Southampton 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 authority 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 239,700. Southampton combines with Portsmouth to form a single metropolitan area; with a population of over a million this makes the region one of the United Kingdom's most populous metropolitan areas. 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 Airport, the Ford Transit factory, Ordnance Survey, BBC South, the NHS, ABP and Carnival. 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.
In January 1985, Bill Webster moved to the city with his daughter Debbie and new wife Elaine. Alec Gilroy also moved there in September 1992 when he was offered the job of MC on a cruise ship. The year before, he had joined a ship at the port there in a similar temporary role for two months. His granddaughter Vicky Arden spent long periods in the city with him.
In December 1995, Rita Sullivan and Mavis Wilton sailed from the port on the QE2 where they met Alec who was working on the ship. The following April, Alec moved back to Weatherfield to run the local branch of the Sunliners Travel Agency whose head office was based in Southampton. In November 2000, Debs Brownlow and Vinny Sorrell moved there when she found the two of them jobs in her old cruise line firm.
In July 2012, Peter Barlow and Carla Connor sailed from Southampton on the "trip of a lifetime" which took the two of them away from Weatherfield for five months and Tony Stewart found work there for several weeks in September 2014.