Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated 120 kilometres (75 mi) south-west of London and 30 kilometres (19 mi) 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 authority is Southampton City Council, which is a unitary authority.
Significant employers in Southampton include the University of Southampton, the Ford Transit factory, Ordnance Survey, the BBC through Radio Solent and South Today, the NHS and one of the largest commercial ports in Europe. The city represents the core of the Greater Southampton region, and the city itself has an estimated population of 234,600 (MYE 2008). The city’s name is sometimes abbreviated in writing to “So’ton” or “Soton”, and a resident of Southampton is called a Sotonian. Southampton is noted for its association with the RMS Titanic, the Spitfire and more recently a number of the largest cruise ships in the world.