South of England

Creative, digital and technology meet traditional industry in the South of England, a region with a strong history of innovation.

The region is home to 21 million people. It offers opportunities across a wide range of sectors from nuclear and aerospace, to life science and new technologies. There are vibrant clusters of expertise spanning 5G, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

Expanding your business

The South of England has a large network of regional and international airports. These include:

  • London Heathrow
  • London Gatwick
  • Luton
  • Stansted
  • Bristol

Ports include:

  • Southampton
  • Bristol - the UK’s most centrally located deep sea port
  • London Gateway
  • Dover
  • Felixstowe – the UK’s busiest container port

There is also continental rail access via Eurotunnel.

Get practical guidance and insights to help you successfully set up in the UK.

Investing capital

Strong economic growth in southern cities like Bristol, Reading, Oxford, and Cambridge increases the need for office, residential, energy and infrastructure services.

Buying goods and services

Home to 4 top global universities, and an ecosystem for innovation companies, the region has the highest global concentration of world-class research and innovation assets (science parks, businesses, incubators). These form an innovation economy that drives growth across the region and the UK.

of the top 5 universities in the world (QS World University Rankings, 2021)
major airports providing fast access to the entire region
seaports in the region
31 million
people in the South East
freeports, and 4 life science enterprise zones
£119.9 billion
value of goods exported from the South in 2020
£605 billion
GVA (2019): 30.6% of the UK economy (ONS)
projects with foreign direct investment in 2020/21, creating 6,846 new jobs (UK Inward Investment Results 2020/21)

Strategic markets

Advanced engineering

The South of England has an established advanced engineering cluster, strong capabilities in digitisation and automation, and a unique set of physical assets for testing and evaluation.

The region is the UK leader in digital engineering - the process of revolutionising engineering through the application of digital technology to the whole product development lifecycle.

The region is the ideal location for developing new critical infrastructure products and services.

Life sciences

The region is home to the world-leading life science cluster of Oxford, Cambridge and the South East, forming an area of significant economic growth and expertise in life sciences and health.

This cluster forms an entire ecosystem for innovative companies. It has the highest global concentration of world-class research and innovation assets, from science parks, businesses, incubators to healthcare providers, industry players and research centres.

The region is perfect for forming partnerships with major academic institutions, and accessing state-of-the-art development and viral vector laboratories.

Capital investment

The South of England is the most affluent region of the UK, where a near continuous demand for all types of property leads to high rents and capital appreciation. The resulting competitive property market is highly attractive to developers and investors looking to deploy their capital in the region’s real estate.

Case study


Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP)

As part of its ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, the UK government aims to build a prototype fusion power plant by the early 2040s.

The Culham Science Centre near Oxford has combined with commercial technology organisations and the Culham Innovation Centre to create a powerhouse of high technology innovation and enterprise in Oxfordshire.

Canadian company General Fusion announced in June 2021 that it will build and operate a plant to demonstrate its nuclear fusion technology at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) Culham Campus.

The Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP) will pave the way for a commercial pilot plant using Magnetised Target Fusion (MTF) technology and is expected to begin operations in 2025.