Looking for the best and cheapest hop-on hop-off bus tour for your sightseeing in London? Learn all about the top 3 hop-on hop-off providers in London with this review and comparison. In the 3 sections you will find following information:
1.) The Comparison Table with 3 providers. This is the perfect support for your selection. See the differences and prices in the comparison table at more than 20 positions on numerous topics. That means you can immediately recognize the crucial differences on the various positions like the routes, bus stops, cancellation options, ticket prices ...
2.) In the section Top Hop-off Stops you will find some recommendations for a sightseeing stop at the routes of the 3 reviewed providers. Discover the top stops and take a closer look at your favorite attractions in London. See which sights you can reach with a short walk.
3.) The Short Description and Review Conclusion summarizes the main points of the various bus tours. Read the review conclusion with the pros and cons and learn how the different hop-on hop-off offers distinct from each other. So it will be easy for you to find the best city sightseeing bus tour for your needs.
|Hop-on Hop-off Bus:||Big Bus Tours
||The Original Tour
|Tickets for:||24h, 48h, 72h||1 day, 24h, 48h, 72h||1 day, 24h, 48h, 72h|
|Number of sightseeing routes:||4 lines||6 lines||4 lines|
|Additional shuttle routes:|
|Stops:||approx. 50||approx. 80||approx. 60|
|First and last departure on main line:||8:30 / 16:30 o'clock ¹||8:30 / 17:15 o'clock ¹||9:00 / 16:30 o'clock ¹|
|Bus intervals main line:||10 to 15 min ¹||20 to 30 min ¹||15 to 30 min ¹|
|Duration of the center tour - main line:||approx. 140 min – red route||approx. 150 min - yellow route||approx. 180 min – red route|
|Link to bus route map:||Big Bus Route Map*||The Original Tour Map*||Golden Tours Route Map*|
|Bus with free WIFI on board:|
|Audio guide and headphones incl.:|
|Number of languages:||12||11||11|
|Audio guide for kids in English:|
|Tour with live commentary in English:||red route||yellow route T1||blue route|
|Mobile app with routes, maps and info:||Big Bus Tours App*||Extrapolitan App*||Golden Tours App*|
|Open top buses:|
|Guided walking tour incl.:||²||²|
|Thames river cruise incl.:||²||²|
|Included in sightseeing pass:||Explorer Pass, London Pass, City Pass||London Pass|
|Mobile ticket on the smartphone:||³||³||³|
|Validity of standard online tickets:||6 months flexible redeemable||6 months flexible redeemable||pre-defined date|
|Free cancellation option:|
|Approx. prices for online orders:||hours
24: £ 33.30
48: £ 39.60
72: £ 45.00
1: £ 25.00
24: £ 30.50
48: £ 40.00
72: £ 50.00
1: £ 28.00
24: £ 32.00
48: £ 37.00
72: £ 45.00
|Link to provider:||Big Bus Tours*||The Original Tour*||Golden Tours*|
¹) Departure times depend on the season.
²) Not included in 1-day ticket, only included from 24h ticket.
³) Must be exchanged into a paper ticket on-site.
Prices & info as of January 2019
Big Bus Ticket Tip:
The Westminster Bridge offers an excellent view of the Big Ben Clock Tower with the neighboring House of Parliament and the impressive London Eye at the opposite river bank. If you have the time and desire, you may enjoy the view on a short walk along the Thames.
The hop-on hop-off buses do not pass directly in the front of Buckingham Palace but stop nearby the palace, at a side entrance in Buckingham Gate street. From there you have to walk about 300 m towards the Victoria Memorial if you want to have a nice view on the front of the palace. However, a good view of the palace can be difficult if you go down in the crowds of people during the Changing of the Guard. So you should avoid the times during the Changing of the Guard if you only want to see the palace.
The Trafalgar Square is a huge public square in Central London. Here you can take a look at the approximately 50 m high Nelson's Column, admire the building of the National Gallery or sit down at one of the fountains and watch the hustle and bustle on the square.
The 4 hop-on hop-off routes offered by Big Bus Tours cover the major areas of London's city center and will take you to the most popular sights. The red line is the main route in the center and in addition to the commentary from the multilingual audio guide, you will also receive live information from an English speaking tour guide on this line. The German comments about the various sights are available on all routes on the free headphones, via the audio guide.
For the hop-on hop-off bus rides, you can buy a Classic, Premium and Deluxe Ticket from Big Bus Tours. Each of these tickets are described with either 1, 2 or 3 days validity on the provider website. However, these tickets are not only valid for a calendar day, but for 24 hours. For example, the Premium Ticket is valid for 48 hours from the time of activation. All these 3 ticket types include a Thames River Cruise* and a guided walk through the center of London. If you also plan to visit some attractions such as London Eye and Madame Tussauds, then the London Explorer Pass could be an interesting option for you. With this sightseeing pass, you may use the Big Bus Hop-On Hop-off service for one calendar day and get free entrance to a defined number of attractions.
If you order the tickets directly on the provider website, you will receive a discount of approximately 10%. The tickets are valid for 6 months and can be activated on any day within this period. The activation can be done at the bus stops or directly in the bus. If you have a mobile ticket on your smartphone, you will receive a paper ticket when you activate it. Afterwards, you must continue to use this paper ticket for the rest of your bus journey.
Solid Offer ! Big Bus Tours is a large international provider for city bus tours. These experiences are reflected in the solid hop-on hop-off offer for London. The Classic, Premium and Deluxe ticket have a validity of 24, 48 or 72 hours and each type includes a walking tour and a Thames river cruise. Unfortunately, they offer only one route for the guided walking tour.
Order online straight at the provider and save up to 10% per ticket compared to on-site purchase: Big Bus Tours*
Now online additional -10% with promotional code CW10LONDON. Simply click on the link above and enter code at the basket.
In addition to 6 sightseeing routes, The Original Tour offers also a shuttle route to some city center districts with many hotels. The buses on the yellow hop-on hop-off route run in the summer season even until after 21:00 o'clock. This route is divided into the 2 lines T1 and T2. On the line T1 you will hear English live commentary from a tour guide. On the line T2 and the other sightseeing tours you have recorded commentaries from the audio guide on some headphones. The audio guide is available in 11 different languages, the headphones are free and you get them directly from the bus driver. The Original Tour offers an audio channel for children and you can pick up a free Kids’ Club Activity Pack*, but both are only available in English.
The cheap 1-day ticket is only valid for one calendar day. In combination with the long operating times, this ticket offers a very attractive price-performance ratio. The 24h ticket gives you more flexibility for a few extra euros. Beside the 24-hour validity, you will also get some free additional services. Through these, you may take part in 3 guided walking tours and admire the London skyline from a boat cruise on the Thames. This also applies to the 48h and 72h ticket. In addition, at these 2 ticket types, a longer Thames boat ride is included. At The Original Tours you do not have to choose between the 3 offered guided walks. With the 24h, 48h and 72h ticket you can take part in all 3 guided walks and each one usually takes about 90 minutes. Further information and the starting points can be found under the following link*.
By booking online directly at the provider you can get the tickets up to 10 % cheaper. When you place the order for the tickets, you do not need to enter a date. The tickets may be used within 6 months. Unfortunately, there is no cancellation possibility.
Price Tip ! The Original Tours offers both a low-cost 1-day ticket and full packages with free guided walks and a Thames river cruise from the 24h ticket. Unlike the other hop-on hop-off bus tours, you can take part in all 3 guided walking tours with only 1 ticket. The audio guide for children is in particular for families a major advantage over the competitors. Particularly the 48h and 72h ticket give you enough time to use the extensive complete package with 3 guided walks.
If you order online directly through the provider website you will receive up to 10% discount: The Original Tours*
With Golden Tours you can explore London, like with the other providers, with the help of 4 sightseeing routes. Additionally you have the opportunity to use a shuttle route. The blue route will take you to the attractions in the city center and will be accompanied by English live comments from a guide. On the other routes you will get the information about the attractions, as usual via multilingual audio guide and there are 11 languages to choose from. The audio guide headphones are available free of charge on the bus.
One advantage of Golden Tours is the wide range of different ticket variations. In addition to the usual 24h, 48h and 72h tickets, you will find a 1-day and a 3h ticket in the program. With the 3h ticket* you get a simple city tour. This allows you to enter the hop-on hop-off bus once and then take a full round on one of the tours. On the red and on the blue route it will take about 3 hours to complete a full tour round. If you want to have a free walking tour and a Thames boat ride, then you need to buy at least a 24h ticket. For the free guided walking tour, you can choose between two theme walks. If you plan to visit also some attractions in addition to the hop-on hop-off bus tour, then the London Pass might be an interesting sightseeing package for you. With the London Pass you will get a 1-day bus tour and free entrance to around 80 attractions in London.
For all the Golden Tours tickets mentioned so far, it is necessary to specify the date of the bus tour when you make an order online. If you do not like that and prefer to stay flexible, there is also an open-dated ticket available for the 24h type. In this case you have to pay a small surcharge but then you can use the ticket on any day within 3 months from the date of purchase. Unfortunately, there is no cancellation option for all Golden Tour tickets.
If you are only interested in a city tour, then the 3h ticket from Golden Tours is a cheap option without a hop-on hop-off possibility. With the other tickets you may hop-on and hop-off, as often as you want, within a certain timeframe. With the 24h, 48h and 72h ticket you will receive a free guided walking tour and a Thames boat ride. Regrettably, with almost all tickets you have to specify the travel date during the online order and a free cancellation is not possible. With that, your tour planning possibilities will be slightly limited. Among the negative points worth mentioning are also the relatively short operating times, compared to the other bus tours providers. As a result, you could be a bit short on time, especially during the summer months.
All various hop-on hop-off tickets may be bought online directly from the provider at the following link: Golden Tours*
A hop-on hop-off bus tour gives you a good overview of London's most important sights. Nevertheless, the experience of visiting an attraction directly cannot be replaced by a bus tour. If you would like to enjoy the stunning views from the colossal London Eye Ferris Wheel, fall into a selfie orgy at Madame Tussauds or scare yourself by hearing spooky stories at the Tower of London, then you should consider to buy a combination ticket. By the combination of the bus ticket and the entrance ticket, you will usually receive a significant price advantage. The city-walks ticket price comparison will make it easy for you to find the best price. Just choose the hop-on hop-off tour together with the desired attractions and you will get a list of the possible ticket combinations with the respective description and prices.