Coaches between London and Southampton

National Express bus services between Southampton & London including Heathrow Airport

Southampton Coach Station

Southampton Coach Station

National Express coaches to/from Southampton

National Express operate separate coach services from Southampton to Central London (Victoria), Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport.

These are not van shuttle services, (there are none at Southampton) with hotel drops and pick-ups. Vehicles are large 50 seat air conditioned buses with washrooms.

National Express Coaches are slower but cheaper than the alternative scheduled public transport, the Southampton train services.

National Express are the largest scheduled long distance bus operator in Europe and operate the only truly national network in England carrying over 18 million people a year. They are a large public limited transport company with operations globally.

Key points about using National Express buses between London and Southampton are:

- The bus station at Southampton is by the train station. You will need a taxi between the bus station and your cruise terminal.

- Coaches are full size and all have toilet and washroom facilities

- Your ticket guarantees you a seat, but does not reserve any particular place, so you can sit on any vacant seat when you board the coach

- There are no senior's fares. These were withdrawn in 2012

- The luggage allowance may well be significantly less than on your flight. Check the luggage section below

- On busy cruise days from Southampton when up to 4 ships may disembark at the same time, the buses may be sold out well in advance. Extra buses are not put on when a schedule is sold out

-Tickets are for a specific journey, miss the departure and you lose the ticket. Just like the airlines you can pay more for flexible tickets.


National Express Routes between Southampton and London

National Express Coach

The direct buses between Southampton and Central London run along the direct motorway between the two cities with just a couple of stops at regional cities along the way. On a good day the trip will take about 2 hours 30 minutes, about 40 minutes longer than a private car.


The terminus in London is Victoria Coach Station about 600 yards from Victoria Rail and Underground Stations. We have a dedicated Victoria Coach Station page.

The National Express route to and from Heathrow takes around 2 hours. However the passenger terminals at Heathrow are miles apart so it takes 15-25 minutes to go around the terminals. The bus terminates at the main bus and coach station at Heathrow. If you are using Terminals 2 or 3 you need to walk from these terminals to the coach station. It is well signposted and the route is underground along moving walkways from ramps within the passenger terminals. Buses stop in front of the terminal at Terminals 4 and 5.

From Southampton to Heathrow and London there are routinely traffic congestion delays on the Heathrow / London approaches of about 20-30 minutes up until about 11am on work days.

From Southampton to Gatwick the bus takes a completely different route along the south coast of England, much less prone to serious traffic congestion taking just under 3 hours. There are two passenger terminals at Gatwick, North and South, the bus visits both.

Rail Map Between Southampton & London

National Express luggage policy

You can carry two medium-sized suitcases - weighing up to 20kg (44 lbs) each - plus one small piece of hand luggage per person. Drivers loading the baggage do not weigh bags.


Customers will be permitted to pool their individual allowances if they are travelling in a group or as a family, but they must be travelling on the same ticket. Over this allowance and steep excess luggage charges kick in.


If you need to take extra luggage on your journey, this can be arranged either in advance or on your day of travel when you arrive at the coach station. However buying your extra your extra luggage on-line in advance is much cheaper.


Lightweight manual wheelchairs and foldable pushchairs are taken subject to them being capable of being stowed in the luggage hold of the coach. Manual wheelchairs more than 20kg in weight and pushchairs not foldable are not taken. Powered wheelchairs are only taken by prior arrangement.


You may take your bicycle on your National Express journey, as long as it is designed to fold in half by means of a special link in the main frame and is carried in an appropriate padded bag or hard case, suitable for the purpose.

National Express Bus timetables, fares & ticketing

Unlike the railways, National Express have true e-tickets - the moment you make your reservation your e-tickets are e-mailed to you. You can pay using major credit cards.


With a ticket you have a reserved seat on the bus schedule of your choice, no individual seat selection can be made. At airports only, if your flight is delayed you can travel on a later schedule subject to seat availability. At Heathrow and Gatwick it normally takes about 45 to 75 minutes to get through customs and baggage reclaim. At city termini like Southampton and London if you miss your schedule you lose your ticket.

You can also buy tickets on the day from the bus station ticket offices, subject to seat availability. Those who have pre-booked have reserved seats and priority. Especially in the Southampton to London direction buses are often sold out from about 8.30am to midday if cruise ships are in port. National Express do not put on extra capacity once a schedule is sold out.

Ticket formats

The easiest and cheapest option is to use e-tickets, where you simply print your ticket after purchase.

There are alternatives, m-tickets sent to your mobile incur a small surcharge, the same surcharge for collecting tickets from a ticket office. Tickets can also be mailed to you for a larger surcharge.

Important: When you use the National Express journey planner (banner link below) do not select Southampton Cruise Terminal as a destination, no bus goes to any of the 4 cruise terminals at Southampton. Select Southampton Coach Station. Similarly at Heathrow do not select Heathrow Terminal 2 or Terminal 3, again no Southampton bus visits either passenger terminal, select Heathrow Airport London (for T2 and T3).

National Express Coach Services

Transfers between cruise terminals & Southampton coach station

 Southampton Taxi Cab London to Southampton private transfers

Southampton taxi cab

No shuttle buses are provided between the cruise ship terminals and bus and train stations at Southampton.

You therefore need to get a taxi between the cruise terminals and the bus station. The fare should be between £6 and £11.

The picture right shows a typical Southampton taxi (they are all white). If there are 3 or 4 of you with 2 cases each plus hand luggage you may need more than one taxi.

In the morning if there are 3 or 4 cruise ships unloading simultaneously (quite common) there may be queues for the taxi's. The taxi ranks are very well marshalled though.

A few hardy souls walk between the coach station and the City Cruise Terminal, with luggage this will take about 15 minutes. It's too far with luggage to walk to other cruise terminals from the coach station.

The position of Southampton coach station relative to each cruise terminal and the main hotels are marked on our Southampton map.

Map of Southampton to London Cruise Shuttle Bus Routes

London to Southampton Direction

Southampton Cruise Bus - More Information

Southampton Direct Shared Van Shuttle
After pick-up from your London or Heathrow hotel you will be driven to your cruise ship at Southampton. The only stops are to pick-up others on your cruise sharing the journey with you. (Each vehicle has a maximum 8 passengers and there is a maximum of 4 hotel pick-ups)

Southampton Cruise Bus - More Information

Southampton with stop at Stonehenge
After pick-up from your London or Heathrow hotel you will be driven in an air conditioned touring bus to your Southampton cruise ship with a stop of around 90 mins at world famous Stonehenge. The ships porters will unload your luggage from the coach.

Precruise 4 day tour London Southampton to London - More Information

4-day pre-cruise tour of London with transfer to Southampton cruise port
Enjoy three nights' stay in a 4- or 5-star London hotel with fully guided day tour of London including river cruise, plus free time to explore London or take excursion to popular attraction in England; transfer to Southampton included.

Southampton to London Direction

Southampton Cruise Bus - More Information

London & Heathrow Direct Shared Van Shuttle
After pick-up from your cruise ship at Southampton you will be driven to your London hotel or Heathrow hotel or passenger terminal. The only stops are the drops with the cruise passengers sharing the vehicle with you. (Each vehicle has a maximum 8 passengers and there is a mximum of 4 hotel drops)

Southampton Cruise Bus - More Information

Salisbury, Stonehenge & Windsor Tour Transfer
Visit 3 world class attractions in one day on your transfer from your cruise ship at Southampton toyour London hotel or Heathrow airport, (hotels or passenger terminals). An opportunity to visit Salisbury Cathedral, Stonehenge and Windsor Castle. Arrives Heathrow around 5pm and London hotels around 6pm

Southampton Cruise Bus - More Information

Bath & Windsor Tour Transfer
Visit Georgian Bath, get a taster of the scenic Cotswolds region of England and then visit Windsor and the castle that the Queen of England calls home. Arrives Heathrow around 5pm and London hotels around 6pm.

Southampton Cruise Bus - More Information

Cotswold Villages, Downton Abbey locations & country pub lunch
Visit the Cotswold villages of Bampton - home of 'Downton Abbey' and Burford and the impressive market-town of Stow-on-the-Wold and enjoy a fabulous lunch in a 15th century inn. Arrives Heathrow between 4.15pm and 4.45pm and central London 5.45pm - 6.30pm.


Train - much faster but more expensive than National Express bus

Southampton is around 80 miles (128 kms) from the centre of London. On a good day with a clear road, a vehicle will make it in under 2 hours and a coach much longer.


On the other hand the trains between London Waterloo and Southampton take between 80 and 100 minutes.

There are also direct trains to Gatwick Airport (not on a Sunday) but no train to Heathrow Airport where the National Express coaches have a monopoly.

The train station is very near Southampton Coach Station, so just like the National Express coaches you need a taxi between train station and cruise terminals. The terminus in London for the train is London Waterloo on the south side of the River Thames.

Southampton by train - more details

Late Heathrow Flight Solution For Morning Disembarkatioons From Southampton Cruise Ships
Pre-cruise London 4-day tour with Southampton Cruise transfer tickets