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Southern England recommendations for October

We arrive in London on October 9th and leave on a cruise the afternoon of October 11th from Southampton.

We plan to skip London entirely and concentrate on the areas outside of London for this little window of time we have.

Where should we stay and what should we do?

Late 40s, early 50s couple. Active and in excellent health. Love history and breathtaking views. Good food and music is good too. Like pubs and a good beer.

Any help would be appreciated

Posted by
6625 posts

Effectively you have one full day for sightseeing, the 10th. You can use the 9th to get where you want to go, close enough to Southampton for an easy transfer to the ship on the 11th. Portsmouth might be a good option, lots to see and do there. Brighton is farther afield and might not be at its best in the fall. Winchester (ancient capital, great cathedral, Jane Austen's grave) is a short train ride from Southampton. Pubs and good beer are everywhere.

Rome2rio can help you find ways to get wherever you choose. For example, there's hourly bus service from Heathrow to Woking, where there are trains to Portsmouth or Winchester.

Posted by
6113 posts

As Dick has said, you effectively only have one day, so I would try to eliminate too much travelling around.

Brighton is great for history, music and pubs and it’s a 2 hour direct train ride to Southampton. It’s surrounded by the South Downs National Park if you want countryside. October is a great time to visit. Brighton is easier to get to from Gatwick rather than Heathrow. Where are you arriving into?

Windsor is an easy hop from Heathrow and would meet your criteria. From Windsor, take the train to Southampton in c 1 hour 45 minutes, changing at Reading.

Winchester also meets your requirements and is a short 20 minute train journey to Southampton, however, getting there from Heathrow would either involve taking a train into London, the underground then another train or taking a bus from Heathrow to Woking, then a train. You may not feel like either option with jet lag.

Alternatively, you could stay in Southampton. Whilst Southampton itself isn’t that exciting (it was heavily bombed during WW2 and has been rebuilt), it would allow you to take a day trip into the nearby New Forest and visit Beaulieu House, look out for the wild ponies that graze the heathland or visit the Isle of Wight. Portsmouth isn’t far away if you want naval history.

Posted by
7829 posts

We did a 4 week drive tour of Wales and England in October. We departed from Southampton for our transatlantic cruise back to the USA after that tour. We didn't do London, but South Wales, Bath, the Cotswolds, Warwick, York, Yorkshire Moors, Whitby, Durham, Hadrian's Wall, the Lake District and ending in Winchester.

You don't have time for all that, but you do have time for Winchester. Winchester is close to Southampton and a wonderful place to spend a couple of days.

Not sure if you want to stay in Winchester both nights, or do your last night before the cruise in Southampton. If you decide to stay in Southampton the night before, I strongly recommend the Holiday Inn that is located right next to one of the cruise terminals.

Posted by
8293 posts

Re Winchester

It would be perfect for your short time before the cruise departure, and there is a National Express Bus that goes directly from the bus station in
Terminal 3 at Heathrow, to the centre of Winchester, walking distance to the Wykham Arms Hotel.

Posted by
6734 posts

Canterbury is a nice town to visit and the old navy yard at Portsmouth is very interesting.

Posted by
5364 posts

Which airport are you arriving at and at what time?

WIth your interests in mind and if the airport and timings were suitable I would suggest the Isle of WIght. For breathtaking views you can't beat the Tennyson Walk and the Needles Headland, your history interest can be fulfilled with the new and old batteries. We were there last Saturday and it was glorious weather and the views were stunning. October can be anyone's guess so dress with layers, it could be stormy or there could be an Indian Summer so come prepared.

You could also squeeze in a visit to Carisbrooke Castle, one of the best castles I've visited. https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/carisbrooke-castle
We visited the following day but we had two children with us and with an overnight cottage rental we were in no rush but a trip to the Needles headland and Carisbrooke Castle can certainly be done in a day if you start early enough.

The IOW can be reached by ferrry from Southampton (or Portsmouth and Lymington but Southampton is the logical choice unless you want to travel by hovercraft which can only be done from Portsmouth).

Good food and good beer can be found everywhere although some of the better places are difficult to reach without a car.