Big Bus?
August 15, 2007 4:23 PM   Subscribe

What's the best open-top bus line in London?
posted by chuckdarwin to Travel & Transportation around London, England (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I hope this isn't considered unresponsive, but those bus lines are ridiculously expensive (£20/adult, £10/child) to the point of being a ripoff.

If you get an Oyster card, you can ride the London Transport buses all day long for £3/adult (£4.60 will include tube travel in zones 1-2 as well), and children 13 and under can do so for free (10 and under get free travel on Tube)! TfL has a special bus map (PDF) of bus routes and tourist attractions in central London. Make sure you get a heritage Routemaster on route 9.

Get a guidebook so you can read or visit the places you pass by rather than hear canned material about them.
posted by grouse at 4:51 PM on August 15, 2007

Response by poster: No, that's a great answer... but it's for my brother (who is an American tourist who only has one day in London). *I* will take your advice another time... but we're looking for quick and easy.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:55 PM on August 15, 2007

What about the boats on the Thames? Better than being stuck in traffic, more time to take photos, cooler if Our American Cousin has little ones, lots of places to get on and off, run by London Transport. Service guide/map (PDF) here.
posted by mdonley at 5:06 PM on August 15, 2007

Best answer: A rip-off maybe, but I rode around on the Big Bus about 5 years ago and I thought it was fun. Since the routes are all loops, you can just chill out and there's no chance of getting lost. And it really helps if it's a nice day... I rode up on the top for a few hours and actually got a suntan! Not having a roof makes a big difference from the normal buses, IMO. And it includes a river cruise.

I should note that I did this the day my overnight flight arrived, on about an hour of poor sleep, so I was in no mood for thinking or doing stuff. The rest of the time I rode the tube around, but you don't really see much of the city that way.
posted by smackfu at 5:27 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

I lived in London last year and had a lot of visitors. I tried a number of the companies. I found the Original Tour FAR superior to the Big Bus company.

Why? OT had a lot more buses to "hop on." The guides were much nicer and funnier.
posted by k8t at 6:26 PM on August 15, 2007

If you want to combine a bus tour with a boat tour then you can't go wrong with a Duck Tour. I went at Christmas for a friend's birthday and it was great, good commentary, not too expensive and how often do you get to ride a bus into a river!
posted by eb98jdb at 1:46 AM on August 16, 2007

My vote's for the Original London Tour, which I took back in 2003 while living in London. The guides were all pretty knowledgeable, and being able to hop on and off at any stop to spend more time checking it out is a great feature. The tickets are good for a full 24 hours, you get a pass for a ride on the Thames, and the guides are on the bus with you and available for questions.

Also, if your brother is going to be in London before the 25th of September, he should definitely go see Buckingham Palace. The palace is only open to visitors for two months of the year while the Queen travels and the rooms are definitely worth an ogle.
posted by nerdcore at 10:45 PM on August 20, 2007

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