on April 17, 2008
We decided on The Big Bus for our city tour. (And yes, i know the photo isn't actually a tour bus, but it was taken from the top deck of one!) The main reason is that one of their routes offers live guides. There are two or three different routes you can take with Big Bus. The red route has live guides most of the time. The Blue route is all recorded commentary. The blue route will take you down by the Knightsbridge museums and around the outside of Hyde Park and up to Madam Taussaud's. The Red route is mainly the central areas. The blue route covers this part as well. The Green route is a connector route that only runs between the Russell Square hotels (and the British Museum area) and Aldwych where you can catch a Blue or Red route. Busses usually run every 15 minutes or so (depending on traffic). Cost is about 18 - 20 pounds per adult. You can get tickets online, or right at the stop if there's a representative there or from the driver. The Big Bus centre is by Victoria Station. Tickets in summer also come with a voucher for a free cruise on the Thames and they also do walking tours with your ticket, from Trafalgar Square by the National Gallery. Original London Sightseeing tours, a different company, offer similar services though most of them do not have live guides. Tickets are good for 24 hours from when you bought them and you can get on and off all over the routes as often as you want. Busses don't run past about 6:30 in the evening and start about 8:30 or 9 in the morning. In winter, they'll give you 48 hours on a ticket. It's a great way to get an overview of the city and decide where you might want to spend more time. Yes, the tour busses are a bit pricey and you could do just as well with a city bus and a guide book, but if you have the budget for it, it's well worth it.
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