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Things to do in Southampton

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As a local person, I often find that visitors to Seafaring Southampton - think that "shopping" is the main activity in this venerable city. There are however at least three Unmissable Historic Sites In the port of Southampton. Like many port cities, Southampton has a rich and varied maritime history, but some of the ships that have set sail from Southampton harbour are so famous (or infamous) their names are known across the world.

 

The Mayflower

 

The very name of the Mayflower is inextricably linked with the founding of a new, free colony in what was to become known as the United States of America. The ship that carried the Pilgrim Fathers from the Old World to the New set sail from the  city of Southampton on 27th July, 1620.

 

A few English towns and cities claim to have waved the Mayflower off on her trip to the New World, which seems controversial, but in fact, the ship stopped at different ports along the south coast of England before her final trip across the Atlantic. Southampton was certainly one of them, and a replica of the ship now sits atop of a memorial, on Town Quay, to mark the Pilgrims’ departure point. Southampton has certainly embraced this moment in history, with the Mayflower Park and the Mayflower Theatre both being popular attractions in the city.

 

The Titanic

 

Although built in Ireland, the ill-fated Titanic began her maiden (and only) voyage in Southampton. She pulled away from the White Star Dock on 10th April 1912, to make it just 5 days into the voyage before sinking, with tragic loss of life. The majority of the ship’s crew were from Southampton, and over 500 of the city’s households lost at least one family member that day.

 

There is a memorial to the Titanic, and the crew who lost their lives, located within the ruins of Holy Rood Church in the city centre. You can also visit the site of the old Hotel where first class passengers would have spent their last night on land. At the SeaCity Museum, visitors can find out more about the ship, the disaster, and the impact it had on Southampton. Exhibits include the Disaster Room, with oral testimony from survivors, an audio visual show about the British inquiry into the sinking of the Titanic, and a 1:25 scale interactive model of the ship.

 

The QE2

 

Southampton was also the home port of the QE2. Named for Queen Elizabeth II, the former Cunard flagship called at Southampton more than any other port during her active seafaring career. The ship has now been controversially sold off to a real estate developer in the United Arab Emirates, but her history lives on in Southampton. One of her huge steel anchors, weighing 13 metric tonnes, is now set as a landmark in front of Holy Rood Church, forming part of a walking path that links many of the city’s historic landmarks, known as the QE2 mile.

 

Hope you folks in the Pub find this useful!

 

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Is this a good location to use to take a tour to Stonehenge?  Or would it be better to tour that from London?  Thanks.

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Either place would be okay, there are many cruise port to airport transfers (or vice versa)  that call into Stonehenge along the way.

If staying in London or Southampton, it is easily done on a day tour.

If wanting to be closer you could always stays in Salisbury which has highlights of it's own.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, MicCanberra said:

Either place would be okay, there are many cruise port to airport transfers (or vice versa)  that call into Stonehenge along the way.

If staying in London or Southampton, it is easily done on a day tour.

If wanting to be closer you could always stays in Salisbury which has highlights of it's own.

Thank you!  Perhaps we could do it as part of a transfer from London to Southampton the day prior to the cruise.

Edited by cpl100

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Yes, or even the day leaving heading back to London or the airport, Heathrow or Gatwick. Check out the 'London Toolkit' cruise transfers.

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On 6/15/2019 at 2:56 AM, MicCanberra said:

Either place would be okay, there are many cruise port to airport transfers (or vice versa)  that call into Stonehenge along the way.

If staying in London or Southampton, it is easily done on a day tour.

If wanting to be closer you could always stays in Salisbury which has highlights of it's own.

Definitely include Salisbury on a Stonehenge visit.  The cathedral is beautiful - and is set in an open field since the surrounding buildings were taken down long ago - which makes it perhaps the only gothic cathedral which can be really seen as a whole - from a distance.

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Stonehenge from Southampton.

Train from Southampton central to Salisbury - half-hourly service, about £10 return ticket (buy at the station), journey-time about 35 minutes.

Salisbury to Stonehenge by the ho-ho bus from the station forecourt. Buy your Stonehenge tickets from the ho-ho driver - no need for timed tickets, those issued on the ho-ho are anytime. Stonehenge is worth 90 mins to 2 hrs.

Ho-ho bus back to Salisbury city centre

(Or stop off on the way at Old Sarum. About a 10 minute walk from the bus stop, From there you can use your ho-h ticket on any bus to the city centre - all the buses at that stop go to the city centre. Old Sarum's no fun in wet weather.)

After the cathedral & historic laid-back city centre, ho-ho or local bus or taxi or 10-15 minute walk back to Salisbury station & train back to Southampton.

 

Stonehenge from London. 

Lots of coach tours from London, Stonehenge plus a variety of other places. Again, buy your Stonehenge tickets with your tour tickets for any-time admission.

 

London / Heathrow to or from Southampton transfer via Stonehenge .

International Friends offer transfers for most ships, cheaper via London Toolkit than direct.

Pick-ups from central London and Heathrow hotels to ship via Stonehenge. Not recommended for those flying-in same-day because of unreliable timings of flight / airport formalities, hence no pick-ups from terminals. Because of the registration times for cruise ships,  the only stop is Stonehenge. IMHO very convenient & good use of time from London hotels, not such good value from Heathrow. Again, buy tickets with transfer booking.

Pick-up from your Southampton cruise terminal, tour includes Salisbury (quite brief), Stonehenge & Windsor., then to Heathrow & on to London hotels. Again, buy Stonehenge tickets with transfer booking. Quite rushed, but good value.

 

https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

http://www.thestonehengetour.info/

https://www.londontoolkit.com/travel/southampton_london_transfers.htm

 

JB :classic_smile:

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9 hours ago, John Bull said:

Stonehenge from Southampton.

Train from Southampton central to Salisbury - half-hourly service, about £10 return ticket (buy at the station), journey-time about 35 minutes.

Salisbury to Stonehenge by the ho-ho bus from the station forecourt. Buy your Stonehenge tickets from the ho-ho driver - no need for timed tickets, those issued on the ho-ho are anytime. Stonehenge is worth 90 mins to 2 hrs.

Ho-ho bus back to Salisbury city centre

(Or stop off on the way at Old Sarum. About a 10 minute walk from the bus stop, From there you can use your ho-h ticket on any bus to the city centre - all the buses at that stop go to the city centre. Old Sarum's no fun in wet weather.)

After the cathedral & historic laid-back city centre, ho-ho or local bus or taxi or 10-15 minute walk back to Salisbury station & train back to Southampton.

 

Stonehenge from London. 

Lots of coach tours from London, Stonehenge plus a variety of other places. Again, buy your Stonehenge tickets with your tour tickets for any-time admission.

 

London / Heathrow to or from Southampton transfer via Stonehenge .

International Friends offer transfers for most ships, cheaper via London Toolkit than direct.

Pick-ups from central London and Heathrow hotels to ship via Stonehenge. Not recommended for those flying-in same-day because of unreliable timings of flight / airport formalities, hence no pick-ups from terminals. Because of the registration times for cruise ships,  the only stop is Stonehenge. IMHO very convenient & good use of time from London hotels, not such good value from Heathrow. Again, buy tickets with transfer booking.

Pick-up from your Southampton cruise terminal, tour includes Salisbury (quite brief), Stonehenge & Windsor., then to Heathrow & on to London hotels. Again, buy Stonehenge tickets with transfer booking. Quite rushed, but good value.

 

https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/

http://www.thestonehengetour.info/

https://www.londontoolkit.com/travel/southampton_london_transfers.htm

 

JB :classic_smile:

That is very helpful.  We were thinking that we might like to incorporate the tour of Stonehenge as part of our journey from London to our Southampton hotel (with our luggage in tow).  Do you know if anything like that exists?  Thanks so much!

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8 hours ago, cpl100 said:

That is very helpful.  We were thinking that we might like to incorporate the tour of Stonehenge as part of our journey from London to our Southampton hotel (with our luggage in tow).  Do you know if anything like that exists?  Thanks so much!

 

The International Friends tour/transfer on the London Toolkit website.

Here's the precise page ...........

https://www.internationalfriends.co.uk/white/londontk/london-heathrow-to-southampton-via-stonehenge.html

You & your luggage are collected from your central London hotel (or for small hotels, guest houses etc that aren't served, from a nearby hotel that is served), takes you to Stonehenge (90+ minute stop) and on to your cruise terminal in Southampton.

The £91 fare includes entry to Stonehenge.

For two people it's cheaper than doing the same thing privately. More importantly the Stonehenge tickets aren't for timed entry, they will give you entry at whatever time the coach arrives.

 

The service is only operated on sailing day - and of course you'll be headed to a hotel in Southampton. Since you need to book for the day before your sailing, you'd need to book that transfer as if you were cruising on a ship that sails same-day.

If you quote your date of travel from London to Southampton I can check which ships (if any) are served that day.

That tour/transfer will end up at that ship's terminal, you then take a short taxi ride to your hotel (no shortage of taxis at the terminal, they'll be arriving with folk sailing on that ship).

The tour/transfer drivers are used to having some passengers who have different destinations in Southampton - note that comment on the web-page. But do tell the driver that you'll not be sailing on that ship, so that he can store your luggage separately & hand it to you at the cruise terminal - you don't want your luggage to be taking a different cruise :classic_biggrin:

 

If none of the ships served by this tour-transfer are sailing that day, it rules out this option. 

There are other options, but they depend on your travel arrangements etc.

 

So please get back with

- your hotel in London, if already fixed.

- the date you want to transfer London to Southampton

- your hotel in Southampton, if already fixed.

- numbers in your party, and any important factors (disabilities, kids etc)

- your sailing date.

 

Then we can figure out the best options

 

JB :classic_smile:

-

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We used International Friends from the London Toolkit link to visit Bath, Lacock and Castle Combe on the way to Heathrow airport from Southampton

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9 minutes ago, MicCanberra said:

We used International Friends from the London Toolkit link to visit Bath, Lacock and Castle Combe on the way to Heathrow airport from Southampton

 

Yep, several International Friends tour/transfer options from Southampton.

But only the one (Stonehenge) heading to Southampton because of the need to register at the cruise terminals early-afternoon.

 

JB :classic_smile:

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I suppose I should have said, we enjoyed the tour and they did a good job, so I can recommend them.

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@John Bull  Thank you for that very valuable help.  I believe we will take that transfer from our (as yet unknown) London hotel either the day before our cruise or two days prior.  With your link I was able to ascertain that both dates are offered.  

 

With that settled, I have another question.  What other options would there be for us to do in the area (after we see Stonehenge)?  Trying to determine whether to take that extra day or stay in London for it.  We will arrive in London on the 18th and our cruise is on the 26th (October).  I do feel we will want to find either a place to do some laundry or have laundry available in our hotel after traveling for a week....just to cut down in the quantity of luggage dragged along with us.

 

Much thanks for all the help.

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Posted (edited)

Having visited the Sea City Museum in Southampton last year, I highly recommend it.   The audio visual presentation of the inquiry is superb.

 

I just love the city.  I am there again next April, post Arcadia, might have another couple of nights there.

Edited by NSWP

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A walk around the old town with the walls and such is really interesting, you can do it yourself or with a guide (meet at the top gate, possibly called the Lions gate?). A pub crawl is also possible within the old town area.

Or a trip to Portsmouth on the railway

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MicCanberra said:

A walk around the old town with the walls and such is really interesting, you can do it yourself or with a guide (meet at the top gate, possibly called the Lions gate?). A pub crawl is also possible within the old town area.

Or a trip to Portsmouth on the railway

Yes, some great old pubs in the old part of town, just make sure Nelson's Press Gangs don't grab you, or you will be off to HMS Victory at Pompey.  Talking about Pompey, one needs about 3 days there to see the historic seafaring stuff.

Edited by NSWP

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The International Friends tour from London, to Stonehenge to Southampton Cruise Port is exactly what we are looking for except they do not offer this tour on June 30, 2020, the day before we sail.

 

We would like to stay in Southampton the night before embarking on our cruise on July 1, 2020. Does anyone know of any other tours that run from London, to Stonehenge to Southampton Cruise Port? Thank you!

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On 6/21/2019 at 1:10 AM, cpl100 said:

@John Bull  Thank you for that very valuable help.  I believe we will take that transfer from our (as yet unknown) London hotel either the day before our cruise or two days prior.  With your link I was able to ascertain that both dates are offered.  

 

With that settled, I have another question.  What other options would there be for us to do in the area (after we see Stonehenge)?  Trying to determine whether to take that extra day or stay in London for it.  We will arrive in London on the 18th and our cruise is on the 26th (October).  I do feel we will want to find either a place to do some laundry or have laundry available in our hotel after traveling for a week....just to cut down in the quantity of luggage dragged along with us.

 

Much thanks for all the help.

 

On 6/21/2019 at 5:05 AM, MicCanberra said:

A walk around the old town with the walls and such is really interesting, you can do it yourself or with a guide (meet at the top gate, possibly called the Lions gate?). A pub crawl is also possible within the old town area.

Or a trip to Portsmouth on the railway

 

 

It's the Bargate, Mic.

So-named because being the city's main gate thro the city wall from the London road it had a bar across the entrance to assist the gate-keeper in collecting tolls from visitors. It also housed the jail, and the upper floor was the civic offices. 

The toll has long-since been abandoned - the city fathers get much more money from parking meters :classic_wink:

The Bargate is where the new city joins the old town - the new city (shopping malls, main shopping street etc) is Above Bar, the old town (Bargate to the waterfront) is Below Bar.

 

"Old Town" is a bit of a misnomer, it was heavily bombed during the blitzes of 1940 to '42 and it's a mix of old and new. But some interesting buildings survived, including the Tudor Merchant's House & Gardens, the Medieval Merchant's House, Westgate Hall, God's Tower House (archaeology museum) and the 13th centrury Wool House  - cruisers may remember the Wool House as home of the city's maritime museum but it's now a pub / micro-brewery.

Also a very good little volunteer-run aircraft museum, Solent Skies, which majors on aircraft associated with Southampton including the Spitfire (designed & built in Southampton) and Empire flying boats  - City Cruise Terminal is on the site of their terminal, and their hangers (now an activity centre) are on the other side of Southampton at Calshot Spit, where Southampton Water runs into the Solent. 

The SeaCity museum (majors on Titanic) and art gallery are housed in the Civic Centre (tall white clock tower) at the top of Above Bar.

So Southampton has more than enough to amuse a visitor for a lazy day or on a cruise morning.

https://tudorhouseandgarden.com/planning-your-visit/explore-old-town/old-town-walk/

 

But there are stacks of places just a short train or ferry ride away.

Southampton is a railway junction, which makes it a good base for exploring much of southern England including direct trains to Portsmouth (40+ minutes), Brighton, (90+ mins),, Winchester (15+ mins), Oxford (80+ mins), Salisbury (35mins) (then ho-ho to Stonehenge), Bath (90+ mins) and Weymouth (80+ mins)

https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/static/documents/content/routemaps/nationalrailoperatorsmapzoom5811December.pdf

and

http://ojp.nationalrail.co.uk/

Google those places.

 

There are also ferries across to the Isle of Wight  The Isle of Wight still living in the 1950's - sounds enticing but the roads are slow & the ho-ho buses not convenient for day-trippers.

Really needs a car & 2 to 3 days, but one place on the island is easy to visit in a day-trip - Osborne House. Designed in Italianate style by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria it was her favourite home.

Red Funnel car ferry (the car ferry, not the hi-speed catamaran which goes to the wrong half of Cowes) from Southampton Town Quay to East Cowes takes an hour, then a ten-minute bus ride (any bus) to Osborne House.

 

Or the little Hythe ferry from Town Quay across Southampton Water and then a taxi ride across a corner of the New Forest to  https://www.beaulieu.co.uk

 

JB :classic_smile:

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On 6/29/2019 at 8:55 PM, Cruisin4US said:

The International Friends tour from London, to Stonehenge to Southampton Cruise Port is exactly what we are looking for except they do not offer this tour on June 30, 2020, the day before we sail.

 

We would like to stay in Southampton the night before embarking on our cruise on July 1, 2020. Does anyone know of any other tours that run from London, to Stonehenge to Southampton Cruise Port? Thank you!

 

On 6/30/2019 at 6:57 AM, MicCanberra said:

 

Unfortunately the list drawn up by Mic are all ticket agencies and every link is to the International Friends cruise tour-transfer.

BTW it does demonstrate one reason why it's better not to use multi-city intermediaries - Viator mention that the tour is for a maximum of 6 passengers - it isn't, it's in a full-size coach as several of their reviewers point-out.

 

I'm not aware of any other tours offering a transfer via Stonehenge, I can think of only three options ..............

 

A private transfer. Usual cost of a direct private transfer central London to Southampton is around £130 for a sedan - via Stonehenge adds about 30 minutes driving and a wait of about 90 minutes at Stonehenge so I'll hazard a guess at about £180?? plus admissions. Take the transfer operator's advice on booking timed-arrival tickets at Stonehenge.

 

Regular bus or train (£10 to £25 per person) to Southampton the previous day / evening, then on cruise morning an early start to Stonehenge via train and ho-ho, as per my post No 9 above.  It'd be almost as rushed as the Int Friends visit but hopefully you'd have about an hour to spare to look round Salisbury city centre & cathedral.  If you choose this option book a hotel close to Southampton central station (there are several right opposite), leave your bags with the hotel when you check-out &  when you return to Southampton take a taxi from the station to the ship via the hotel to collect your bags. Do check your latest registration time at the cruise terminal - come back with that time, and your ship or cruise terminal, if you want any help with timing.  

 

Stay in London for an extra night & take the Int Friends' tour-transfer for your ship.

It would mean missing out on an overnite in Southampton, but if the intention of doing that is the security of being near the ship on cruise morning there's no need. Whatever your means of transport from London it's perfectly normal for folk to travel down on cruise day - lots of transport options if your Plan A fouls-up. 

 

One final thought - June 2020 is some time away & things might change, for instance Int Friends add a coach on the day you want.

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

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Cheers for the clarification JB.  I just couldn't remember what that Top gate was called.

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Posted (edited)

Great relic ye olde Bargate.  We have walked through those portals a few times over the years.

 

Edited by NSWP

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