Eastleigh  is a town in the south of England that sits between Winchester and Southampton. The town has a long history associated with the railways, being the site of a large railway works that at one time was the major employer in the area.
Perhaps the best-known piece of history associated with Eastleigh is that it is the home of the Spitfire (WWII fighter plane, designed by R.J.Mitchell). The aircraft was built, designed and first flown from what is now Southampton Airport (which actually resides in Eastleigh). Interesting trivia: Southampton Airport was claimed to have been sunk by the German Air Force during the Second World War! During its military service, it was known as HMS Raven, and this name was announced by the German propaganda machine as a successfully sunk ship of the British Navy!
The town also boasts a link to one of the UK's best known comics, Benny Hill. Indeed it was his work as a milkman in the town that spawned his well known "Ernie - the fastest milkman in the west" tune. The cartoon character - 'Jane' and musician -'Heinz' are both connected with the borough.
In the last 20-30 years, it has become a bit of a dormitory town, in that it has become home to many people who live here, but work elsewhere. This is mainly due to the good transport links of the M3 and M27 motorways and Southampton Airport - with direct flights to much of the UK and many points within Europe.
In 2006, Eastleigh was named as the ninth best place to live in the UK by the Channel 4 television programme 'The Best and Worst Places to Live 2006'. The abundance of jobs and the excellent transport links were named as some of the primary reasons for this award. Nearby Winchester was named the best place to live in the UK by the same programme.
Local rail connections to nearby towns are described at Three Rivers Rail
Southampton Airport, just to the south of the town, has regular services to most major European cities, and during the summer months also has flights to the more common british holiday destinations of the Spanish Costas.
Eastleigh is also the end point of the M3 connecting the South Coast with the rest of the country's motorway network.
Travel times (approximately)
- London (1.5 hours)
- Birmingham (2.5 hours)
Eastleigh town center is very small and can easily be travelled on foot. It takes less than ten minutes to traverse. Eastleigh does have a large residential sprawl a-joined in the North and West known as Boyatt Wood. There are regular buses and travel time on foot to the opposite end of Boyatt Wood is only 25 minutes.
- Eastleigh Museum
- The Point (Arts centre) - cinema, shows etc
- VUE Cinema
In the last few years, Eastleigh has launched a music festival. This is held in a giant big top on either the Recreation Ground, or more recently at Fleming Park, the main leisure centre in Eastleigh.
The highlight of the 2004 festival was Rolf Harris - who went down an absolute storm. More details can be found by searching for Eastleigh Music Festival.
2008's festival, saw Nick Harper, with Seth Lakeman headlining on Friday night and local bands and Robots in Disguise playing, with Lethal Bizzle headlining the Saturday night. On the Sunday, a Mela was held.
Lakeside is an area of land left behind by the gravel extraction for the M27. The three large holes are now flooded and provide a very pleasant green belt between Southampton and Eastleigh. Fishing, Walking and bird watching are all possible at the site, as well as a miniature railway that runs during School holidays.
There is a 9-screen cinema operated by VUE, and a 20 lane bowling alley run by AMF. There are several other units; Nando's, Frankie and Benny's, Harvester, The Real China, Prezzo and a Chimichanga (current as of February 2013). The facility has been a major boost to the town, putting it on par with other nearby areas, such as Southampton and Winchester.
The town centre consists of two streets (High Street and Market Street) and one shopping centre called "The Swan Centre" which sits at the end of the two. Many national chains are represented as well as independent shops. The main supermarket in the town centre is Tesco, which is attached to the Swan Centre. There is also a Sainsbury's, but there is a giant Asda 'Hypermarket' in nearby Chandlers' Ford which has recently undergone refurbishment, as well as an out of town retail park alongside the M27 near Hedge End. There is also a market in the town centre twice a week.
Most tastes are catered for in Eastleigh. In the town centre, Ghandi's and The Great Moghul are very well respected Indian restaurants. The Peking Phoenix is one of the best Chinese restaurants in the area. There is also an Italian restaurant and Nashaa's, as well as cafés, sandwich shops, and the usual array of chain outlets including KFC, a Dominoes Pizza, and McDonald. Most pubs in the town centre also have food menus. Pizza Hut is take-away only.
There are several pubs in the Town Centre. On High Street; Stones, Litten Tree and JKS Winebar. On Market Street, JKS are opening a club, JKS Regal (coming Spring 2013). Directly opposite the train station is The Wagon Works (formerly The Tavern). Further down Leigh Road is the Good Companions, and behind the Swan Centre is The Grantham and the Chamberlayne Arms.
There is a Costa Coffee in Market Street, a Boswells inside the Swan Centre, and a Nero's just outside. A Shakeaway is on a corner of the High Street.
Holiday Inn and Premier Travel Inn have hotels a short distance from the town centre. A Travelodge is directly opposite the train station.
See the Get Out section above.
Lots of options with good road, rail and air links into and out of the area.
National Express coaches also runs services through the town centre.