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Transfer: Southampton—London (incl. LHR/LGW) train, car, other?


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On 5/28/2022 at 11:52 PM, travelgal777 said:

Hello, we are flying to London in late June and taking a Princess cruise out of Southampton on June 29.  We've been trying to buy train tickets for London Waterloo to Southampton for June 29 and are finding a lot of difficulty doing this from California!  We went through a long process on the Southwestern Railway website, including creating an account, and downloading their app, only to be told our address had to be in the UK to buy tickets!  We just tried using the National Rail website, only to have it link back to Southwestern Railway for the same problem!  Does anyone know what else we can do to buy tickets ahead of time?   Thank you for any help.

 

I know that folk have indeed booked thro the website from the US - they are given a reference number, which they use in the automated ticket machines at the station. In fact, at any station - so to avoid any last-minute complication or rush you can collect your tickets at some convenient time if you're in the UK a day or two ahead of your train trip.

 

Or by booking thro the app you don't need to get a physical ticket - you simply scan your mobile device at the station.

 

Buying ahead isn't totally necessary, you can simply buy when you get to the station, but buying in advance gets you a discount -as much as 50% or more on journeys like London to Southampton, so its well worth persevering

 

But sorry, that's the best I can advise -  being locals, we've never needed to book from outside the UK.

 

JB 🙂 

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On 6/4/2022 at 11:57 PM, John Bull said:

I know that folk have indeed booked thro the website from the US - they are given a reference number, which they use in the automated ticket machines at the station. In fact, at any station - so to avoid any last-minute complication or rush you can collect your tickets at some convenient time if you're in the UK a day or two ahead of your train trip.

 

Or by booking thro the app you don't need to get a physical ticket - you simply scan your mobile device at the station.

 

Buying ahead isn't totally necessary, you can simply buy when you get to the station, but buying in advance gets you a discount -as much as 50% or more on journeys like London to Southampton, so its well worth persevering

 

But sorry, that's the best I can advise -  being locals, we've never needed to book from outside the UK.

 

JB 🙂

Thanks for responding, I appreciate it - we talked to a travel agent friend who booked them for us.  The website she used was RailEurope, and I had neglected to check that one!

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Use "Trainline.com" the UK's biggest rail search engine, it is very easy to use and book from the US.

 

 

PS. You can also book Nation Express coach tickets from the same site

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Trying to figure out the best way to transfer from central London to Queen Elizabeth II cruise terminal for a large party of 11 people. It seems that most private transfer services don't even have cars that can hold that many. Any suggestions for something with the minimum number of stops/switching modes of transportation?

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3 hours ago, zerwey said:

Trying to figure out the best way to transfer from central London to Queen Elizabeth II cruise terminal for a large party of 11 people. It seems that most private transfer services don't even have cars that can hold that many. Any suggestions for something with the minimum number of stops/switching modes of transportation?

 

Book three cars?

 

2 hours ago, zerwey said:

Also, are there any potential issues or pitfalls we should watch out for if we rent a car in London and drop it off in Southampton?

 

Horrendous one-way fees would be my first fear about this.

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14 hours ago, zerwey said:

It seems that most private transfer services don't even have cars that can hold that many.

As I understand it, a different operating licence is required for vehicles taking more than 9 passengers, so the services you are looking at probably offer cars or MPVs seating up to 9. 
 

You need to be looking for coach and minibus (what in the States would be called vans) operators. I don’t have any recommendations I can make, but they exist and hopefully our resident ex-professional drivers or others will be along shortly! 

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, zerwey said:

Trying to figure out the best way to transfer from central London to Queen Elizabeth II cruise terminal for a large party of 11 people. It seems that most private transfer services don't even have cars that can hold that many. Any suggestions for something with the minimum number of stops/switching modes of transportation?

My husband and I are using EC Minibus. It looks like they have vehicles that can accommodate up to 14.  https://www.ecminibus.co.uk/southampton-cruise-terminals/

Edited by snowballs mom
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On 6/18/2022 at 11:06 PM, Cotswold Eagle said:

As I understand it, a different operating licence is required for vehicles taking more than 9 passengers, so the services you are looking at probably offer cars or MPVs seating up to 9. 
 

You need to be looking for coach and minibus (what in the States would be called vans) operators. I don’t have any recommendations I can make, but they exist and hopefully our resident ex-professional drivers or others will be along shortly! 

 

On 6/18/2022 at 11:24 PM, snowballs mom said:

My husband and I are using EC Minibus. It looks like they have vehicles that can accommodate up to 14.  https://www.ecminibus.co.uk/southampton-cruise-terminals/

 

 

Yes, more than 8 passengers plus driver requires a higher level of driving licence and standard of roadworthiness and operating premises / workshop etc.

But your number is what it is, and 8 plus luggage can get cramped in a smaller vehicle.

You need a long-wheelbase van, with 12 to 15 seats and luggage space behind - most transfer operators don't operate them, but there are plenty which do. 

I don't know any in the London / Heathrow area, snowballs' mum has quoted one & google will offer others by pumping-in "12 - 15 seat private minibus Heathrow" 

That doesn't work so well for "Southampton" instead of "Heathrow" because google is cluttered with agencies, - you really need to book direct.

But some coach operators in Southampton  also offer minibuses. I've driven for Angela coaches - long-established & well-respected operators, and they have suitable minibuses. https://www.angelacoaches.co.uk/

And Coliseum Coaches, now part of the Lucketts Group certainly had them, worth an e-mail.

 

JB 🙂

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John Bull, Thank you for sharing your knowledge on British transportation.  It helped me a huge amount in making our travel decisions for my cruise in October.  Your contributions to this forum are invaluable.  I read back quite a few pages, but can't find the answer to my question.  When travelling by train from Heathrow to Waterloo station:  Do we have to stow our bags onboard the train, or do we check them in the station, or train side?  We'll each have two large bags and a small carry on.  Packing light for a 3 week trip really doesn't work for us.  Cheers mate.  

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51 minutes ago, CapnBob said:

When travelling by train from Heathrow to Waterloo station:  Do we have to stow our bags onboard the train, or do we check them in the station, or train side?

 

First, there's no train from Heathrow to Waterloo. You'd have to change trains to do this.

 

In any case, you will have to carry and stow your luggage yourself. This is the case for all conventional trains in the UK. And any trains that you take in the London area will almost certainly be commuter trains.

 

If you post what route you're thinking about to get from Heathrow to Waterloo, we may be able to give more focused advice.

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7 hours ago, CapnBob said:

John Bull, Thank you for sharing your knowledge on British transportation.  It helped me a huge amount in making our travel decisions for my cruise in October.  Your contributions to this forum are invaluable.  I read back quite a few pages, but can't find the answer to my question.  When travelling by train from Heathrow to Waterloo station:  Do we have to stow our bags onboard the train, or do we check them in the station, or train side?  We'll each have two large bags and a small carry on.  Packing light for a 3 week trip really doesn't work for us.  Cheers mate.  

 

 

I'm just a country boy, cap'n - I know my way around the south of England, but not so much about the big bad city.

Globaliser is one of our London experts - and is correct in saying there's no train from LHR to Waterloo - you'd need the Heathrow Express to Paddington station, then the tube (London's metro) to Waterloo Station. Heathrow Express is excellent with luggage, the tube can be very difficult with luggage, very very difficult with two checked bags & a carry-on each. 

 

I can't find your original question, and I just want to clarify why you want to go to Waterloo station.

 

Will you be spending time in London & based at a hotel near Waterloo station?

If so, I'd suggest a pre-booked private transfer. About £50 - £60

 

Or are you planning LHR to Waterloo in order to then take a train to Southampton?

If so, via Waterloo isn't the way to do it.

You have better bus or train or bus+train or private transfer options options LHR to Southampton

 

JB 🙂

 

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22 hours ago, Globaliser said:

 

First, there's no train from Heathrow to Waterloo. You'd have to change trains to do this.

 

In any case, you will have to carry and stow your luggage yourself. This is the case for all conventional trains in the UK. And any trains that you take in the London area will almost certainly be commuter trains.

 

If you post what route you're thinking about to get from Heathrow to Waterloo, we may be able to give more focused advice.

Globaliser, I appreciate your feedback.  I mistakenly read the train schedules.  Waterloo, Paddington, really makes no difference.  We are in a hotel in Westminster, just a bit from St. James Park station.  So I want to train it from LHR to Paddington; I expect, for a 3 day stay.   I plan to taxi to/from the hotel.  Then train to Southampton central, taxi to the port.  I re read the schedule and I go from Waterloo to Southampton.  correct?  Anyway, thanks for the info on having to load my own bags.  would 1st class give me more storage room?  Thanks again for saving me a major screw up from LHR to Westminster.  cheers

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22 minutes ago, CapnBob said:

We are in a hotel in Westminster, just a bit from St. James Park station.  So I want to train it from LHR to Paddington; I expect, for a 3 day stay.   I plan to taxi to/from the hotel.

 

Either the Conrad or the St Ermin's, presumably?

 

At any rate, I think that you probably don't have any real option but to get a cab, as you will have a lot of luggage. Without luggage, Heathrow --> St James's Park Tube would be dead easy, but St James's Park Tube is not luggage friendly.

 

However, as an alternative to a train to Paddington and then a taxi, you could just get a minicab directly from Heathrow to the hotel. There are many such private car transfer services discussed here, and the "usual suspects" are all much of a muchness. I'm thinking that the overall cost is likely to be similar to train + taxi, but would cut out one change of mode and most of the luggage handling.

 

29 minutes ago, CapnBob said:

I plan to taxi to/from the hotel.  Then train to Southampton central, taxi to the port.  I re read the schedule and I go from Waterloo to Southampton.  correct?

 

Taxi to Waterloo, train to Southampton Central, then taxi to the port is correct.

 

First class would give you a bit more comfort and space, including space to put your bags. But don't expect luxury. The train to Southampton is still a commuter train; there is still relatively little dedicated luggage space on board, even in first class; and you usually just have to improvise enough space. But (if I read it correctly) you'll be travelling from Waterloo to Southampton on a Thursday morning in October, so the train in that direction should be pretty empty anyway.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, CapnBob said:

Globaliser, I appreciate your feedback.  I mistakenly read the train schedules.  Waterloo, Paddington, really makes no difference.  We are in a hotel in Westminster, just a bit from St. James Park station.  So I want to train it from LHR to Paddington; I expect, for a 3 day stay.   I plan to taxi to/from the hotel.  Then train to Southampton central, taxi to the port.  I re read the schedule and I go from Waterloo to Southampton.  correct?  Anyway, thanks for the info on having to load my own bags.  would 1st class give me more storage room?  Thanks again for saving me a major screw up from LHR to Westminster.  cheers

 

 

As per Globaliser's post.

Yes, for LHR to a Westminster hotel with your amount of luggage, a direct pre-booked private transfer is definitely your best bet. Sorry, no recommendations - I've never needed one

BTW, "minicab" - more of a London word than a British word - doesn't have anything to do with the size of the taxi, they're regular sedans which have to be pre-booked, rather than the iconic London "black cabs" (which aren't all black) which can be hailed in the street or found at taxi ranks and which are expensive for a 15-mile journey between LHR & central London.

 

From that end of Westminster, a National Express bus to Southampton from Victoria coach station might be cheaper and more convenient, but takes about an hour longer than a train from Waterloo. And you'd need to pay for your excess luggage.

 

There's also a direct hourly train service from Victoria train station to Southampton, but it takes a different route - 2 1/2 hours rather than 1 1/2 hours from Waterloo.

 

If you take the train, buy your cheap advance tickets from about 8 weeks out. Those tickets are only good for the train time that you book (miss it and those tickets are trash) but they cost anywhere between about £10 and £20 pp versus regular walk-up tickets at £39 pp. Check the timetable for any date in July or August to see those prices & terms.

 

JB 🙂

Edited by John Bull
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We are staying in the center of London. How long does it take to get to Southampton and roughly what would be the price of a taxi or car service? Many thanks for suggestions

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14 minutes ago, Slyfox16 said:

We are staying in the center of London. How long does it take to get to Southampton and roughly what would be the price of a taxi or car service? Many thanks for suggestions

1.5 to 2 hrs if I remember correctly.  We'll be using a car service.   While pricey £160 forc 2 with luggage don't want to schlep luggage on train.  Train cost is low but still need taxis at both ends.  When are you going? Maybe you can check on the roll call for your cruise and find someone to share a car service. 

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2 hours ago, Slyfox16 said:

We are staying in the center of London. How long does it take to get to Southampton and roughly what would be the price of a taxi or car service? Many thanks for suggestions

The centre of London could encompass a lot of area. You might want to specify what part of central London you are staying in. 

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5 hours ago, Slyfox16 said:

We are staying near the Tower Bridge.

 

Friday morning, 2 September 2022?

 

I reckon that from near Tower Bridge, this will probably take you closer to 2½ hours by road because you're starting from the "wrong" side of central London. If you're already inside the Congestion Charge zone, so that you have to pay that £15 extra simply to get picked up, then a bit of time might be saved by taking a route that goes through the centre of town. But going around the eastern edge of the CC zone is unlikely to be fast on a Friday morning. Schools will have re-started the previous day so those who have children will already be back from their summer holidays.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi @John Bull! Sorry to tag you so much but mass transit across the pond has become as confusing as here.

 

I am now trying to get from LHR (no idea which terminal) -> Southampton after landing at hopefully 12:30. Could I make a 1415 NatXpress bus? What's this ePassport Gates i keep hearing about?? I don't have Clear because I use Mobile Passport at SFO and Whyline elsewhere 

 

Bus options: 1415 or 1530

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1 hour ago, Ombud said:

Hi @John Bull! Sorry to tag you so much but mass transit across the pond has become as confusing as here.

 

I am now trying to get from LHR (no idea which terminal) -> Southampton after landing at hopefully 12:30. Could I make a 1415 NatXpress bus? What's this ePassport Gates i keep hearing about?? I don't have Clear because I use Mobile Passport at SFO and Whyline elsewhere 

 

Bus options: 1415 or 1530

 

Hi Ombud,

 

An e-Passport is one which can be read automatically,. No need for it to be inspected by an immigration officer. In the immigration hall you join a separate line.

At the bottom of the front cover (of a UK passport and - according to the web - a US passport) is a little circle in a split box, like a symbol for a camera.

This indicates that the passport is chipped, including facial shape & possibly other biometric data. You  hold your passport on the pad, look at the camera, and pray that the gate will open. Just like self-checkouts at grocery stores, there are staff to help with any problems.

It's no quicker per-person than the line for an immigration officer, but it means there are many many more gates - because of that it's usually a lot quicker.

 https://www.dhs.gov/e-passports

 

You need to know your LHR terminal in order to book the Nat Express bus. You mention a bus at 2.15pm, but that's from Terminal 5, mainly for British Airways.

That bus leaves Heathrow central bus station at 2pm - from T2 and T3 it's a ten-minute walk to central bus station. T1 no longer exists. Nat Express currently doesn't serve T4, arrivals at T4 need to get to either T5 or central bus station using the free inter-terminal transport, takes 15 minutes plus.

 

https://www.heathrow.com/at-the-airport/terminal-guides/which-terminal - but your terminal should be noted on your booking.

 

It's very difficult to predict how long thro' airport formalities, at LHR it's reckoned at about 90 minutes. Then of course there's whether your flight is on-time, and whether it is indeed T5.

So it's pretty border-line.

 

If you sail same-day, the later bus (3.15 / 3.30pm) is due in Southampton at 5.25pm - most ships will have sailed by then. 

Even the 2.00 / 2.15 pm doesn't get to Southampton until 4pm, probably after latest registration time. 

In the circumstances I suggest you book ship's coach transfer.

If that's not possible, go to the terminal information desk in the Arrivals Hall and ask to book the RailAir bus to Woking rail station, where you board a Southampton-bound train (usually 3 trains per hour.

Both options will cost a lot more than the Nat Express bus - £50 to £60 pp. 

 

If you're not sailing same-day, I suggest you book the 3.15 / 3.30pm bus.

If you get thro in time for the earlier bus - and if there's space on it - you can take it on payment of a £5 amendment fee,

If you book the earlier one & miss it, same applies - but if the later one is fully-booked then it's a 65 mile walk to Southampton !!

 

JB 🙂

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14 minutes ago, John Bull said:

 

Hi Ombud,

 

An e-Passport is one which can be read automatically,. No need for it to be inspected by an immigration officer. In the immigration hall you join a separate line.

At the bottom of the front cover (of a UK passport and - according to the web - a US passport) is a little circle in a split box, like a symbol for a camera.

This indicates that the passport is chipped, including facial shape & possibly other biometric data. You  hold your passport on the pad, look at the camera, and pray that the gate will open. Just like self-checkouts at grocery stores, there are staff to help with any problems.

It's no quicker per-person than the line for an immigration officer, but it means there are many many more gates - because of that it's usually a lot quicker.

 https://www.dhs.gov/e-passports

 

You need to know your LHR terminal in order to book the Nat Express bus. You mention a bus at 2.15pm, but that's from Terminal 5, mainly for British Airways.

That bus leaves Heathrow central bus station at 2pm - from T2 and T3 it's a ten-minute walk to central bus station. T1 no longer exists. Nat Express currently doesn't serve T4, arrivals at T4 need to get to either T5 or central bus station using the free inter-terminal transport, takes 15 minutes plus.

 

https://www.heathrow.com/at-the-airport/terminal-guides/which-terminal - but your terminal should be noted on your booking.

 

It's very difficult to predict how long thro' airport formalities, at LHR it's reckoned at about 90 minutes. Then of course there's whether your flight is on-time, and whether it is indeed T5.

So it's pretty border-line.

 

If you sail same-day, the later bus (3.15 / 3.30pm) is due in Southampton at 5.25pm - most ships will have sailed by then. 

Even the 2.00 / 2.15 pm doesn't get to Southampton until 4pm, probably after latest registration time. 

In the circumstances I suggest you book ship's coach transfer.

If that's not possible, go to the terminal information desk in the Arrivals Hall and ask to book the RailAir bus to Woking rail station, where you board a Southampton-bound train (usually 3 trains per hour.

Both options will cost a lot more than the Nat Express bus - £50 to £60 pp. 

 

If you're not sailing same-day, I suggest you book the 3.15 / 3.30pm bus.

If you get thro in time for the earlier bus - and if there's space on it - you can take it on payment of a £5 amendment fee,

If you book the earlier one & miss it, same applies - but if the later one is fully-booked then it's a 65 mile walk to Southampton !!

 

JB 🙂

Thank you. I'll book 1515. Flying in 2 days early on Virgin Atlantic instead of British Air this time. Just figured out that Virgin Atlantic goes to T3. 

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Suggestions please! I have just had my International Friends London to Southampton via Windsor transfer cancelled. Any recommendations for a company which offered a similar services? travelling October 2022.

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On 3/26/2019 at 8:24 AM, John Bull said:

As Simon's post, transportation from London depends very much on the location of your hotel and your preferences for a private transfer or saving a chunk of cash & using a train or bus (direct services from London Waterloo or London Victoria respectively).

Or taking a ship's over-priced transfer bus, or an independently-operated tour/transfer bus from your hotel to your ship via Stonehenge.

Yes, www.smithsforairports.com and www.westquaycars.com (both based at the Southampton end) are frequently recommended for private transfers. Also Blackberry Cars and others - just search "Southampton transfers" in this forum, but be aware that transfer options from LHR or LGW airports are very different to transfer options from central London.

 

At the Southampton end, yes it'll be Ocean Cruise Terminal or QE2 Cruise Terminal.

Ocean Terminal is a level walk of about 25 mins from Southampton Central rail station or coach station - though inclement weather is likely to persuade you to jump in a cab.

QE2 terminal may only be a further 10 minutes, but it's deep in the docks on roads with heavy truck traffic - in places separated from pedestrians by only a yellow line. I'd strongly recommend a cab.

 

Tell us your hotel, date / day-of-the-week, group size & make-up, whether your preferences are for convenience or cost, and anything else you consider relevant, and we can be more precise.

 

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

(but don't book a private car transfer thro them, they promote expensive operators)

There's also lots of good London info and logistics on other pages of their website

 

JB :classic_smile:

John,

 

Could you provide transportation options from the Princess Cruise Terminal in Southampton to The Ruben Hotel in London on 13 August of this year. We have a one night stay there after our cruise before flying home the next day. Having Afternoon Tea at The Ruben and seeing Hamilton. We will most likely have a rolling suitcase and a personal item each for my husband and I and my husband will have his golf clubs. He prefers to take the easiest route so we aren't dealing with the luggage so much and I prefer we not break the bank! 

 

Thank you!
Stacey

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