IF like me you often wished you could see stars like Ed Sheeran or Taylor Swift live and lamented the lack of major stadiums on our doorstep think again!

Super stars of this stature tend to pass Hampshire by with nearby Bournemouth laying claim to the smallest arena- sized venue with a tiny 7,000 capacity. It pales into insignificance when they can play to 90,000 at Wembley Stadium on one night alone!

Events such as Rod Stewart at the Ageas Bowl and The Rolling Stones or Robbie Williams at St Mary's Stadium have been rare treats in Southampton and on the whole I've often felt we miss out on the UK's major events...until now!

I have discovered that attending top concerts in London is far easier and less expensive than I thought.

I am not keen on driving to London and to do a return journey too after a night out would be far too exhausting and stressful. Travelling by train also poses major limitations given they do not run into the early hours and it can be very costly.

So, when National Express invited me to take one of their return coaches direct from Southampton to Wembley Stadium to see the mighty Ed Sheeran I was delighted - and very pleasantly surprised in many ways.

After all, you can take a direct coach journey from the centre of Southampton right to the door of Wembley Stadium and it will get you home safely straight after the show too.

And there is some comfort knowing you are in safe hands with nothing to worry about; National Express is, after all, the largest operator of scheduled coach services in the UK operating high frequency services linking more than 900 destinations.

It operates dedicated services to many of the UK’s major events and festivals - including Boomtown, Green Man, and Wilderness.

And services operate to venues including the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Hyde Park and Twickenham in London.

In deed,National Express is the official coach provider for Wembley Stadium and events services operate direct to the stadium doors or festival entrance.

Coach travel offers great value for money too. An adult return ticket to Wembley from Southampton starts from £36.

Apart from competitive prices, the other benefit for customers with National Express is a guaranteed seat, offering you peace of mind and no worry about having to stand up all the way home or sit in an aisle!

Continual investment means the average age of the National Express fleet is less than five years old and any vehicles purchased since summer 2014 meet the latest standards for engine emissions (Euro 6).

And, in terms of being 'green' it is good to know that a full coach takes up to a mile of car traffic off the road!

I booked two return coach tickets on line for my daughter and I which was quite straight forward. There were options to travel direct to Wembley or take a different service that goes to Victoria Coach station.

Our tickets were emailed to me and I had the option of presenting my e-ticket to the driver on my phone or taking it as a print out: I considered the latter the safer option in case my phone died videoing the show!

Travelling on the Friday afternoon to Wembley for the second of Ed Sheeran's run of four consecutive sold out London shows it could not have been easier. There was ample time to enjoy a relaxing meal from the pick of restaurants nearby even though the queues were lengthy. In future I would probably have a look around the many interesting shops and make the most of the great range of fast street food on offer outside the stadium.

When the show finished there was plenty of time to grab a coffee before the coach left too: it could not have been easier!

The Ed Sheeran concert itself was one of the most memorable occasions ever!

The atmosphere felt electric and the crowd was brimming with excitement and anticipation as we watched two support acts- Anne-Marie and Jamie Lawson (the first artist to sign on Ed’s record label Gingerbread Man Records last year after catching his attention with his hit single Wasn’t Expecting That).

From the moment a broadly grinning Ed ran up the stairs onto the Wembley stage he had us in the palm of his hand, commanding the crowd with nothing more than a guitar and a loop pedal, allowing him to sing to his own backing vocals. There wasn't another musician in sight - only a roadie to pass him his various guitars. As Ed told us 'Everything you hear tonight will be me live' , I could only marvel at the layers of sound and extraordinary musicianship of this one man...one man, a guitar and a chorus of 90,000 fans - amazing!

He took us from pop and club favourites to powerful ballads, with a set that comprised a mix of songs from his mathematically themed trilogy of albums: “+”, “×” and “÷”.

It started on a high and only got better opening with Castle on a Hill - one of the hits from his latest album ‘Divide’, along with Nancy Mulligan and Galway Girl which were well received.

His debut hit The A Team and Sing sounded just as good alongside the new songs.

Ed Sheeran has been hailed the most listened to artist in the UK and a global superstar but he remains humble, laid back and endearing dressed in his baggy jeans and almost scruffy t-shirt and telling the crowd at great length how he can't dance so not to worry about singing out loud. He told us the whole point is to lose your voices - and not to worry about singing in tune, just sing loud!

He even laughed that he could spot the two per cent of the audience who wouldn't participate: the “bored boyfriends who don’t really want to be here”, and the dutiful “superdads”, suffering in silence !

And then he had everyone raising their hands in the air to the brilliantly atmospheric and intense hit Bloodstream where he built incredible layers of guitars, vocals and beats using pedals.

It seemed the majority knew the lyrics to every single song and with the slower, lovelorn songs like Thinking Out Loud, Photograph, Happier and Perfect, the euphoria only seemed to grow stronger. With the sun set, thousands of phone torches transported the stadium into a twinkly galaxy of stars. The song Sing cranked up the happiness level even further and when he returned after the encore to the opening bars of the phenomenal hit The Shape Of You it could not have got any better! The final song You Need Me, I Don’t Need You only left us wanting more after a show that had passed all too quickly.

Now I can't wait to book my next exciting adventure with National Express!

Ed Sheeran's set list:

Castle on the Hill


The A Team

Loop - Don’t / New Man




I’m a Mess

Galway girl

Feeling good/ I See Fire

Thinking Out Loud

One / Photograph


Nancy Mulligan


Shape Of You

You Need Me, I Don’t Need You