- WHERE TO STAY
- PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- CRUISE PORTS
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How far is Southampton from Central London?
The distance between Southampton & the centre of London is around 80 miles (130km). With a clear road a car should do the journey within 2 hours. Cruise customers are served with an impressive array of both private and public transport options.
How to get from Central London to Southampton cruise terminals
There are many choices of transport connecting London with Southampton and on this page we compare all of them.
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 public transport between Central London and Southampton by both train and a scheduled coach services operated by National Express. Neither the train or the coach service go to the port and the cruise terminals. Each terminate in Southampton city centre from where you will need a local taxi cab to the four Southampton cruise terminals..
Private transfers offer the most convenient and flexible option with a meet and greet door to door service, either at the cruise terminal or your Central London or Southampton hotel. There is the flexibility to include sightseeing, (see map above).
• Fastest most convenient transfer. Only option with immediate departure at a time of your choosing.
• Major sightseeing opportunities along the way. Stonehenge, Windsor Castle ...
• Most expensive transfer for couples. For groups and families is price competitive
Shared shuttle transfers exclusive to cruise passengers and provides a convenient door to door service between Central London (and Heathrow Airport) 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
• Will pick-up or drop passengers at any hotel or AirBnb in Central London
• Guaranteed to run, no minimum passengers. Will run with only one person.
Tour and stopover transfers are a variation on the shuttle transfers, but sometimes in larger touring coaches and again exclusive for cruise passengers.
• Time efficient and economic world class sightseeing during your Southampton cruise transfer
• Also serves Heathrow Airport. Full days tours from Southampton, half day stopovers to Southampton
• Relatively small extra cost over shuttles offering great value.
Trains run frequently between London's Waterloo Station and Southampton. Train is the fastest journey time between London and Southampton, but stations will require a taxi to your cruise terminal and hotel, so elapsed time will be slower.
• Only the National Express coach is cheaper for couples.
• Requirement of local cab between Southampton railway station and cruise terminals and nearly all hotels and Waterloo Station
• Trains are commuter style trains with no luggage car Potentially stressful if you are not a light traveller.
National Express coaches run direct between London's Victoria Coach Station and Southampton. The National Express coaches do not visit Southampton cruise terminals, just the coach station in Southampton city centre from where you get a cab to the ships.
• The only reason to use National Express coaches is it is the lowest cost option, (by far)
• Local cab between Southampton and Victoria coach station and cruise terminals and your London hotel.
• The slowest and most inconvenient transfer. Luggage allowance may well be less than your flight allowance
There is only one company offering shared transfers between London and Southampton cruise terminals beyond anything your cruise line may offer. There are also both train and coach public transport options between London and Southampton but these will require taxi transfers between your London hotel and coach/train station and between Southampton coach / train station and cruise terminals.
The dedicated shared transfers for cruise passengers come in three variants:
• Direct van shuttles in both directions between the cruise terminals and Central London hotels
• In the London to Southampton direction half day stopover transfers with sightseeing at Stonehenge, Windsor or Winchester
• In the Southampton to London direction full day tour transfers with sightseeing at two or three major sights
For Southampton cruise terminal 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 in Central London can be at any hotel or AirBnb property in the centre of London.
Pick-ups in Central London can be at any hotel or AirBnb property. 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 our shuttle and tour transfers are up to 1 large case per passenger (23kg max) plus 1 piece of hand luggage (10kg max).
Should you wish to bring any mobility aids (wheelchairs or walkers) you MUST contact us in advance to let us know. We will require full dimensions and weight. These items must be able to be folded and stored in the luggage hold. Wheelchairs must be counted as 1 item of your hold luggage.
* Additional charges will be incurred should you bring additional items of luggage or for items weighing more than the maximum weight stated above.
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.
Post cruise transfer visiting Windsor Castle from Southampton to London. Entry to the Castle is 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.
Enjoy a 2-course lunch in a 15th century inn in Cotswolds plus visits to "Downton Village" (Bampton), Burford & Stow-on-Wold.
Enjoy a full day tour at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter with transfer to London or Heathrow from Southampton.
This transfer takes you to Salisbury Cathedral, Stonehenge and finally Windsor Castle. Entrances are extra and can be added on at time of booking.
This transfer from Southampton will take you to the beautiful city of Bath to visit the Roman Baths and also the majestic Windsor Castle. Entrances can be added on at booking.
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.
Tailor your own package with London hotel, London guided tour and cruise ship transfer tours.
Wind down post cruise with transfer tours from your ship to your choice of London hotel.
With a clear road, London to Southampton is around 2 hours by car. The route can suffer from road congestion so its quite important you budget adequate contingency time. If the motorway is congested or there is an accident, alternative routes are much, much slower.
Going towards Southampton from London should be pretty smooth departing mid to late morning though if you are travelling on a summer Saturday, the road down to Southampton can be at gridlock in the morning as half of London makes for the beaches.
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 road congestion delays.
We offer a comprehensive private transfer service to or from your Southampton cruise ship.
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.
Private direct transfers between Southampton and London and its airports.
Private transfers between Southampton and London with stopover at Stonehenge or Windsor
Your own private full day cruise ship tour transfer either guided or with a friendly driver
There are two public transport options between London and Southampton, both of which run frequent services all day. The public transport options are the Southampton train and National Express Coach service.
In London the fast trains to Southampton which most people use depart from Waterloo railway station. Waterloo Station can be a long taxi journey of 15-20 minutes from many popular hotel districts in London. There are trains from Victoria railway station too but these take a route that is much slower.
The National Express coaches depart from Victoria Coach Station. Victoria is a major London hotel district.
The railway and coach stations at Southampton are within 400 yards of each other in the city centre. There are no shuttles or public transport to any of Southampton's four cruise terminals. A local taxi cab is required for the cruise terminal transfer. The cost will vary depending on cruise terminal, one way budget around £10.
Both railway and coach stations are in the heart of Southampton city centre, there is a good choice of hotels close to both, a few within 5 minutes walk. All the main hotels are identified and compared including their relative locations on our Southampton map.
Regular, direct trains operate to Southampton from Central London from both Waterloo and Victoria railway stations. Unless you are staying in Victoria by the station most people will opt for the route from Waterloo as it is both more frequent and much faster.
At around 1 hour 20 minutes the trains from Waterloo are a full hour quicker than the trains from Victoria.
Waterloo Station is in the heart of London on the south bank of the River Thames, next to the London Eye with the Houses of Parliament within sight. It is not a major hotel district, though there are some very large chain hotels in the vicinity. These hotels will normally have County Hall or Waterloo in their name. They are not cheap but at the weekend there are good deals as the target audience are those with government business in the vicinity..
Victoria is a major very large hotel district with much better links to the two main airports, Heathrow and Gatwick. Again you do pay a price premium for a hotel in this area compared with districts like Kensington.
Southampton Central Station, is in the heart of the city centre. It's too far to walk from here to the any of Southampton's four cruise terminals with luggage. There are no shuttles or public transport serving the cruise terminals. You must therefore take a local cab to your cruise ship. It's just a few minutes drive and should cost no more than £10. There are no porters to assist you from the station platform to the taxi rank.
Train tickets allow travel on any train, although the cheapest tickets may have exclusion periods. It's often much cheaper and more convenient to pre book your ticket on-line in advance. The cheapest rail fares are often advanced purchase, released around 12 weeks prior to travel.
Pre booking tickets on-line enable you to purchase the best value tickets for your itinerary as well as being convenient. You can buy tickets on-line using a credit card opting either for e-ticket or you can collect them at machines at either Gatwick or Southampton stations.
Nearly all stations have manned ticket offices, unlike the London Underground, and all have ticket machines. Ticket offices at the main stations are open all day from early morning to evening. However, queues for the manned ticket offices can be long and much of the time you will get a cheaper fare by buying well in advance.
E-tickets and mobile tickets are increasingly becoming available from many train operating companies. These include South Western, Southern, Thameslink, Chiltern, London North Western and London North Eastern operating services into London. The airport trains run by Heathrow Express, Gatwick Express and Thameslink are also supported.
Magnetic card tickets are the tradional tickets dispensed by ticket machines and ticket offices can be ordered in advance and collected at main railway stations. Stations where you can collect tickets include all of London's mainline terminus stations, Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Southampton and Dover port railway stations. When you purchase these tickets on-line you are given a unique code which you type into the dedicated ticket machines and they then dispense the tickets. Tickets are ready after 15 minutes of order.
Card payments (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club, Maestro), PayPal and Apple Pay are payment options on-line.
Book train tickets in advance, save money
• Full timetables & journey planning
• Identify the best fares, including advance fares
• Purchase e-tickets or collect tickets at station
There are no luggage cars on the trains. You need to independently carry your luggage into the passenger cabin, seats are taken on a first come first serve basis. Both Waterloo and Victoria stations are terminus stations, all trains start and finish their journey at both. The trains are commuter train style with no luggage car. Whatever you bring you must carry on-board yourself.
Luggage storage space is limited. There is headroom space above the seats, but this is for smaller bags not large cases. The allocated area for large luggage may be some distance from your seat making it difficult for you to keep an eye on it. Space permitting you may be able to store luggage around your seating area.
We have a dedicated London -Southampton trains page covering in more detail all aspects of train travel between London and it's airports and Southampton.
National Express, the UK's largest scheduled coach operator run very frequent coach services between London Victoria and Southampton. The fastest scheduled journey time is around 2 hours, so around 40 minutes slower than the train and much more prone to delays through road congestion.
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.
Victoria Coach Station is like a regional airport with destination boards, toilets, fast food, left luggage etc..
The coaches only stop at a few regional towns on the journey like Basingstoke or Winchester - 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 between the cruise terminals and the coach station. From Southampton's four cruise terminals it is too far to walk with luggage, a local taxi cab from the well marshalled cruise terminal rank should cost around £10.
There are National Express ticket kiosks and ticket machines within London Victoria and Southampton coach stations.
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. 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.
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