Pre Cruise City Stays … Part II – London

November 11th, 2011

As mentioned in my last blog “Pre Cruise City Stays Part I”, if you have never thought of planning a pre cruise city stay, it may be something you should consider.  Last week I discussed some of the potential advantages this could hold for you and shared the New York City travel experience.  For part II of Pre Cruise City Stays, I will explore London, another great destination to tie into as many cruises depart from or finish in Southampton.

Thames River view of the Palace of Westminster in London (Ian C Whitworth)

Pre Cruise City #2 – London

Although the cruise departure port is actually Southampton, the airport is closer to London so why not add this amazing city to your itinerary.  From Heathrow, the cab ride to London is about 40 minutes depending on traffic.  To get to the port of Southampton from London by cab is extremely expensive, but by train from Waterloo Station is just over £30 per person and it takes close to 1 ½ hours.  Therefore, you may want to consider staying close to Waterloo Station which puts you in the neighbourhood of the London Eye and Westminster’s Big Ben.  Once at Southampton Central Station, the cruise ship is a 5 minute cab ride away.

Light trails across the Victoria Palace Theatre at night (Ian C Whitworth)

London’s landmarks and attractions are many and as in NYC can be best explored using the hop on hop off buses.  By doing so, you are getting a guided tour of the city at the same time with much information being conveyed by the guide. Most have a great sense of humour and there is just something about an English accent that makes the jokes and stories more enjoyable!  A short narrated river cruise between Tower Bridge and Westminster is also included in your ticket.

A view under the London Bridge at the name in B&W (Ian C Whitworth)

One of the experiences you should look to enjoy here is a pub dinner to help immerse yourself further into the culture.  London has no lack of pubs and they are a great way to help your food budget as they are far less expensive than eating in hotel restaurants.  One thing you should know is that you need to order your meal and drinks at the bar and pre pay.  Traditional pub grub includes items like fish & chips, steak pies and roast beef with Yorkshire pudding to name a few.

The London Eye against a cloudy backdrop (Ian C Whitworth)     View of the London Eye at night (Ian C Whitworth)buy=’0′]

As for my favourite subject photography, London holds many great opportunities that may be challenging at times due to the weather.  Be sure to be prepared for weather changes, as the locals will tell you that “you can get all four seasons in one day”.  Some of the bridges give you great vantage points and have surprisingly ample space to stop, set up and get that great image.  One such bridge is Lambeth Bridge which gives you a great view up the River Thames including the Parliament Buildings, Big Ben and the London Eye.  Westminster Bridge is also a perfect spot, especially for night shots of Big Ben and the London Eye.  If you use a smaller aperture of F16 or beyond, you should get the star effect on lights.

Looking along the River Thames in London (Ian C Whitworth)

London offers great museums, theatres, shopping, historical landmarks and tourist attractions.  You cannot forget about Buckingham Palace and the famous changing of the guards as well as Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, London Tower and Westminster Abbey.  When on the streets of London, the number of buses around feels like the number of yellow cabs in New York City!

A view of a busy street in London, England (Ian C Whitworth)

London Fun Facts: Photography Tips:
  • Population of greater London is over 7.5 million people
  • London’s Heathrow Airport is the world’s busiest
  • London has approximately 8,000 city buses and 700 bus routes
  • London’s underground (“the tube”) with 270 stations is the oldest and 2nd largest in the world
  • The city of London boasts the most international visitors of any city in the world

Reference: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  • Pre plan your key shots in advance using Street View on Google Maps
  • Be prepared for wet weather, bring a collapsible umbrella that a travel companion could use to protect you during those crucial shots and / or consider a rain protection product for your camera from your professional photo shop
  • For those great night images, use a sturdy tripod, ISO 100 to minimize noise, use the timer so that you are not touching the camera and also mirror lock-up to minimize camera shake


I hope you get a chance to visit historic London and Pre Cruise City Stays Part III will focus on the beautiful city of Venice.

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3 comments on “Pre Cruise City Stays … Part II – London

  1. Visit Alaska says:

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  3. If you are coming to the UK, wales is definetely wort a visit

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