4 Best Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours in London 2023

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In a city as vast and varied as London, it can be tricky to hit all of the top attractions on a trip.  Although the city offers plenty of options for both public and private transportation, few are as convenient, comprehensive, and exciting as hop-on hop-off bus tours. 

These are the best hop-on hop-off buses in London: 

  1. Big Bus London Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
  2. City Sightseeing London Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
  3. Tootbus London Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
  4. Golden Tours London Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

How Do London Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours Work?

These double-decker bus tours in London travel along a designated route and stop at the city’s top attractions along the way. You’re welcome to hop off at any or all of the stops or remain on the bus for the duration of the tour. If you do hop off at any of the stops, you can hop back on another bus when you’re finished at your attraction and continue along the route. 

There are plenty of ticket options, including one-day, two-day, and three-day passes. 

Best Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours in London

1. Big Bus London Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

One of the most popular tour bus companies in London, Big Bus, offers open-top buses with flexible ticket options, exciting add-ons, and audio guides in Spanish, English, French, German, and Italian.

Routes of the Big Bus Tour in London

Big Bus tours travel along three routes that vary in duration and frequency. You can choose which route or routes to take regardless of the ticket you buy. 

Green Route
  • Duration: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Frequency: Every 30-60 minutes
  • First bus: 8:30 a.m.
  • Last bus: 4:45 p.m.
  • Stops: Woburn (Northbound), Euston Station, Kings Cross Station, St. Pancras Station, Euston Road, Woburn (Southbound), British Museum (Southbound), Covent Garden, Temple Underground Station, British Museum (Northbound)
Red Route
  • Duration: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Frequency: Every 15-30 minutes
  • First bus: 8:40 a.m.
  • Last bus: 5 p.m.
  • Stops: Green Park Underground, Hard Rock Cafe, Queen Mother Gates, Marble Arch, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar, Square, Craig’s Court, Horseguards, Whitehall, London Eye (Eastbound), Waterloo (Eastbound), Covent Garden, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, Tower of London, Temple Underground Station, Westminster Pier, London Eye (Westbound), Lambeth Palace, College Green, Tothill Street, Buckingham Palace, Victoria Station
Blue Route
  • Duration: 3 hours, 30 minutes
  • Frequency: Every 20-30 minutes
  • First bus: 8:30 a.m.
  • Last bus: 5 p.m.
  • Stops: Victoria Nova Complex, Victoria Station, Queen Mother Gates, Marble Arch, Green Park Underground, Hard Rock Cafe, Hyde Park Corner, Harrods, South Kensington Museums, Gloucester Road, Kensington Palace, Notting Hill, Kensington Gardens, Thistle Hotel, Lancaster Gate, Paddington Station, Praed Street, Baker Street, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Craig’s Court, Horseguards, Whitehall, London Eye (Eastbound), Waterloo (Eastbound), Covent Garden, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, Tower of London, Temple Underground Station, Westminster Pier, London Eye (Westbound), Lambeth Palace, College Green, Tothill Street, Buckingham Palace

Map of the Big Bus Tour in London

Big Bus London Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour Map

Tickets for the Big Bus Tour in London

Along with the three route options, Big Bus tours in London offer three ticket types:

  • The 24-Hour Classic Ticket includes hop-on hop-off access for 24 hours as well as a one-way river cruise. You can purchase the classic ticket alone for $44 (about 36 British pounds), or bundle it with a ticket to ride the London Eye for an additional $43. Purchase tickets or learn more.
  • The 48-Hour Premium Ticket includes hop-on hop-off access for 48 hours, a one-way river cruise, a panoramic evening tour, and a choice of three walking tours. This pass costs $64. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The 72-Hour Deluxe Ticket includes hop-on hop-off access for 72 hours, a one-way river cruise, a panoramic evening tour, and a choice of three walking tours. This pass costs about $75. Purchase tickets or learn more.

Buy Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tickets Now

2. City Sightseeing London Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Another great tour bus company in London, City Sightseeing offers top-of-the-line double-decker buses and a great selection of five self-guided audio tours that you can download onto your phone and listen to in your choice of 11 languages. 

Routes of the City Sightseeing Bus Tour in London

City Sightseeing tours feature one main route and a convenient shuttle service that picks you up and connects you with the first or second stop. 

Red Route
  • Duration: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Frequency: Every 10-20 minutes
  • First bus: 8:30 a.m.
  • Last bus: 5:20 p.m.
  • Stops: Belvedere Road, Aldwych (One Aldwych Hotel), Ludgate Hill (St Paul’s Cathedral), Queen Victoria Street (The City), London Bridge, Tooley Street (Tower Bridge), Tower Hill (Tower of London), Victoria Embankment, Westminster Bridge (Big Ben), Horseferry Road, Buckingham Gate (Buckingham Palace), Buckingham Palace Road (Victoria Station), Buckingham Palace Road, Stop Z12, Grosvenor Gardens, Queen Elizabeth Gate, Hyde Park, Marble Arch (Speakers Corner), Marble Arch (Park Lane), Haymarket, Pall Mall East (Trafalgar Square), Westminster Bridge (South)
Green Shuttle Service
  • Frequency: Every 20-30 minutes
  • First shuttle: 8:55 a.m.
  • Last shuttle: 4:17 p.m.
  • Stops: Belvedere Road, Aldwych (One Aldwych Hotel), Southampton Row, Woburn Place, Bedford Way, City Sightseeing Shop Southampton Row, Lancaster Place

Map of the City Sightseeing Bus Tour in London

City Sightseeing London Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour Map

Tickets for the City Sightseeing Bus Tour in London

City Sightseeing offers a variety of ticket options, with validity ranging from 24 to 48 hours and a selection of several add-ons and perks. 

  • The Iconic Ticket provides 24-hour hop-on hop-off access and costs about $39. Purchase tickets or learn more
  • The Essential Ticket includes a river cruise with both types. You can choose between 24-hour hop-on hop-off access, which includes one Royal London walking tour and costs about $45, and 48-hour hop-on hop-off access, which includes five walking tours and costs about $50. Purchase tickets or learn more.

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3. Tootbus Must-See Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour 

Offering an open-air experience and comfortable top decks measuring 4 meters high, Tootbus is another great provider of exciting hop-on hop-off London tour buses. 

Routes of the Tootbus Bus Tour in London

Yellow Route
  • Frequency: 15-20 minutes
  • First bus: 8:20 or 8:30 a.m.
  • Last bus: Between 4 and 6 p.m., depending on the time of year
  • Stops: Coventry Street, Trafalgar Square, London Eye, Waterloo Station, Covent Garden, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, Tooley Sreet City Hall, Tower of London, Westminster Pier, Buckingham Palace, Victoria Station, Grosvenor Gardens, Hyde Park, Marble Arch, Oxford Street
Blue Route
  • Frequency: 20-30 minutes
  • First bus: 9 a.m.
  • Last bus: Between 4:30 and 6 p.m., depending on the time of year
  • Stops: Grosvenor Gardens, Buckingham Palace Gate, Westminster Bridge, Parliament Street, Horse Guards Parade, Picadilly Arcade, Green Park Station, Hard Rock Cafe, Hyde Park, Harrods, Museums, Gloucester Road, Kensington Palace, Notting Hill Gate, Bayswater Road, Paddington Station, Praed Street, Oxford Street
Windsor Route
  • Frequency: 60 minutes (30 minutes in July and August)
  • First bus: 10 a.m.
  • Last bus: 4 p.m. (5 p.m. in July and August)

Tickets for the Tootbus Bus Tour in London

Tootbus sells several ticket types, offering varied selections of routes and durations.

  • Must See London tickets include a Thames river cruise and come in one-, two-, and three-day options priced at $39, $42, and $45. You have the option of both the yellow and blue routes. Purchase tickets or learn more.
  • London Discovery tickets also offer the option of riding the yellow and/or blue routes, although these tickets don’t include a river cruise. One-, two-, and three-day tickets cost $32, $35, and $38 respectively. Purchase tickets or learn more.
  • Windsor Discovery tickets take you along the special Windsor route and can only be purchased for one-day hop-on hop-off access at about $16. Purchase tickets or learn more.
  • London & Windsor Discovery tickets are valid for one-day hop-on hop-off access and combine the above options, offering access to the yellow, blue, and Windsor routes. These tickets cost about $43. Purchase tickets or learn more.

Buy Tootbus Hop-On Hop-Off Tickets Now

4. Golden Tours Open-Top Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus

Last but certainly not least is Golden Tours, which offers open-top tour buses in London that make over 60 stops and travel along two routes. 

Routes of the Golden Tours Bus Tour in London

Offering two appealing routes and convenient shuttle services, Golden Tours ensures you’ll get a glimpse of all of London’s best attractions. 

Blue Route (Classic Route)
  • Frequency: 20 minutes
  • First bus: 8:40 a.m. 
  • Last bus: 6:20 p.m. (3:20 p.m. for full loop)
  • Stops: Victoria, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Covent Garden, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Queen Victoria Street, King William Street, Tooley Street, Tower of London, Victoria Embankment, Westminster Pier, Parliament Square, Horse Guards Parade, Piccadilly Circus, Green Park Station, Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Palace, Gloucester Road, Sought Kensington Station, Victoria & Albert Museum, Harrods, Victoria Station, Lambeth Palace
Red Route (Essential Route)
  • Frequency: 20 minutes
  • First bus: 9:46 a.m.
  • Last bus: 6:06 p.m. (3:46 p.m. for full loop)
  • Stops: Covent Garden, Queen Elizabeht Gate, Marble Arch, Victoria Station, Lambeth Palace Road, London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Marble Arch, Paddington, Madame Tussauds, London Zoo, Euston Station, Kings Cross, St. Pancras International Station, Upper Woburn Place, Russell Square, Holborn, Haymarket, Pall Mall East, Trafalgar Square, Waterloo Station

Map of the Golden Tours Bus Tour in London

Golden Tours Open-Top Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Map

Tickets for the Golden Tours Bus Tour in London

Golden Tours offers an extensive selection of tickets, with the option to bundle tickets for several major attractions along the way. 

Buy Golden Tours Hop-On Hop-Off Tickets Now

Benefits of a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour in London

While the London Underground (or the Tube) is a reliable and affordable way to get around, it does take time to navigate, and you might miss out on some aboveground sights along the way. If you opt to travel around in taxis, you might find yourself racking up a hefty transportation bill. 

London hop-on hop-off bus tours, on the other hand, offer a fun, flexible, and cost-effective way to see the city and check out all of your anticipated attractions. The buses are clean and comfortable, and the top decks of open-top buses in London offer fantastic views of the city that make for great photo opportunities. The tours also provide either live or recorded audio guides in many languages that share interesting facts about the city and various attractions. 

Hop-on hop-off bus tours in London are a great way to save time and energy on shorter trips, since you won’t have to navigate public transportation in a new city and the route is planned out for you. You can sit back and relax, knowing that the tour has accounted for all of the city’s most popular tourist destinations and must-see attractions. If it’s your first time in London, these tours are also a great way to help you get your bearings, familiarize yourself with different neighborhoods, and even mingle with the other tourists on your route. 

While you can choose to purchase tickets for bus tours only, there are also plenty of options to bundle the bus tour with other attractions for maximum savings. If you’re interested in pre-purchasing a larger package of attractions, you might want to consider a city pass. 

The Go City Explorer Pass allows you to choose two to seven attractions out of over 80 possible options, including Big Bus tours. Another popular city pass is the London Pass, which offers validity options for one to 10 days and includes a one-day Big Bus tour, along with access to countless attractions. 

Tips for Taking a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus in London

To help you achieve a smooth ride of sightseeing, we’ve created a quick guide with our top tips for hop-on hop-off in London:

  • Check your bus tour’s timetable and routes ahead of time to decide where you’ll hop off. It might also be a good idea to keep screenshots of the timetable and routes on your phone, allowing you to take a quick look at them along the way. 
  • Make sure you understand exactly what your ticket includes before purchasing. While some tickets have options for multiple routes, others are valid for one particular route only. Some tickets may also include extra off-bus attractions and perks, such as boat cruises, walking tours, and museum admissions. 
  • London can get pretty chilly in the winter and fall, so if you plan on visiting in these months, bring some extra layers with you on the bus. This is especially important on open-air buses if you’re hoping to hit the top deck for some photos. 
  • Check whether your bus company provides water beforehand. Bring your own if it doesn’t or you’re not sure, especially in the summer. 
  • Hop on as early as possible to get the most out of your ticket, and avoid rush-hour traffic if possible. This is especially important with one-day passes. 
  • If you buy a multiday pass and feel like you have enough time, consider doing the full route without hopping off before you start exploring attractions. This will help you get your bearings and is a great way to see the entire city. 

We hope this guide has given you a better sense of sightseeing bus tours in London. Are you convinced yet that hop-on hop-off is the way to go?