Southampton

The giant glass-and-steel West Quay
The Civic Centre and the City Art Gallery
The medieval Western Esplanade

Find Northern Europe Cruises

Southampton/London

Thousands of years of trade

Despite its pummelling by the Luftwaffe and some disastrous postwar urban sprawl, the thousand-year-old city of Southampton has retained some of its medieval charm in parts and reinvented itself as a twenty-first century shopping centre in others, with the giant glass-and-steel West Quay as its focus.
 
Core of the modern town is the Civic Centre, a short walk east of the train station and home to the excellent Southampton City Art Gallery that’s particularly strong on contemporary British artists. The Western Esplanade runs alongside the best remaining bits of the old city walls.

Rebuilt after a French attack in 1338, they incorporate God’s House Tower, at the southern end of the old town in Winkle Street, which currently houses the Museum of Archaeology. Best preserved of the city’s seven gates is Bargate, at the opposite end of the old town, at the head of the High Street; it’s an elaborate structure, cluttered with lions, classical figures and defensive apertures. A shore excursion on your MSC Northern Europe cruise from Southampton can be the opportunity to discover the capital of England, London.

For the visitor, London is a thrilling place. Monuments from the capital’s glorious past are everywhere, from medieval banqueting halls and the great churches of Christopher Wren to the eclectic Victorian architecture of the triumphalist British Empire. You can relax in the city’s quiet Georgian squares, explore the narrow alleyways of the City of London, wander along the riverside walks, and uncover the quirks of what is still identifiably a collection of villages.

The capital’s great historical landmarks – Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and so on – draw in millions of tourists every year.

Must see places in Southampton

Discover our excursions

10 results found

  • A DAY IN THE BRITISH CAPITAL

    CITY TOUR

    SOU18

    Get off the ship, meet your guide at the pier, leave the port and prepare to spend a day in one of the most iconic and important cities of the world: London, “The Big Smoke”. An enjoyable 2.5-hour coach drive will take you to the British capital city. Next, you will start on an itinerary covering the main attractions and giving you the opportunity to see some of the most iconic symbols of London: the friendly “bobbies” and the red buses, only to mention a few. Take your camera ready to catch snapshots of the Tower of London, founded in 1066 and playing a prominent role in English history, and of Westminster Parliament with the landmark clock tower of Big Ben. During your sightseeing tour will admire most of London key attractions before having some free time for individual exploration or for lunch (not included) in a centrally-located area with shopping opportunities. Your day in London will conclude with a relaxed unguided coach drive to the port of Southampton. Please note: guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
    • Shopping

    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • Best seller

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      7 h

    • Adults£82.00Price per person

    • Children£59.00Price per person

  • DISCOVER THE CITY OF BATH

    CITY TOUR

    SOU06

    The elegant city of Bath with its stately, honey-coloured Georgian architecture and which nestles amid quintessentially English rolling countryside, features among England’s most beautiful places to visit. The Romans transformed Bath into England’s first spa resort and it was revived as a chic spa town in the XVIII century. After leaving Southampton, a 2-hour scenic coach drive will take you to Bath where you will admire the charming Pulteney Bridge, built 1769-74, the only bridge in England with shops on both sides and which features three arches and a central Venetian window. Do not miss the sweeping Royal Crescent, perhaps one of the most beautiful streets in England! Your guide will point out key sights and provide an historic overview during the sightseeing tour. Free time scheduled for individual visits or to have lunch (not included). Please note: guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      7 h

    • Adults£72.00Price per person

    • Children£52.00Price per person

  • LONDON ON YOUR OWN

    CITY TOUR

    SOU10

    Independent travellers will love this non-guided trip to London, which makes for a splendid day off the ship. Set your own sightseeing itinerary, discovering all the iconic spots that you always wanted to see, or go shopping in London’s many fabulous stores and indulge in a bit of retail therapy. Your trip to the UK’s vibrant capital begins with a 2.5-hour coach transfer to the city, where you will be dropped off in the centre close to the major shopping areas and main attractions. Take a spin on the London Eye, visit Oxford Street, explore Hyde Park, check out Covent Garden market, go cultural at London’s museums or art galleries or simply find a typical London pub and have yourself a good old British pint – the list of things to do is sheer endless in this marvellous city. Your tour ends with your return to Southampton in the afternoon. Please note: guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
    • No guide available

    • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

    • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Easy

    • Duration
      8 h

    • Adults£62.00Price per person

    • Children£45.00Price per person

  • PORTSMOUTH

    CITY TOUR

    SOU15

    Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the important naval and commercial port of Portsmouth is home to The Historic Dockyard, a fascinating complex that charts 800 years of naval history. Amid the working docks and historical buildings, the tour includes a guided walk around HMS Victory, the Royal Navy's most famous warship. Highlights include the Great Cabin, the very spot where the Battle of Trafalgar was planned and Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson died, as well as the once crowded decks where more than 800 men lived, worked and fought. The tour also includes admission to The National Museum of the Royal Navy, one of the UK’s leading maritime museums and the only one devoted solely to Royal Navy ships and the men and women who served on them. Don’t miss your chance to immerse yourself in the history of the Royal Navy and experience this rich collection of artefacts and award-winning permanent exhibitions. You will have sufficient time on your own to explore The Historic Dockyard, enjoy its array of cafés, restaurants and tea rooms as well as visit the themed souvenir shops. Please note: this tour is not recommended to guests using a wheelchair.
      • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Moderate

      • Duration
        5:30 h

      • Adults£72.00Price per person

      • Children£52.00Price per person

    • WINCHESTER

      CITY TOUR

      SOU12

      If one place lies at the centre of English history and embodies the romantic vision of an English heartland, it is Winchester. Leave the port for a coach drive to this beautiful city; here, among other monuments, we will visit the Cathedral, which dates back to the VII century when a Christian church was first built on this site. Since then it has played a fundamental part in the life of this ancient city and a key role in English history. Our tour will enable you to enjoy a unique experience of sacred architecture and art as well as providing an introduction to this important symbol of England. We will admire the choir stalls with their magnificent gabled canopies, elaborately carved flowers and plants, owls and monkeys, dragons and knights. Next we will have the opportunity to explore the centre of this ancient and royal city which still resounds to the echoes of its fabled past. Enjoy a visit to Winchester Castle and its XIII century Great Hall. The Hall is home to one of the best-known symbols of medieval mythology, King Arthur’s Round Table, which hangs in the Great Hall of King Henry VIII. Return to the port. Please note: conservative attire is recommended for visiting the Cathedral. Guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
      • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

      • Best seller

      • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

        Difficulty Level
        Easy

      • Duration
        4 h

      • Adults£49.00Price per person

      • Children£39.00Price per person

    • ARUNDEL CASTLE

      CULTURE AND HISTORY

      SOU16

      The first leg of this all-day tour will take you on a 1.5-hour coach ride through scenic southern England to the pretty market town of Arundel and the imposing Arundel Castle. Founded in 1067, the castle later became the seat of the family of the Duke of Norfolk. Beautifully set in sweeping grounds and gardens, Arundel Castle is considered to be one of England’s great treasures, home to exquisite works of art and a priceless heritage. During the castle visit at around noon, you can first view the rich collection of armour, paintings and furniture, tapestries and stained glass, china and clocks as well as sculptures and carvings before exploring the Castle’s delightful grounds, which contain formal and kitchen gardens plus decorative floral displays. Other places of interest in the grounds include the 14th-century Gothic-style Fitzalan Chapel and the Norman keep, which you can access via 131 steps. The views of the surrounding area afforded from the top are well worth the effort. After a short return drive to Arundel, you can spend some time having lunch (not included in the price of the tour) or having a look around this delightful English town. Your return to the port and your ship brings this scenic tour to a relaxing close. Please note: the Castle visit does not include access to the bedrooms. Viewing the castle’s keep involves walking up/down 131 steps. This tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          7:30 h

        • Adults£62.00Price per person

        • Children£45.00Price per person

      • STONEHENGE & SALISBURY

        CULTURE AND HISTORY

        SOU04

        Leave the pier and prepare to immerse yourself in a day of mystery and antiquity. We are heading to the circle of Stonehenge, one of the most intriguing and ancient sites in the U.K. Situated on a vast plain, the site is truly impressive; shrouded in magic and mystery, many believe this sacred site emanates a special atmosphere. Radiocarbon dating reveals this incredible monument was built around 5,000 years ago, during the Neolithic period. The question of who built Stonehenge remains largely unanswered although many attribute the monument to the Druids. Our guide will escort us around the circle, providing explanations and enabling us to view the impressive stones close up. You can remain steeped in the spell of ancient times as we continue our historic tour and journey to the medieval town of Salisbury whose lofty Cathedral spire can be seen from many miles around. Salisbury Cathedral is one of the finest medieval churches in Britain and dates back to the XIII century. Please note: guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
        • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

        • Best seller

        • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Easy

        • Duration
          5:30 h

        • Adults£62.00Price per person

        • Children£45.00Price per person

      • WINDSOR CASTLE

        CULTURE AND HISTORY

        SOU19

        The fortunes of the Berkshire town of Windsor have been closely linked to its castle for more than 900 years and it is to this famous stronghold – built by order of William the Conqueror in the late 11th century – that this all-day excursion will take you. A relaxing 1.5-hour coach ride from the port will first see you reach Windsor Castle, which dominates the landscape and can already be seen from afar. Your visit will focus on two of the castle’s most outstanding features: the State Apartments, still used to entertain heads of state by Queen Elizabeth II, and the late 15th-century St. George’s Chapel, one of the most beautiful in the UK. Highlights at the State Apartments include painted ceilings, classic furniture and priceless artwork, while the chapel boasts Gothic architecture and is the burial ground of no less than 10 monarchs. Following the visit, you’ll move on to Windsor town, where time will be yours to go shopping or explore the quaint Georgian streets on your own before you return to the ship. Please note: this tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
        • Long route by bus

        • Shooting videos and/or taking pictures is not allowed or subject to fee

        • Limited seats

        • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

          Difficulty Level
          Moderate

        • Duration
          8 h

        • Adults£72.00Price per person

        • Children£55.00Price per person

      • ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE & CORFE CASTLE

        SCENIC ROUTE

        SOU11

        Leave the port and enjoy a scenic drive through the delightful countryside of Dorset County to the village of Corfe. Nearly all periods of history are celebrated in and around the village, which is unequalled in the UK. We will visit the ruins of Corfe Castle; the structure has been an important stronghold since before the time of William the Conqueror and was a royal castle during the medieval period. The dramatic ruins stand on a natural hill guarding the principal route through the Purbeck hills where marble was once quarried. After visiting the castle, you will have time at leisure to explore the charming little village of Corfe. Return to the port. Please note: wheelchair users must be aware that this excursion includes walking on cobblestone with some steps and uphill paths. If they want to join the tour, they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
          • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

            Difficulty Level
            Moderate

          • Duration
            5 h

          • Adults£62.00Price per person

          • Children£45.00Price per person

        • BEAULIEU PALACE & MOTOR MUSEUM

          SOMETHING SPECIAL

          SOU08

          Enjoy a coach drive through the beautiful wooded New Forest which lies between the River Avon and Southampton to reach the picturesque village of Beaulieu. At the head of the Beaulieu River, the Cistercians constructed an imposing abbey, which, at the time was the largest in the country. Our guide will take us to Palace House, a stately home built on the ruins of the Abbey gateway in the XVI century; this site offers an insight into the past and is home to many fascinating treasures, portraits and photographs of Montagu family. Although much of the lovely XIII century Abbey was destroyed, its timeless beauty can still be seen in the arches of the Cloisters. One of the remaining Abbey buildings is now home to an exhibition that illustrates the daily life of the Cistercian Monks. Still in Beaulieu, our next visit will be the National Motor Museum – the collection here grew from a handful of classic cars in 1952 to more than 250 splendid vehicles and displays, which vividly illustrate the story of motoring. We can walk through a 1930’s street scene and see the shops, vehicles and tradesmen of the period or stroll at leisure through the extensive grounds of the Palace. Return to Southampton via Lyndhurst, a much admired and photographed village. Please note: guests using a wheelchair are advised that they must be accompanied by a paying helper to provide assistance with getting on and off the coach and that wheelchairs must be collapsible/foldable since the coach has neither a ramp nor a lift. Guests using a wheelchair who would like to participate in this tour are requested to contact the Shore Excursions’ Desk promptly once they are on board so that arrangements can be made.
          • Wheelchair and disabled-friendly tour – Wheelchair guests must be accompanied by their own helper to get on/off the coach. Wheelchairs must be foldable as the coach is not provided with ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.

          • May involve a limited quantity of steps, uneven surfaces and/or periods of standing

            Difficulty Level
            Easy

          • Duration
            3:30 h

          • Adults£72.00Price per person

          • Children£52.00Price per person

        The excursions in the programme above are intended to provide MSC Cruises guests with an idea of the different tours which can be arranged in each port of call; this programme is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise. 
        Shore excursions programmes and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.
         
        Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

        Reach the port

        Port of Southampton

        This section contains information on how to reach the port.

        Cruise Terminal:

        City Cruise Terminal
        Western docks

        Reach the port by

        • Car

          From the North, East and London 
          OPTION 1: Travelling on the M3 South motorway, follow the signs for Southampton. Merge onto the M27 and follow the signs for the M27 West. Leave the M27 at the Junction 3 roundabout and take the exit signposted M271 towards Southampton/The Docks (first exit). At the Redbridge roundabout, take the first exit left and continue along the A3024 towards Southampton, then follow the signs to the dock gate for your cruise shown below.  

          OPTION 2: From the M3 motorway, follow the signs for Southampton. Leave the M3 at Junction 14 and follow the signs for Southampton Docks, which will take you onto the A33. Keep on the A33 and follow the signs to Southampton Docks. This route will bring you out next to Dock Gate 4.  

          From the South West
          From the A31 Poole/Bournemouth road join the M27 motorway and exit at Junction 3. Take the exit signposted M271 and then turn onto the A3024, following the signs for Southampton Docks. 

          City Cruise Terminal: Use Dock Gate 8 or 10. City Cruise Terminal is adjacent to Dock Gate 8 and less than ½ mile from Dock Gate 10.
          Car
        • Train

          Southampton Central Station is a short taxi  ride away from the port area. 
          Travel time: around 10 minutes, depending on traffic.
          Train
        • Plane

          Southampton Airport is the closest to the city. Located approximately 6 miles away, it takes just 20-30 minutes by taxi to reach the terminals. Southampton Airport Parkway train station is just a few minutes walk away.
          Regular services to Southampton Central run throughout the day. With both national and international flights landing daily, the airport offers a range of services, from left luggage to car rentals.
          Plane

        United Kingdom

        God Save the Queen
        God Save the Queen

        The United Kingdom is not just one country but four – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – and a multitude of cultural identities: God forbid you should call a Scot or a Welshman English for example.


        Don’t miss the true London experience during your holiday to the United Kingdom; the capital is the one place that features on everyone’s itinerary. 

        Brighton and Canterbury offer contrasting diversions – the former a lively seaside resort, the latter one of Britain’s finest medieval cities. 


        The southwest of England holds the rugged moorlands of Devon, the rocky coastline of Cornwall, and the historic spa city of Bath, while the chief attractions of central England are the university cities of Oxford and Cambridge

        Further north, the former industrial cities of Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle are lively, rejuvenated places, and York has splendid historical treasures, but the landscape, especially the uplands of the Lake District, is the biggest magnet. 


        The finest of Scotland’s lochs, glens and peaks, and the magnificent scenery of the West Coast islands, can be reached easily from Glasgow and Edinburgh – the latter perhaps Britain’s most attractive urban landscape. Finally, a cruise to the United Kingdom isn’t complete without a stop in Northern Ireland with its capital city Belfast and the spectacular Giant’s Causeway.