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Southampton to London; rail or bus?

Travel Forums Europe Southampton to London; rail or bus?

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1. Posted by Ladymacwil (Full Member 170 posts) 8y

We are sailing on the Queen Mary 2 from New York to Southampton arriving on April 21. We have all day to make it to London and the trains look easy enough but are a bit pricey. I was curious if there was a bus or coach line that did this route as I don't mind taking a little more time to meander through the countryside rather than just race up to London. Any thoughts on what fare might be or the hassle factor, (i.e. changing buses 6 times), would be greatly appreciated. We will be staying near Victoria Station so I was hoping the bus may put us there directly.

Thanks for any help or suggestions.

2. Posted by t_maia (Moderator 3291 posts) 8y

Since you are sailing on the Queen Mary 2, I think I can safely assume that ultra-low-budget travel isn't really your thing. Therefore: use the train. Buses might be cheaper, but they are cheaper for a reason. (Who needs a 3 hours wait in Bournemouth at the bus station?)

Here is are some links you might find useful:

http://www.expedia.com/daily/cruise/geo/ports.asp?CCheck=1&tiid=3245
http://www.ship-happens.co.uk/portsinlondon.html
http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=61

http://www.southwestrains.co.uk
http://www.nationalexpress.com

3. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 8y

The train is a better plan for this route - also the countryside that you would be meandering through on a bus between Southampton and London would be a really dull motorway trip with no sightseeing value. A single is £25 if you buy in advance.

If you're determined to do it really cheaply:
Megabus
From £1 - it takes twice as long and is not comfortable.

4. Posted by Ladymacwil (Full Member 170 posts) 8y

Quoting t_maia

Since you are sailing on the Queen Mary 2, I think I can safely assume that ultra-low-budget travel isn't really your thing.

I found that kind of funny. I usually find myself being more of a budget conscience traveller, (hence staying at Pimlico B&B's in London on the cheap). Actually, it is our honeymoon and I found the QM2 cruise on a site at 70% off the rack brochure rate. I couldn't resist for a special occasion.

I appreciate everyone's input. I did find National Express which would put me in Victoria Station in about 2 and a half hours w/o changing buses and with only three stops. I guess I was hoping the scenery may have been worth the extra time, (and less expense), so I really appreciate your advice.

Again, thanks so much for your reponses.

5. Posted by training (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

I'll be on the same cruise, on the same day, and also am trying to figure out the best way to get to London.

A check with Southwest Trains just came up with a 51-pound one-way fare. And then I clicked on the "Megatrain" option that I found on another website: And got a four-pounds-50 price quote on a trip that seems to be the same train: Southwest.

Ummmm, I'll take the second! But am I missing something here?? Too good to be true? I don't want to get this wrong, as I'll be traveling with my mother.

Thanks ...

6. Posted by t_maia (Moderator 3291 posts) 8y

The answer:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megatrain

One can only guess what the car seating the megatrain passengers will be like...

7. Posted by training (Budding Member 2 posts) 8y

Wow, Wikipedia is impressive! Never would've thought to look there. Turns out that the Megatrain rates pertain only to a special car in the train, marked Megatrain, and that the introductory fares (offered only between London and the Southampton area, I think)may last only a few more weeks, though their duration is unclear. Anyway, thanks. Well, I'm taking my chances -- and my mother's -- couldn't pass it up. Will report back.

8. Posted by tallbird (Respected Member 269 posts) 8y

If you know what times you'll be travelling you can always book your train tickets on www.thetrainline.com as they offer cheaper prices if booked well in advance!

9. Posted by Ladymacwil (Full Member 170 posts) 8y

Found this on another discussion board regarding the train vs. motorcaoch:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Hi, the coach is the way to travel. There's no trouble with lugging your luggage since they have ample space for all and the driver loads and unloads it for you.
The coaches are very comfortable and they're always much much cheaper than the train. Your seat is guaranteed.

Whereas in railway stations you often have to climb stairs and cross over a bridge to get to the right platform where the train is arriving and going from.It's a hassle with luggage. Plus the train only stops for minutes and you have to get your luggage aboard very quickly as you drag it up the platform and look for a compartment with empty seats. There are no porters or luggage carts available. You can walk the whole length of the platform.
Also, you may not find a seat and end up standing on the train.
I stayed in Oxford for three months and traveled to London at least once a week. I learned the hard way what was the best means of transportation.
Hope this helps. Going to London is worth it all. It's a wonderful city."

Now I'm leaning back to the motorcoach, (Partly because I want to end up at Victoria Station as opposed to Waterloo). I found fun fares for 6 pounds each and the idea of having an actual seat as opposed to the possibility of standing in a train car packed with people may be worth the extra couple pounds.

10. Posted by t_maia (Moderator 3291 posts) 8y

Well, it all comes down to personal preferance. One reason I like the train is that I can stand up and walk around. I'm nearly six ft tall and have long legs. They always get cramped on bus rides.

Plus, I've been to Victoria Bus Station (yes, there is a difference to Victoria Train station) and thus I would prefer to arrive at Waterloo. It's easier to catch the underground from there.

BTW, don't forget that a) you can usually reserve a seat in advance when booking your train ticket b) according to the info on wikipedia megatrain runs on less demanded routes. Oxford-London is VERY popular, especially compared to Southhampton-London. A few people getting of a cruiser aren't the same as the whole masses of Oxford students heading into London for a party weekend.

If you avoid travelling by train on Friday afternoons or before major holidays, you'll be fine.