Travel Tour Reviews

The 5 Best Bus Tours of London Reviewed – [2020 Reviews]

For A Convenient Way To See The Most Of London's Sites Take One Of These Top Bus Tours

London is certainly a city with a lot to take in. A London bus tour allows you to get from site to site, museum to museum, and even from one tour to another. With someone else doing the driving, feel free to watch this beautiful city pass by and snap the perfect photos.

You may even be able to rid in a vintage London double-decker bus. Here are the best London bus tours available for your next vacation.

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Bus Tours of London Reviewed

  1. Buckingham Palace and Vintage Bus Tour of London
  2. Vintage London Bus Tour Including Thames River Cruise w/ Optional London Eye
  3. London Pass including Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour and Entry to Over 80 Attractions
  4. London Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour and Tower of London Ticket
  5. London Combo: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour and Shrek’s Adventure Admission Ticket

Best Bus Tours of London

 Buckingham Palace and Vintage Bus Tour of LondonVintage London Bus Tour Including Thames River Cruise w/ Optional London EyeLondon Pass including Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour and Entry to Over 80 Attractions
editors choice
Departure PointVictoria Coach StationVictoria Coach StationMultiple Hop-On Hop-Off Points
Departure Time8:15 AM7:45 AMImmediately After Purchase
Duration5 hours 30 minutes 3 hours 30 minutesVarious Options
IncludesBus tour with guide, Thames river cruise, tour of Buckingham Palace, free snacksExperienced local guide, London sightseeing bus tour, Thames river cruise, priority access to the London Eye or Tower of London with purchased admission to those attractionsAccess to 80+ attractions, Skip-the-Line access at several attractions, hop-on hop-off access to the London red bus

Best Bus Tours of London Reviews

#1 Buckingham Palace and Vintage Bus Tour of London

Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Victoria Coach Station
  • Departure Time: 8:15 AM
  • Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Includes: bus tour with guide, Thames river cruise, tour of Buckingham Palace, free snacks

The red London double-decker buses are as unique to the city of London as Buckingham Palace itself. This sightseeing London bus will take you by many of the city’s attractions so you can pack as much as possible into just over 5 hours.

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See the infamous Tower of London, the year-round residence of the Queen, the Houses of Parliament and even Big Ben among others. That is only the beginning of the excitement this tour of London has to offer.

You’ll then see the city from the perspective of a cruise boat as you travel the Thames. Plus, you will be able to tour Buckingham Palace to experience the royal residence up close and personal.

2019 marks 200 years since Queen Victoria was born and there is a special exhibit at the Palace to commemorate Her Highness.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



#2  Vintage London Bus Tour Including Thames River Cruise w/ Optional London Eye

Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Victoria Coach Station
  • Departure Time: 7:45 AM
  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Includes: experienced local guide, London sightseeing bus tour, Thames river cruise, priority access to the London Eye or Tower of London with purchased admission to those attractions

This is one of the best London bus tours if you are looking to enjoy the city from one of their popular, vintage red buses. In addition to Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, you’d also ride past Shakespeare’s famous theatre, The Globe.

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That’s only the start of the attractions you can see and experience on this London double-decker bus tour. You’ll ride over the London Bridge, made famous by song and rhyme, and pass by Westminster Abbey.

If you decide to add a ride on the London Eye to your big, red bus London tour, you’ll have priority access to the attraction. The same for visiting the Tower of London. If you purchase tickets in advance, you will have priority access.

Enjoy the Changing of the Guard, lots of photo ops, and even a Thames river cruise. You’ll be brought back to the Victoria Coach Station where you can easily board another tour to Stonehenge taking place in the afternoon.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



#3 London Pass including Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour and Entry to Over 80 Attractions

Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Multiple Hop-On Hop-Off Points
  • Departure Time: Immediately After Purchase
  • Duration: Various Options
  • Includes: Access to 80+ attractions, Skip-the-Line access at several attractions, hop-on hop-off access to the London red bus

When it comes to a hop-on hop-off London bus, this “all-inclusive” option is one of the best London bus tour deals available. What is a hop-on hop-off London bus tour? You can literally hop on the bus and hop off at many places around the city. This makes it a great mode of transportation while sightseeing.

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With this hop-on hop-off tour, London is at your fingertips. You will enjoy discounts at many shopping venues and restaurants you can access with this bus tour.

While the full list of stops and included attraction tickets are listed in the free London travel guidebook you receive with the confirmation of your booking, there are more than 80 and way too many to list here. However, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Zoo even have skip-the-line access.

With this hop-on hop-off bus, London is yours for the taking. You can take advantage of the best London bus tours with many different lengths of use. For example, you can purchase credits for everything from 1 day to 10 depending on the length of your stay.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



#4 London Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour and Tower of London Ticket

Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Any of the 80+ stops
  • Departure Time: Any
  • Duration: 24 hours or 48 hours
  • Includes: guided hop-on hop-off access to a London city tour bus, access to 3 walking tours in the city, ticketed access to the Tower of London

If you won’t be in London long enough to enjoy all 80+ attractions included in the above hop-on hop-off big bus tour, London can still be yours with this one. Bring your confirmation to any of the stops and they will exchange it for your 24-hour pass or offer a 48-hour pass as an upgrade.

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There are more than 80 different stops where you can literally hop on and hop off where and when you’d like. This can be one of the best London tours available while you also enjoy a Thames river cruise and access to the Tower of London.

The hop-on hop-off London bus tour will stop at each of the 80+ predesignated stops approximately every 15 minutes. This allows you to stop at those you want to and hop right back on after your visit at the attraction or museum.

Your confirmation of this London city bus tour also entitles you to three different walking tours of the city, which the bus also stops at. For convenience, all inclusions can be used on different days.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



#5 London Combo: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour and Shrek’s Adventure Admission Ticket

Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Any of the 80+ stops
  • Departure Time: Any
  • Duration: 24 hours from the time of first use
  • Includes: guided hop-on hop-off access to a London city tour bus, access to 3 walking tours in the city, a Thames river cruise, ticketed access to Shrek’s Adventure
Looking for a more family-friendly hop-on hop-off bus tour? London has plenty for families with younger children tagging along. This isn’t just any sightseeing London bus. Sure, you have hop-on hop-off access to many of the city’s attractions, but Shrek’s Adventure is the best attraction of all.

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With your confirmation for this original bus tour, London is open to you and your family. Many of the 80+ stops are at or near family-friendly attractions such as museums and walking tours. There are 3 walking tours included with this package, making it one of the best London bus tours.

Another great inclusion with this hop-on bus: London seen from the Thames river on a river cruise. Cruise past many of London’s biggest attractions as you take advantage of wonderful photo opportunities.

The children’s activity will keep the little ones busy during the less exciting parts of the London city bus tour, at least for them, until it’s time to head to Shrek’s Adventure. There, you will board another bus, but you’ve never seen one like this. Have fun with Donkey as he takes you through Shrek’s Swamp and to 10 different fairy-tale themed shows.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:



London Travel Guide

If you’re planning a trip to London anytime soon, be sure to add one of the best Stonehenge tours from London to your itinerary. But which ones are the best? We’ve reviewed the top 5 Stonehenge tours and provided you with a guide for visiting both Stonehenge and London.

london bus tours

Most likely, your day trip to Stonehenge from London will be a small part of your vacation to this historic English city. Here, we offer a guide to visiting London, from the airport you will be arriving at to other attractions you may want to visit and even the weather.

Let’s help you make the most of your vacation to London!

Airports & Entry

There are five airports that service London, England. If you are traveling abroad, you will most likely be arriving at London Heathrow. For shorter flights departing European airports, should you be heading to London from a previous vacation spot, you may fly into one of these smaller London airports:

  • London City
  • London Gatwick
  • London Luton
  • London Stansted
To enter the United Kingdom, UK, you will need a valid passport. Your passport must be valid for your entire stay and can’t expire before your expected departure.

Planning Tips

Visiting London is unlike visiting any other city on earth. Because of this, you will want to keep some things in mind when planning and packing. We list our top 5 tips for visiting London below. Do you have additional tips to suggest? We’d love for you to comment them below!

Tip #1: Bring Your Walking Shoes

Much of your travel around the city will be walking. Even when you head out of town for a day tour, such as those to Stonehenge, most of the tours require quite a bit of walking. It’s best to be relaxed wearing athletic shoes instead of wearing more fashionable shoes that can make the necessary walking uncomfortable.

Tip #2: Bring a Converter or Transformer

Your electric and electronic devices made for use in the US will not work in the UK without a converter or transformer. A converter is made to use with electronics such as your phone or tablet and a transformer with electric devices such as a hairdryer. The US runs on 120 V and the UK on 240. This means that using your US devices without a voltage converter or transformer in the UK may damage them.

Tip #3: Start Planning Your Trip Early

London receives millions of tourists each year. This means that you will most likely have to book tours well in advance. You should also book your accommodations and reservations in restaurants as soon as possible. This is especially true for tickets to theater events and shows.

Tip #4: Always Bring an Umbrella

It doesn’t matter what time of year you’re visiting London, quick showers and rainstorms are always a possibility. It’s best to bring an umbrella with you as purchasing one at a convenient location in the city will most likely cost much more. A collapsible umbrella that is easy to carry with you is ideal.

Tip #5: Start Budgeting in Advance

London is quite an expensive city to visit but it’s worth it. Be sure you have budgeted for your flight and accommodations as well as your daily meals. You should have plenty of British pounds, the local currency, on hand as taxis and some stores may not take debit or credit cards. Also, keep in mind that the farther out your trip is planned, the better deals you will get, especially on accommodations.

Restaurants & Eating Out

There are several Dishoom restaurants located around the city. These restaurants serve high quality and delicious Indian food within a modern atmosphere. London is one of the best places to enjoy Indian food outside of India. These restaurants often have a wait but the wait is well worth it.

Not only will you want to experience the delicious Indian food, it also wouldn’t be a trip to London without an afternoon tea. There are plenty of places around town to enjoy your tea, but afternoon tea at The Savoy Hotel, London is something not to be missed. Sketch is another afternoon tea hotspot offering a unique experience.

If you’re looking for a meal with a great view, you’ll want to make reservations at the Duck & Waffle. However, don’t miss out on the opportunity to enjoy the most popular meal in London, fish and chips, at many local hotspots.

Nightlife & Entertainment

Nightlife in London can be anything you’d like it to be. There are nighttime tours of the city and surrounding areas for something a little more low-key, or you can head to a nightclub or one of the many music venues to turn up the entertainment dial.

From standup comedy and dramatic theater to the trendy clubs of the West End and even the casinos that can be found around town, nightlife in London is perfect for everyone.

Getting Around

As mentioned, visiting London requires a lot of walking. However, you can also choose to ride the subway, board a boat, or even hop on a bus or take a taxi. You may find the subway also referred to as “the underground” or “the tube.”

The cost of transportation by any of these methods will be determined by your destination’s distance from central London. The city and surrounding areas are divided into zones that determine distance and cost. If you’re going to be visiting for at least a few days, you may want to invest in a daily or weekly Travelcard pass.

Accommodations

There are many choices in accommodations when visiting London. You may find a great Airbnb location, and you can also find everything from a small hostel to a five-star, luxury hotel. The accommodations you choose should be determined by your budget, but also by the type of experience you’re looking for. An Airbnb can instantly make you feel like a local.

A hostel can provide plenty of opportunities to meet other tourists and learn more about attractions and eateries. If you’re looking for a luxury experience, the Camden Enterprise Hotel or even the Dorset City London can provide it.

Weather

The average low temperatures during the winter months are in the mid-40s Fahrenheit or around 7°C. These mild winter temperatures make London an ideal vacation spot for the holidays. July, London’s hottest month of the year, usually doesn’t reach the 70s Fahrenheit, or above 18⁰ Celsius.

Even with mild temperatures during the summer, it can feel quite humid and you may run into a short shower or two. Once again, always have an umbrella handy.

Attractions

A vacation to London necessitates a visit to Buckingham Palace. Other attractions include the Coca-Cola London Eye, the Ferris wheel easily seen in every London skyline, as well as historical landmarks such as Kensington Palace, the London Tower, or the Churchill War Rooms.

While in London, be sure to visit one of the many museums and art galleries that can be found in nearly every area of the city. Parks, waterfronts, and bridges provide great photo ops and can provide a beautiful place to rest and take in the local sights.

The History, Beauty, and Mysticism of Stonehenge

When planning your vacation to London, be sure to plan for a day trip to Stonehenge while there. The best guided tour from London to Stonehenge will allow you to experience the English countryside, the 18th-century city of Bath, the ancient Roman baths, 14th-century English pubs, and more.

However, that doesn’t mean you can skip on visiting the many museums and art galleries, enjoying some of the best food available, and taking time to appreciate the beautiful mix of modern style and historical sites that London provides.

Enjoy your trip to London and Stonehenge!

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Outside Pursuits chose a vintage London Bus Tour for our Editor's Choice. Buckingham Palace and River Thames are just two of the sites you'll enjoy along its route.

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