UK transportation Question

My wife and I are thinking about taking a 12-day British Isles cruise in Aug that leaves from Southampton. We will be flying into Heathrow and we would like to spend a day or two in London, sightseeing and adjusting to the jet lag, before we head down to Southampton to catch the ship.

I know how to get from Heathrow to central London, but I have no idea of the best way to get down to Southampton from central London. I’m sure there is a train that will get us there, but it looks like there are also both public and private hire buses. I don’t mind taking the train, but perhaps it makes more sense to take a bus (faster and cheaper?).

And finally, how would one get from Southampton back to Heathrow? Is there a direct-ish train or would a bus make more sense in this case.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

I would recommend the train every time. There is a direct service from London Waterloo to Southampton Central . The journey takes about an hour and a half and there are four trains an hour. A bus could not match that journey time or frequency.

Train seconded. Not as cheap as the bus but much more comfortable, quick and convenient. Southampton is quite a major destination so they’ll be pretty frequent too.

You can plan your train journey and get discounted tickets when making an advance purchase at, then pick the tickets up from a machine at the station.

When your cruise ship leaves Southampton what are the ports of call around the British Isles?

If its going to be in August will you be sailing up to the Shetland Islands?

Thirding the Southwest train from Waterloo to Soton Central – I make that return journey so often I do it on automatic pilot.

You can take a train back up to Heathrow, but it would involve a couple of changes. There are also private car-hires in Southampton that will take you back up to the airport for a set fee (which could be pricey depending on your budget). We use a company called Abbeytax who are excellent.

The train is definitely far better, with one caveat: if you’re travelling down to Soton at the weekend, go onto and check to see if there are engineering works on the day you’re planning to travel. If there are, you’ll pay a train fare but end up getting a rail replacement bus that’s slower because it makes stops on the way,