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One of the UK’s most important ports, Southampton has witnessed many great moments in world history, from the sailing of the Titanic in 1912 to a departure point for the Allied armies that landed on Normandy’s beaches on D-Day in June 1944 to liberate France. But its history as a station for the Royal Navy extends back centuries before either of these two events, as any tour of the city will quickly establish.
Southampton’s southern and eastern flanks are met by Southampton Water and the River Itchen. Much of the attraction to Southampton for visitors comes from its proximity to the New Forest National Park – actually one of the oldest areas of woodland in the country. It covers 566 square kilometers, making it almost 11 times larger than Southampton itself. There are almost no limits to the ways of getting out into the open landscape, whether that’s on foot, by horse, by mountain bike, or by getting a RV rental in Southampton.
Southampton Airport, located in the neighboring town of Eastleigh seven kilometers away, has year-round flights to destinations in the UK and Northern Europe via British Airways and KLM. It is connected to the city by rail, as is London Gatwick Airport roughly 150 kilometers away, which has a much broader arrivals board. Gatwick can also be reached along the M3 freeway, which links up with the orbital M25, which rings London.
From abroad, it’s possible to arrive in Southampton by cruise ship, although the last remaining ferries only make the short journey across the Solent to the Isle of Wight.
The city’s main railway station is known as Southampton Central and sees the passage of trains to London, Bristol, Cardiff and Poole among a whole range of other destinations. The local bus network is pretty expansive, connecting up all major points of interest within the city limits.
It can be difficult to find street-side parking bays that are large enough for the average camper rental in Southampton, so whenever possible, it’s best to park up at a campsite outside the city before making use of public transportation services. There is just one dedicated space available at Harbor Parade long-stay car park near the Isle of Wight ferry terminal. It costs roughly €1 per hour, with an additional charge of around €2.50 for an overnight stay. If this is already taken, you will have to try your luck at the bay outside the city on the other side of the River Itchen at Weston Lane Car Park, which does have the advantage of a free stay of 24 hours.