Best known for its maritime heritage – the Mayflower and Titanic both set sail from the city – Southampton is home to one of Europe’s largest ports and is a major player in today’s cruise industry.
Back on dry land, the last decade or so has seen the opening of a major shopping centre and a regenerated waterside complex of shopping, entertainment and hospitality facilities. Both are major employers in the city, along with two universities, the NHS, Ordnance Survey – which is headquartered in Southampton – and a Ford factory on its northern outskirts which is controversially due to be closed. While the city has a wide selection of meeting and event venues, the proximity of the picturesque New Forest means there are plenty of country house hotel options too.
Name: The Grand Harbour
Address: Grand Harbour, West Quay Road, Southampton, Hampshire, SO15 1AG
Tel: 0871 222 4685
This venue, set on the Southampton waterfront, describes itself as ‘unique… something a bit different but still luxury and premium’ and it is certainly a cut above the rest. This striking modern hotel is set within a towering glass atrium and its ten meeting rooms can cater for up to 500 delegates, with flexible layouts. Room hire includes use of an LCD projector, screen, flipcharts, markers, tea, coffee and snacks, a twocourse lunch or working buffet, wifi access, stationery and complimentary use of the hotel’s leisure facilities. Alternatively, an extended package can be bought to include overnight accommodation with breakfast and dinner included.
Name: SeaCity Museum
Address: Havelock Road, Southampton, Hampshire,
Tel: 02380 834172
Right in the heart of the city, SeaCity Museum tells the story of Southampton’s historic connections with Titanic and the sea. The museum provides a range of meeting and event spaces: The Grand Hall with impressive Portland stone walls, mahogany doors and an intricately decorated ceiling (for 60 people standing and 40 cabaret style); the glass-roofed Atrium and Galley (for 130 standing, 60 theatre-style and 40 cabaret), The Learning Deck (two separate rooms seating 30 boardroom style in each) and the ‘Titanic the Legend’ exhibition area (for around 150 people). In addition, business guests will have the opportunity to browse the SeaCity Museum. For larger events, the whole museum can be hired, outside of opening hours, with capacity for approximatley 500 guests.
ON A SHOESTRING
Name: Holiday Inn Express
Address: Botley Road, Southampton, SO30 3XA
Tel: 0800 990 3997
This Holiday Inn Express is located by junction seven of the M27, a 15-minute trip north of Southampton city centre and five-minute drive from the airport. Facilities include the Conservatory restaurant, bar, hot breakfast buffet and adjacent Virgin Active health club and pool. The hotel has five meeting rooms for gatherings of up to 52 delegates. All are air-conditioned and enjoy natural daylight. There’s also free parking.
Name: Southampton Solent University Conference Centre
Address: 157-187 Above Bar Street, Sir James Matthews Building, Southampton, Hampshire, SO14 7NN,
Tel: 02380 31 9639/9088
Set in the heart of Southampton, the University provides a range of meeting and event facilities – from reception spaces and meeting rooms featuring natural daylight, to tiered lecture theatres – all featuring the latest in audio visual technology. The Itchen and Solent lecture theatres seat 192 and 174 respectively. The Avon and Meon suites seat up to 120 and 100 delegates theatrestyle, and each can be partitioned to provide smaller rooms with capacity ranging from 40 to 60 theatrestyle and 14 to 20 for boardroom set-ups. The University offers both full and half-day packages including room hire and refreshements.
SMALL BUT PERFECTLY FORMED
Name: The Pig in the Wall
Address: 8 Western Esplanade, Southampton, Hampshire, SO14 2AZ
Tel: 02380 636900
For those looking for an intimate meeting room with lots of character, the Pig in the Wall hotel offers private hire of its dining room. The hotel is set within Southampton’s historic medieval walls and is located close to both the cruise terminal and the city centre, offering luxury combined with homely charm. There are 12 large guestrooms for those requiring overnight accommodation. Free transfers are also offered to its sister hotel and restaurant in The New Forest.
OUT OF TOWN
Name: The Pig in the Wall
Address: Chilworth Manor Hotel, Chilworth, Southampton, Hampshire, SO16 7PT
Tel: 023 80767333
This Best Western hotel is a charming country manor house with a state-of-the-art health club and spa. It is located close to the M27, just north of Southampton, and five miles from the city’s airport and Parkway train station. Set within 12 acres of landscaped grounds, Chilworth Manor offers 11 air-conditioned function rooms – six of which are in the Manor House – including a presentation theatre with tiered seating for up to 130 delegates. The hotel prides itself on its ‘all inclusive’ attitude to conferences, with the likes of wifi, use of an LCD projector, fresh fruit and refreshments all included in the price. Residential guests can also enjoy use of the hotel’s impressive health club and spa, complete with pool, sauna, steam room and gym.
How to get there: Southampton is around a two-hour drive from central London. Southampton Airport is located just off the M27 and has flights to/from around 15 UK destinations, primarily operated by Flybe. By train, Southampton Central is 80 minutes from London Waterloo and has connections to/from Portsmouth, Brighton, Bath, Bristol and Reading