Discover a world of delightful villages, hidden valleys and meandering streams with a fully guided cruise transfer to the Cotswold Hills, including a fabulous lunch in a 15th century inn. This service is available on all dates (April to November) when Royal Caribbean, Oceania, NCL, Celebrity, Azamara, Cunard & Princess cruise ships are visiting Southampton. Service also available to passengers on other ships not listed when dates and arrival times coincide with ships listed. Please note you will need to make your own way to the ship we are servicing on that date.
After we load up your bags and cases please take your seats on our luxury coach as we set off from Southampton northwards into the much loved Cotswold region of England, famous for its honey coloured stone villages and leafy valleys. Your local guide has a wealth of information about this beautiful part of the world. Learn of the wool trade and how it played an important role in the shaping of the history of the area, and hear how the regions decline as a cloth producer saw the Cotswolds become a sleepy backwater frozen in time.
Thanks to the abundance of beautiful old houses in the Cotswolds it has often been used as a place for period dramas on film and TV. Our first stop is the charming village of Bampton which many of you will recognise as the village of Downton from the hit TV series and forthcoming film "Downton Abbey". Here we can stroll around the village green and visit the church where a lot of major events took place on screen. See the Cottage Hospital, post office and Mrs Crawley's house from the TV show.
We drive along meandering lanes and rolling hills to the beautiful village of Burford where the ancient stone cottages seem to cascade down to the River Windrush. After a guided walk enter an old tavern built in 1402 to have a delicious lunch amongst the old stone floors and wood fires.
Continuing on our scenic drive we head further northwards eventually arriving at Stow on the Wold with history going back to Roman times. It's vast market square would have held livestock fairs where up to 20,000 sheep would have been bought and sold. Visit the charming 16th century church and the Roman Wells. Stroll down the narrow alleys designed to keep the sheep in the square and the cold north wind out!
Afterwards we continue our exploration of the Cotswolds, this time heading eastwards to take us to Heathrow airport and London to be dropped at your designated hotel or airport terminal.
**Please note that this tour requires a minimum of 6 people to operate**
International Friends would like to politely remind our guests to please bear in mind that although used as a filming location, Bampton is not a film set, and is home to many residents. Disrespectful behaviour, such as taking photographs through front room windows, sitting on or causing damage to residential property, or causing any distress to the residents of Bampton will not be tolerated. Any guests found to behave in this way may be asked to leave the tour and make their way to their destination at their own expense.
Departure from Cruise Terminal
Nearly all cruises at Southampton arrive between 05:00am and 06:00am in the morning, with disembarkation starting around 07:00am. Your driver will meet you at the terminal building exit from 08:00am. Your driver will be holding a sign reading "International Friends", and will accompany you the car. We plan to leave Southampton by 08:30am. There are 4 cruise terminals at Southampton, all slightly different but you will have a typical walk of about 75 yards to the vehicle where the driver will load your luggage into the hold. In the unlikely event your ship is delayed into port, we will delay our departure time accordingly (applicable only to the listed ships we service). For all delayed ship arrivals we will aim to leave at the latest one hour after docking (earlier if possible).
Southampton Cruise Port Bampton
Stow-on-the-Wold Heathrow Airport
Please note that all timings above are estimated and assuming normal traffic conditions. Due to the changeable nature of road conditions, we cannot guarantee a precise time when you will arrive at Heathrow and London.
Arrival at London & Heathrow
We depart Stow-on-the-Wold at 2:45pm and arrive at Heathrow hotels and terminals between 4:15pm - 4:45pm subject to traffic, arriving in Central London 5:45pm - 6:30pm. We drop off at any London city centre of Heathrow airport hotel. We also drop at all London city centre train stations. If you are flying from Gatwick, Stansted or Luton Airports we can drop you at Victoria Rail or Coach Station around 7:00pm - 7:15pm, where there are frequent trains and airport buses to each airport. Please note on arrival in London we may use other vehicles to ensure we complete the drop offs as quickly and efficiently as possible. If this does happen our drivers, guides or tour managers will manage this.
Below is a list of major hotels in London and Heathrow that we offer a drop off at. If your hotel is not on the list or you are staying at an apartment or Airbnb, during the booking process you will need to add the address in the additional information box. We will then contact you after your booking to confirm that we can offer a drop off here.
Your lunch choice must be noted at the time of booking. The choices are as follows -
Pan Roast Chicken Breast, Potato Cake, Roast Carrots, Tarragon Cream
Chefs Vegetarian Choice Of The Day
Lunch also includes one soft drink per person
What happens if my ship is late?
In the unlikely event your ship is delayed into port, we will delay our departure time accordingly (applicable only to the listed ships we service). However, due to the timed entries at some of the attractions on these tours, in these circumstances we can not gurantee the itinerary will be completed as detailed. If attraction entries can not be changed to accommodate the late departure, some locations may have to be dropped. We do gurantee that transportation will be provided for you, whether this is for a shortened verion of the day trip, or as a direct transfer to your hotel; we will ensure you are collected from the port. For all delayed ship arrivals we will aim to leave at the latest one hour after docking (earlier if possible).
Will you wait for me if I am late in disembarking?
If your cruise ship docks on schedule and disembarkation begins as normal, we cannot be held responsible, in the unlikely event you are unable to disembark in time to meet your transfer. This is a shared transfer and we cannot delay departure from the port for customers who are late in disembarking. It is your responsibility to check the departure time for your transfer, and ensure you are at the meeting point at the appropriate time.
How much luggage can I bring?
Each person is allowed a maximum of 2 items of hold luggage (23kg each) and 2 items of carry on luggage (10kg each).
Should you wish to bring any mobility aids (wheelchairs or walkers) you MUST contact us in advance to let us know. We will require full dimensions and weight. These items must be able to be folded and stored in the luggage hold. Wheelchairs must be counted as 1 item of your hold luggage.
Additional charges will be incurred should you bring additional items of luggage or for items weighing more than the maximum weight stated above.
How much walking will be involved in this tour?
As you exit the cruise terminal you will meet your guide and there will be a typical walk of about 100 yards to the vehicle.
The three villages that we visit will involve light to moderate walking.
We aim to drop off directly outside your chosen accommodation however sometimes due to traffic conditions or parking restrictions we may drop off nearby. The vehicle will park as close as is safely and legally possible.
How long will my journey take?
Departing the port at 08:30am the journey to Bampton will take approximately 2.5 hours. After departing Bampton for Burford the journey will take approximately 15 minutes. From the Cotswolds village of Burford the journey to Stow-on-the-Wold will take approximately 15 minutes. From here to Heathrow it will take approximately 1.5 hours and to central London 3 hours.
Will I make it to Heathrow Airport in time to catch my flight?
In the UK we advise arriving at the airport at least 3 hours prior to your flight departure time. As a general guide, we would not recommend our shared service for anyone departing Heathrow before 20:00PM.
If your flight departure timings are too near to the shared transfer arrival time we would strongly recommend you book a private transfer. With private transfers you can depart the port at a time of your choice. It is your responsibility to check in advance that our tour itinerary is suitable for your onward travel, particularly if same day flights are involved. Please email [email protected]co.uk if you wish to check that our transfer is suitable for your onward travel plans.
My chosen hotel is not on your list of drop off points, can I take this service?
We drop off at all London city centre hotels and Heathrow airport hotels and terminals. Occasionally we are unable to drop off at certain hotels because they are not in London city centre, Heathrow airport or not easily accessible by coach. Please email us at [email protected] and we will advise if we can drop off at your hotel, or direct you to the closest drop off point.
I would like to join this tour but you do not service the ship I am travelling on. What can I do?
Our transfers from the port are available to passengers on other ships not listed, when dates and arrival times coincide with the ships we do service. You will need to make your own way to the ship we are servicing on that date. Please note on your booking the ship you are arriving on, and we can then advise which ship you will need to make your way to. Please note you will need to arrive at our meeting point by 08:00am to meet your guide/driver. Our tours and transfers depart at 08:30am.
You will need to take a taxi from your ship to our meeting point which should take no longer than 10 minutes. There will be taxis waiting outside of your cruise ship however to avoid queuing we recommend pre booking a taxi in advance. Our office will be happy to provide the details of a local supplier. The average fare will be £6-7.
How far in advance should I book?
Our tour dates go on sale 12-18 months in advance. We always advise booking early to avoid disappointment as availability cannot always be guaranteed if booking is left until closer to the date of travel. We offer a free cancellation policy up to 42 days prior to travel.
Should we tip our driver or guide?
Tips are entirely at the customer’s discretion and in no way expected. Should you feel inclined to tip, your driver or guide would be grateful, but you should not feel obliged. A 10% tip is considered customary in the UK.
My flight departs from Gatwick – can you drop me off there?
Unfortunately Gatwick is not in London and not in our drop off zone. We advise passengers use Victoria Station in central London as their drop off point as there are regular, cost effective transport options available from here directly to Gatwick. You can check out these options at: