How To Tour London On The Big Bus

You haven’t really seen the capital of England until you experience a trip on Big Bus London. Regardless of being a Londoner who jumps on buses and trains daily, it’s not quite the same when it comes to sight-seeing. Living and working in this vibrant city means that there is hardly enough time to explore and see all the new developments.

I’ve always been interested in boarding one of these double-decker buses but time hasn’t always permitted this. I’ve also thought it’s possible to see the entire city by commuting on a Routemaster bus. But travelling to work and back is much more different

The opportunity arose to climb on one of these huge buses when family came over to visit and between us, we thought it would be a great experience to see London by bus and some the popular landmarks.

Big Bus London. Hop-on and hop-off

Without a doubt, it was the best way to see the city with my brother and niece from the states. You’ll be surprised to know about new facts, which really brings London alive.

The tour bus is not just for tourists, but for anyone wanting to have a great day out in London and other cities as well. The Tour bus took us beyond my daily commute route!

I recommend going with friends, solo or as part of a special occasion. Sit together with friends on an open deck, soaking up the sites as well as having an enjoyable day. It’s really that flexible and there are sheltered seats on the lower deck with heating if required.

The bus routes are divided into three, The Blue, Red and the Green. The Red provides a live English commentary, while the Blue and Green have a recorded commentary in 12 languages.

Big Bus London Map and guide

On the Red route we had a driver accompanied with a tour guide and the conductor who collected tickets jumped on a few minutes into the journey.

Once you’ve paid for your ticket, you have the option to hop on then hop off at one of the dedicated stops to buy some goodies, explore part of London by foot or connect with a riverboat.

We boarded the bus in Victoria but when the driver arrived at Green Park, he suggested that we board the bus behind us to have a better experience.

The Red route and the big attractions covered by Big Bus London

The Monument and The great fire of London 

London burned for 4 days and 4 nights, 80% of London destroyed with only a few Tutor buildings left in the capital as a result of the fire. Some can be found along Fleet Street and High Holborn.

One of the few Tudor buildings remaining along High Holborn in London

Waterloo Bridge

Waterloo Bridge

The City of London

The City of London

Tower Bridge

A sight of Tower Bridge from Tooley Street

The Tower of London – Which is also the home to the Crown jewels.

The Tower of London


The Tower of London. A view from Tower bridge

London Bridge – Thames is the home to HMS Belfast.

You will be able to see the front of the historical ship from London Bridge and the back from Tower Bridge.

HMS Belfast. A view from Tower Bridge

City of London

Did you know that the financial region of the capital is separate from the rest of London and has its own police force and Mayor?

The Royal Exchange


The Royal Exchange in The City of London

Built for the purpose of London needing a centre of commerce and was once home to Lloyds Insurance.

The  River Thames

The waterway has shortened over the years to give way to wider streets and buildings. This is evident in the city around some of the pavements.

Trafalgar Square 

4 Plinths have been placed here and is an area for various celebrations. Look out for the pigeons!

Trafalgar Square

Green Park

We boarded the Big Bus here. Apparently it used to be a graveyard.

Horse Guards

Horse Guards

Mayfair and Sloane Square – There is a Haunted house in the area. Royals in Mayfair held fairs in this district centuries ago, hence the name.

Marble Arch

Is well-known for its history executions – of course this event is extinct! On the pavement near the arch, lies a Plaque that reveals the number of executions that took place there.

Oxford street

Oxford Street

The largest shopping center in the country.

Hyde Park Corner 

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Where HM The Queen resides and where previous kings have lived. Employees have their accommodation free. Among other attractions visited were:


Parliament Square 

Westminster Abbey

The London Eye

St Paul’s Cathedral

Fleet street

Aldwych and Saint Clements

Royal Courts of Justice

Getting there:

Buying a ticket made easy

Book your Big Bus tickets online or at a allocated Bus stand.

We bought our tickets on board and it was quick and straightforward.

To summarise

Even though you will not be able to see this historical city in a day, you will be able to reuse your ticket the next day at your convenience and save time and money.

One fact I’ve learned was that the Big Bus is the largest tour operator of open-top bus sightseeing tours in the world, providing sightseeing tours in 19 cities across three continents.

I won’t give too much away in this post, as there are more historical facts to be discovered!

The day ended with heads full of fascinating information.

Have you travelled on a Tour bus or are you considering this venture? Would you travel by foot, riverboat or cycle to get a good view of the main attractions? Drop me a line as always.

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10 Responses to “How To Tour London On The Big Bus”

  1. Elaine Masters June 18, 2018 at 11:05 pm #

    I love being a tourist in my hometown (San Diego, CA) too. When I was last in Paris with my family riding an off and on bus was a highlight of our time together. I’d love to try your tour in London one day.

    • Bola Akande June 21, 2018 at 8:05 pm #

      Love being a tourist in my home city. I hope you get the chance to try out the London tour.

  2. Phoenicia Oyeniyi June 19, 2018 at 8:15 am #

    I travelled on a tour bus some years ago. Before then I had never given it much thought. Living in London for the first 30 years of my life, I took so much for granted. Now when I go to Central London I.e. Trafalgar Square, I take it all in. Central London is definitely buzzy and I can see why it draws people from all over the world.
    My children loved watching the changing of the guards.

    Thanks for sharing your experience of travelling on a tour bus. I feel as though I was there with you!

    • Bola Akande June 21, 2018 at 8:01 pm #

      Thanks Phoenicia. I always get drawn back to central London to see parts that don’t usually get the chance to see during the working week.

  3. Doreen Pendgracs June 19, 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    Hi Bola. I love the Big Bus Tours! They are a terrific way to familiarize one’s self with the highlights of a big city. We can then go back to the locations that really interested us and spend more time there.

    • Bola Akande June 21, 2018 at 7:58 pm #

      Hi Doreen. The tour bus was quite informative.

  4. Debra Yearwood June 20, 2018 at 6:09 pm #

    What fun! When we went to the UK on a family trip in 2016 we used a combination of public transit and a rental car to get around. We only had a couple of days in London but I suspect if we were to do it again we’d opt for the Big Bus tour while in London and save the rental car for the rest of our travels. It looks like a much more relaxing (and informative) way to see the city.

    • Bola Akande June 21, 2018 at 7:57 pm #

      It was great fun and relaxing indeed. Sitting on the open top deck will give you an even better view. Worth trying!

  5. Andy June 24, 2018 at 3:20 am #

    Riding around in a bus is nice, but for a satisfyingly immersive tour experience, there is no substitute for being on foot.

    • Bola Akande June 28, 2018 at 7:11 pm #

      I have discovered most of London by foot but when my feet get weary, I would jump on a bus.

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