- WHERE TO STAY
- PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- CRUISE PORTS
How far is Southampton from Heathrow Airport?
The distance between Southampton and Heathrow Airport is around 65 miles (105km).
On a good day by road this should take less than 90 minutes by car. Heathrow sits on a large motorway network which provides quick access down to the south coast where Southampton is located.
How to get from Heathrow to Southampton cruise terminals
There are many choices of transport connecting Heathrow with Southampton and on this page we compare them all.
If you want to go direct to the cruise terminals at Southampton your choice is between direct dedicated cruise shuttle vans, coach tour transfer options with a stopover at places like Windsor Castle and Stonehenge and of course private transfers by taxi and for groups mini-bus and charter coaches.
There is no direct train service between Heathrow Airport and Southampton, but National Express run a coach service. However the coach terminates at the city centre coach station, no stops are made at any of Southampton's cruise terminals.
All transport providers must adhere to strict Covid-19 guidelines, and are working to make your journey as safe as possible. Travelling on public transport will inevitably bring you into contact with other people and you may need to navigate through busy carriages and stations. In contrast, private and shuttle transfers keep you away from the crowds and offer minimal contact with others.
Private transfers offer the most convenient and flexible option with a meet and greet door to door service, either at the passenger/cruise terminal or your Heathrow or Southampton hotel. Flexibility to include sightseeing, (see map above).
• Fastest most convenient transfer. Only option with immediate departure and only option that will wait if flight late.
• If you have a flight out of Heathrow before 1pm this is your only option
• Most expensive transfer for couples. For groups and families is price competitive
• Arguably the safest transfer in a Covid world, as you travel in a private, sanitised vehicle with only your driver for company
Shared shuttle transfers exclusive to cruise passengers, these provide a convenient door to door service between Heathrow (amd central London) and Southampton cruise terminals with a maximum of 4 pick-ups or drops.
• Small number of passengers (max 8) results in minimal drops or pick-ups
• At Heathrow picks up at all main airport hotels. On the return journey drop offs are made at terminal buildings too
• If there are more than two in your party between Heathrow and Southampton a private car transfer is cheaper
• No minimum number of passengers required. Will operate with only one person
Tour and stopover transfers are a variation on the shuttle transfers, but are often conducted in larger touring coaches. These transfers are also exclusively provided to Southampton cruise passengers.
• Time efficient and economic way to incorporate world class sightseeing into your Southampton cruise transfer
• At Heathrow picks up at all main airport hotels. On the return drop offs are made at both hotels and terminal buildings
• Full days tours offered from Southampton to Heathrow, and shorter half day trips from Heathrow to Southampton
• Relatively small extra cost over shuttles offering great value
National Express coaches are the only direct public transport between Heathrow Airport and Southampton. There is no train service offering this route. The National Express coaches do not visit Southampton cruise terminals, just the coach station in Southampton city centre.
• The only reason to use National Express coaches is it is the lowest cost option (by far)
• Requirement of local cab between Southampton coach station and cruise terminals. No stops at hotels
• By far the slowest and inconvenient transfer. Luggage allowance may well be less than your flight allowance
Heathrow late flight transfer solution is narrowly targeted at cruise passengers whose flight leaves Heathrow late afternoon or evening and have the prospect of killing several hours or more at the airport.
• Private transfers Southampton to Windsor and subsequently Windsor to Heathrow at times of your choosing
• Spend as long as you like in Windsor with luggage storage included. Visit the castle, shop, go on a river boat, explore Eton ...
• Flat fee however long you stay in Windsor, no waiting time charges
• Turns a potential wasted day into a memorable and enjoyable excursion
There is only one company offering pre booked shared transfers between Heathrow Airport and Southampton cruise terminals, beyond the cruise lines themselves. In addition National Express operate a Heathrow - Southampton scheduled coach service but this only drops at the coach station in Southampton. An onward transfer is required to Southampton's cruise terminals.
The dedicated shared transfers for cruise passengers come in three variants:
• Direct van shuttles in both directions between the cruise terminals and Heathrow Airport
• In the Heathrow to Southampton direction half day transfers with sightseeing at Stonehenge, Windsor or Winchester
• In the Southampton to Heathrow direction full day transfers with sightseeing at two or three major sights
For Southampton cruise terminals departures, all services are timed to depart by 8:30 am. As you exit into the public area of the cruise terminal a representative meets and greets you and shows you to the transfer vehicle. Drops at Heathrow can be at any main Heathrow hotel or passenger terminal.
For Heathrow departures, pick-ups are at major Heathrow hotels only, not passenger terminals. Heathrow Airport has four passenger terminals two of which (terminals 4 and 5) have hotels directly attached. From terminals 2 and 3 you will need to take a hotel shuttle.
Drops at Southampton cruise terminals are around lunch time / early afternoon. Cruise ship porters take your hold luggage from the vehicle into the ship whilst you proceed to check-in.
Shuttle transfer services are available on all dates when Royal Caribbean, Oceania, NCL, Celebrity, Princess, Azamara and Carnival Mardi Gras cruise ships are visiting Southampton, between the end of April and beginning of November. Cunard ship arrivals are also included during this period.
If you are travelling on another cruise line that is in port on the same day as one of the above, you can still use the cruise transfer service. However, you will need to disembark and take a local taxi to your cruise terminal as the bus will not take you directly there. The cruise terminals are spread along a couple of miles of waterfront.
* We are aware that NCL ships may dock at 8am on some dates. When this happens the transfer meet time will be pushed back by an hour and so your arrival into London will also be an hour later.
The luggage allowance for shuttle and tour transfers is up to 1 large case per passenger (23kg max) plus 1 piece of hand luggage (10kg max).
Additional charges can be incurred should you bring additional items of luggage or for items weighing more than the maximum weight stated above. More information is given on the booking page.
All suppliers have different policies for travellers with mobility aids so please do read their terms and conditions on the booking page.
Pick-up times are provided before you make a booking.
For the transfer to Southampton relax in your Central London or Heathrow hotel reception with your luggage, ready to board when the vehicle arrives.
At Heathrow Airport we cannot pick up from passenger terminals due to parking restrictions. The Sofitel Heathrow Hotel and the Hilton Heathrow Terminal 4 are linked to terminals 5 and 4 respectively. If you are using passenger terminals 2 or 3 you will need to take a hotel bus called the Heathrow Hoppa to one of the supported hotels.
For the transfer from Southampton you will be greeted by a representative as you enter the public area of the cruise terminal. airline style and directed to your vehicle. At Heathrow vehicles will drop you off at both Heathrow hotels and passenger terminals.
Our cruise ship tour transfers are exclusive to cruise customers disembarking or boarding ships at Southampton cruise port. A great opportunity to include world class sightseeing on your journey to or from your cruise ship.
Important note regarding timings for 2023
It is not expected that there will be covid restrictions for the 2023 cruise season. However the situation will be monitored and possible timed embarkation procedures may be introduced. If so, it may be necessary to amend slightly the advertised timings. This is to ensure guests arrive at the cruise terminal at their allocated embarkation time. If timed embarkation policies are introduced, all customers will be contacted prior to the transfer to confirm their specific timings.
Choose between a Stonehenge pre-cruise transfer, stopping off at Stonehenge en route to Southampton, or a post cruise transfer visiting Windsor Castle from Southampton to London.
For the pre-cruise transfer you will be met at a centrally located London hotel in the early morning to visit Stonehenge and then arrive at your cruise ship around early afternoon.
For the post cruise transfer you are met at the cruise port and taken via Windsor Castle to a centrally located London hotel.
You will spend around 2 hours at your chosen sightseeing attraction, with entry included.
Also see our door to door service for straight transfers: Southampton direct cruise ship shuttle service. This service also drops at Heathrow passenger terminals.
Pre-cruise transfer stopping off at Stonehenge en route to Southampton. Entry to Stonehenge included.
Your driver will meet you at the terminal building exit from 08:00am and will accompany you to the coach. We plan to leave Southampton by 08:30am. There is a typical walk of about 75 yards to the vehicle where the driver will load your luggage into the hold. In the unlikely event your ship is delayed into port, we will delay our departure. Some transfer tours include Heathrow, others go directly to London after the tour. Do double check when booking your tour covers the drop-off you need.
Drops begin at Heathrow Airport (when applicable, hotels and passenger terminals) typically around 5:00pm and Central London hotels about one hour later.
Flexible pre-cruise or post-cruise packages are available for you to tailor your own mini break in London. Why not spend time exploring the capital and visiting all the major attractions to start or end your cruise holiday in style.
The whole package is created by you.
These city break packages complement any cruise holiday.
With a clear road, London Heathrow to Southampton is under 90 minutes by car. Heathrow sits on a major motorway network allowing you to get on your way quickly after departing the terminal building. However the route can suffer from congestion so it's important you budget adequate contingency time. If there are delays on the motorway then the alternative routes are much slower.
Transferring from Heathrow to Southampton should be pretty smooth if you can avoid the busy commute times of early morning and late afternoon. Also be aware that on summer weekends the route can become congested with locals heading down to the coast.
Travelling from Southampton nearly all cruise ships have assisted disembarkation between about 7am and 9am. During weekdays you will be travelling during the morning commute so allow for possible delays.
Our comprehensive private transfer service to or from your Southampton cruise ship includes the following:
We can make a proposal for all needs, whether a large group, single traveller, mobility scooters or stopovers and special requests.
A host of world class attractions are accessible during Southampton transfer route and with a private transfer you have the freedom to stop and explore. Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral are just three heritage sites of many you could visit.
If time is on your side, we offer a range of Southampton hotels located within close proximity to the cruise terminals and with good accessibility to a range of sightseeing options.
National Express, the UK's largest scheduled coach operator, runs numerous daily services between Heathrow and Southampton. Scheduled journey time is from around 2 hours 10 minutes.
There is no direct train service between Heathrow and Southampton. There is a RailAir coach from Heathrow to Woking also operated by National Express from where you can catch the Southampton trains originating in Central London. This option is slower and more expensive than the coach.
All National Express coaches are equipped with toilet and wash-room facilities. Power sockets or USB ports are on all vehicles and free wifi is available on most services.
For Heathrow Airport departures the coach starts at Heathrow's Central Bus Station. This is connected to Terminals 2 and 3 by underground walkways. The coach then picks up from outside the arrivals hall at both Terminals 4 and Terminal 5 on the other side of the airport.
The coaches only stop at the passenger terminals and bus station at Heathrow and the coach station at Southampton - no stops are made at hotels or Southampton cruise terminals.
For Southampton departures the coach station is in the heart of Southampton city centre. There are no shuttles or public transport linking the cruise terminals and the coach station. From Southampton's cruise terminals it is too far to walk with luggage, a local taxi from the well marshalled cruise terminal rank should cost around £10.
There are National Express ticket kiosks and ticket machines within Heathrow Airport's passenger terminals and bus station and also Southampton coach station.
We recommend you pre book your ticket on-line in advance. Departures, especially after a cruise ship has docked do get fully booked and when this happens a second bus is not provided. E-tickets are available sent directly to your e-mail in-box.
National Express offer a choice of ticket types. Cheapest fares are advance purchase on-line, some are exclusively on-line. Like many fare structures you pay more for flexibility to change schedules or cancel. For the cheapest fares with no flexibility you can pay a supplement that allows you to switch schedules if your flight is late. Fares will vary according to demand and how far a ticket is booked in advance of their journey.
Tickets are not allocated a seat number, you select your seat on boarding on a first come first served basis. Subject to availability you can reserve the front seats of the coach for a supplement.
Book in advance, confirm seat, save money
• Full timetables & journey planning
• Identify the best fares, including advance fares
• Pay securely by credit card, e-tickets and mobile tickets
For each person you are allowed to take one or two medium sized suitcases or rucksacks (no more than 20kg per item) free of charge and one small piece of soft hand luggage. Alternatively, you may take 1 large item (no more than 20kg) and one small piece of hand luggage
Hold luggage maximum sizes defined as: Medium case: 70cm x 30cm x 45cm; Large case: 75cm x 50cm x 32cm
An item of soft hand luggage taken into the passenger cabin must be able to be placed under the seat in front of passengers or in an overhead locker. With the exception of briefcases, no hard-shelled cases, wheeled bags or hard-framed rucksacks/backpacks are permitted on board for safety reasons and must be stowed with hold luggage. You will not incur an additional charge for this.
Soft hand luggage maximum size: 45cm x 35cm x 20cm
Excess luggage can be taken for which there is a charge. You can reduce this cost by 20% if your excess luggage is pre booked on-line. If there is a group of you travelling on the same ticket, then its ok to pool the luggage between you all to help prevent a surcharge.
The drivers load and unload the luggage into the hold directly from yourself, immediately prior to boarding, you do not check-in the luggage prior.
Foldable pushchairs and foldable bicycles are all accepted in addition to the allowance however that is providing there is enough space in the hold. Lightweight manual wheelchairs and mobility scooters (under 20kg) are also accepted but prior arrangements are needed (at least 36 hours ahead of travel).
For more comprehensive information we have a designated National Express page for full details.
Most cruise ships at Southampton are fully disembarked by around 9am, so with a transfer to Heathrow or Gatwick (London's main airports) you can expect to be in the passenger terminal by around 11am.
This works well if you have a lunch time or early afternoon departure but not if your flight is later. Hanging around an airport terminal is not a great way to end any holiday. So rather than kill time in a soulless airport passenger terminal why not make your transfer a memorable part of your trip,
So rather than killing time at an airport terminal why not spend your day exploring beautiful Windsor?
There is much to experience in Windsor beyond the castle, you can easily spend a weekend here. Windsor Castle is in the middle of town with shopping, restaurants galore, river trips and much more.
Our Southampton map below illustrates the position of the cruise terminals in relation to the city's bus and rail stations. We have a designated page on Southampton's train and coach stations for those using public transport.
Whilst our Southampton cruise terminals page is a useful guide on the city's waterfront.