Top London Sightseeing Buses

If there is one city in the world in which to ride a red double-decker bus, it is undoubtedly London. Hop on board and discover the magic of the British capital with your own eyes!

Vicky Del Moral

Vicky Del Moral

8 min read

Top London Sightseeing Buses

Hop on Hop off | © Jorge Franganillo

In London, one of the first cities in the world to incorporate the tourist bus, touring the streets in one of them is a 'must'. You will discover the city and travel between the main tourist spots comfortably seated.

What are the best tourist buses in London?

Visit Big Ben from a Sightseeing Bus| ©Jack Regan
Visit Big Ben from a Sightseeing Bus| ©Jack Regan

As one of the most typical experiences in the British capital, there are many tour bus companies. They all operate the same but differ in the route and number of routes, prices and stops.

I leave you the following comparison table to help you choose the best for your trip to London:

  • Big Bus Tour
  • From 56
  • 4 routes
  • 56 stops
  • Up to 2 days duration
  • Includes Thames cruise
  • Book
  • London City Sightseeing
  • From 51
  • 1 tour
  • 20 stops
  • Up to 2 days duration
  • Includes Thames river cruise
  • Book
  • Sightseeing bus and Thames Cruise
  • From 63
  • 1 route
  • 5 stops
  • One day tour
  • Includes Thames cruise
  • Vintage red bus
  • Book
  • Golden Tours
  • From 129
  • 4 routes
  • 70 stops
  • Same duration as Pass
  • Includes Thames cruise
  • Book

Big Bus Tourist Bus

Big Bus London
Big Bus London

Big Bus Tours was one of the first companies to start touring London by tourist bus, more than 25 years ago. At that time they had only two buses, today they have more than 400 sightseeing bus lines in tourist capitals around the world.

With the Big Bus tourist bus you can see the city in its four routes, which accumulate more than 50 free stops. All of them have explanations from a professional guide or audio guides in more than 10 languages, including Spanish. In addition to the bus tour, you will also have the chance to take a cruise on the Thames and go on the London Eye from which you will admire several of London's attractions built on the banks of this mighty river. Know all the details of the offer: tickets for London Eye, pass for the Big Bus tourist bus and cruise on the Thames.

It is important to note that all Big Bus buses are adapted to any type of traveler, from small children in strollers to people with disabilities and who need to get on in wheelchairs or with assistance animals. All this from $56 euros per person, children up to 4 years free.

Types of tickets for the Big Bus

  • Classic 1 day
  • 2-day Premium
  • Red Route

  • 22 stops

  • 63 attractions

  • Duration: 2 hours

  • Departures: every 5-10 minutes

  • Starting point: Green Park

  • Schedule: from 8:20 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  • Tower of London

  • Buckingham Palace

  • Piccadilly Circus

  • Houses of Parliament

  • Blue Route

  • 15 stops

  • 20 attractions

  • Duration: 1 hour

  • Departures: every 20 minutes

  • Starting point: Marble Arch

  • Timetable: from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

  • Marble Arch

  • Hyde Park Corner

  • Natural History Museum

  • Notting Hill

  • Orange Route

  • 9 stops

  • 30 attractions

  • Duration: 1 hour

  • Departures: every 30 minutes

  • Starting point: Baker Street

  • Hours: from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  • Madame Tussauds

  • National Gallery

  • London Eye

  • SEA LIFE London Aquarium

  • Green Route

  • 10 stops

  • 20 attractions

  • Duration: 1 hour

  • Departures: every 20-30 minutes

  • Starting point: Woburn

  • Hours: from 8:40 am to 5:30 pm

  • The British Museum

  • Covent Garden

  • Euston

  • St. Pancrass

How it works

You will receive confirmation of your ticket as soon as you make your booking. Your tour bus e-ticket will only start counting your usage time from the first time you redeem it. Cancellation is possible as long as you cancel your reservation at least 24 hours before the start date.

What does the Big Bus Tourist Bus include?

  • Bus tour with 4 different routes and dozens of free stops.
  • Live guide (Red Route)
  • Recorded commentary
  • Complimentary headphones
  • 30 minute Thames River Cruise
  • Walking tour

What is not included in the Big Bus tour?

  • Hotel pick up
  • Food and beverages

Book your ticket for the Big Bus tour bus

Vintage Bus Tour Tour with Thames Cruise

Buckingham Palace| ©shining.darkness
Buckingham Palace| ©shining.darkness

If you are looking for the most authentic tour of the city, you can not miss the route of the old retro Routemaster bus, the typical one.

In addition to including a free cruise on the River Thames, like the other companies, the Vintage Tour tourist bus offers you the possibility to buy directly the ticket for the London Eye, the highest Ferris wheel-viewer in Europe, and for the indispensable and historic Tower of London. But it also includes the option to visit Stonehenge, a prehistoric monument declared a World Heritage Site.

However, this bus only has a route through the main attractions of London and is not adapted for people with reduced mobility and who must climb in wheelchairs. It is, however, accessible with a baby stroller. The complete tour lasts three and a half hours

Attractions that you will see on board the Vintage Bus Tour

  • Tower of London
  • Buckingham Palace
  • Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Houses of Parliament
  • Big Ben
  • Thames River
  • Cleopatra's Needle
  • London Eye
  • Bridge

How does it work?

You will receive confirmation of your ticket as soon as you make your booking, with free cancellation 24 hours before the start date of the tour. At the time of booking you will be asked to select between morning or afternoon departures. Please note that if you want to see the Changing of the Guard at its stop at Buckingham Palace, you should opt for the morning tour.

This is an open top bus tour so please be aware that it may rain. On some occasions, the open top bus may be changed to an enclosed top bus.

What is included in the Vintage Bus Tours tour bus?

  • Unlimited hop on and hop off
  • A cruise on the River Thames also with the possibility to hop on and off.
  • Possibility to include entrance to the London Eye attraction and/or a visit to Stonehenge
  • Local guide
  • Not wheelchair friendly

What is not included in the Vintage Bus Tours tour bus?

  • Gratuities
  • Food and beverages, unless specified.
  • Hotel pick up and drop off

If you are spending several days in London and want access to several attractions, in addition to the sightseeing bus get the London Pass, a tourist pass that will save you time and money.

Book the Big Bus offer, cruise and tickets for London Eye

Sightseeing bus with cruise on the Thames and tea at Harrods

The Original Tour Bus
The Original Tour Bus

If you are interested in the idea of taking a cruise, with this other tour you can also enjoy a comfortable boat ride on the River Thames. But not before visiting the main monuments of the city, since you will not miss the impressive views from the bus of Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus and the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Nor of Buckingham Palace, where you can get off to take your pictures.

However, the highlight of this tour of London is that you can feel like a real Englishman by having the opportunity to taste an authentic tea in the popular Harrods store along with scones, cream and jam. Are you really going to miss this complete and tasty English tour?

During the 4 hours and a half that lasts, you can also learn all the anecdotes that the specialized guide will be telling you about the monuments that you will find. You will also find the option of the bus with tea in London if you want to simplify the tour by skipping the cruise and the stop at Harrods but you do not want to miss the fabulous English tea on board the bus.

What's included in the sightseeing bus with cruise and tea?

  • Sightseeing bus tour of London's main attractions
  • A cruise on the River Thames also with the possibility to hop on and hop off
  • Local tour guide
  • Tea at Harrods and scones
  • Guided commentary in 11 languages

Book the tea bus in London

Golden Tours with London Pass and other sightseeing cards

Golden Tours Bus| ©Charles
Golden Tours Bus| ©Charles

If you are going to spend several days in London and want to squeeze the cultural and leisure offer of the city, in addition to having the option to go by tourist bus, I strongly recommend that what you do is to take a tourist card.

These passes allow you to save money, by not having to pay the entrance fee of each of the attractions you visit; and time, by accessing through their fast queues. I have written a post about London Pass in which, with more details, I tell you that the tourist passes that include a day in tourist bus are:

London Pass

Everything you can visit in London in terms of cultural tourism is inside the London Pass card, with access to more than 80 attractions and a day in tourist bus. Its price depends on the number of days of use, having a maximum of 10 days of duration that you can customize by paying only for the days you are going to use it.

London Explorer Pass

The Explorer Pass is the ideal option to discover the essentials of London in a minimum of 4 days and add to your experience the visit to some of its most fun attractions, such as the London Eye, Madame Tussauds or the London Dungeon, among others. This tourist pass can be customized and you pay for the number of attractions you want to visit.

Within this pass you can choose between two tour bus companies: the one I explained at the beginning of this article, Big Bus Tours, and another of the newest companies in the city, with recognizable blue buses, Golden Tours.

Golden Tours has a total of 4 routes, of which two, "Pick Up and Drop Off", are really interesting as they can be taken in the mornings from hotels in the Notting Hill, Bayswater and Victoria areas to the city center and back in the afternoons. Golden Tours sightseeing buses run over 70 free stops and your day ticket offers a cruise on the waters of the Thames and a walking tour in English.

Golden Tours sightseeing bus tour

  • Classic Tour. Red: it tours London's main monuments and the museum district.
  • Grand Tour. Orange: passes by the London Eye and Buckingham Palace, as well as many other monuments of central London.
  • Pick Up. Yellow: only operational in the mornings, this route departs from the popular hotel districts to central London.
  • Drop Off. Green: Operational in the afternoons, this route departs from central London to the popular hotel districts.

Book the London Pass

If you are interested in the sightseeing bus, you will also be interested in

If you are one of those who like to move around the city without having to lock yourself underground in the subway, where it is impossible to enjoy the views, I recommend that you value the option of taking a cruise on the Thames, which will allow you to continue discovering the most impressive monuments that London has on the banks of the river while you rest or even enjoy a luxury dinner. I leave you with this article where I tell you all about these cruises: 7 Best Thames River Cruises in London.

If you are also thinking of visiting some of the most emblematic attractions of the city, my recommendation is, without a doubt, the London Eye. For those who prefer to enjoy the views from the air, the London Eye is definitely a great option. You have in this guide information about the London Eye Tickets: how to buy, prices and schedules all the information you need to organize your visit.

Book the Big Bus offer, cruise and tickets for London Eye