Posted December 31st, 2017, 04:36 AM
Thank you Selbourne for the reply. That's the reply I was hoping for. There will be 4 adults traveling together from the U.S. I'm sure we will all have at least 2 pieces of luggage each. We will be doing 3 cruises. Celebrity to get us to Southampton from Ft. Lauderdale, FL. We get off the Celebrity on May 13, and get right onto the Aurora. When we get back to Southampton we have the 4 day layover before we board Cunard to New York. One of the folks traveling with us has some breathing problems and can't walk very far so we will be depending on cabs, shuttles and trains. None of us have ever been across the pond so lots of research to do. Your help is much appreciated. Thank You.
You are welcome. You can, as others have said, do ‘Day trips’ to London from Southampton, but there are several negatives to be considered with this option. Unless you are happy not to arrive in London until mid-late morning (too late for a proper day out in London, I would suggest) you will be travelling in peak (cost £84.60 standard class per person). UK trains, especially those heading to London during peak times, are overcrowded. You will get seats no problem, but it won’t be a pleasant start or end to the day. The train fare will cost you more than the additional cost of hotels in London (assuming that you are 2 to a room), so you might as well stay there and not have the hassle of the travel. At the start and end of your 4 day layover you will be travellling off peak, so your one return to London will cost you far less and you will be travelling on lightly loaded trains both ways, making it an altogether more pleasant experience.
Yes, there are some nice places to visit in that part of the UK (Winchester, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Isle of Wight), but if you are from the US and it’s your first visit to the UK, you would be daft not to focus your time in London. I am not a Londoner so I am not biased, but you can fill your entire time visiting World Class tourist attractions, so why wouldn’t you? If I was advising a US tourist on the ‘must see’s’ in London and how best to spend your time, here are some tips (others may have more);
Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament). Long queues for internal visits but well worth it - may be able to book in advance
Westminster Abbey - 2 minute walk from Houses of Parliament.
Downing Street - 5 min walk from Houses of Parliament. You can only see down the street through security gates, but as it’s so close to other places you will be visiting it’s worth a quick visit.
Thames River Tour (many of the major sights are clearly visible from the water and you are sitting down with an English commentary - you will also pass under all the spectacular bridges, such as Tower Bridge). Tours go from several places, including alongside the London Eye.
London Eye (big wheel with panoramic views from glass pods across London - weather essential to good visibility). Note - the London Eye is on the South Bank, opposite side of the river to the Houses of Parliament (5- 10 minute walk from there and visible from it) and, as well as the Thames River boats, there are several other attractions adjacent, including London Aquarium and a Salvador Dali Museum).
Buckingham Palace - partial internal visits possible at certain times of year.
St James’ Park - walk through to get to or from Buckingham Palace. Approx 20 minute pleasant walk through this park links Buckingham Palace with Westminster Abbey.
You will have noted that ALL of the above attractions are within a very short, and very pleasant, walk from each other.
Tower of London (inc Crown Jewels)
St Paul’s Cathedral
Natural History Museum
Countless World Class Art Galleries (take your pick)
Oxford Street (major shopping street)
Piccadilly Circus (not much there, but Fortnum and Mason and Burlington Arcade nearby and well worth a visit. You can also have tea at The Ritz!)
Madame Tussaud’s Waxworks & London Planetarium (horrendous queues so only go if you have pre-booked and it really appeals as it will eat up a lot of time).
Staying overnight in London also gives you the opportunity to see a West End show or two.
As London is one of the most popular tourist cities in the world, all major attractions have long queues, so it’s well worth researching online and booking tickets in advance where you can in order that you can gain fast track access.
One thing I like about London is that the vast majority of attractions are all within walking distance of each other. I tend to walk everywhere as you see interesting things at every turn. You can also walk considerable distances getting to and from London Underground platforms, so I would rather save that for the more outlying places such as Tower of London & Tower Bridge, Kensington etc).
Hope that’s all of some use.
P&O Cruises Experience – 143 nights over 13 cruises (Aurora x 3, Azura, Britannia x 3, Oceana x 2, Oriana x 2, Ventura x 2)
P&O Cruises to Come - 74 nights over 5 cruises (2018 - Aurora, Arcadia, Aurora, 2019 - Aurora x 2)
674(A) Oriana 14/5/96. Southampton to Istanbul (Fly back). 8 nights. Outside Cabin.
E620 Oceana 11/8/06. Western Mediterranean. 14 nights. Outside Cabin.
E720 Oceana 12/8/07. Canaries. 13 nights. Outside Cabin.
X912 Oriana 24/7/09. Baltic. 14 nights. Outside Cabin.
A118 Azura 5/8/11. Eastern Mediterranean. 16 nights. Superior Deluxe Balcony Cabin.
N321 Ventura 18/8/13. Western Mediterranean. 14 nights. Superior Deluxe Balcony Cabin.
B517 Britannia 15/8/15. Western Mediterranean. 14 nights. Forward Suite + Adjacent Balcony Cabin.
B622 Britannia 23/7/16. Norwegian Fjords. 7 nights. Forward Suite + Adjacent Balcony Cabin.
N703 Ventura 15/2/17. Amsterdam & Bruges. 4 nights. Penthouse Suite.
R705 Aurora 13/5/17. Baltic. 16 nights. Accessible Balcony Cabin.
B721 Britannia 22/7/17. Western Mediterranean. 14 nights. Aft Suite + Adjacent Balcony Cabin.
R718 Aurora 20/10/17. Zeebrugge (although didn’t dock due to storm). 2 nights. Accessible Balcony Cabin. Back to Back with;
R719 Aurora 22/10/17. Spain & France. 7 nights. Accessible Balcony Cabin.