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60 facts about Southampton

On 24th February, Southampton will commemorate its remarkable 60-year journey as a city. We've rounded up 60 fun facts about Southampton since 1964 in celebration of this milestone.

Read more about our 60 year city status on our dedicated page here. 


University of Southampton campus credit university

1. Southampton is home to one of the UK's Top Universities: University of Southampton

2. Southampton Polytechnic became Solent University in 1984

3. Southampton University’s Nuffield Theatre opened in 1964

4. Southampton is home to over 37,800 students

5. In September 2023, Southampton Solent University was awarded three Gold ratings in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), recognising their outstanding student outcomes and experience

6. By 1977, 90% of Mount Pleasant School pupils had English as their second language

Photo by University of Southampton


St Marys Stadium packed with spectators on Saints FC home match day

7. Southampton FC won the FA Cup on 1st May 1976

8. Southampton FC moved to St Mary's in Aug 2001 from the Old Dell in Milton Rd where they'd been since 1898. 15,000 seats became 32,000

9. The Women's Southern Brave team won The Hundred Cricketing competition in 2023 and the Men's Southern Brave team won in 2021

10. The Utilita Bowl, formally known as the Ageas Bowl and Rose Bowl, was first established in 2001

Music & entertainment

The mayflower theatre hero

11. Mayflower Theatre is the largest on the South Coast, seating 2,270

12. In 1999 there was no pantomime at the Mayflower Theatre due to setting up for Phantom of the Opera

13. Southampton-born Jona Lewie released his hit record, Stop the Cavalry, on 21st November 1980

14. The Southampton Top Rank opened in the mid 1960’s, was renamed the Mayflower and closed in the late 1980’s

15. UK Garage Duo Artful Dodger was formed in Southampton 


Park area with trees in Old Town, Southampton

16. Southampton has six award-winning parks, all of which achieved Green Flag status

17. Southampton’s Central Parks have Grade II* listed status on the Historic England Register of Parks and Gardens


Harbour Lights Picturehouse Hero image business directory oct 2022

18. Southampton was awarded Purple Flag status for its night-time economy in 2023

19. Southampton was awarded Lord Mayor status in May 2022 as part of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Civic Honours Competition

20. In 2000, Harbour Lights picture house was voted Britian’s Best Loved Independent Cinema by Empire Magazine

21. Shelina Permalloo won BBC's Masterchef in 2012

Shopping & leisure

Two ladies walking past WJ French and Sons

22. Westquay shopping centre, the 27th largest in the UK, opened in September 2000

23. W.J French & Son is over 200 years old, one of the oldest shoe shops in the UK

24. IKEA opened on 12th February 2009 and has the youngest Market Manager across all UK stores

25. George's is one of the oldest restaurants in the city, now celebrating 84 years since it opened in 1940

Travel & transport

Southampton departing cruise terminal

26. Visit Southampton was officially launched in October 2019 as the city's go-to destination website

27. Cruise ships in Southampton contributed over £1billion to the local economy in 2023, a record year

28. Carnival opened its European HQ in Southampton on 20th July 2009

29. On 11th November 2008, Cunard's QE2 left the city for the last time

30. Horizon Cruise Terminal opened in September 2021

31. The Port of Southampton is the largest cruise port in the UK

32. In 2018, Southampton Airport saw over 1.99million passengers

33. The Itchen Bridge was opened by HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent 13th July 1977

History & Heritage

Two people looking at a leaflet and smiling stood in front old plane at Solent Sky musuem

34. The medieval Merchant's House opened as a museum in 1998

35. Solent Sky opened in its current building in 1984 and tells the aviation story of Southampton including the iconic Spitfire

36. The Mercure Southampton Centre Dolphin Hotel is the oldest hotel in the city, dating back over 500 years

37. Opening in 1968, and then called the Arundel Centre Inn, The Dog & Duck stood next to the site of Ye Olde Arundel Tower

38. Vosper Thornycroft launched its last warship built at the Woolston yard 25th January 2003

Arts & Culture

Giant colourful mural called "The Bulb" on Frobisher House

39. Southampton made the final four in the running for City of Culture 2025

40. The Bulb building is home to the UK’s largest clean air mural which was painted by French Street Artist Nerone and measures 1,005 sq m

41. In March 2022, a new mural was unveiled celebrating iconic Southampton-based reggae band Ebony Rockers

42. After being closed for a four-year renovation project, God's House Tower re-opened as Southampton’s new arts and heritage venue in 2019


Watts Park in the summer with a flower bed of yellow and orange flowers surrouneded by green grass

43. The Echo newspaper moved from Above Bar to Redbridge in 2000 to make way for the West Quay development

44. BBC South moved into its current Southampton studios in 1991

45. The first geothermal district heating system started in 1986


Person doing water sports at Southampton International Boat Show

46. In 2016 the International Boat Show held the record for ‘the largest human image of a boat’

47. The International Boat Show began in September 1969 with 50 exhibitors. There are now over 600

48. On 10th September 2023 the Ocean Globe Race started from Ocean Village marina, celebrating 50 years since the first Whitbread round the world yacht race

49.  In 2013, The Joiners was named Britain's Best Small Music Venue by NME and has hosted the likes of Green Day, Arctic Monkeys, Oasis, Ed Sheeran and The 1975 in its time

50. April 1999 was the first time the Sikh community, Southampton City Council and the Mayor gathered in the Guildhall square to mark the Sikh celebration Vaisakhi


Group of people gathered at tables for the Lord Mayor's Coronation tea party

51. Chris Packham, the naturalist and environmentalist, was born in Southampton and studied at Southampton University

52. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was born in Southampton 1980

53. Sir Tim Berners Lee, founder of the World Wide Web, was appointed Chair of Computer Science at University of Southampton in 2004

54. Benny Hill (1924-1992) was born in Southampton and is buried in Hollybrook cemetery

55. The first Lord Mayor and 800th Mayor was Jacqui Rayment in 2022

56. International R&B/Garage superstar, Craig David MBE, was born in Southampton in 1981


Top down view of people walking around Above Bar Precinct in the summer

57. Southampton's Business Improvement District, GO! Southampton, was formed on 1st April 2017

58. The National Oceanography Centre was established in 1994

59. The new Ordnance Survey HQ was officially opened by Prince Philip in Adanac Park on 4th October 2011

60. In May 2019, Starling Bank opened their first offices outside of London in Town Quay

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