5 Reasons why you should explore London by hop-on hop-off bus

Hop on hop off Bus London
November 10, 2014

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London is a city that everyone just can’t seem to get enough of. From its historical sites to its West End Musicals, there’s literally something for everyone.

England’s capital city is quite expansive, but even if you’re short on time you can still manage to squeeze in the best bits with the help of a London hop-on hop-off bus. Sure, some people may scoff at the thought of getting a “touristy” bus, but here are five reasons why you should ride one in London.

Hop on hop off London bus

1. It’s London!

Haven’t you heard? It’s kind of a thing here. A true London experience, red double-decker buses have long been a national symbol of England since their introduction at the end of World War II.

While most of the city’s mass transit buses aren’t the old school red buses most people think of anymore, you can still get the chance to ride one by taking a hop-on, hop-off tour.

2. It’ll save you time and money

London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. It also has some of the best tourist attractions, but unfortunately they’re spread out all over the city.

While London has an excellent underground system, let’s face it, The Tube is not exactly the cheapest method of transportation when you’re constantly taking it back and forth all over the city. Looking at the route map of the hop-on hop-off bus, it made stops at nearly everything we wanted to see—and if it didn’t stop directly there, it would at least get us within walking distance.

Victoria Memorial at Buckingham Palace

3. See attractions you might not visit otherwise

The bus took us through Piccadilly Circus, past Buckingham Palace, and all around Westminster. It stopped by all of the main tourist attractions for us to hop off at, but we also passed numerous famous monuments and parks just driving around.

The Monument to the Great Fire of London sounds cool, but is it really something I’d want to spend much time at? I’d say probably not. Would it have been worth the £2.20 Tube fare just to go out there to snap a photo of it? Again, probably not. Passing by it on the bus however gave us more than enough time to take that photo. It was perfect because many of these things we’d probably never have seen if we stuck to using the Tube.

4. Don’t just see the city, learn about it!

London Eye & River Thames

Each bus is equipped with audio guides in nine different languages, which allowed us to learn a bit about the history of the city as we rode along. Wandering around the streets, unless you have a guidebook in hand, most the time you’ll never know what you’re looking at or why it’s significant.

The Yellow Routes for the bus tours also provided a live commentary by one of the workers. Our guide was absolutely hilarious and of course did a much more entertaining spiel about the city than the pre-recorded guides. It was also nice because he’d actually interact with us, give us great recommendations and answer any questions we had on the spot.

5. You’ll get a unique vantage point

The buses move at a nice pace which allows you to take in the sights, feel the wind in your hair, and still be able to snap some photos along the way without them being blurs of nothing.

The photographer in me loved being able to sit up high to get a slightly unique perspective of the monuments and the voyeur in me loved getting a bird’s eye view for street photography and people watching.

View from London hop-on hop-off bus

So next time you find yourself in London, enjoy playing tourist by taking one of their famed hop-on hop-off bus tours—you won’t regret it!

About the author

Beth Williams

Originally from Chicago, Beth got her first true taste of travel when she studied abroad in Japan. Armed with her camera and a passion for travel, she’s on a mission to photograph the world—translating her travels through culture on her blog Travels in Translation.