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Using Hop on Hop Off Busses for Main London Transportation

We will only be in London for two full days. Since most of the things we want to see are at or near route stops for the hop on hop off Big Bus tours, does it make sense to buy a two day pass and just use that for our main transportation? We will be staying near Victoria Station.

Posted by
6343 posts

A personal opinion is no.

Parliament Square (Parliament, Elizabeth’s Tower with Big Ben ( in scaffolding) & Westminster Abbey) and Buckingham Palace are easy strolls from the Victoria Station neighborhood.

Tower of London is reachable by tube with the Tower Hill tube station right across the street from it.

The tube, regular busses and your own two feet provide easy access to the London sites.

Just personal opinion having enjoyed London since the early 70’s.

Posted by
31 posts

Thank you for that. We don’t want to waste $ and not having been there, it’s a great help to get input from seasoned travelers.

Posted by
1225 posts

No, HOHO busses are far too slow and infrequent to use as a main mode of transportation. And, of course , when one shows up, there’s no guarantee that it’ll have space anyway.

Some people use them as a way to get a feel of the city. For me, I found that it was far too slow as London traffic is horrific and it’s an expensive way to spend time looking at bank buildings. A regular TFL bus can get stuck in traffic but you’re not paying £40 or so for the privilege and you can always get off at the next stop.

Posted by
3265 posts

I agree with Claudia. A big downside of the HOHO buses is that they can easily get bogged down by heavy traffic. And they may not be going directly to where YOU want to go next. Plus they may not come as often as regular buses. The tube is wonderful in that you don't have to sorry about traffic tie ups.

Buy an Oyster card for each if you as soon as you arrive in London and put £20 or so on it. Use it for all of your bus or tube rides- there is a daily cap for rides in each zone. Add more cash using the machines at the tube stations if you need more. If you still have money on it at the end of your stay you can decide to get a full refund from a machine or keep it for your next trip.

Posted by
3681 posts

HoHo buses promote their use as general transport, but I agree with the above negative opinions. I suggest using an Oyster card on bus and Tube. The card is very easy to use, calculates the fare for you (London is zoned) and has a maximum charge per day after which you ride free. Information here:

Posted by
11243 posts

Taking the hop on hop off bus to get an overview of London isn't a bad idea. But to take it to go from a to b to c will waste a lot of time.

The tube is the way to go.

Posted by
519 posts

I enjoy on hop off buses as a way to get a great overall view of a new city. However, I wouldn’t use them for transportation.

Posted by
119 posts

Also if the weather isn't nice, being upstairs on an open top bus would be dispiriting, you dont want a damp-behind all day, certainly ride the top deck of a regular red public bus, you'll have a proper roof, shelter from the weather and it'll be heated, TfL buses will be substantially cheaper than the hoho, you can take as many bus rides in one hour for £1.50. they are zoneless too.

TfL bus fares are included with your Oyster/Travelcard/contactless/phonepay, buses are cashless.

Posted by
279 posts

I second the idea of using the HOHO buses to get an overview of a city. But they are too irregular to use as transportation!

Posted by
4682 posts

Staying in Victoria consider fitting in a ride on the 11 bus as that takes a tour past many well-known sights.

Posted by
3336 posts

If you have limited time it isn't an efficient way of getting around. Many buses take breaks, change drivers, change buses, and get stuck in traffic. It sounds like a good idea on paper but, in reality, it isn't a good way of just getting around. If you have plenty of time, and the weather is good, then it's fun to just ride around and get oriented to the city. But as a mode of transportation, no.

Posted by
8286 posts

I just spent 8 days in and around London, traffic was gridlock just about every where all times of the day and night.

Posted by
31 posts

Thanks for all the input, people! We’ll probably ride the HOHO bus the afternoon we arrive, but for the next two full days we’ll get around on the Tube.

Posted by
11286 posts

In smaller cities, like Glasgow or Liverpool, the HOHO can work well as general city transportation for visitors. The bigger the city, the less well this works. So, it's a bad idea in London (or for that matter, New York).

Posted by
103 posts

Been to London many times. Tube is easy to use with Oyster card. Also walking is fun.

Posted by
977 posts

I like to walk, occasionally take buses, take tube if no buses and the distance warrants it, and occasionally, give myself permission to take a cab. There are many suggestions online pairing main sites and walking, though a good map or Google maps will suffice.

Have fun!

Posted by
61 posts

London has a wonderful public transport system.
Hop on hoff off buses are a big waste of time.
If you have a very short time, use public transport to get from point a to point b.