Regional Spotlight: Southampton

01 October 2004
Regional Spotlight: Southampton

When it comes to locations, Southampton remains "a bit of an enigma to a lot of people", according to Mervyn Cully, director of the Southampton office of licensed property agents Colliers Robert Barry.

Cully reckons Southampton is highly underrated as a location and "has an awful lot to offer". A thriving commercial centre with a busy container port, the city is the base for cruise-ship companies Cunard and P&O.

There are lots of students, courtesy of Southampton University in the south, Southampton Institute in the centre, and a training hospital. In addition, there is an expanding local airport and plenty of residential development.

The biggest opportunity exists at the lower end of the accommodation ladder. Although most of the big corporate hotel firms are there, there are virtually no privately run hotels left in the city.

"One of these days someone will realise this and make something of it," says Cully. "The demand is certainly there - it's very difficult to get a bed below three stars unless you book a week in advance."

There are a lot of pubs and restaurants so you need to do your research.

Locations worth a look include Oxford Street; Bedford Place, which is very student-orientated; and Above Bar and Below Bar streets. Some areas still need a bit of TLC, such as St Mary's, the home of the city's football club.

"Southampton tends to be divided into patches - you need to know where to go," Cully says.

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