Getting tested for coronavirus in Southampton

Got symptoms?

If you or someone in your family has any symptoms of coronavirus:

  • high temperature
  • new continuous cough 
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Self- isolate and then get tested for coronavirus

You can ask for a free test to check if you or your children have the virus. If you have coronavirus symptoms, you must get a test. If you don’t have symptoms, don’t get a test. We all need to play our part to protect the NHS Test and Trace service for those who really need it.

If you have symptoms– a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense or taste –you should get tested immediately and don’t leave home for any other reason other than to get tested. Tests should be booked as soon as you start to show symptoms by calling 119 or visit the NHS website to find out how to ask for a test. 

Testing at walk-through sites is only available for those either with coronavirus symptoms or those who have been asked to get tested by a doctor, public health professional or by their local council.  Anyone with one or more of the symptoms should book a test. There are home testing kits available as well as regional testing sites. People should book an appointment to attend a walk-through testing site.

There is now very high demand for coronavirus tests and it is vital we test people with symptoms to help stop the spread of the virus. 

Please note: patients at University Hospital Southampton (UHS) who have been advised they will need to take a COVID-19 test as part of the pre-assessment procedure for elective or planned care should follow the guidance given directly to them by their medical team as patients have a separate, dedicated testing facility in the city that is linked to the admission process.

New walk-through, appointment only test sites are available

Within Southampton new walk-through sites are at:

  • Southampton Guildhall at City Centre (SO14 7LP)
  • Marlborough Road (South) Car Park in Shirley (SO15 3ND) 
  • Woodley Road Car Park (SO19 9DW)

 You must book for these testing sites by visiting the NHS website or by calling 119.

These sites are run by Mitie on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care and are open on an appointment basis to anyone with coronavirus symptoms, seven days a week, 8am-8pm. Southampton City Council, local NHS organisations and the University of Southampton are not involved in the operation of the sites. All local testing sites are subject to survey prior to opening.

There are also regional drive-through testing sites across Hampshire which can be booked via the NHS website.

Self-isolate to keep others safe

If you test positive for coronavirus you will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help identify people you've been in close contact with. Find out more on the NHS website.

You can also find information on the NHS website about what to do if you're contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service as you've been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through testing site will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely. If you do drive to one of the walk-through testing sites, please make sure to follow our guidance for parking near the site in the FAQs below to avoid a parking fine.


Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission. 

You can find out more about the new walk-through testing centres by reading our FAQs below.

Local Testing Sites in Southampton FAQs

Who is operating and managing these sites?

Mitie is operating and managing these sites on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care.

What are the operating hours for the site?

Once the sites are built they will be operating 7 days a week 8am – 8pm

Why has the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) launched the walk-through local testing sites in Southampton?

These new walk-through local testing sites allow people without access to cars to book appointments and improve accessibility to testing for residents in the heart of Southampton.

How long will the local testing sites be open?

The local testing sites will be open for as long as there is a need for them in the community.

How do I get a test scheduled? Do I need an appointment? Can I just show up?

If you have one or more symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense or taste –you should get tested immediately and don’t leave home for any other reason other than to get tested.  Visit the NHS website to book an appointment at your local testing site (or anywhere else) or order a home test kit. You may also call 119.

Testing at walk-through sites is only available for those either with coronavirus symptoms or those who have been asked to get tested by a doctor, public health professional or by their local council.  Anyone with one or more of the symptoms should book a test.

There is now very high demand for coronavirus tests and it is vital we test people with symptoms to help stop the spread of the virus. 

If you have coronavirus symptoms, you must get a test. If you don’t have symptoms, don’t get a test. We all need to play our part to protect the NHS Test and Trace service for those who really need it.

Our aim is for everyone in Southampton with coronavirus symptoms to have access to free tests to support continued efforts to reduce the transmission of the virus. To ensure sites have enough capacity to meet demand, people should book an appointment to attend a walk-through testing site. It is vital for safety reasons they arrive at the correct time.

Why have these communities been selected for a local testing site?

In coordination with the Government, we are doing our very best to help prevent an increase in COVID-19 infections in Southampton, particularly with flu season and winter approaching. 

Having a local testing site in your local community will give you easier access to a secure testing facility and will help provide an even more accurate assessment of coronavirus cases in Southampton.

Should I get public transport to get to the walk-through centre?

You are instructed to not take public transport or a taxi if you are traveling to a test site.

Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through testing site will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely, including: adhering to social distancing; not travelling in a taxi or on public transport; wearing a face covering throughout (including travelling to and from the testing centre); and washing their hands thoroughly before leaving for their appointment. This approach has been agreed with expert clinical oversight.

Where can I park for each site?

There are a number of other parking sites in the vicinity of each testing site that can be used:

Southampton Guildhall testing site:

  • Civic Centre Forecourt Car Park – 60 spaces
  • Grosvenor Square North Multi-Storey Car Park – 532 spaces

Marlborough Road (South) local testing site:

  • Cannon Street – 42 spaces
  • Howards Grove – 47 spaces
  • Bright Glade – 5 spaces

The Marlborough Road (South) Car Park will be closed and we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. The Pay and Display in the Marlborough Road (North) car park will be suspended for the duration of the testing site. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you. 

Woodley Road Car Park local testing site:

We have closed Woodley Road Park to accommodate this new testing site. Alternate parking is available at: 

  • Portsmouth Road Car Park
  • Oakbank Road Car Park 
  • The Collonade Car Park 

Will this increase traffic and congestion and dangerous parking?

Since it is required that residents pre-book their appointment online to attend testing at each walk-in site, we anticipate that congestion and parking should not be a problem. 

There are a number of other parking sites in the vicinity of each testing site that can be used:

Southampton Guildhall testing site:

  • Civic Centre Forecourt Car Park – 60 spaces
  • Grosvenor Square North Multi-Storey Car Park – 532 spaces

Marlborough Road (South) local testing site:

  • Marlborough Road (North) – 62 space
  • Cannon Street – 42 spaces
  • Howards Grove – 47 spaces
  • Bright Glade – 5 spaces

The Marlborough Road (South) Car Park will be closed and we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. The Pay and Display in the Marlborough Road (North) car park has currently been suspended.

Woodley Road Car Park local testing site: 

We have closed Woodley Road Park to accommodate this new testing site. Alternate parking is available at: 

  • Portsmouth Road Car Park
  • Oakbank Road Car Park 
  • The Collonade Car Park 

Is there a risk of spread of infection to people in the area if symptomatic people are walking in the area?

In line with NHS guidance, people receiving tests should go directly home and await results of the test.

Anyone attending an appointment at a walk-through testing site will be provided with guidance on getting to and from the test site safely, including: adhering to social distancing; not travelling in a taxi or on public transport; wearing a face covering throughout (including travelling to and from the testing centre); and washing their hands thoroughly before leaving for their appointment. This approach has been agreed with expert clinical oversight.

Standard operating procedures will be implemented that have been signed off by Public Health England to ensure that procedures have health and safety at the forefront. These include:

  • Social distancing measures. Those being tested will be required to follow public health measures, including social distancing, not travelling by taxi or public transport, practising good personal hygiene and wearing a face covering throughout (including travelling to and from the testing centre). After booking their tests, test subjects receive the full address and directions to their local testing site
  • Personal Protective Equipment on site. Staff who are required to interact with test subjects wear PPE. The on-site operational staff do not wear PPE as this is not required. These staff do not come into direct contact with any test subjects
  • Cleaning regime. There is a strict cleaning regime for the whole site which means that facilities are cleaned multiple times a day to ensure very high standards of hygiene. Waste is removed on a regular basis
  • Designated areas. The testing areas are segregated from all other areas. All efforts have been made to reduce the disturbances to local communities and only operational staff will be in the designated area of the testing site

Why didn’t you tell us about the local sites sooner?

We have been working with the Department of Health and Social Care and their contractor Deloitte to find sites for local walk-through testing centres across the city at very short notice. 

This is an incredibly rapid process in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Deloitte carry out the final survey of sites to confirm if they are suitable just a day before they are built. This means our normal consultation process is impossible in this instance. But rest assured as soon as we are able to, we inform local residents, businesses and other settings of what is set to take place and provide messages of reassurance.

It was important we acted quickly to ensure that Southampton residents could benefit from something that can help us to better control the virus, keep people safe and ultimately save lives. 

Will more testing sites mean our case numbers will increase and we’ll be more likely to go into lockdown?

We look at a whole range of data to inform our Local Outbreak Plan – not just positive tests. Having an accurate picture of the infection rate in Southampton also allows us to plan better and make well-informed decisions, hopefully reducing the likelihood of further restrictions being introduced.

More widespread testing will likely result in more positive Covid-19 cases being found. Testing is really important because it means people will know when they must start to self-isolate (if they do not yet have symptoms) or continue to self-isolate. It also allows contact-tracing to take place.

More testing also means that life can get back to ‘normal’ sooner for those who receive a negative result. Testing is one vital tool which we can use to control the virus and prevent outbreaks. But ultimately we need residents to keep following Government laws and guidance to help keep our local COVID-19 infection rate low and protect our most vulnerable.

Hospital admissions and deaths are still low according to data for Southampton. Is all this testing really necessary?

It is encouraging that hospital admissions and deaths in Southampton remain low at present. However, cases are increasing in the community and it is vitally important that we do everything that we can to stop the virus spreading.

Knowing where the virus is, through testing, is a key part of our plans.  We know from the first wave of infections that this virus can be deadly and if left unchecked could result in many more deaths.

There is also more emerging evidence of the long term health impact it has on some people that become ill with the virus. 168 people in Southampton have lost their lives so far to this virus. We will continue to do everything in our power to protect people and save lives as we move forward.