12 Hours in London
London might be nearly 130 kilometres from Southampton’s cruise ship terminals, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take in the sights and sounds of the English capital during your time in port. Simply read the guide below, do some sensible planning and keep a close eye on your watch – by the end of your 12 hours, you’ll be able to tick off several attractions on your travel bucket list.
8am - Train from Southampton to London Waterloo Station
Travelling by rail is the quickest and easiest way to reach London from Southampton. As soon as you set foot on the platform at Waterloo Station, head west towards the river bank. If you’re not sure where that is, simply follow the giant Ferris wheel - that’s where you’ll find the day’s first attraction.
10am - The London Eye
Offering superb views across the London skyline, this modern marvel is one of the United Kingdom’s most iconic tourist destinations, allowing tourists to enjoy 30 minutes of uninterrupted photo opportunities during a single ride.
11.00am - Westminster wonders
Take a leisurely stroll down the river, along Southbank and across the Westminster Bridge to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. These are three landmarks dripping with history.
12.00pm - PM’s Place to Palace.
You won’t get close enough to high-five the British Prime Minister but it’s definitely worth peeking through the security gates for a glimpse of the famous number 10 residence before heading through to St James’s Park, where you’ll receive your first glimpse of the world famous Buckingham Palace.
If you’re not won over by the cute and mischievous local squirrel population, the enchanting walk from park to Palace gates will certainly capture your imagination.
1.30pm - Hyde Park corner
Just beyond the Palace grounds lies the south-eastern entry point to Hyde Park. If you’re visiting at Christmas time, Hyde Park Corner is where you’ll find the popular ‘Winter Wonderland’ attraction. In the warmer months, the park is a hive of activity with concerts, picnics and outdoor festivals drawing large crowds.
Walk west along the park perimeter to your next destination: Knightsbridge.
2.30pm - Harrods and High Tea
Knightsbridge is home to the ritzy high-end department store, Harrods. The price tags might be astronomical but it’s impossible to leave without purchasing at least one souvenir from the gift store. Save the rest of your pennies for a time-honoured British tradition: High Tea at The Berkeley. Refreshed and recharged, it’s time to walk back to Hyde Park Corner and hop on The Tube (underground train), bound for Piccadilly Circus.
4.30pm - Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square
With its bright lights and buzzing atmosphere, it’s easy to see why Piccadilly Circus is the heartbeat of London’s West End. After taking some photos, it’s time to visit Trafalgar Square. This picturesque setting is home to cultural events, landmarks and (in December) the largest Christmas Tree in London.
5.45pm - London Bridge and Tower Bridge
London’s black cab drivers are renowned for their impressive local knowledge, so why not let them play the role of tour guide during your final moments in London? Within a short space of time, you’ll be able to tick off St Paul’s Cathedral, the financial district, the Gherkin, London Bridge and Tower Bridge.
6.30pm - Depart London Waterloo Station for Southampton
After a hectic day in London, the journey back to Southampton allows sufficient time to relax and unwind before returning to your ship.
While it’s difficult fitting everything into an itinerary, this guide provides a real sense of what London is all about - history, culture and atmosphere. For more information on cruise ship travel to the UK, call one of our friendly consultants on 1300 954 661.
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