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London for the day and then Southampton

We arrive in London on August 2 at 9a.m. and check in for a cruise from Southampton, August 3 after 3p.m. We decided to fly in a day early to avoid a possible flight delay and loss of the cruise. What to do with one day? Would going into London for the day, getting tickets for the hop on hop off or just tickets to the Royal Ballet and dinner, stay over night and taking a bus or train to Southampton the next morning make sense? Our past experience is that we are able to fly from the US, arrive in the morning and put in a full day of activity before going to sleep. So we would value any suggestions. We are a couple and our adult daughter. We would need suggestions of where to stay and how to get around. Also I saw that there is a bus from the Belgravia, Victoria bus station to Southampton; is that a reasonable way to get there or not? I know that the safe thing would be to just take a bus from LHR to Southampton, walk around and spend the night but life is short and our daughter has not been to London. Suggestions please!

Posted by
169 posts

I am going to assume Southhampton Central is where you will need to go. If you are arriving at 9 am that means to me that you will probably leave the USA in the evening. Make sure you sleep on the flight, I normally try to leave in the evening, I take my contacts out before I get on the flight and about 30 minutes before flight time take a benadryl to help me sleep.

I would say stay in London on the 2nd. Looking at the nationalrail website it takes about 1.5 hours to get to Southhampton from Victoria station. My vote would be to stay near Victoria or Waterloo underground. It is fairly central and easy to get on the tube and get to some great places or just walk to Westminster and enjoy the area. Personally I love London so even just doing the hop on hop off would be good give you a good way to see the city without as much walking.

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you for the advice. With 4 people does it make sense to try to get a private car service to take us? The train seems to be 30.40 pounds per person.

Posted by
3586 posts

Whether you stay in London or go directly to Southampton, I strongly suspect you can get a car service for what you would spend on train tickets. And it is a lot more convenient and well worth any extra cost it may entail. We've found that using a service based in the destination city seems to work best as they always seem to know the best way "home". Just google "Car Services Based in Southampton U.K." and see what pops up. Rates usually vary (sometimes greatly) so get quotes from several.

Posted by
8293 posts

We used West Quay Taxi, a Southampton company. for a transfer from Gatwick to S'hampton. Heartily recommend, especially for 4 passengers. Ask for a quote.

Posted by
4577 posts

A pre-booked airport service car (often double up as taxi's) should cost between £50-£60 from LHR to Southampton.

I wouldn't bother coming straight to Southampton and spending the day there, there's nothing to see or do in Southampton itself so I would spend the time in London.

Posted by
5221 posts

The National Rail website shows hourly trains from Waterloo to Southampton, with no changes, taking about an hour and a half. (That's for a Friday in May, it's too early to see the August schedules.) For instance, leaving at 12:39 or 1:39 and arriving at 14:12 or 15:12. One way fare is 35.50 GBP per adult, bought well ahead and non-changeable. There are more trains that change at Basingstoke, but you probably don't want to change trains with luggage. Maybe there's a car service that will take four of you from central London to Southampton for less than 140 GBP but I'd be surprised.

A hotel near Waterloo Station puts you on the south bank, an easy walk either way along the river, close to most of the sights near the river, and also near the London Eye if you want to get a bird's-eye view of the city. You'll want to spend that jet-lag day walking around outside if you can, but Waterloo also has three tube lines to take you anywhere else in London.

The cruises I've taken generally sail around 4:00, but yours doesn't start boarding till 3:00 apparently. Do you spend the first night on the ship at the dock?

Posted by
12 posts

Okay, it does indeed appear to be a better idea to get a private transport so I will follow the advice and book a car service a couple of months before our arrival. The time of our cruise departure is not yet set and we will be notified 3 months in advance so we will plan to take a car early morning if necessary in order to allow plenty of time for check in. I will look for a hotel in the recommended areas. If any of you have hotel recommendations I would appreciate them. Thank you all for your help, I feel much more confident of the plan. A travel agent had urged us not to do that and to travel straight to Southampton and spend the night but I really felt that we could utilize the day in London.

Posted by
5221 posts

We stayed at this place near Waterloo and liked it. Convenience, not charm. Even if you're not planning on the train, the location is good for efficient sightseeing.