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There are many different day trips and sightseeing opportunities from Southampton.
Southampton is well placed for worthwhile sightseeing attractions ranging from the neolithic monument of Stonehenge, impressive cathedrals like Winchester or Salisbury, the military and naval history at Portsmouth or just the landscapes and pubs of the English countryside.
Southampton is a commercial port and regional city for the region it's tourist industry is relatively small. Of the cruise ships that visit Southampton, nearly all start or end their journeys in Southampton, few have Southampton as a port of call mid-voyage. Most cruise ship passengers will not stopover or stay in Southampton.
As a result there are no regular public sightseeing tours you can buy a ticket for, except for a few walking tours around the city centre from the tourist centre in Southampton. On this page we show how you can have great day tours or shore excursions from your Southampton hotel or cruise ship using public transport or taking a private sightseeing tour.
Within an hour of Southampton by vehicle is Stonehenge, Salisbury, Winchester and Portsmouth all of which can easily take up a full day sightseeing from Southampton. Southampton is a railway hub and there are frequent trains to Salisbury, Winchester or Portsmouth.
Further afield are Bath, London, Oxford and the scenic Cotswolds region and much much more.
By train, there are direct trains from Southampton Central Station to London's Waterloo Station in the very heart of London, right next to the London Eye, and opposite the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. We have a detailed page on London by train from Southampton so you can get the best outcome.
For a private tour or shore excursion from Southampton your vehicle will collect you from your ship or Southampton hotel and the day is customised to your specification. You may just want transport or a fully guided tour it is your choice.
If you are flying into or out of London in conjunction with your cruise you are probably best to stay-over in London either after or just before your cruise. We offer flexible London pre cruise hotel and transfer packages, and London post cruise hotel and transfer packages London packages that include transfers to from the airport and your Southampton cruise ship as well as sightseeing. If you are more independently minded we have stopover tours between London and Southampton visiting places like Windsor Castle and Stonehenge on the day you join or disembark your cruise
Stonehenge is very accessible to Southampton and an easy day trip or shore excursion. You can spend a whole day at Stonehenge if you are really into things ancient and neolithic but most visitors a visit is around 2 hours.
There is no public transport serving Stonehenge. Independently from Southampton you would take the train from Southampton to Salisbury. A regular Stonehenge tour bus visits Salisbury railway station at least hourly and shuttles you to Stonehenge is around 25 minutes. Salisbury itself is very worthwhile exploring. We have a detailed page on travelling by train from Southampton so you are informed on getting the best deal.
Travelling with your own vehicle and driver gives you more flexibility to combine Stonehenge into your own itinerary, often with lunch in an atmospheric English country pub. For a private tour or shore excursion from Southampton your vehicle will collect you from your ship or Southampton hotel and the day is customised to your specification. You may just want transport or a fully guided tour it is your choice.
Check our private shore excursions to Stonehenge from Southampton page for full details.
Salisbury - This cathedral city is only 30 minutes from Southampton. Salisbury is best known for its impressive cathedral and spire, which houses one of the few copies of the Magna Carta. It has a beautiful cathedral close and large market square. A lovely city to browse the shops, you can enjoy a leisurely lunch here or take a river side walk. It makes a perfect shore excursion from Southampton.
Salisbury is the gateway for Stonehenge, so if you are looking for a full day trip you could easily combine a visit here with Stonehenge. Logistics by public transport are on the Stonehenge section above.
Winchester - Former capital of England, historic Winchester is the closest city to Southampton. A medieval city, it has a beautiful cathedral and lovely boutique shops. You can visit the Great Hall of Winchester Castle here, which houses the round table, linked to King Arthur. The city has lots of characterful side streets, perfect for exploring and is a great place to spend a few hours.
Independently from Southampton there are frequent trains Southampton to both Salisbury and Winchester taking 20-30 minutes. However, both cities are served by different railways and to visit both by public transport you will need to retrace your steps via Southampton. We have a detailed page on travelling by train from Southampton so you are informed on getting the best deal.
Travelling with your own vehicle and driver gives you more flexibility with your own itinerary, often with lunch in an atmospheric English country pub. For a private tour or shore excursion from Southampton your vehicle will collect you from your ship or Southampton hotel and the day is customised to your specification. You may just want transport or a fully guided tour it is your choice.
Portsmouth - Home to the British Navy, Portsmouth is the neighbouring coastal town of Southampton and accessible by public transport. Spend a full day at the Historic Dockyard, where you can explore warships and step aboard a submarine. Pre booking is recommended as discounts are available on line. The complex is close to Gunwharf Keys, an attractive shopping outlet with good restaurant options. You may also venture up the Spinnaker Tower which affords views across to the Isle of Wight.
Independently from Southampton there are frequent trains Southampton to Portsmouth taking around 30 minutes. We have a detailed page on travelling by train from Southampton so you are informed on getting the best deal.
Travelling with your own vehicle and driver gives you more flexibility with your own itinerary. For a private tour or shore excursion from Southampton your vehicle will collect you from your ship or Southampton hotel and the day is customised to your specification. You may just want transport or a fully guided tour it is your choice.
To cover everything that is worthwhile within easy reach of Southampton would be a whole book in itself. The suggestions above are the most popular destinations that cruise p[passengers enquire about.
In summary most other enquiries reflect a niche interest. If you are into Jane Austen, then she is buried in Winchester Cathedral and a museum to her is worthwhile nearby at Chawton. Even Bath where she lived and wrote is within reach. Highclere Castle, better known as Downton Abbey in the TV and film series can be visited during the summer months.
If you want to visit a brewery, visit an industrial museum or ride a historic steam train then yes, all available. There is also some of the best of the English countryside to tour and cream teas and traditional lunches to experience.
Southampton is a regional train hub with frequent train services radiating out in all directions. The main railway station is called Southampton Central Station and is in the city centre ans walk-able from most city centre hotels within 10-15 minutes. Without luggage you can walk to the railway station from the City Cruise Terminal. From the other three cruise terminals you will need a local cab as there is no shuttle or public transport.
Of the major sights highlighted in the above section one line heads east along the coast to Portsmouth. The trains to London head north east and stop at Winchester. Going north-west the line stops at Salisbury, gateway to Stonehenge and then travels much further onto Bath.
If you are a visitor to the UK read our detailed page on London - Southampton train travel covers all aspects of train travel in the UK. If you just want to view timetables and get an idea of what advanced promotional tickets may be available and buy for your dates, use the ticketing link banner below.
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Your own private vehicle provides convenience, flexibility and reliability. It gives you the freedom to spend longer at the sites without the worry of following a timetable, or being dropped some distance of where you want to go. It also offers you a wider range of places to visit; you could combine two sites into one day such as Stonehenge with Salisbury or Winchester.
Private cars cater for groups and couples of up to six and for large groups we have mini-buses and large coaches. You choose whether you just need a friendly driver or a professional guide or driver- guide to accompany you.
The private tour options we offer are:
For small travelling parties of up to sixteen people we offer a choice 4, 6 or 8 hour durations:
For larger groups we have vehicles ranging from touring mini-buses to full size touring coaches. However for these we only perform full day shore excursions and tours.
We offer a full service and can arrange attraction tickets, appropriate lunch stops and guiding attuned to your groups interests.
LUXURY TOURING COACH
Prices on application
18- 53 passengers
GUIDING: If you require a professional tour guide to accompany you, please do not make a booking immediately, but use our quotation/enquiry facility below. We have a team of fantastic guides available for various destinations, and will be happy to check their availability for your chosen destination/attraction.
For a confirmed personalised quotation that may address any aspects you are concerned about and wish to raise please use the enquiry form below. We will normally respond with a firm quotation within one working day.