For time-poor vacationers, joining a bus tour is the easiest way to tick off all the iconic landmarks and highlights of a destination. In London, there’s no lack of bus tours around the city and beyond.
How do you choose a bus tour? We’re here to help. Here are 5 best tours to take when in London:
1. London Pass and One Day Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour
The London Pass has served over three million travelers. According to London Pass your pass includes:
- free entry to over 60 attractions, tours, and museums
- free hop-on-hop-off (one day) bus tour
- fast track entry where you can skip the lines at selected attractions
- free 160+ page guidebook
- coupons for exclusive offers
- instant Mobile London Pass
We suggest London Pass because you get a one-day free hop-on-hop-off bus tour, free entry to over 60 attractions and fast track entry at seven selected attractions- saving you time and money.
Fast track entry is available at: Tower of London, Tower Bridge Exhibition, Hampton Court Palace, London Bridge Experience, London Zoo, Kensington Palace and Kew Gardens.
London Pass gives you a choice of 1,2,3,6 or 10 consecutive days passes. It works best for those who want a one day bus tour around the city and some time to explore the city on their own.
You can use your hop-on-hop-off bus tour pass on the first day and get familiarized with the city before venturing out on your own with your free entry tickets.
2. The Original London Bus Tour
The Original London Bus Tour is “the first sightseeing tour of its kind” and has a history dating back to the early 1900s. Their first hop-on-hop-off service started in 1991.
The Original London Bus Tour hop-on-hop-off 24-hour and 48-hour tickets include three free walking tours, a free Thames river cruise pass and a free river cruise upgrade to Greenwich. Entrance fee to attractions is not included in the ticket price.
It’s ideal for someone who wants to join a walking tour and get a free hop-on-hop-off Thames river cruise pass. You can hop-on-hop-off at either Westminster Pier or Tower Pier. A river cruise will offer views of Tower of London, London Eye, the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben from the boat.
3. Premier Tours Lunch in the Cotswolds
A trip to London is not complete without venturing into the countryside. We suggest going on a full day tour in the Cotswolds with lunch in the village.
Premier Tours’ full Cotswolds day tour starts from London with a stop in Burford. Burford, the first stop, is the ‘Gateway to the Cotswolds’. High Street in Buford has rows of cottages of different architecture and periods.
The second stop, Bibury, according to William Morris, a British textile designer, poet, and novelist, is the ‘prettiest village in the Cotswolds.’
Bibury’s famous Arlington Row is a row of cottages, originally built in the 1300s as a monastic wool store and converted into weavers’ cottages in the 1700s. Today, these cottages are private homes. Besides Arlington Row, the village has quaint tea houses and shops.
Lunch in Bibury is at the historic 17th century former coaching Inn – Swan Hotel where lunch is usually a selection of local dishes including locally farmed trout fish.
This tour also includes a stop at Bourton-on-the-water and Stow-on-the-Wold, two villages in Cotswolds.
Premier Tours also offers tours to Stonehenge, Bath, Windsor Castle and Paris.
4. See London By Night
London at night is different than during daytime. See the illuminated sights of Harrods, Knightsbridge, London Eye, Piccadilly, Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and more on a 90-minute tour at night.
The tour starts at Piccadilly on a double-decker open-top bus hosted by an entertaining and knowledgeable guide on board.
5. London Duck Tours
Go on a bus that travels on land and water – the London Ducks. London Duck Tours has a few types of tours. Here is a list:
- a 75-minute classic sightseeing tour (30 minutes on the river)
- a 2 1/2 – 3-hour pirate treasure hunt tour
- a 2 1/2 – 3-hour code breaker challenge tour
- a 75 minute Pirate Adventure (for children aged 7 and over)
- a 75 minute James Bond tour
- a 75 minute D-Day Duck tour
Generally, you won’t get wet going on a duck tour unless there are high tides and high winds in the city.