Population: 253651 people
Southampton (i/saʊθˈæmptən, -hæmptən/) is the largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated 75 miles (121 km) south-west of London and 19 miles (31 km) north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest. It lies at the northernmost point of Southampton Water at the confluence of the River Test and River Itchen, with the River Hamble joining to the south of the urban area. The local council is Southampton City Council, which is a unitary authority. The city represents the core of the Greater Southampton region, and the city itself has an estimated population of 253,651. The city's name is sometimes abbreviated in writing to "So'ton" or "Soton", and a resident of Southampton is called a Sotonian.
Significant employers in Southampton include The University of Southampton, Southampton Solent University, Southampton Airport, Ordnance Survey, BBC South, the NHS, ABP and Carnival UK. Southampton is noted for its association with the RMS Titanic, the Spitfire and more generally in the World War II narrative as one of the departure points for D-Day, and more recently as the home port of a number of the largest cruise ships in the world. Southampton has a large retail park called West Quay which, although it employs just under 30 people, most of which are maintenance staff, has stores which collectively employ just under 800 people. In October 2014, the City Council approved a follow-up from the WestQuay park, called WestQuay Watermark. Construction by Sir Robert McAlpine commenced in January 2015. The new centre is expected to employ 650 people once the construction is completed in Autumn 2016. Hammerson, the owners of the retail park, aim to have at least 1,550 people employed on its premises at year-end 2016.
Despite the oft-expressed naked antipathy between the cities, most notably from amongst their football supporters, Southampton is sometimes considered together with Portsmouth and surrounding towns to form a single metropolitan area known as South Hampshire. This combined area has also been known as Solent City, particularly in the media when discussing local governance organisational changes. With a population of over 1.5 million this makes the region one of the United Kingdom's most populous metropolitan areas.