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London - Hop on Hop Off

Arrive with grandson (15) March 28 Wednesday around noon time. Staying in St James/Jermyn St area. Will not lock into any ticket purchases but thought if he is still a tad tired but insist on going out thought the Hop on Hop Bus tour a good first overview - while resting in a seat! Do you know where these buses tend to congregate together as a first stop? Trafalgar or Piccadilly Circus area? I realize one can pick up at various stop points but sometimes one has to wait long time. Would prefer to go to one of the specific areas where the tours begin. Thank you!!

Posted by
23472 posts

The BIG problem is that the "resting in the seat" quickly turns into a nap. We have learned over the ages that dealing with jet lag requires sunlight and walking. Do a brisk walking tour somewhere even if self guided. For us a hop on, off bus is not a great plan for the first day. However, we do plan a one to two hour nap in the afternoon. Set an alarm - absolutely no more than two hours. That will recharge our batteries to enough to get us comfortably to a normal dinner and bed time.

The buses would be a great idea the next morning. There are several routes available in London so pick the one that appeals to your interests. We generally do a full loop just to id where we want to go and then do the on and off on the second loop.

Posted by
893 posts

Years ago my hubby was in London on business. At the end of his business trip I flew from the East coast to meet him in London. We dropped my stuff at the hotel and took a Hop On Hop Off bus tour. I could not stay awake! He kept waking me up and it didn't last. I would suggest that you do that maybe the next day.
Find something to walk to, a sight that's close to the hotel or look around the neighborhood and relax that first day. Get a good nights sleep and set an alarm for the next morning and have a Great Time!

Posted by
1078 posts

Looks like you got an answer to a different question, so I'll try to answer yours.

Most companies offer a number of different routes. If you are interested a certain HOHO route, any stop will have the same bus frequency, so pick the one closest to where you'll be. If you are interested in whichever route happens to come first, then the places where multiple routes cross are Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, the Tower, and Waterloo Station. See this map to visualize:

Most companies follow the same routes, so this should apply for whichever company you choose.

Walking to avoid jet lag is nice, but the key is to be out in the open air to let your body get used to the new sunlight hours. I usually go on a HOHO ride my first day in a new city and usually enjoy it.

Posted by
8889 posts

Most of these tourist buses have an endless circular route, no start or end. They usually have "touts" at the main stops trying to sell tickets.
One place is the SE corner of Trafalgar Square. Another is the south side of St Paul's cathedral (north side is pedestrianised). If you stand there long enough looking like a tourist, they will pounce on you and give you the sales spiel.

When I arrive in new city for the first time, I do like to go on a bus round trip with commentary. I don't necessarily get on and off, I just want to see how all the places look. I can then go back using public transport (bus, underground). In most European cities HoHo buses are not the best way of actually going to the tourist places. Public transport is more frequent and a lot cheaper.

If you want a walk to keep you awake when you arrive, from Jermyn Street it is a short distance south to The Mall. Look right for Buck House, left for Admiralty Arch and Trafalgar Square.
But go straight ahead through St James's Park. Left through Horse Guards Parade, right into Whitehall, past a small street called Downing Street on your right, and on to the Houses of Parliament.

Posted by
89 posts

Thank you!! Great comments. Think Trafalgar best place to see multiple HOHO busses. The Big Bus has app which I will download. Think we will do that when we get to.hotel from airport unless grandson needs a nap. I have done these initial visits as they have map and gives me great overview how city is set up. We won't get off just ride it. Great advice!!

Posted by
8889 posts

Diane, it is Trafalgar Square. Do not shorten names in London, as it can be ambiguous. There is often an xxx Street in one part of London, xxx Road in another and xxx Square which is nowhere near either.
For example:

Trafalgar Avenue (SE15)
Trafalgar Court (E1W)
Trafalgar House (NW7)
Trafalgar Mews (E9)
Trafalgar Place (E11)
Trafalgar Road (SE10)
Trafalgar Road (TW2)
Trafalgar Square (WC2N)
Trafalgar Street (SE17)
Trafalgar Trading Estate (EN3)
Trafalgar Way (E14)