Hong Kong Welcome


What's local


What’s local? This page gives you information about what you can experience in and around the historic city of Southampton.

Southampton is an international port city located in the middle of the South coast of England, 70 miles southwest of London. It has been favoured by having the Isle of Wight located to the south, which gives both added shelter and a double high tide (two high tides) caused by the movement of the tide around the island. It is at the mouth of two rivers, the Test and the Itchen.

As a gateway city, one of its most iconic images is that of its historic main gate, the Bargate. The port’s cruise terminals have the largest turnaround of passengers in Europe. The port also has up to 850,000 cars shipped through it annually, and it is the second largest container port in the UK.


Southampton Airport serves over 25 destinations across Europe, and residents are also in comfortable reach of main London airports at Heathrow and Gatwick. There are train services to London (with a typical journey time 1 hour 25 minutes) as well to many other parts of the country.


Southampton has high hopes of being confirmed soon as a freeport. It was ranked 11th in an ‘innovation index’ survey of 60 UK cities conducted in 2021. The city’s high position was partly due to the fact that it was found to have such a high level of business startups. The main sectors of employment include retail, hospitality, health, marine and maritime businesses, and professional and financial services. 


The population of Southampton is a little over 250,000. The city helps to serve the Solent area which has in it a population of more than 1.25 million and 42,000 businesses. The city is part of the South-East region, which forms an important part of the country’s economy.


Southampton is most widely known internationally because of its Premier League football club. However, it was also a staging post for ‘the Pilgrims’ who sailed on the Mayflower to the New World (a column commemorates this), and it was the home port from which the Titanic sailed on its only ever voyage across the Atlantic. Its history goes back to Roman times. The medieval walls are some of the best preserved in the country. The most famous Christian to come from Southampton was the hymn writer Isaac Watts. The city has attracted people to settle in it from many other nations, and its Chinese community may go as far back as 200 years.

Local elections

The local election process is sometimes confusing and hard to understand. It is important to stay informed and know how to navigate the election process. We have put together a guide, providing all the information you need to participate in the next local election. 


The main shopping centre is in and around Westquay. The parks are another notable amenity. The Mayflower Theatre is the largest theatre on the south coast. The annual Southampton Boat Show is the biggest of its kind in the UK.

The Marketplace on Thursdays at Saint Mary’s Church is a membership food project providing access to affordable, fresh and healthy food in a friendly and supportive environment. In partnership with Southampton City Mission, we’re excited to be piloting The Marketplace in Southampton.This is a community where relationships are built and a holistic approach to support can be developed.


Leisure destinations within reach of a day visit include the New Forest, the Isle of Wight, London, Bath, Salisbury, Oxford, Guildford, Portsmouth and Winchester. 


The city has a wide range of churches of different denominations, and a number of these are HK Welcome churches.


Other organisations helping Hong Kongers

1. Hongkongers in Britain (HKB)

Hongkongers in Britain have worked with other national and regional VCSE organisations to continue a community project, Mission PERM, to provide UK-wide support for BN(O) integration in line with the four UK government national objectives of welcoming Hongkongers. The project’s strategic focus is on key pillars of integration during the initial settlement:

  • Encouraging participation in local community life
  • Facilitating employment
  • Building community relationships
  • Safeguarding mental health/wellbeing

For more information visit hongkongers.org.uk

2. Welcome Churches (UKHK)

UKHK provides social, child, youth and wellbeing assistance to new arrivals from Hong Kong across the UK. Socially, the Welcome Course is a good opportunity for newly-arrived Hongkongers to learn about British life and culture. For Hong Kong children, a Welcome Magazine has been produced and is available to welcome them and provide information on services and resources they can access. For HK teenagers, a video platform and youth resource will help them engage, explore their community and make friends. The wellbeing video will enable Hongkongers having a difficult time to look after themselves.

For more information visit ukhk.org

3. Friends International

Friends International Southampton and Winchester welcomes international students to join our events, trips and courses, have a meal in a local home through our Local Link scheme and make friends with other students and our volunteers from local churches. International students who join us are from a variety of religious and cultural backgrounds and our events are not faith-focussed unless advertised as such. If you are a Christian then we hope to encourage you to grow in your faith during your time as a student and we want to enable all the students we meet to have the opportunity to consider Christianity for themselves.

To find out more, download our Friends International App which includes details of our events and our Local Link scheme, a useful Life UK guide and some wellbeing videos. You can also go to our website fisuk.org or contact us by emailing events@fisuk.org.