Touring London on the Hop on Hop off Bus

The hop on hop off tour bus is a great way to see London because famous sites are spread out across the city. The bus allows you to get a taste of everything and a chance to get familiar with the area. You can stay on the bus the entire time or hop off and go exploring and catch another bus later. Riding the tour bus also limits the decision making needed to be made when deciding what to see if you’re traveling with others. One drawback of staying on the bus the entire time you may not get to experience everything intimately, but you get a really nice overview of the city.

My friend Tracey and I did the tour on our last full day of London rather than the first day. We went well informed of our many sightseeing options but without too much of a preset agenda.

We met the bus near St. Paul’s Cathedral which was two blocks and a short walk across the Millenium Bridge away from our fabulous hotel the Hilton Southbank which is in the neighborhood called Southwark (pronounced Suth-uck).

The Millenium Bridge (of Harry Potter fame)
St. Paul’s Cathedral

Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, London Tower, and Buckingham Palace were some of the famous sites we experienced from the top of our double-decker bus. We hopped off at Picadilly Circus for some souvenir shopping.

Picadilly Circus- Circus means Circle
While I always ponder how Maroon Five’s song Payphone was so successful when the target audience wasn’t alive when payphones were prevalent in the US, these red phone booths are all over London.
Storm Trooper Phone Booth? (Picadilly Circus)

The tour bus has multiple routes so you can get off at a site and hop on another bus covering a different area. After studying the map (which seems to be Tracey’s official job on trips she takes with friends), she figured out we could switch lines and go to Knottingham which was something she had really wanted to see. That route took us in the vicinity of Hyde Park and Harrod’s which were things I wanted to see but since they were so far out of where we were staying I hadn’t set my mind on it for this trip. But taking the tour allowed us to squeeze these places in.

Geese (I think) in the lovely Hyde Park


Very Cute British Dog in Hyde Park



The back of Kensington Palace, which is in Hyde Park. Where Prince Wiliam and Kate live. This was the home of Princess Diana and there is a memorial to her in the park.
The London Eye- A Ferris wheel, that was intended to be a temporary attraction for the Millenium celebration, is still there 18 years later.


We got off in Victoria and had a late lunch then reconnected to the bus line heading back to Southwark. We hopped off about a mile away which was not too far from a good view of the London Eye. It wasn’t dark yet though, those would have been beautiful pictures that I hope to get another time.

On the walk back we saw dragon statues and I almost got killed naively stepping into the bike lanes.  Though the only thing we experienced intimately that day was Hyde Park, we got a lay of the land and would have an idea of where things are and how to get around. We were both pleased with the day. Since there is so much more to see, I would like to go back someday.


Statues are everywhere in London, some of them are of dragons.
Fleet Street and St. Paul’s Cathedral as seen from the top deck of the Hop on-Hop Off tour.
More Fleet Street. This was around 6 pm on a Monday, people heading home from work. Bicycling is popular in London and in some places they have their own two-lane section of the road right beside the car lanes and their own lights.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
The train is called the Underground.
There are a few bridges connecting the North and South Banks of the Thames River. This is the Tower Bridge in the distance.
Tower Bridge near the Tower of London
On the Tower Bridge
Southwark Bridge (pronounced suh:thək)
Blackfriars Bridge
St. Paul’s at Night

Published by Cherrie Ali

I live in Miami and I enjoy writing, traveling, dogs, and geocaching.

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