Hop on Hop off buses are one of the best ways to get the lay of the land in a new city when you travel. They also make it easy to get from place to place. We took the Big Bus Tours bus in London when we were there for a two-night stay and wanted to see as much of the city as we could before we had to fly back home.
We had spent 3 weeks in Italy and then took a Mediterranean Cruise. London was our last stop and because it was winter, we cut our trip short thinking it would be cold. It turned out to be bright and sunny almost the entire time we were there and only rained once.
Note to self: Never book just two nights in an amazing city at the end of a vacation. It isn’t enough.
Our hotel, The Strand Palace, was on the West End in the theatre district and there was a Big Bus Tour stop within a block of our hotel so we booked a 2-day ticket. There are four routes you can take to various locations so we decided to take the Red Tour to St. Paul’s Cathedral and The London Eye.
The Red Tour includes a live tour guide. I’m sure he is an actor because he put on quite a show. As we passed by several London pubs, he told us about their history and how they got some of their crazy names. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Ye Olde Cock Tavern, The Old Bank of England were just some to name a few.
Our first hop off was at St. Paul’s Cathedral which we toured and climbed to the top.
If you’re not familiar with the way Hop on Hop off buses work, they take you to a location, and then when you’re through, you pick up another bus on the route and take it to the next stop you want to see. You can ride on top, which we enjoyed doing, or inside the bus if you want to stay warm.
The Blue Tour and Magical Merlin Tour have earplug jacks so you can listen to a narrator who tells you about each area you pass by and it’s set for various languages.
Our ticket included a Cruise of the Thames with City Cruises. The next Big Bus we caught stopped at the Tower of London where we boarded the cruise ship. It took us under bridges, passing unusual ships and fascinating buildings on the way.
As it rounded the corner we saw the London Eye in all its glory. The weather couldn’t have been better.
The next day was our last day in London and I’d already fallen so in love with the city I never wanted to leave. We wanted to see as much as humanly possible and probably spent about 8 hours total riding the Big Bus Tour. We got off briefly to see Buckingham Palace, then stayed in the bus until we were starving for dinner.
You can purchase a one-day pass that includes 4 different routes, walking tours, and a one-way River Cruise. 2 and 3-day tickets allow you to return to the River Cruise. You can also purchase a 1-day ticket that includes everything the 1-day ticket does plus entry to the London Eye.
There are Big Bus Tours in London, Paris, Budapest, Vienna, Rome, Istanbul, and Dublin as well as the Middle East and the Asia Pacific. If you’re in the U.S. you can take one in New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.
Taking the tours is well worth it and will save you from getting sore feet.
If you download their mobile app you can track the bus routes making it even easier to see when and where to pick up your bus and where it’s going.
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Do you plan to take a Big Bus City Tour or have you taken a tour with them before? Please leave a comment below.
This post was sponsored by Big Bus Tours and I received compensation for posting it. However, all opinions are my own.