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Which Airport Is Best for a Southampton Cruise? – Options Compared

If you are taking a cruise from Southampton Cruise Port, you might be wondering which airport is the best one to fly in to. The UK has lots of airports, with 6 of those being ‘London’ airports.

Each has its own benefits and drawbacks which we will explore this in this post.

The best options to fly into for a Southampton cruise are Southampton Airport, London Gatwick Airport or London Heathrow Airport.

All three are located within 150km of Southampton and have good transport links.

Which Airport is Closest to Southampton Cruise Port?

DistanceJourney Time to Southampton
(By Car – No Traffic)
International Airport Routes
Southampton Airport9 KM22 MinutesLimited
Gatwick Airport123 KM1 Hour 40 MinutesGood
Heathrow Airport110 KM1 Hour 20 MinutesGood
Stansted Airport200 KM2 Hours 20 MinutesLimited
London City Airport165 KM1 Hour 30 MinutesLimited
Luton Airport157 KM1 Hour 50 MinutesLimited
Southend Airport200 KM2 Hours 30 MinutesLimited
Airport to Southampton Cruise Port Comparison Guide

Southampton Airport

The closest airport to Southampton cruise port is Southampton Airport. located in Hampshire.

This airport offers a limited number of international and domestic flights. Southampton Airport is the 18th busiest airport in the UK.

The below map shows the route between Southampton Airport and Southampton Cruise Port, which is a distance of 9 kilometres or just under 6 miles.

© OpenStreetMap contributors

Flying into Southampton airport can be a good option if:

  • The country you are flying from operates flights to Southampton. The flight routes operated are limited, so it may be difficult to find a flight directly to Southampton, especially if you are travelling a long distance.
  • You don’t want to visit London before your cruise. There wouldn’t be any point flying to Southampton only to make the journey North into London and then back down for your cruise.

The below map from the Southampton Airport website shows the destinations that you can travel to from Southampton Airport.

Southampton airport map

Up until 2020, the majority of flights in and out of Southampton airport were by the airline Flybe.

Flybe went into administration in March 2020 which dramatically reduced the number of flights offered by the airport.

Loganair took over a number of Flybe’s routes. Another big airline that flys into Southampton is KLM.

Just because flights don’t go directly to countries like the U.S., this doesn’t mean that there is no way to make this journey. Flying to the U.K. from the U.S. often involves a layover in a place like the Netherlands.

I have flown to Chicago from Southampton via Amsterdam with KLM. Unfortunately, the flight was late leaving Southampton due to fog. We missed our connection, and ended up having an unplanned 24-hour city break in Amsterdam too!

Travelling from Southampton Airport to Southampton Cruise Port

The distance between Southampton Airport and Southampton Cruise Port is only 9 kilometres / 6 miles and the journey between the two is relatively quick and easy.

That said, I would not recommend flying into the port on the day of your cruise, it is technically do-able, but missing your cruise is not something that you want to risk.

If you did miss the ship, you would have to find your way to the next cruise port to try and board, that said not all cruise lines and ports will allow guests to board in all ports.

To learn more about what happens if you miss your ship, check out this post next:

What Actually Happens When You Miss The Cruise Ship

Below is a quick summary of the transportation options between Southampton Airport and Southampton Cruise Port.

how to get from southampton airport to southampton cruise port guide taxi train bus

Taking The Train From Southampton Airport to Southampton Cruise Port

One of the easiest ways to make the journey is to take the train.

Southampton Airport’s train station is called Southampton Airport Parkway. It is a 2-minute walk from the Central Airport building.

Once at the train station, you can take the train to Southampton Central Station, which is Southampton’s main train station. From the train station, you will need to take a taxi or walk to the cruise port.

Taking a Taxi From Southampton Airport to Southampton Cruise Port

A taxi is the easiest option. There is a taxi rank outside the airport and another which is slightly cheaper across the road. The taxi will take you directly to the cruise port and cost around £10/$13.

If you are travelling as part of a large group, it might be a good idea to organize a transfer/pick-up ahead of time.

Taking The Bus From Southampton Airport to Southampton Cruise Port

The journey by bus is cheap but can take a long time. The journey can take up to an hour.

While that may seem like a long time, this is because the bus makes a number of stops before the cruise port and there may be traffic in the area as the bus passes through central Southampton.

Another advantage of the bus worth noting is that the bus has drop-offs at each cruise terminal including City, Mayflower, Ocean, and the Queen Elizabeth Terminal

To learn more about the transport options between Southampton Airport and Southampton Cruise Port, check out this post next:

Southampton Airport to The Cruise Port: Complete Transport Guide

Which Airports Have Good Transport Links to Southampton Cruise Port?

Southampton airport is the closest option, but it isn’t always practical, alternative airports include Gatwick and Heathrow.

Both Gatwick and Heathrow have good transport links to Southampton Cruise Port and are located in the South of England.

The journey time is longer than the journey from Southampton Airport, but flying into Gatwick and Heathrow also have other benefits, such as being close to London for pre-cruise stays.

Flying into Gatwick or Heathrow Airports can be a good option if:

  • There is a direct flight to Gatwick or Heathrow
  • You want to visit London/other places before your cruise
  • You want to use public transport to get to Southampton

London Gatwick Airport

London Gatwick Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world and there are direct flights to Gatwick from all over the world.

The airport is approximately 50 miles from Southampton Cruise Port.

There are a number of ways to get from the airport to the cruise port and my personal recommendation is usually a taxi or to take the train.

Taking The Train From Gatwick Airport to Southampton Cruise Port

There are direct trains, but these are usually once per hour. There are other routes that include one or two changes.

Although the train can be an easy option, it’s important to remember that they can be busy at peak times and the majority of UK trains don’t have adequate luggage space, so this may not be a good option for people with more than one suitcase per person.

U.K. Trains can also be quite unreliable. I recommend you check that there are no strikes or planned industrial action when you plan to use the train network.

Taking a Taxi From Gatwick Airport to Southampton Cruise Port

There are many options when it comes to getting a taxi from Gatwick Airport to Southampton Cruise Port. A number of different companies operate this route.

The Taxi journey takes around 90 minutes and costs from £150/$180 per journey.

To learn more about travelling from Gatwick Airport to Southampton Cruise Port check out the post below:

How to Get From Gatwick Airport to Southampton Cruise Port – Options Explored

London Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in Britain and has an incredibly large number of routes available.

London Heathrow Airport is approximately 110 kilometres/ 70 miles northeast of Southampton. 

The journey from Heathrow Airport to Southampton takes around two hours. The most common methods of transportation are to take a taxi, bus or train.

heathrow airport to southampton cruise port
© OpenStreetMap contributors

Taking a Train

There are no direct trains to Southampton Central from Heathrow Airport, so all journeys will have a minimum of one change.

Many journeys will require more than one change and there are a number of different routes that go between the two train stations.

Taking a Taxi

Taking a taxi is the easiest and quickest option but can be expensive.

You can get to Southampton in as little as 90 minutes if the roads are clear. If the traffic is bad this could take considerably longer.

If you are a large group, it might be worthwhile hiring a private bus or minibus as this can work out cheaper per person. The taxi usually costs from £150/$180

Taking a Bus/Coach

If price is your main consideration, the cheapest option is usually a shared shuttle bus.

The most well-known, busiest, and largest scheduled coach operator in the UK is National Express.

They typically run anywhere from 6 to 19 services daily between Heathrow Airport and Southampton Central.

The trip usually takes around 2 hours and 10 minutes. Services start at around $23 USD (£18).

To learn more about getting to Southampton Cruise Port from Heathrow Airport, check out the post below:

London Heathrow Airport to Southampton Cruise Port: Transport Guide

Other Airports

Southampton, Gatwick and Heathrow are usually regarded as being the easiest airports to fly into for a cruise starting at the Southampton cruise port. There are other airports that are worth considering.

Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport is approximately 200 kilometres/125 miles northeast of Southampton by road.

The largest airline operating from the airport is RyanAir. The airport primarily operates routes with low-cost airlines.

Stanstead Airport isn’t the easiest to get from or to in my experience, and I personally tend to avoid it.

How do you get from Stansted Airport to Southampton?

The best way to get from Stansted Airport to Southampton is by taxi.

The journey takes just over 2 hours. Trains are also an option but these require multiple changes and usually take over 3 hours.

The easiest train route requires changes at London Liverpool Street [LST] and London Waterloo [WAT] and takes 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Stanstead airport is located North of London so to get to Southampton which is on the South coast, you have to either go through or around London.

stansted airport to southampton cruise port
© OpenStreetMap contributors

London City Airport

London City Airport is located around 165 kilometres/100 miles North East of Southampton.

The largest airline to operate from the airport is British Airways.

London City Airport, as the name suggests, is located closest to London. If you want to stay in London before your cruise, this could be a good option.

How do you get from London City Airport to Southampton?

The best way to get from London City Airport to Southampton is by taxi or train.

The journey takes around 2.5 hours when the roads are clear.

The journey from London City Airport to Southampton by train takes 2 hours and involves 1 change.

The easiest train route requires a change at London Waterloo.

london city airport
© OpenStreetMap contributors

Luton Airport

By road, Luton airport is around 157 kilometres/98 miles from Southampton. By car, the journey takes around 2 hours with good traffic.

The biggest airlines operating at Luton airport are the low-cost airlines EasyJet and RyanAir.

How do you get from Luton Airport to Southampton?

The best way to get from Luton Airport to Southampton is by taxi.

The journey by road takes around 2 hours when the roads are clear.

The journey from Luton Airport to Southampton by train takes 3 hours and involves a minimum of 3 changes.

The taxi journey from Luton airport to Southampton Cruise Port is relatively easy, as it goes around London rather than through it.

The train usually requires changes at Luton Airport Parkway, London Blackfriars, and London Waterloo.

Buses/Coaches are available for this route through National Express. The bus from Luton Airport to Southampton takes almost 4 hours and requires a change at Heathrow Airport.

The journey is difficult to make by train and requires a number of different changes.

luton airport to southampton cruise port map
© OpenStreetMap contributors

Southend Airport

Southend Airport is a small airport but it is an important airport for many budget-friendly airlines. It mostly serves short-haul journeys across Europe.

How do you get from Southend Airport to Southampton?

The best way to get from Southend Airport to Southampton is by taxi.

The journey takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes when the roads are clear.

The journey from Southend Airport to Southampton by train takes over 3 hours and involves a minimum of 2 changes.

The train journey from Southend Airport to Southampton usually requires a change at Stratford (London) and London Waterloo.

southend airport to southampton cruise port
© OpenStreetMap contributors

Before You Go

London Gatwick Airport is a major UK airport and is far closer to Southampton than London Heathrow. It also has a direct train service to Southampton. Find out more about that here:

How to Get From Gatwick Airport to Southampton Cruise Port – Options Explored

Many people fly into London Heathrow Airport, which is further from Southampton. Find out about how to get from Heathrow to Southampton port below:

London Heathrow Airport to Southampton Cruise Port: Transport Guide

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