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London Hop On - Hop Off Bus

OK - we've read all about it and, yup, the hop on - hop off London bus seems the way to get a great intro to the city.

BUT, never have found concise information or recommendation on where to start. We will be staying in Chelsea.

Does it matter at all where one starts? Tickets / boarding available everywhere? Preferred first hop on location?

Sorry if this has been asked / answered before. And, uh, the site says to search for previous thread. Just where do you find that search box / click thru??

Thnx - Terry

Posted by
776 posts

I have the same questions as you....also, if there is one company recommended over the other?

In Paris we picked the WRONG ONE. Horrible, not synced with the locations and could not tell what stop we were at.......also, really amateurish commentary that had me rolling my eyes and then just take out my earphones they were soooooo boring and bland.

Posted by
8799 posts

Search box is at the top of the page adjacent to where it says Rick Steve's Europe. Next to the Spyglass, Search in grey letters.

In all my trips to London never taken this bus.

Pretty certain many posters here have and will be able to answer your questions.

Great city. Enjoy your visit.

Posted by
15508 posts

You can get on at any stop. You can buy from the driver or many hotels sell tickets as well. If you buy from your hotel, they will know the closest stop.

There are a few different ones to choose from and the best thing to do is go online and read reviews. Some also offer more than one route included in your ticket.

My first trips to London were before Hop on Hop Off buses but I have taken them in many other cities.

Posted by
353 posts

Ages ago on our fist London Visit we chose Big Bus and boarded at Hyde Park Corner because that was near our hotel.

At the time Mr. Steves listed a small number of companies in his guide and said that the tours from those companies were pretty interchangeable. That may not longer be the case.

We chose Big Bus because it was the first bus on Rick's list that we saw.

Posted by
32 posts

Claudia - (and all)

Thanks ... I was looking for a box, not the word "Search" - duh

Terry

Posted by
5354 posts

If you are in Chelsea just take the regular 11 bus. No commentary of course, but will probably go by as many sights as many of the tour buses circular routes.

Starts close to Fulham Broadway station in Walham Green. Swings immediately to the Kings Road as it makes its way through Chelsea, passing close to the National Army Museum and the home of the Chelsea Pensioners to Sloane Square where another dog leg takes it round to Buckingham Palace Road, and Victoria Coach and railway station.

Up Victoria Street passed the mixture of shops and offices, many of which are government buildings including New Scotland Yard, and Westminster Cathedral. At the top make a left hand turn at Westminster Abbey round Broad Sanctuary onto Parliament Street and Whitehall, passing more 'historic' government buildings including the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence, the entry to Downing Street, Horseguards Parade etc. (The Churchill War Museum being behind the Cabinet Office).

A 270-degree right turn at Trafalgar Square passed the National Gallery and up the Strand passed Charing Cross Station, round The Aldwych, passed the Royal Courts of Justice and into Fleet Street where the ghosts of some of the old newspaper buildings such as the Daily Express are passed, plus all the pubs the journalists used to go in all afternoon and the road to The Old Bailey before reaching St Paul's Cathedral up Ludgate Hill.

Continuing through the City passed the Mansion House, the remains of the Temple of Mithras (go back to Museum of London near St Paul's to see some of the artifacts) onto the Bank of England, through the financial heart finishing up at Liverpool Street Station (or nearby with all the Crossrail construction).

For best views overall, sit on the left.

Posted by
33107 posts

Sit upstairs in the first one or two rows for the full wraparound window experience. If they are full just move up as they clear.

Posted by
80 posts

We did the Original Bus Tour on our first trip to London two years ago. This one has many stops as well as having four different routes that you can take. Even though many folks say to stay away from the buses, I found for a first trip they were very helpful. I was basically overwhelmed my first trip and wanted to "see it all" but did not know where to start. We also had limited time in London. I found that by going on the bus I was able to see a lot. I also sat close to the commentator and was able to ask questions when there was a lull. The second day (the ticket was good for 48 hours), London had an Austerity March with many areas starting to be shut down as the protestors convened upon the city. Because of the rerouting, we got to see other areas that were not on the route. https://www.theoriginaltour.com/#n

Posted by
788 posts

We also used the Original Bus HOHO during our three days in London in 2015. We stayed near Victoria Station, so it was a good starting point, but you can get on and off at any stop. It was a great way to get a little orientation and worked very well for us in getting around to the major sights the first day we used it. The live commentary can vary from very good, sometimes fun, to dry and pedestrian. That just depends on the personality of the guide. Our ticket also included a free Thames River cruise, which we enjoyed. Having the 48-hour ticket, we relied on the bus too much the second day. Exhausted by late afternoon, we picked the wrong route and spent WAY too much time in congested traffic. We should have instead found a Tube stop or just taken a cab back to our hotel. All in all, though, we found the Original Bus a good value, a pleasant way to see some of the city, and a useful way to get around to major tourist sights.

Posted by
1062 posts

I think the hop on, hop off, bus is a great way to get an introduction to London. I have been to London on 5 occasions but had only used the bus on my last visit as we had limited time and I wanted by daughter to get a good overview of London. I thought I was pretty savvy with my knowledge of London, but I learned a lot from the commentary on the bus. It also was very entertaining. I definitely would not use it as a means of transportation to get from one sight to another. It does take a long time to make the rounds. If you are tired, but don't want to return to the hotel, the bus is a great way to rest and still see things.

Posted by
1330 posts

We used the HOHO bus in London for the first time in November 2015 which was something like my 25th visit. I enjoyed it very much because it gave a new view of the city.

Look at https://www.londontoolkit.com//whattodo/london_hoho_bus_discuss.html for a comparison of the three companies.

We used the Bug Bus company - not from any considered decision, but they were the first people we met when leaving Victoria Station. I will not recommend doing that on the arrival day if you have been flying over five or more time zones.

The included cruise on the River Thames was a bonus.

Posted by
1330 posts

We used the HOHO bus in London for the first time in November 2015 which was something like my 25th visit. I enjoyed it very much because it gave a new view of the city.

Look at https://www.londontoolkit.com//whattodo/london_hoho_bus_discuss.html for a comparison of the three companies.

We used the Bug Bus company - not from any considered decision, but they were the first people we met when leaving Victoria Station. I will not recommend doing that on the arrival day if you have been flying over five or more time zones.

The included cruise on the River Thames was a bonus.