Port of Southampton

Get to know what it’s like to visit this destination.

Getting To Know Southampton – Cruise Port Guide


Our Southampton cruise port guide is a great place to start when planning your visit. It’s a quick and easy introduction with information on what to see and do in one of the UK’s most important maritime cities.

Southampton is the UK’s main cruise port, but there’s so much more going on in this incredible city than at first meets the eye. Located just 70 miles from south-west London and within touching distance of the New Forest, Southampton is bursting with local treats and the option to venture into the heart of the nations capital.

Nicknamed “Gateway to the World”, it’s highly likely that choosing to cruise directly from the UK will ultimately find you arriving in Southampton pre-and-or-post cruise. We highly recommend staying an extra day in the city and making the most of everything there is to offer, this extra time would also give you the chance to board the small ferry across to Hythe and enjoy a short ride on the longest-operating public pier railway in the world. We also recommend spending a day on the Isle of Wight, which is easily accessible by the RedJet or Red Funnel ferry services.

Southampton is a relatively new city, only acquiring a city status in 1964, but this allowed for massive investment and regeneration and Southampton is now one of the most vibrant cities in England. There’s so much to see and do.

Don’t forget to stop by our cruise blog for updates on Southampton cruises.

Travel Tips:

Many places of interest in Southampton can be explored without charge, including Southampton Common, Bargate, the Titanic Engineers’ Memorial and Southampton Town Walls.

Southampton is public friendly and easy to navigate on foot.

The cruise terminals are spread out, but for the most part they are all within easy reach of the city centre on foot. Southampton Central is also just a short walk but we would recommend a taxi service if you have heavy luggage.



Key highlights of Southampton

  •  SeaCity Museum – interactive maritime displays and events
  • Bargate – remains of the medieval city walls
  • West Quay – large shopping complex 
  • Titanic Engineers’ Memorial
  • Southampton Common – green public space
  • Hythe Ferry and Railway
  • Southampton Town Walls – historical landmark
  • Southampton City Art Gallery
  • Mayflower Park – green public space
  • God’s House Tower
  • Solent Sky – aviation museum
  • Easy to reach the Isle of Wight
queen victoria no fly cruises

Regular cruise line visitors

  • P&O Cruises
  • Cunard
  • Saga
  • Princess Cruises
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines


Cruise Expert Insider 🔎 by Jeannine Williamson

Hampshire’s largest city combines the heritage of one of Britain’s most historic ports with exciting modern attractions. 

Southampton’s old town is full of hidden treasures and has attracted famous residents and visitors including William the Conqueror, Henry V, William Shakespeare, the Pilgrim Fathers and Jane Austen. Originally the city’s main gateway, Bargate is the entrance to the historic area where you’ll find England’s third longest stretch of unbroken medieval defensive walling. Nearby Oxford Street, conveniently located between the city walls and waterfront, is packed with coffee shops, restaurants and bars and a top spot for a snack or full meal.

SeaCity is a captivating museum focusing on the people of Southampton and the city’s historic connection with the sea, including the Titanic which set sail from the port on its doomed maiden voyage in 1912. But if you want to explore on your own download Southampton’s Titanic Trail, a self-guided tour of memorials and locations associated with the liner, including the Grapes pub that was popular with the crew and the former branch post office where the Titanic’s mail was sorted. 

If you’re looking for something decidedly different to wear for a formal night –  or indeed any day or night – take a look at the amazing collection of vintage, retro and quirky men’s and women’s clothing and accessories at Beatnik Emporium in Above Bar Street. It’s guaranteed you’ll never suffer the embarrassment of running into somebody else on board wearing the same thing!

If you’re overnight in port, dare to see a darker side of the old city on a guided ghost walk organised by Supernatural Tours. Find out about eerie figures seen leaving the Red Lion pub and learn about Lizzie Loader, the market trader said to haunt the Bargate area. Alternatively go back on the water for a leisurely Blue Funnel pleasure cruise around the busy docks and into the rivers Itchen and Hamble, historic home of the south’s yacht builders.

Check out the cruise passenger page on visitsouthampton.co.uk for information on free shuttle buses into the city centre and more suggestions on places to see and where to eat.

Jeannine Williamson

Travel Writer

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