Southampton is one of the biggest and most important settlements on the south coast of England. Its key location, on the estuary of the River Itchen, has helped it grow from a fishing village to a major port. Discover Southampton when travelling with the new UK ETA. This guide tells you all you need to know.
First settled by the Romans, Southampton’s key location later made it a major target for Viking raiders. King Canute was crowned here in 1014, and legend says that it was here, on Southampton Water, that he made his ill-fated attempt to control the tides. Southampton boomed after the Norman invasion, as its location made it the ideal port for transport between Winchester — the then-capital of England — and Normandy.
St Michael’s Church
The oldest building still standing in Southampton, St Michael’s Church, dates back to 1070. Some original Norman architecture can still be seen, including one a pilaster buttress and round pillars. The church’s stained glass windows represent the five churches that were important in medieval Southampton: St John’s, St Lawrence’s, St Michael’s, Holyrood and All Saints’ Church. Of these five churches, only St Michael’s is still standing. The first two were demolished over the centuries, while the latter two were destroyed by bombs in the Blitz. St Michael’s was deliberately left untouched during the Blitz, as German pilots used its tall spire as a navigational point.
Southampton Castle, now totally destroyed, was built during the reign of Henry II. At this time, Southampton was growing in importance as an essential port on the trade route between England and France. Some buildings remain from this time. For example, the Wool House — now a pub — is set in a mediaeval warehouse. However, the French destroyed much of the early city in repeated raids during the Hundred Years’ War. Southampton suffered more bad luck in 1348 when it was the first English town to experience the Black Death due to infected vessels.
Mediaeval Merchant’s House
First built around 1290, the Mediaeval Merchant’s House endured through the centuries, being rebuilt and repurposed. During the Blitz, damage from bombs revealed the house’s mediaeval interior, still largely intact. The house’s exterior was restored, with its interior filled with replica furniture from the 13th and 14th centuries. Today, it serves as a museum and shows visitors what life was like in medieval Southampton.
Trade in Southampton
Southampton’s fortunes have always been linked to its port. It had experienced great success at times when large amounts of goods moved through it. At other times, London dominated trade, and Southampton suffered. Although ideal for trade routes, its coastal location made it a target for seafaring raiders, and it was attacked at various times by the French and Spanish. Nevertheless, it endured as an important port. In 1620, the Mayflower sailed from Southampton, carrying the Pilgrim Fathers bound for the New World. Far later, the Titanic would also depart from Southampton, and many of its crew were natives of the city.
Tudor House and Garden
The exterior of this house is distinctively Tudor, with its white walls and vertical timbering. However, the Tudor House and Garden is actually much older, with some parts of the site dating back to the Norman era. In fact, parts of the interior represent some of the best-preserved examples of a Norman home in England. This house was used as a private residence until the 20th century, when it was turned into a museum. It survived the Blitz, and its underground wine cellar was used as an air raid shelter. Inside, some walls have been covered with graffiti dating back to the Tudor era.
Southampton in the Blitz
Southampton was one of the worst-affected cities in England during the Blitz of World War II. It was targeted for its strategic importance as a major port city and also because it contained the factories where the Spitfire aircraft were built. Its southern coastal location made it easy for German raids to be launched from occupied France. 476 tons of bombs were dropped on the city, destroying countless buildings. Over 600 people died in Southampton during the Blitz, with 2,000 left injured. The city had to be largely rebuilt in the post-war period. Many of those buildings that had not been destroyed outright had to be demolished, as they were so severely damaged.
Southampton’s aviation museum, Solent Sky, has a Spitfire on display, as well as seaplanes and other aircraft. The museum has a particular focus on the Supermarine aircraft company. This company was founded in Southampton in 1913, and it went on to become one of the UK’s most important aircraft manufacturers, producing seaplanes and fighter jets for use in World War II. Supermarine’s location in Southampton was one of the reasons that the city was so heavily bombed during the Blitz.
The UK ETA for Southampton
The UK’s new ETA system is to be introduced in the year 2024. Inspired by programmes that are currently in place in countries like Canada and the United States, the ETA — which stands for Electronic Travel Authorisation — helps the government digitalise the borders and enjoy greater control over entries and departures.
At present, citizens of 92 countries can enter the UK without needing to apply for a visa. Travellers from these countries will need to apply for an ETA to travel to the UK after the new border control system has been introduced.
Visitors will need to apply for an ETA if they plan to spend less than six months and do not intend to work in the UK. The ETA will be issued to tourists, students and people on business trips. Those who want to spend longer than six months in the country, or people who hope to work while in the UK, will need to apply for a separate visa.
The UK ETA Application Process
Travellers will need to apply online for the UK ETA for Southampton. No alternative methods of application are available. It is essential to apply in advance so that the ETA is approved before travellers board their flight, ship or train. Carriers can deny boarding to any passenger who does not have an approved ETA.
Before beginning their application, travellers should look at the ETA requirements. They will need to have a valid biometric passport before they can apply for an ETA. Travellers will also be expected to provide some personal information. This includes the visitor’s date of birth, contact details and information about their employment status.
Applicants will also need to provide information about their past. They will be expected to disclose criminal records, immigration offences and membership in proscribed groups. In addition, they will need to answer questions about their planned trip to the UK. This may include providing an address while in the country, which could be a hotel, a friend’s home or another private residence.
As part of their ETA application, travellers will need to pay a non-refundable fee. Their application will not be processed until the fee is paid. Processing time is expected to take up to 72 hours, so applicants should ensure they have enough time left before they travel.
Travelling With the UK ETA for Southampton
A traveller who has an approved UK ETA for Southampton will be able to visit all parts of the United Kingdom. There is free movement between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Travellers will not need any additional paperwork to move between these four constituent countries. However, the Republic of Ireland is an independent country with its own entry requirements. Many visitors like to combine a trip to Southampton with a ferry crossing to France. The UK ETA has no validity in France, so travellers should make sure they are familiar with French entry requirements if they wish to make the crossing.
The UK ETA for Southampton: Adventure is Waiting
This port city is known for its stunning museums, long and interesting history and well-preserved city walls. When you apply for the UK ETA to Southampton, you are unlocking a historical destination with sights that will surprise and intrigue visitors of all ages. For hassle-free entry and stay, travel to the fascinating city with the new UK ETA for Southampton.