret to the city's success - Southampton has been at the forefront of all things nautical throughout its history. This trade helped its rapid development into one of the most historically-significant places in the UK, and it still continues to profit from tourism through its extensive port facilities, from where thousands of cruise liners depart all year round.

A flight to Southampton doesn't take you straight to the port, though - and it's just as well, because there's plenty to see and do here on the south coast. Whether you're walking its mediaeval city walls, exploring the markets and shops around Bargate or seeing a gig at Southampton Guildhall, you'll never be too far from a little bit of history. Combined with its good weather, great food and fantastic nightlife, there's something for everyone without leaving the city.

You don't need to go far to find other gems either. Just across the Solent in plain view from the city centre is the Isle of Wight, one of the most beautiful areas of the British Isles. Immediately to the west of Southampton is the incredible New Forest National Park, while those travelling a little further will be able to go fossil hunting on the Jurassic Coast.

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