This week we were lucky enough to be able to join The Original Bus Tour in London, exploring the city on the classic London transport. We got to see all the classic landmarks on this beautiful sunny day on the open top red bus! Throughout our bus tour we learnt about the history of the different iconic buildings, famous stories about the Royal Family and interesting (and amusing!) facts about London itself. One of the great things about this bus tour is that when you have your ticket, you can hop on and off any of the Original Tour buses for the rest of the day!
Our journey started at Trafalgar Square, which was easy to get to from Embankment tube station. We were greeted by the friendly stewards and shown on to the bus, taking our seats on the open top deck (half of which was covered in case the true British weather decided to make an appearance). We set off and the tour started, the enthusiastic guide talking us through the various roads and landmarks from the top deck.
We heard about Trafalgar Square’s iconic history, the Nelson memorial, its big guarding bronze lions and the two huge fountains. Our next stop was the Ritz Hotel, where we learnt about its celebrity visitors and grand past. The bus took us around Green Park and Hyde Park, stopping at Buckingham Palace. We had come at the right time – the Changing of the Guards was just about to start so we decided to jump off and join the Royal Walking Tour (included in the ticket) to have a look. This really added to the classic London experience, with Beefeaters on horses making their round in front of the Buckingham Palace golden gates. Once the spectacle was finished, we made our way back to the bus (which runs every 10-15 minutes), stepped on and opened our Original Tours map to choose our next destination.
We decided to sit on the bus for a little longer this time, to learn more about the history of Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. We headed to The Houses of Parliament then crossed the Thames over the Westminster Bridge and Waterloo Bridge. Before long we were driving along the classic ‘Monopoly board’ Fleet Street, passing the Royal Courts of Justice, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Monument and The Tower of London. The busy London traffic actually worked in our favour, as we got to take in our surroundings and listen to the guide whilst having enough time to look at the beautiful architecture of the buildings and landmarks.
Even though we decided to stick to the bus tour, there were two more walking tours available that were included in the ticket. The “Rock ‘n’ Roll” walking tour which departs daily at 1pm from the visitors centre, and the Jack the Ripper walking tour which departs from the Tower of London everyday at 3:30pm. All three walking tours have different start times, so you can attend all three if you want to!
We finished our tour by the the Tower of London and crossed the road to Tower Hill tube station, where we got on a direct train back to Victoria station. It was a great day out and definitely one of the best ways to explore London and learn about its history – whilst avoiding the busy pavements and all that walking! The bus stopped at all the important places – the landmarks as well as almost all of the museums, galleries and The London Dungeons, Madame Tussauds and Planet Hollywood. The guides were enthusiastic and passionate about their jobs, with incredible knowledge of the city – as well as a great sense of humour!