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Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Portsmouth and Southampton

Sat Jun 12, 2021 11:55 pm

My wife and I are taking a cruise out of Southampton next year. We will be flying into LHR. I'm a naval history buff and want to check out Portsmouth. Do a harbour tour, Spinnaker, HMS Victory, etc. We will be getting in early so that we have two full days to tour. Would we be better off staying in Southampton and just taking a day trip to Portsmouth? Would we have to Uber it or is there good public transportation? Is there anything to do in Southampton? Any good traditional pubs in either city. Any good restaurants?
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:10 pm

Re: Portsmouth and Southampton

Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:59 am

I used to live in Southampton... it's got a big shopping mall which was built about 20 years ago and you could take a 30 min walk around what remains of the old town (bombed heavily in WW2) but otherwise it has tended to be a place tourists go through rather than stop to visit. You could try the SeaCity museum (heavy emphasis on the Titanic) or the Solent Sky museum (about aviation research that took place there) as well
For a naval history buff, there is a LOT to see and do in Portsmouth -

There is a good train service between Southampton and Portsmouth, subject to the odd bit of engineering work. Both Portsmouth and Southampton are well served by train from London. Take a look at
You may wish to look at the RailAir bus that goes from Heathrow to Woking and Guildford - this makes it easier to get from LHR to both Portsmouth and Southampton
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Posts: 3797
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Re: Portsmouth and Southampton

Sun Jun 13, 2021 3:01 pm

Thank you! That was very informative.
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Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2019 4:29 pm

Re: Portsmouth and Southampton

Sun Jun 13, 2021 9:04 pm

I add a Thank you as well as this information very helpful for my planned visit to Southampton and Plymouth prior to a transatlantic cruise this fall.
I've found the Holiday Inn Southampton is right at the cruise terminal, but looking at several hotel options for a 3 night stay. I'd like to spend a day in Plymouth on a walk around tour by using the train from Southampton. I'll too reach Southampton by train after a visit with friends who are in Essex.
Now let's hope the UK opens up soon and life resumes safely and "normal" again!
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Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2018 8:45 pm

Re: Portsmouth and Southampton

Sun Jun 13, 2021 9:44 pm

As another person who used to live in Southampton, I would recommend staying in Southampton and getting the train across for a day trip(s) to Portsmouth. As davidjohnson6 says, Southampton is more a place people go through, while Portsmouth oozes Naval history and the historic dockyard area is a fantastic visit. That said, Southampton is a 'nicer' place to stay (and no I'm not biased basis the rivalry between the two cities :D .) The nice area of Southampton for an evening meal is Oxford Street.

If you have time another excursion that is worth looking into is getting the Red Funnel - Red Jet ferry service from Southampton to Cowes on the Isle of Wight. A town more famous for yachting than navy, but has lots of charm and lots of historic pubs with character in its old town, all walkable from the ferry terminal.

Alternately, for the traditional 'country pub' feel then heading to the New Forrest National Park is worth looking into. There are more traditional pubs to choose from in its borders then you will know where to start. You will need to get a taxi from Southampton, plan 20-30 mins depending. If you are lucky you may see a wild pony the area is famous for.
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Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 11:09 pm

Re: Portsmouth and Southampton

Thu Jun 17, 2021 12:10 pm

Thanks once again. We've decided to stay at the Holiday Inn near the cruise ship terminal in Southampton. That way, we won't have to drag our bags from place to place. We will just take the train to Portsmouth. It was a hard sell because my wife has status with Marriott and Hilton, but their hotels weren't as convenient.

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