Cruises,  United Kingdom

1 Day in London Itinerary – From Southampton Cruise Port

Are you wondering what to do in 1 Day in London from the Southampton Cruise Port? Then you are not alone!

London is the most obvious choice for your shore excursion when stopping in Southampton. But since the city is a little farther away, the planning is quite a hassle.

Luckily for you, I am an avid cruiser and I know London and the area well from previous visits.

To make your cruise stop a bit easier for you, I have created possible itineraries and ideas for your shore day in London.

Let’s get to it!

picture of tower bridge in london at sunset

Table of Contents

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1 Day in London – At a Glance

When you arrive on a cruise ship at Southampton Cruise Terminal, you have quite a few choices on how to spend your day.

One day in a location is never enough to see all of it, so you might have to prioritize what you want to do.

Also depending on your mode of transportation, London is about 1,5 – 3 hours away from Southampton Cruise Port. That means you have to think carefully if it is worth it depending on your departure & arrival times.

If you only have a few hours in this port of call, you might be better off with a shore excursion in the area nearby.

Here are a couple of things you can choose from when planning your day:

  • Booking a Shore Excursion
  • Book a Private Transfer to London
  • Self-Organized Day Trip to London
  • Renting a Car and Exploring the Countryside

About the Southampton Cruise Terminal

Southampton Cruise Terminal is a big deal in the UK for cruises. It is the main gateway for ships going to Europe, the Caribbean, and beyond.

The Southampton Cruise Port is about 80 miles outside of London. It has a special connection to the Titanic, so it is worth checking out by itself.

The port has 5 different terminals, that we’ll be looking at in detail in a bit.

Map of the Southampton Cruise Port with all terminals in colorful circles
Southampton Cruise Port – Terminals

Mayflower Terminal

📍 Mayflower Cruise Terminal, Berth 106, Herbert Walker Avenue, Western Docks, Southampton, SO15 1HJ

It’s pretty modern and has a lot of amenities. If you’re looking for comfort, this is your spot.

Access to this terminal is via Dock Gate 10 (purple).

Lots of cruise lines like P&O Cruises and Cunard use it.

Ocean Cruise Terminal

📍 Ocean Cruise Terminal, Berth 46/47, Eastern Docks, Southampton, SO14 3QN

The Ocean Terminal is super sleek and new. It’s got this cool glass design and even a rooftop lounge.

You can access it via Dock Gate 4 (blue).

If you’re into that Instagram-worthy aesthetic, you’ll love it here. It is mostly used by the Carnival Corporation.

City Cruise Terminal

📍 City Cruise Terminal, Berth 101, Solent Road, Western Docks, Southampton, SO15 1AJ

The city cruise terminal is all about convenience. It’s the closest to the city center.

It’s not as fancy as the others but gets the job done.

You access it via Dock Gate 10 (yellow).

It is mostly used by Royal Caribbean, MSC and NCL.

Queen Elizabeth II Terminal

📍 QE2 Cruise Terminal, 38/39 Test Road, Eastern Docks, Southampton, SO14 3GG

It is often called the QEII. This one’s a bit older but still pretty chill.

Good for smaller ships and offers awesome views of the water.

You access it via Dock Gate 4 (red).

Horizon Cruise Terminal

📍 Horizon Cruise Terminal, Berth 102, Herbert Walker Avenue, Western Docks, Southampton, SO15 1HJ

The Horizon (or Berth 102) Cruise Terminal is the newest terminal in Southampton.

It was constructed together by MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

You can access it via Dock Gate 10 (orange).

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1. Best Shore Excursions from Southampton Cruise Port

Author’s Pick
stonehenge monument
Shore Excursion Stonehenge & Salisbury Cathedral (Magna Carta)
  • 5 Hours
  • Private Tour
  • Up to 7 People
  • Flexible Itinerary
  • Local Guide
Insta-Worthy
the cotswolds
Bath and the Cotswolds Day Tour from Southampton
  • 8 Hours
  • Private Tour
  • Amazing Price
  • Flexible Itinerary
  • Very Good Guide
Historical Value
beautiful windsor castle
Windsor Castle Private Tour from Southampton
  • 5 Hours
  • Private Tour
  • Up to 4 People
  • Great Money/Value
  • Comfortable Transport

2. Private Transfer to London from Southampton Cruise Port

Sabrina’s Choice
london tower bridge
Private Driver to London
  • 8 Hours
  • Custom Itinerary
  • Transfer to London & Back
  • Up to 4 People
  • Amazing Price
  • Flexibility

3. Self-Organized Day Trip to London

How to Get from Southampton Cruise Terminal to London

If you’re going from Southampton Cruise Port to London, you’ve got a bunch of options:

  • Train: Super easy. Head to Southampton Central Station and catch a direct train to London. Takes around 1.5 to 2 hours. Exit at Waterloo Station. Check Train Schedule.
  • National Express Coach: Super fast, but you need to walk to Southampton City Center. Ends at Victoria Coach Station.
  • Private Car: You can book a private transfer. Pricey but comfy.
  • Taxi: You can grab one right at the port, but it’ll cost a bit more than other options.
  • Car Rental: If you wanna explore at your own pace, renting a car is cool. Just mind the UK driving rules! Check DiscoverCars for amazing offers.
  • Shared Shuttle: Some services offer shared rides to London. It’s like a middle-ground option between private and public transport.

London Walking Tour (History & Culture)

My favorite way to explore London in one day is by walking. The city center is super walk-able, and you pass by many sights in a short amount of time.

I have created the ultimate London Walking Tour Map for you. It takes you along the major sights and most famous buildings in London.

The walking time is about 2 hours. With stops in between, you will be able to keep busy all day. It starts and ends at the Waterloo Station.

This London Walking Tour includes all the major cultural and historical sights. If you want an alternative route, keep looking further down.

For more information on the stops keep on reading below.

google maps screenshot of london with a london walking tour map marked with top hot spots in london
London Walking Tour Map – Highlights of London

The London Eye

The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel right on the River Thames in London. Super iconic.

You hop into these big, glass pods and get amazing views of the city. It takes about 30 minutes to do a full loop. Great for photos and just soaking in the London vibe.

A must-see if you’re into travel and amazing views!

Big Ben

The next stop on my London walking tour is the Big Ben. Big Ben is another must-see in London!

Technically, “Big Ben” is the nickname for the bell inside the tower. But most people use it as a synonym for the whole clock tower.

The Big Ben is right next to the UK Parliament. It was built in the 19th century.

When it chimes, you really feel like you’re in London. It’s been through renovations, but it’s still a classic spot for tourists and history lovers!

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is a beautiful church that will take you back in history,

It’s not just any church. Kings and queens have been crowned there for centuries.

Lots of famous poets and scientists are buried there too. It has amazing architecture and it’s right near Big Ben and Parliament so you can just walk over.

Whether you’re into history, culture, or just cool old buildings, it’s a must-see!

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the King’s official London home, and it’s super fancy! It is one of the must-visit stops on this 1 day in London itinerary. When I visited, it was still Queen Elizabeth II that lived there.

The guards in red uniforms and those iconic black hats are posted right outside, super fancy. The palace has a ton of rooms and a beautiful garden.

If you’re there at the right time, you can catch the Changing of the Guard ceremony. It’s a whole show and super British.

Plus, if the King is home, they’ll hang out a special flag.

The walk from Buckingham Palace toward Trafalgar Square is also quite nice. You’ll walk right between St. James Park and the Green Park.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square can be described as the living room of London. Its a lively place where people hang out and stuff happens.

In the middle, there is a big column with a statue of Admiral Nelson on top.

Around the square, you’ll find cool art galleries like the National Gallery. It’s a popular spot for events, protests, or just feeding the pigeons.

Trafalgar Square is a real mix of history, culture, and everyday London life!

trafalgar square with fountain in the middle

Piccadilly Circus

If you have enough time in your London walking tour, you need to hop by Piccadilly Circus.

Piccadilly Circus is London’s flashy, busy hangout spot. Kind of like the Times Square in New York, but with a British twist.

There’s this big LED display, lots of shops, and theaters. Chinatown is also around the corner.

You’ll find tourists, locals, street performers—all kinds of people. It’s super close to other cool areas like Soho and Leicester Square.

Covent Garden

Covent Garden is a shopper’s and foodie’s paradise in London (perfect for me!).

It’s got this cool market where you can find all sorts of stuff—crafts, food, you name it.

The area is also famous for street performances like magicians, musicians, and more. Plenty of cute cafes and pubs are around to grab a bite or a coffee.

It’s lively, it’s charming, and there’s always something going on. If you’re looking for a mix of classic and quirky, Covent Garden is the place to be!

My tip: if you are more into fancy designer brands, you need to check out Harrods instead.

beautiful covent garden with a cafe with table and chairs and flower bouquets

St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of London’s standout landmarks and you should definitely pass by on your London walking tour.

It’s got this massive dome that you can see from all over the city. The cathedral has been around since the 17th century.

Inside, it’s all grand and ornate. You can even climb up for a killer view of London.

It is also a hotspot for big events, like royal weddings and national celebrations.

St. Pauls cathedral from the outside on a sunny day

London Bridge & Tower Bridge

On your way back to the Waterloo Train Station, you will want to pass by the London Bridge or the Tower Bridge.

People often mix these two up!

London Bridge is more low-key. It’s mainly just a way to get across the River Thames, but it’s got history.

Tower Bridge is the show-off with the two big towers and a drawbridge in the middle. You’ve probably seen it in movies or photos. You can walk across it and even go up into the towers.

Both are cool in their own way, so its up to you which one you choose for your crossing.

Borough Market


Borough Market is a food lover’s dream in London. It’s one of the oldest markets around, and it’s near London Bridge.

The place is packed with food stalls selling everything from fresh produce to international street-food.

Think cheese, bread, spices, and so much more. If you’re into trying different flavors and love a bustling atmosphere, Borough Market is a must-visit!

London Walking Tour (Authentic London)

If history and culture are not as much your thing, and you want to see more of “authentic” London, you are in the right spot. You can also spend your 1 day in London exploring the other fancy boroughs.

This second, alternative London Walking Tour Map will guide you through the other interesting boroughs of London: Belgravia, Kensington, Notting Hill and Mayfair.

There are less sights on this route. Instead you can find fancy shopping, impressive parks, cute cafés and charming suburbs filled with colorful houses.

Mayfair

Mayfair is known for upscale elegance.

Mayfair offers high-end shopping on Bond Street, stunning Georgian architecture.

You can also enjoy lush green spaces like Grosvenor Square. Walk down park lane and see luxurious hotels that offer delicious afternoon tea.

It’s a hub for luxury, fine dining, and art galleries.

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is a charming neighborhood in London known for its colorful houses.

It has a great atmosphere and diverse community. Portobello Road Market is a highlight, where you can shop for antiques, fashion, and street food.

The area is quite famous for the movie “Notting Hill,” starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. It’s a great spot with a mix of boutiques, cafes, and great vibes.

Kensington

Ah, Kensington! It’s a posh area in London. It is known for its beautiful gardens and upscale shops.

You’ll find Kensington Palace there, where some royals live. It’s also home to cool museums like the Natural History Museum.

Great spot if you love history and culture! Plus, plenty of chic cafes for when you need a break. Definitely a must-visit!

Belgravia

Belgravia is another fancy spot in London, super close to Buckingham Palace.

Think grand homes, elegant squares, and lots of embassies. It’s the kind of place where you might bump into a celebrity.

Shopping is upscale, mostly designer stuff. If you’re into classic British vibes and high-end living, you’d love it there!

Where to Eat in London

My favorite place to lunch in London is Aubaine at Selfridge’s.

The cute cafe is covered in purple wisteria and is super chic. The food is amazing and it is the place to be. It is one of the most instagrammable cafés in London.

If you want something more traditional, check out Caffe Concerto.

Of course, you should also try traditional English Afternoon Tea if you spend 1 day in London. I can recommend Afternoon Tea at the Hilton Park Lane or The Shard (with a view).

4. Renting a Car and Exploring the Countryside

Of course you can also rent a car at the Southampton Cruise Terminal and explore the area at your own pace.

Whether you ride to London or stay in the area, the choice is yours. Just keep in mind that the British drive on the other side of the street.

Here are some ideas on where you can stop by on your road trip:

  • New Forest – A nature lover’s paradise just 30 minutes away. Ponies, trails, and all that green stuff!
  • Stonehenge – An hour’s drive to see these iconic ancient stones. A bucket-list kinda place.
  • Portsmouth – About 30 minutes out. Historic ships, museums, and beaches. Lots to do!
  • Winchester – Only 20 minutes away. Old-school cathedral, cobblestones, and a chill vibe.
  • Isle of Wight – You’ll need a ferry, but beaches, cliffs, and even dino fossils await!
  • Salisbury – Around 40 minutes to get there. It’s got a gorgeous cathedral and a cute town center.
  • Oxford – An hour and a half drive, but hello, it’s Oxford! Universities, libraries, and historic streets.
  • Bath – About 1 hour 30 minutes away. Roman baths, Georgian architecture, and chill spas.
  • Brighton – Just over an hour’s drive. Beaches, piers, and that cool, artsy atmosphere.
  • Bournemouth – Around 40 minutes. Sandy beaches and a fun pier. Great for some sun and sea!

What to Pack for 1 Day in London

There is not a whole lot you need to pack for spending one day in London. But there are a few things find their way in my handbag at every shore excursion I take.

Here are my favorite things to pack:

  • Umbrella – Because London weather is super unpredictable.
  • Comfortable Shoes – You’ll be walking a lot, from the Tube to the sights.
  • Portable Charger – Keep your phone juiced up for pics and maps.
  • Travel Guide – I love reading up on sights and history in between stops
  • Reusable Water Bottle – Stay hydrated and be eco-friendly at the same time.

Conclusion: 1 Day in London from Southampton Cruise Port

Spending the day in London on your cruise to Southampton Cruise Terminal is a great idea. You can either catch the train or book a designated driver.

In this post I showed you two alternative walking routes that will take you to all the best spots in London in just one day.

Make sure to download the London Walking Tour Maps for your shore excursion.

If you decide that going to London all the way is not worth it after all, you might enjoy exploring Salisbury, Stonehenge or Windsor Castle with a guided tour from the Cruise Port.

Check out all Destinations for more travel ideas. Can’t get enough of England? Check out my Road Trip to Cornwall Itinerary.

More 1 Day Cruise Itineraries

FAQ: 1 Day in London From Southampton Cruise Port

Is It Worth Going to London For 1 Day?


Yes, it is absolutely worth going to London for 1 day! London’s rich history and vibrant culture offer a delightful day. Explore iconic landmarks like Big Ben, try local cuisine, and soak in the charming atmosphere. Perfect for a quick adventure!

Is One Day Enough in London?

One day in London gives a taste of London’s history and charm. You can see famous spots like Big Ben and enjoy local flavors. But to properly see the city and learn more about it, I would suggest going for at least three days to London.

What to see in London in 1 Day?

In a day in London, catch Big Ben’s timeless beauty, stroll along the Thames by Tower Bridge, and visit the historic Tower of London. Dive into British history at the British Museum, and end with a classic ride on the London Eye for a panoramic city view. Book a traditional afternoon tea to get a great cultural experience.

Can you walk around London in one day?

Absolutely, you can stroll London in a day! Hit landmarks like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the charming Covent Garden. Take in the Thames River, explore museums, and try typical eats. While a quick jaunt, it’s a taste of London’s charm. Just remember, more time unveils more treasures!

Is London a walkable city?

London is quite walkable! You can explore major attractions like Big Ben, the British Museum, and Covent Garden on foot. The Thames River adds to the scenic charm. However, the city is vast, so a mix of walking and public transport might help you make the most of your adventure. Enjoy the stroll and sights!

How to get from Southampton Port to London?

To travel from Southampton to London, hop on a train from Southampton Central station. It’s a convenient and efficient option. The journey takes around 1.5 to 2 hours. Once in London, you’ll be ready to dive into the city’s vibrant atmosphere and explore its many attractions. Enjoy the ride and your time in London!

How much does a taxi cost from Southampton Cruise Port to London?

Taxi fares from Southampton cruise port to London can vary. On average, it could range from £120 to £180, depending on factors like the taxi service, time of travel, and traffic conditions. It’s a comfortable option but can be more expensive compared to trains or coaches. Remember to check with taxi services for accurate pricing and availability.

Where do cruise ships leave from in Southampton?

Cruise ships depart from the Port of Southampton, a major UK port for cruises. This bustling maritime hub offers several terminals, including the Mayflower Terminal and Ocean Terminal. These terminals welcome passengers to embark on exciting cruise journeys, often taking them to various destinations across the world.

blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in New Mexico. She spends about half of the year traveling to various destinations together with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.