Hop-on, hop-off London sightseeing bus tours are now popular around the world. London is no exception.
You can find them in New York and many other large American cities as well as international destinations like London. The rules may vary between locations, but the general idea is to customize a group sightseeing tour at an affordable price.
This is how the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tours in London work:
- You buy tickets to a bus tour that makes a loop around the city.
- Multiple buses drive around the loop, stopping at designated points along the route at specific times.
- You get on the bus at any stop and ride the loop. Some London sightseeing bus tours have guides on board to teach passengers a bit about each stop and attractions found along the route.
- You get off at any stop to explore attractions in that area.
- When you want to continue the tour, you reboard the bus at a designated stop.
Most hop-on, hop-off bus tour tickets are good for at least one full day. Many are good for two or more days, giving you more time to explore the route. You can get on and off the bus as many times as you want as long as your ticket is valid and there is room on the bus for your group.
Hop-On, Hop-Off London Sightseeing Bus Tours:
There are London sightseeing bus tours offered by three primary tour companies in London. You may see tickets offered by other companies, but they’re typically affiliates earning commissions by selling tickets to tours conducted by these three primary companies. Sometimes you can get a small discount by ordering from an affiliate, but in other cases, you’re better off ordering tickets directly from the tour company.
The Original Tour
The Original Tour’s hop-on, hop-off bus route includes nine stops throughout central London. The route goes by the city’s top attractions and allows you to hop on and off an open-top bus as many times as you want. The buses allow you to see London from a vantage point, delivering sweeping views of the city’s most impressive buildings and landscapes.
Each bus cruising the tour is equipped with free Wi-Fi and activity books to keep kids busy plus live guides trained to deliver educational stories in an entertaining manner. The live guides will help you decide where you want to stop along the route. All live commentary on this cruise is kid friendly.
Each ticket you buy comes with a free Thames River cruise ticket. That’s the biggest perk to touring with The Original Tour.
Big Bus allows you to select from three ticket options. The most cost-effective option is the Classic Ticket, which includes one full day of rides, free Wi-Fi onboard, live guides onboard, and a Thames River cruise ticket.
Note that all commentary on passing attractions is pre-recorded, so the information doesn’t come directly from the guide unless you ask questions. The river cruises are also available only on the weekends, which may not suite your travel schedule well if you’re planning a short vacation.
The Premium Ticket entitles you to two full days of unlimited hop-on, hop-off touring, and the Deluxe Plus Ticket adds a fast-track ticket to the London Eye.
Your last option for hop-on, hop-off London sightseeing bus tours is Golden Tours. Tickets are available for single-day or two-day access, and you can request open-dated tickets if you aren’t sure when you want to explore the tour.
Many Golden Tours tickets add an extra 24 hours of exploration, so you may get more for your money when compared to the other tour companies. Some tickets also include a free walking tour, which is perhaps one step below the free cruises offered by the other two tour companies.
Make the Most of Your Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour
There are two ways to approach a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tour in London. You may want to ride the full loop one time and then go back around to hop off at the most intriguing sites. That gives you a full view of all stops and allows you to decide which ones are the best use of your time.
The second option is to simply hop off whenever something of interest comes along. You can get back on the route and explore what’s up next after seeing the first stop. This is a good option if you have hyper kids who want to stay busy.
One great thing about hop-on, hop-off London sightseeing bus tours is that you can let your kids dictate where you go. When your kid decides it’s time to get off, you get off and explore. When the magic wears off, there’s always another bus coming around the loop to whisk you away somewhere new. Many kids enjoy picking where they go throughout the day.
The only rule when riding this type of bus tour is to have fun. In most cases, you can look at the stops on the route in advance and decide where you want to get off along the way. If you have a limited amount of time to enjoy the fun, you can also decide how much time you will spend at each stop and at what time you will re-board the bus.
Hop on, then hop off, exploring London as a family doesn’t get much simpler or more fun than that.
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