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London Bus Tours and Walking Tours

In an older edition of Rick's London book he says that if you buy your ticket for the London Bus tours after 14:00, it is also valid the whole next day. Both the original bus tour and big bus tour state their tickets are valid for 24 hours. Does the after 14:00 purchase still apply? Rick does not mention it in his 2007 London book.

Also, Rick says the walking tours are "silly," but big bus tours has a "Beatles Walk," my 16 year old muscian son would enjoy this, if it is good. Does anyone have any information as to the quality of this walk?

Then the big question--Original or Big Bus? Rick says both are good, what do you say?

Thanks in advance.

Posted by
98 posts

Kevin -

I'm not a fan of the big bus tours. Too much money. The #24 bus from Victoria Station takes you past a lot of the same sights as does the #15 bus. With your Oyster Card you can ride both and save the £20. There are some walking tours that are pretty decent. The original walk company at is the best. They have all kinds of walks all over London and even offer day trips with guides. I am doing the Westminster Walk for the first time next Thursday after arriving to stave off jet lag.

Whatever you decide have a wonderful trip.

Posted by
4693 posts

Hi Kevin, Didn't know that Rick said the walking tours are silly. I happen to disagree. I think the London Walks are great. I took the London Walks Beatles tour a very long time ago (at least 10 years). Assuming that it hasn't changed drastically, they point out various Beatles sights along the walk and then take you up by tube to Abbey Road to see the cross walk from the album cover (assuming it has not changed). I don't remember it being silly, but there was a lot of trivia as the guide was a true Beatles fanatic.

Personally, I hate bus tours but really like walking tours. I've probably taken at least 20 different London Walks over the years. The Walks usually focus on one area of the city while the bus tours will cover more geographically. I think the question is what do you and your son prefer?

Posted by
191 posts

I did the bus tour in London about 1 year ago and really enjoyed it! I did the "original bus tour" not the "big bus" tour. If you stop at the information desk in Victoria station, this is where you can buy tube pass ect.. you can get a ticket for the original bus tour for 5 pounds less then from the bus. From what i remember it was 15 pounds.

You take the ticket you buy from the info. booth and they give you a print out on the bus. The little print out has the time on it and it is good for 24 hours. I got on around 11 am, and was able to do the other line of the tour the next day around 10am. I like the tour I thought it was good intro to the city as I had never been there before.

Posted by
279 posts

Was the Beatles Walking Tour that took you to Abbey Road one of the ones that are offered by the Bus Tour Companys?

I should be more specific: My wife and I will be in London for 2 days plus some hours with our daughter, age 12, and our, son age 16. He wants to see Beatles stuff, she loves the movie "What a Girl Wants," and wants to ride the open top bus like Amanda Bynes did in the movie. We have to allow them their indulgences, so they enjoy things while we try to be educational taking them to the British Museum, Tower of London, Globe Theatre, etc....

Also, it is on page 35 of the London 2007 book that Rick says the Big Bus tour..."ticket includes coupons for several silly one-hour London walks...."

It is the traveling with our kids that we want to make sure these walks would work with and would be worth our limited time.

Thanks again,

Posted by
4693 posts

Hi Kevin,

That makes sense. The walks that I have taken have all been through London Walks ( and not part of the bus company ... didn't realize that the comment from Rick was specific to the bus company walking tours (didn't even know that the bus company offered walking tours)

I do think the London Walks are great. There is usually some theme and I often see families on them. Check their website for specifics.

Posted by
410 posts

London Walks is great - as everyone else has said.

I did a hop on hop off bus tour several years ago and really enjoyed it. It was a horrible day so it was nice to be inside on the bus relatively warm. It also gave me a good perspective of where places are in London in relation to others - something hard to do if you travel by tube most of the time.

Posted by
45 posts

Kevin- Have to agree with Laura. The London Walks are great. Took 2 or 3 walks around London, as well as a day trip out to Bath with this company. The guides were very informative, answered all our questions, etc.

Posted by
1660 posts

Just to clarify: I think most posters are referring to the company "London Walks" (see This is different from the two bus companies cited on the original post. I've done tours with London Walks (and their partner organization in Paris, see link on website) and enjoyed them immensely. Great guides, interesting topics, and a wide variety of departures almost every day.

That said, the hop-on-hop off bus tours, while not for everyone, might be a great thing for you. On a jet lagged day, it's the perfect way to get the layout of London and see the "big stuff". Check out the websites for each of the companies and find their ticket conditions for purchase.