city-walks London

London Hop-on Hop-off
Bus Tours - Review 2023

Looking for the best and cheapest hop-on hop-off bus tour for your sightseeing in London? Learn all about the top 4 hop-on hop-off providers in London with this review 2023. In the 3 sections you will find following information:

1.) The Comparison Table with 4 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 4 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.

Latest Information:

  • Big Bus Offer: Book online now and get 20% discount on hop-on hop-off bus tours. With the promotional code CW10LONDON, you can get additional up to 10% off. Just enter the code at following Big Bus website* in the field promotional code before you finish your order.

1. Comparison Table

Hop-on Hop-off Bus: Big Bus Tours* Tootbus* City Sightseeing* Golden Tours*
Tickets for: 24h, 48h, 72h 24h, 48h, 72h 24h, 48h 1 day, 24h, 48h, 72h
Number of sightseeing routes: 2 lines 2 lines 1 line 2 lines
Additional shuttle routes:
Stops: approx. 50 approx. 30 approx. 20 approx. 50
First and last departure on main line: 8:40 / 17:00 o'clock ¹ 9:00 / 16:35 o'clock ¹ 8:30 / 17:20 o'clock ¹ 9:20 / 17:20 o'clock ¹
Bus intervals main line: 15 min ¹ 20 min ¹ 20 min ¹ 20 min ¹
Duration of the center tour - main line: approx. 150 min – red route approx. 120 min - yellow route approx. 150 min – red route approx. 120 min – blue route
Link to bus route map: Big Bus Route Map* Tootbus Map* City Sightseeing Map* Golden Tours Route Map*
Bus with free WIFI on board:
Audio guide and headphones incl.:
Number of languages: 5 5 11 11
Audio guide for kids in English:
Tour with live commentary in English:
Mobile app with routes, maps and info: Big Bus Tours App* Tootbus App*
Open top buses:
Guided walking tour incl.:
Night tour incl.: ²
Thames river cruise incl.: ² ² ²
Included in sightseeing pass: Explorer Pass, London Pass, City Pass Explorer Pass, London Pass
Mobile ticket on the smartphone: ³ ³ ³ ³
Validity of standard online tickets: pre-defined date / rebookable pre-defined date 12 months pre-defined date
Free cancellation option:
Approx. prices for online orders: hours
24: £ 36.90
48: £ 53.10
72: £ 62.10
Now -10% Discount!
24: £ 32.30
48: £ 34.85
72: £ 37.40
Discovery 24:
£ 26.35
24: £ 37.00
48: £ 42.00
Iconic 24:
£ 32.00
24: £ 39.00
48: £ 45.00
72: £ 50.00
1: £ 32.00

¹) Departure times depend on the season.
²) Not included in Big Bus 24h ticket, Tootbus Discovery ticket, City Sightseeing Iconic ticket and Golden Tours 1-day ticket.
³) Must be exchanged into a paper ticket on-site.

Prices & info as of March 20, 2023

2. Top Hop-off Stops

Westminster Bridge:

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.

  • Big Bus Tours: Red route stop 11
  • Tootbus: Yellow route stop 3
  • City Sightseeing: Red route stop 20
  • Golden Tours: Blue route stop 10

Buckingham Palace:

The hop-on hop-off buses do not pass directly in the front of Buckingham Palace but stop near a side entrance of the palace, 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.

  • Big Bus Tours: Red route stop 23
  • Tootbus: Yellow route stop 11
  • City Sightseeing: Red route stop 11
  • Golden Tours: Blue route stop 20

Trafalgar Square:

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.

  • Big Bus Tours: Red route stop 7
  • Tootbus: Yellow route stop 2
  • City Sightseeing: Red route stop 19
  • Golden Tours: Red route stop 55

3. Short Description and Review Conclusion:

Directly to:
Big Bus Tours    
City Sightseeing    
Golden Tours    

The hop-on hop-off routes offered by Big Bus Tours cover major areas of London's city center and will take you to the most popular sights. Besides the 2 sightseeing routes, Big Bus Tours offers a shuttle route to important transport hubs. 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 some of the trips (seasonal). The comments in different languages about the various sights are available on all trips via the audio guide by using the free headphones.
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 is 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. All these 3 ticket types include a Thames River Cruise* as well as a guided walking tour through the center of London. From the Premium Ticket, which is valid for 48 hours after activation, a night tour by bus is included. With the Deluxe Ticket, you can use additionally the hop-on hop-off bus for 72 hours. If you also plan to visit some attractions such as Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral, 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 up to 20%. The tickets must be ordered for a predefined date, but the date can be amended up to 72 hours before. The activation of the ticket 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.

  •   2 sightseeing routes with shuttle route
  •   flexible ticket
  •   all tickets with river cruise
  •   all tickets with guided walk
  •   Premium ticket and above with night tour
  •   part of a sightseeing pass
  •   no free cancellation option
  •   no audio channel for children

Price Tip ! 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 guided city walk and a Thames river cruise.

Order online straight at the provider and save up to 20% 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.

The provider Tootbus was formerly known as The Original Tour. The new brand Tootbus has currently 2 sightseeing route through the center of London. On the yellow hop-on hop-off route, the buses even start the last round trip at 18:00 o'clock on weekends. As with the other operators, you get some recorded commentaries about the attractions via an audio guide during the bus ride. The headphones for the audio guide are free, and you can get them directly from the bus driver. Unfortunately, the audio guide is only available in English and French. However, Tootbus also offers an audio channel for children in these two languages.
The London Discovery Ticket* is the cheapest option and includes the hop-on hop-off bus only for 24 hours. In combination with the long operating times on weekends, this ticket offers a very attractive price-performance ratio. For a few extra euros, you can get the Must See London Ticket* for 24h or 48h. This ticket includes a free boat cruise on the Thames which gives you the opportunity to admire the London skyline.
You can easily book the tickets online directly at the provider. When you place the order for the tickets, you need to specify a date for your ride. But you can change this date within 12 months or cancel the ticket free of charge.

  •   2 sightseeing routes with lots of attractions
  •   free cancellation option
  •   Must See Ticket with Thames river cruise
  •   audio channel for kids
  •   audio guide only in English and French
  •   no sightseeing pass offer

Solid Offer ! Tootbus offers both a simple low-cost Discovery Ticket and some Must See London packages with a free Thames river cruise. The audio channel for children is especially for families a major advantage over the competitors. Unfortunately, the audio guide is only available in English and French.

Provider website for direct online orders at following link:    Tootbus*

The international provider City Sightseeing operates one hop-on hop-off bus route in London. The red marked route has about 20 stops. The travel time for a complete round with the bus is about 2.5 hours. In addition to many stops at some famous attractions, you may also get off at Marble Arch. The Oxford Street, which is a famous shopping street, starts there. Another recommended stop is Potters Fields Park from where you can enjoy a gorgeous view of the Tower Bridge. On the bus, you will get some comments about the tour via audio guide. You can choose from 11 different languages.
The ticket offer includes different types. The Iconic and the Essential tickets are certainly the first choice for most of the customers. The Iconic ticket is the simplest and cheapest option. It allows you to use the hop-on hop-off bus route of City Sightseeing for 24 hours. With the Essential ticket you have the choice between a 24h and 48h validity and additionally you will get a free boat trip on the Thames River. Both ticket types include a free smartphone app for self-guided walks in London. Here you will find an overview of all ticket offers*.
When you place your online order at City Sightseeing, you do not have to specify a date of use. You can use the tickets on any day within the next 12 months. If you change your mind, you have the option to cancel free of charge within 3 months of placing the order.

  •   flexible tickets for 12 months
  •   river cruise with Essential ticket incl.
  •   app for walks incl.
  •   free cancellation option
  •   only 1 sightseeing route
  •   no sightseeing pass offer
  •   no audio channel for children

The ticket purchase at City Sightseeing London offers you a great flexibility before and after your order. When selecting your ticket, you can choose whether you only want to use a hop-on hop-off bus or furthermore include a boat ride on the Thames River. You can start the trip within 12 months and have the option to cancel for free up to 3 months after your purchase. Unfortunately, the buses are only running on one route. Nevertheless, you will still be able to reach most important sights. A special plus is the included app for some self-guided walks in London.

The tickets and further information are available online directly from the provider at the following link:   City Sightseeing London*

With Golden Tours you can explore London, like with the other providers, with the help of two 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 some departures. But you also have the possibility to listen to the information about the attractions via a 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 90-minute ticket in the program. With the 90-minute ticket* you get a simple city tour with live English commentary. If you want to have a free Thames boat ride, then you need to buy at least a 24h ticket. The 24h, 48h and 72h tickets include a Thames boat ride. 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 hop-on hop-off tickets.

  •   2 sightseeing routes with shuttle route
  •   Thames boat ride incl. from 24h ticket
  •   many ticket variations available
  •   part of a sightseeing pass
  •   no free cancellation option
  •   tour date must be specified at order
  •   no audio channel for children

If you are only interested in a city tour, then the 90-minute 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 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.

All various hop-on hop-off tickets may be bought online directly from the provider at the following link:   Golden Tours*

Hop-on Hop-off Combination Tickets:

The hop-on hop-off bus tours from this review will give 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.

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