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London to Southampton coach services

National Express buses between Southampton, London, Heathrow and Gatwick

National Express London to Southampton coach
National Express London to Southampton coach

National Express, the UK's largest scheduled coach operator run very frequent coach services between London Victoria and Southampton. Separate direct coach services are also run from London's two major airports, Heathrow and Gatwick.

On paper the National Express scheduled coach services offer the cheapest transfer option between London, it's main airports and Southampton and the cruise port. But few use cruise ship passengers use this bus service, and with good reason.

This page looks in detail at the Southampton National Express coach services and then compares them with the alternative transfers..

Is the National Express coach suitable for cruise ship passengers?

The coaches do not serve the port of Southampton so for cruise ships you will need a local cab. The National Express coaches only stop at bus stations they do not serve hotels in London or Southampton. Luggage allowances may well be a lot smaller than your flight allowance.

Many of the alternatives to the coach do pick-up and drop at Southampton’s four cruise terminals offering door to door transfers from London hotels and airports and have a luggage allowance tailored to cruise passengers needs. But the National Express is the cheapest transfer option for cruise passengesr between London and Southampton.

Map of National Express coaches between London and Southampton


The three London to Southampton National Express coach services are:.

London Victoria - Southampton

travelling direct between Southampton and London the coaches are scheduled to take between 1 hour 55 mins and 2 hours 30 mins, Frequent schedules throughout the day. London Victoria Coach Station is just 300 metres from Victoria Underground and railway station, a major transport hub for London.

Heathrow Airport - Southampton

Coaches take from just 2 hours 5 mins between Heathrow Airport and Southampton with up to 19 services a day. At Heathrow the coach terminates at Heathrow Bus Station, connected by underground walkways to terminals 2 and 3. The coach also visits terminals 4 and 5 separately on the journey.

Gatwick Airport - Southampton

Coaches take from just 2 hours 20 mins between Gatwick Airport and Southampton with up to 8 services a day. At Gatwick the coach picks up and drops at both Gatwick passenger terminals, North and South outside the arrivals halls.

Southampton National Express Coach Station
Southampton National Express Coach Station

Southampton coach station

Southampton Coach Station is small with just three coach bays and exclusively used by National Express. The coach station is very close to Southampton Central railway station.and Southampton city centre.

Facilities are basic with just a ticket office, small waiting area, toilets and a small coffee shop. A taxi rank is outside the coach station.

How to transfer between Southampton train & coach stations and cruise terminals, port & hotels

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.


National Express coach

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

National Express coaches - what to expect

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.

Coaches are operated with a single driver. On boarding you will present your ticket and hold luggage to the driver by the coach. The driver will load your hold luggage into the luggage bay and you board the coach with hand luggage. Seating is not allocated, seats are taken on a fisrt come, first serve basis although it is possible to pay a supplement for front seats.

National Express luggage policy


Hold luggage

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

Hand luggage

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 and outsize items

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).

Fare & ticket options

The cheapest fares are on-line direct on the National Express web-site. E-tickets are sent to you by e-mail immediately after payment.

National Express mobile ticket and app
National Express mobile ticket and app

When you buy a National Express ticket it is for a specific journey. Prices are dynamic, where different schedules may have different prices and the fares for the same journey are often cheaper the farther you purchase in advance.

National Express fares will vary according to demand and how far you book in advance. Generally, the lower the demand and the earlier the booking takes place, the cheaper the fare will be.

The National Express website charges a small booking fee per transaction, not ticket. The coach stations and travel agents also charge a much larger booking fee. Just like the airlines the cheapest fares offer no flexibility, flexible fare types are available with a price premium.

Payment on-line can be performed using Visa, Visa Debit/Delta, Visa Electron, Mastercard, Mastercard Debit, Maestro and Solo cards. Amazon Pay and PayPal are also supported.

Child fares are for the ageband 5 to 15 years and seniors fares are for those 60+

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.

If you have a non-flexible ticket and are boarding at an airport you can pay a supplement that gives you flexibility to board a later coach if your flight is late.


National Express coach

Book in advance to confirm your seat and save money
• Full timetables & journey planning
• Identify the best fares, including advance fares
• Pay securely by credit card, e-tickets and mobile tickets


Private transfers

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, .
• 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

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.

Shared stopover and tour transfers visiting Stonehenge, Windsor Castle ...

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.

Public transport - Trains

Trains run direct between Central London and Gatwick Airports to Southampton, but not from Heathrow Airport. The trains are faster but more expensive than the National Express coaches and also do not visit Southampton cruise terminals, just Southampton Central Station in the city centre from where you get a cab to the ships.
• Not door to door, your London hotel may be fare from London Waterloo or Victoria Stations
• Local cabs between Southampton coach station and cruise terminals.
• No secure luggage facility or luggage car, for those travelling light.


Key features of cruise ship shuttle transfers

  • Guaranteed to operate - there is no minimum group size and will run with only 1 passenger
  • Executive vehicles are used with wifi and uniformed drivers.
  • All Central London hotels, Air bnbs and Heathrow hotels are visited in both directions
  • Luggage allowance per person is 2 items of hold luggage (23kg each) and 2 items of carry- on luggage (10kg each)

London and Heathrow Airport to Southampton direction

  • Maximum of 6 passengers, 4 pickups/drop offs per journey
  • Pickups mid-morning in London and Heathrow
  • Arrival at cruise terminals by 1:00pm - 1:30pm

Southampton to London and Heathrow Airport direction

  • Maximum of 8 passengers, 4 pickups/drop offs per journey
  • Meet n Greet at the Southampton cruise terminal between 0800 – 0830 am
  • Scheduled arrival into Heathrow is approx. 1030am and into central London 11am

Joining the cruise ship transfer service

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.

£73 one-way, except Central London to Southampton at £75

  • Pay in British Pounds, US Dollars or Euro
  • Guaranteed to operate - no minimum group size
  • Maximum of 8 passengers, 4 pickups/drop offs
  • Executive vehicles with wifi and uniformed drivers
  • If your ship is late docking, we will wait
  • Serves any London city centre hotel/Airbnb
  • Serves Heathrow Airport hotels, terminal drops


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.

Like the Southampton direct cruise ship shuttle service the tour transfer service is door to door between your cruise ship and your London or Heathrow Airport hotel. The service also drops at Heathrow passenger terminals.

Important note regarding timings for 2021

Due to possible timed embarkation procedures being put in place for 2021, 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.

Half day tour transfers travelling from London & Heathrow Airport to Southampton

You are met at your Heathrow or Central London hotel early morning and arrive at your cruise ship around early afternoon. You will spend around 2 hours at the sightseeing attraction.

Transfer tour of Stonehenge between London hotels and Heathrow or Gatwick airports


Stop off at Stonehenge en route to Southampton. Spend up to 2 hours visiting the site, entry is included.

Book now from £94pp

Transfer tour of Windsor Castle between London hotels and Heathrow or Gatwick airport


Discover Windsor Castle on your London to Southampton transfer. Entry to the castle is included.

Book now from £105pp

Transfer tour of Winchester between London hotels and Heathrow or Gatwick airports


Explore the city of Winchester as you make your way to Southampton. Cathedral entrance is included.

Book now from £91pp

Full day tour transfers travelling from Southampton to Heathrow Airport & London

Your driver will meet you at the terminal building exit from 08:00am and will accompany you 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.

Drops begin at Heathrow Airport (hotels and passenger terminals) typically around 5:00pm and Central London hotels about one hour later.

Salisbury, Stonehenge and Windsor cruise transfer Southampton

Salisbury, Stonehenge & Windsor

Excursion including the impressive cathedral city of Salisbury, Stonehenge around lunch time then enjoy an afternoon at Windsor and the castle.

Book now from £92pp

Bath and Windsor cruise transfer Southampton

Georgian City of Bath & Windsor

Explore the Georgian city of Bath, take a short walking tour or visit the Roman Baths (extra charge). Continue to Windsor and visit the Windsor Castle.

Book now from £92pp

Cotswolds cruise transfer Southampton

Cotswold Villages & pub lunch

Discover the Cotswolds, a filming location for Downton Abbey. Visit Brampton Village in the popular TV series and have lunch in a 15th century inn.

Book now from £102pp

Private transfers between Southampton, London and beyond

Cars, vans and touring coaches catering for all party sizes

Southampton cruise ship taxi transfer

We offer a comprehensive private transfer service to or from your Southampton cruise ship.

We have a wide range of vehicles of all sizes that cater from single travellers to large groups. All transfers are competitively priced with no hidden extras. Prices include all taxes, parking and London congestion charges.

At airports and Southampton cruise terminals the you will personally be met and greeted as you exit into the public area of the terminal. At airports our drivers track your incoming flight and will time their arrival based on actual landing time. No need to worry if your flight is early or late.

Sightseeing options like Stonehenge or Windsor Castle on the way!

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.


London - Southampton car transfer

Direct door to door private transfers

Private direct transfers between Southampton and London and its airports.

Full information / Prices


Stonehenge or Windsor stopover

Private transfers between Southampton and London with stopover at Stonehenge or Windsor

Full information / Prices

Bibury cottages, Cotswolds England

Full day private tour transfers

Your own private full day cruise ship tour transfer either guided or with a friendly driver

Full information / Prices


The fastest public transport between Southampton and London

Southampton Central Station
Southampton Central Station

Regular, direct trains operate to Southampton from Central London and Gatwick Airport, but not from London's main airport Heathrow. There are two separate train lines between from London Southampton. The train between Central London that goes direct to Southampton departs from London Waterloo Station, the train that stops at Gatwick Airport leaves from London Victoria Station. .

The train from London Victoria takes a full hour longer to reach Southampton that the train from Waterloo which takes around 80 minutes. You can interchange between the Victoria and Waterloo train at Clapham Junction just outside the centre of London.

Map pf train lines between London and Southampton

Transfers between Southampton train station and the port / cruise ships

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.

Should I pre book my train ticket?

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 Waterloo, Victoria, Gatwick or Southampton railway 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

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

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.


Woman in a train

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

Luggage on the Gatwick to Southampton trains

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. Trains start from London and will have stopped at several stations before Gatwick. There are no porter services at Gatwick or Southampton station to assist you. 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.

Every effort is made to keep all our information correct and the advertised prices up to date. We endeavour to be as accurate a source of information as possible but Travellers Toolkits cannot be held responsible for any price differential between our stated prices and those of the companies supplying the product or accuracy of information provided on our sites.