Best London Sightseeing Tours by Public Bus

Take a London bus tour and go sightseeing on London’s public red buses!  London has a fantastic public bus network passing through many of London’s famous landmarks and tourist sights.  Mix with the locals and catch the proper London red buses for a day of sightseeing.

London’s public red buses have more frequent services than the hop-on hop-off tourist buses and cost only £1.50 per bus trip (or a maximum of £6.80 for a day’s use of London’s buses, tube and trains within zones 1 and 2).  If you don’t have the Oyster TFL smartcard, don’t worry, any major contactless debit/credit card will work (cash is not accepted).  Why pay £20 for a day’s pass on the touristy Big Bus London or the Hop-on Hop-off London bus tour ?

london_new_routemaster_bus

Most London buses are double deckers and many are new Routermasters that enable you to hop on and hop off the bus easily.  Over 8,000 buses serve more than 700 routes and 19,000 bus stops in the city , we have selected some excellent bus routes to help you decide which is the best London bus tour for you to enjoy the sights, scenery and major landmarks of London.

Best London Sightseeing Bus Routes for Famous Landmarks

24: Victoria to Hampstead Heath

Get on at Victoria train station on the oldest existing London bus route and see some of London’s most famous sights on this bus tour, pass through Westminster Cathedral, the Supreme CourtWestminster Abbey before going down Whitehall to pass Downing Street and get a sight of the London Eye.  Then see some of London’s big hitters: Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, and Nelson’s Column before moving onto theatre district down Shaftesbury Avenue and the music shops of Denmark Street.

Take a breath after seeing so much of postcard London and then get off for some history and culture at Great Russell Street for the British Museum or continue and see the tall BT Tower.  Stay on for the hustle and bustle of Camden town’s bars and markets where you can pick up souvenirs and stop off for a refreshment.  After Camden Town is the leafy green Hampstead Heath, one of London’s best parks to stroll around where you can also get a great view of London from Parliament Hill.

LondonBus24Route

How long is this London bus tour?  Approximately 1 hour.

Bus 24 route and bus stop details via Moovit.

RV1: Covent Garden to The Tower of London

After exploring the piazza, shops and performers of Covent Garden or the London Transport Museum, jump on this ultra clean hydrogen single decker bus that will take you along some of the best parts of the Thames.  Sit of the left and head over the Waterloo bridge for some of London’s best views including St. Paul’s, the City of London, the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament and the buzzy Southbank.

Go through Waterloo station and head east passing the Southbank Centre and the National Theatre.  As you ride along the Southbank area, art lovers can get off for the Tate Modern (Lavington Street) and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (Great Guildford Street).   For some food Borough Market is a few stops further before the bus heads off to London Bridge, Hays Galleria and City Hall.

Then it’s time for one of the highlights, crossing the famous Tower Bridge where you can also see the Shard and HMS Belfast before arriving at the Tower of London to peek at the crown jewels.   Take a short stroll northwards and you’ll be in the historic and funky area of Spitalfields and Brick Lane.

LondonBusRV1Route

How long is this London bus tour?  Approximately 45 minutes.

Bus RV1 route and bus stop details via Moovit.

Get on this bus route while you can, as there are reports that it may be cut soon.

15: Tower of London to Trafalgar Square

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If you’re coming back from the east, i.e.  Tower Bridge or Spitalfields, the route 15 London bus passes by more London landmarks.  Head west along the north of the Thames taking you back into central London.

As an added bonus you’ll get the chance to hop on an original heritage Routemaster on the London 15 route.  Not every service running is an original Routemaster, but there is one every 20 minutes.  TFL no longer runs original heritage Routemasters on the London 9 route.  

Get a sight of Tower Bridge and the Tower of London before heading down Cheapside and pass Pudding Lane, where the Great Fire of London began and then onto the Monument to the Great Fire of London.  Fans of Christopher Wren will be able to see his Church of St Margaret Patterns, St Stephen Walbrook, St Clement DanesSt Paul’s Cathedral and the beautiful St Brides Church.

After the Central Criminal Court of the Old Bailey comes Fleet Street, the historical home of England’s newspapers, The Royal Courts of Justice and also Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, one of London’s oldest pubs.  Passing through Temple Bar monument you’ll see the grand Somerset House and swanky Savoy Hotel before arriving at Trafalgar Square to take some more photos.

LondonBus15Route

How long is this London bus tour?  Approximately 45 minutes.

Bus 15 route and bus stop details via Moovit.

9: Somerset House to Holland Park

After absorbing some culture at Somerset House or shopping at Covent Garden jump on the number 9 bus.  Take in some of London’s most sophisticated areas: St James’s, Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Kensington.  Pass Waterloo Bridge, The Savoy Hotel,  and Trafalgar Square where you will see the dome of the National Portrait Gallery.

Along St. James’s Street is St James’s Palace and a host of grand old shops, you’ll then reach The Wolseley and the famous Ritz for a spot of afternoon tea.  Nearby is Green Park and then Hyde Park Corner where there is the Wellington Arch.  Into Knightsbridge and Brompton Road you’ll see the world famous Harrods and Harvey Nichols department stores.

After Hyde Park you’ll reach the home of the Proms, the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial before seeing Kensington Gardens.  Continue down the chic High Street Kensington where you can get off to do some shopping, or visit the Design Museum, or even take in Holland Park and its serene Kyoto Garden.

LondonBus9Route

How long is this London bus tour?  Approximately 1 hour.

Bus 9 route and bus stop details via Moovit.

Other notable London bus routes for sightseeing:

Bus 11: Chelsea to Liverpool Street – Ride along fancy King’s Road, through Belgravia, and then pass Westminister Cathedral, New Scotland Yard, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament.  Continue to Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, The Royal Courts of Justice, St Paul’s Cathedral and then Liverpool Street Station. (Approximately 1 hour 20 minutes)

Bus 74:  Baker Street to South Kensington – See sophisticated Park Lane, Mayfair, Hyde Park, Knightsbridge and Harrods, before heading into South Kensington  for the V&A Museum and the Natural History Museum. (Approximately 30 minutes)

Bus 139: Trafalgar Square to Abbey Road – Take in all of Trafalgar Square before the shopping districts of Regent Street (including Hamley’s), Piccadily Circus, Oxford Street, and Bond Street.  Pass Marylebone Station, Lord’s Cricket Ground and arrive at the famous Abbey Road Studios and crossing. (Approximately 45 minutes)

Bus 100: London Wall to St Katherine’s Dock – Soak in some of ancient London and ride along the London Wall by Bishopsgate, Moorgate and Aldgate.  Head onto Tower Hill before arriving at the refreshing St Katherine’s Dock. (Approximately 25 minutes)

If you have environmental concerns, so does TFL with over 2,000 of their London buses being hybrid, electric or hydrogen.  Relax and enjoy a London bus tour and see the sights using the iconic public London red buses.  For further information on using London’s buses go to the TFL website.

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