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).
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.
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.
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.