One of the most vibrant and timeless cities in the world, London, is full of art, history, and culture. Perhaps this is why it is one of the most visited and tourist-friendly places in the world! Once you land in London, you will not have a second to spare because there are simply so many places to see and things to do, including Big Ben, London Eye, Tower of London, Globe Theater, Buckingham Palace, and Thames River. It is also close to a number of beautiful towns and cities, making it easy to take a day-long trip from the city. Maybe this is the reason why London is such a marvellous city to visit, it has something to tickle everyone’s fancy. If you want to make the most of your trip here, the best way to explore the city is through London Hop On Hop Off bus tours.
London Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour Providers
Since London is such a popular tourist destination, there are various tour operators providing hop on hop off services. In this article, we will be focusing on 3 major tour operators that provide London Hop On Hop Off bus tours:
- Golden Tours, which is London’s leading sightseeing company and part of the Grayline Worldwide Association.
- Extrapolitan, which is a global alliance of sightseeing tours, offering this service in various popular cities including Paris, Hong Kong, Nice, Berlin, Budapest, etc.
- London City Tour, a subsidiary of the Julià Group, which is the third-largest tourist bus operator in the world.
All the 3 companies operate open air-top, double decker buses with audio guides in multiple languages. They also offer extra incentives along with the hop on hop off bus tour to make your trip easier.
Now let’s take a look at the services offered by these companies and how they differ from each other.
Comparing London Hop on Hop off Bus Tours: Golden Tours, Extrapolitan, London City Tour
Click on the feature (in blue) to know more about the particular feature.
London City Tours
|Multiple Day Available||Yes - 24 hour & 48 hour passes||Yes - 24 hour & 48 hour passes||Yes - 24 hour & 48 hour passes|
|Routes||4 routes||5 routes||3 routes|
5-10 mins for popular attractions, 15-20 mins for other stops
Around 15 mins during High Season, 15-30 mins during Low Season
|Price|| The tour passes start from |
| The passes start from |
| The tour passes start from |
Complimentary walking tour, Thames River boat ride, and free 3D gaming app, among others.
3 free walking tours, Exclusive kids’ club with specially curated commentary, and complimentary WiFi, and more.
Thames River cruise (one way) and multilingual audio commentary.
Get the full map here
This route covers all the major attractions in London including the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, and also has a live English speaking guide onboard. This tour covers 24 attractions.
This route also covers the major Central London attractions and also visits the London Museum Quarter and Hyde Park. This tour covers 28 attractions.
Perhaps the most comprehensive route, it covers all the major London attractions along with Madame Tussauds and Kings Cross. This tour also covers 28 attractions.
Operating in the mornings, this route basically passes by the popular hotel districts and takes you to Central London.
Get the full map here
In this route, the following attractions would be covered - Tower of London, Madame Tussauds, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, House of Parliament, Oxford Street, and Regent Street.
On this tour, you will be passing through the Royal Borough. It includes the following attractions - Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Harrods, Royal Albert Square and Russell Square.
Cover the museum area in London as this route passes through the Panacea and British Museums. It also covers Piccadilly Circus and Russell Square.
Pass by the Marble Arch, Notting Hill, Urban Meadow, Paddington Station and Holland Park Avenue on this route.
The main points of interest on this route are Madame Tussauds, Marble Arch, Park Lane and Baker Street Station.
London City Tours
Download the full map here
This route takes you to the popular tourist area in London. Enjoy both sides of the river as this bus takes you from the Big Ben to the London Eye. Other attractions include the Millenium Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and a few others.
Explore the cosmopolitan side of London on this route. A definite must-do for tourists as this passes by some of the most well known places including Madame Tussauds, Hyde Park, Marble Arch , St. James’ Palace, and Buckingham Palace.
Camden offers you chance to discover an alternate neighbourhood in London. With quirky shops and tons of eateries, this route is off the beaten path.
Frequency and Timings
Golden Tours: Golden Tours buses depart every 5-10 minutes from popular tourist attractions and every 15-20 minutes from others.
Extrapolitan: During the high season (April to October), the Yellow Line buses depart every 10 -15 minutes from 8:30 AM. The blue line, every 15-20 minutes from 8:15 AM.
During the low season (November - March), the Yellow Line departs every 15-30 minutes from 8:30 AM while the Blue line also takes 15-30 minutes from 8:15 AM.
London City Tours: Between November to March, there is a bus that departs every 15-20 minutes from 9 AM - 4:30 PM.
Between April to October, the buses depart every 15-20 minutes from 9 AM - 6 PM.
Apart from the Hop On Hop Off tickets, tour operators also provide certain complimentary extras to make sure you get a bang for your buck.
1. Complimentary walking tour worth £10.
2. Thames River boat ride.
3. Free 3D gaming app.
4. Live English speaking guide on the Essential Route.
5. Multilingual audio guide (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Hindi)
1. Three free walking tours - Changing of the Guard at 10 AM, Rock n Roll at 1 PM and Jack the Ripper at 4 PM.
2. Thames River sightseeing cruise pass. The 24 hour bus pass will get you a free hop-on-hop-off river cruise pass that is valid between the Westminster and Tower of London Piers. The 48 hour bus pass will get you a river cruise pass valid between Westminster Pier - Tower Pier - Greenwich Pier.
3. Exclusive kids’ club with specially curated commentary, complimentary fun pack and quiz book.
4. Complimentary WiFi on board the buses
5. Multilingual audio guide
London City Tours:
1. Thames River cruise from Westminster to St. Katherine’s Pier or vice-versa (one way only).
2. Multilingual audio guide (English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Hindi, Japanese)
London Hop on Hop off Bus Tours: Tickets
The Original London Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour
London Hop On Hop Off City Tour
London Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
|Provider||Extrapolitan||London City Tours||Golden Tours|
|About|| Explore London aboard an iconic, red, open top bus. See amazing attractions on your way, and avail three complimentary walking tours. |
| Customize your own 24 or 48 hour tour of London with a hop on and hop off facility across many stops on 3 different bus routes. |
| Use your London Hop on Hop off bus tour tickets to explore the city. Get 24 hrs extra for free on your ticket until 23 March 2018. |
Extrapolitan London Hop On Hop Off Bus Tours: Combos
London HOHO, Cruise & Walking Tour with Tower of London
London HOHO, Cruise & Walking Tour with Madame Tussauds Entry Ticket
London HOHO, Cruise & Walking Tour with London Eye Entry Ticket
Advantages of Choosing a London Hop on Hop off Bus Tour
- With a hop-on hop-off pass, you are free to create and follow your own itinerary. You are not bound by anyone or anything and can therefore take your time and enjoy the sights you wish to.
- You get to take advantage of the informative commentary through audio guides or live guides on board. This makes your experience all the more fruitful.
- You also get discounts on certain attractions. Usually, London hop on hop off tickets and tour operators offer discounts for attractions, and in some cases, even give them for free.
- You do not have to worry about missing a place you don’t know about because your driver and guide will take you everywhere worth seeing! And who better than a local to guide through the nooks and crannies of the city.
London Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour Tips
- Try to decide on the places you would like to visit before getting on the bus. Since there are multiple routes, find out where your attractions and places of interest are and board accordingly.
- Wear comfortable shoes as you will be doing quite a bit of walking. The bus can stop only at certain designated spots and your attraction maybe a walk from there. So it is best if you come prepared and carry/wear nice walking shoes.
- If you want to sit in the upper deck, ensure you carry proper headgear and sunscreen as it can get windy or sunny depending on the weather.
- London can get pretty windy and rainy, so it is best to carry a raincoat or jacket as you will be sitting in an open top bus.