Hop on Hop off Bus
London is a wonderful City to explore in the sunshine and what better way to do it than from an open top bus! There are fabulous places to see on each of the routes available. Being on the upper deck provides you with plenty of fantastic photo opportunities without people getting in the way!
Bus Stops for the Original Tour
Each bus stop is clearly marked with the colours of the routes you can pick up from here, for The Original Tour. They also indicate whether they are T1 or T2 tours (live tour guide on board or audio commentary).
The buses run at regular intervals. A couple of members of staff welcome you at each stop and are on hand to answer any questions, check pre-paid tickets and allow you to purchase tickets too, if necessary. Note, the staff here are also able to sell you tickets for attractions at a discounted price. Check in advance which routes you wish to take to see if there are any attractions you may need to buy entrance tickets for.
Purchasing an online ticket for the Original Tour
Tickets for the Original Tour can be purchased in advance via The Original Tour’s website. They last for 6 months from the day of purchase.
Three types of tickets can be purchased… 24 hour, 48 hour and 72 hour.
Note that guided walking tours are included with these tickets. The walking tours include…
- Changing of the Guards
- Rock Star
- Jack the Ripper
- Thames River Cruise
Live guide commentary -vs- Audio (T1 -vs- T2)
Both were very good though I preferred the live guide. Ilaria was our tour guide. She was humorous, lively and enthusiastic. She held my attention the whole time and made the experience very entertaining, quickly letting us know when something of interest was coming up. This meant you had plenty of time to get your camera ready!
Onboard the Hop on Hop off Bus
Once on board you can choose to sit upstairs, part of which is undercover or, downstairs. In front of each seat is an individual socket for earphones and you can select the channel required for your language. Earphones are provided but the socket is universal so alternatively, you can bring your own.
Yellow Route of the Original Tour
I chose the Yellow Route. The round trip takes around 2-2 and a half hours depending on the traffic. Allow extra time to get off the bus to wander and to enter any attractions. Both the audio commentary and the live guide, provide interesting facts and information throughout the tour. Many places of interest are pointed out along the way. These were some of my favourites…
1. Somerset House
Somerset House is an art and cultural centre in Central London. It is popular for ice skating which takes place outdoors during the festive period. It has been featured in movies such as Golden Eye with Piers Brosnan and Sleepy Holly with Johnny Depp.
2. Lyceum Theatre
Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula worked as a business manager at the Lyceum Theatre.
3. St Bride’s Church
The spire of St Bride’s Church was the inspiration for the tiered wedding cake.
4. The Shard
A fox, later named Romeo was found living on level 72 of the Shard while it was under construction. Apparently he survived on scraps of food left by the workers.
5. Burlington Arcade
Burlington Arcade is patrolled by beadles. Apparently, no whistling is allowed… unless you are Paul McCartney, of course, he is exempt from the rule for life!
The Hop on Hop off Bus Original Tour is a great activity to do if you are solo in London. Check the links below for recommended places to stay and eat while you are in the City.
Suggested Further Reading:
Things to do in London – Other recommended solo activities
London Restaurants – Restaurants I have enjoyed dining solo at
Hotels in London – Hotels I have stayed at alone and recommend