Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Big Bus Tour of London

Recently we had to travel to London to the Thai embassy as we had a buyer for our house in Thailand. Some of the documents needed verifying an lots of other legal stuff needed sorting out. The usually boring stuff that comes with selling a property abroad.

As we got everything sorted out early we were at a loose end as we had the rest of the day to kill. We got the tube to Picadilly Circus and purchased some tickets for an open top bus tour.

london eye
A view of the London Eye with Big Ben in the background
The bus picked us up just outside the ticket station and we went on our way. The bus stops at different points of interest and you are free to get off and have a look round. When you've seen what you wanted, you simply make your way back to the pick up point and another bus will come along so you can continue the journey.

All the buses have guides, as well as being a wealth of knowledge some of them are quite funny to. I seem to remember two girls who sat near us on the top deck practically rolling on the floor with laughter.

gherkin on the london bus tour
The Gherkin is one of the most unusual and recognisable structures in London
Anyway the bus left Picadilly Circus and we headed to Trafalgar Square, then onto the Houses of Parliamnt, Big Ben and the London Eye. It was at this point we decided to get off, explore the area and grab a bite to eat as we were feeling a bit peckish.

After a quick stroll past the London Eye we headed back to the pick up point and were soon back on route.  As we continued the journey we criss crossed back and forth over the River Thames several times.

We took in the sights and witnessed some of the historical buildings and monuments. These included St Pauls Cathedral, The Royal Courts of Justice, The Shard and The London Dungeon.

tower bridge
Tower Bridge
The guides really do earn there money here as they keep us well informed of all the historical places we pass, many of them we wouldn't know about or miss without them informing us.

The next stop for us was Tower Bridge, one of Londons most famous landmarks. So off we got and had a quick walk on the bridge and took some photos. We then headed to the Tower of London. Although we didn't go inside as we wouldn't have has sufficent time, we walked around it and took some more snaps.

tower of london
The Tower of London
You can also see some of the more modern buildings such as The Gherkin and City Hall. After an ice cream we head back to the bus stop and caught the next bus and continued on the journey.

The bus travelled along the side of the Thames for much of the time before crossing Westminster Bride once again. However this time we headed of in a different direction passing Lambeth Palace before crossing the Thames again and heading to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.

Looking down the Thames towards The Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the
London Eye from Lambeth Bridge
We were now getting to the final stages of the tour as we headed through Belgravia where many of the rich and famous own property. We passed Hyde Park and then headed toward Picadilly Circus passing the Aston Martin and Bently showrooms. Finally it was time to get off the bus as our journey had finished.

We were please we went on this tour as it was better than we expected, although if we had more time we would have done more exploring on foot. I think if we ever did this tour again we would allow a full day, to get the most from it.