My friend and I were so impressed with the Big Bus Tour that I reviewed our experience on TripAdvisor (my first review on that site) and as I cannot express my views any better, here is a transcript of that review:
Having a friend over from the United States we travelled to London Gatwick from Inverness on the 7am flight down and caught the Gatwick Express up to Victoria where, at 10.30am we took the first journey of our pre-booked Big Bus Tour. We had several hours to kill before checking into our hotel (St Giles - brill location and comfortable hotel with a breakfast not to be missed) so decided to do a loop of the tour to pass the time. We had opted for the 48 hour pass to give us time for the three walking tours and Thames river trip which was included in the price of £28. (This was a pre-booked on-line price) At only £7 more than the 24 hour pass this proved to be well worth it as time, when you are enjoying yourself, runs out far too quickly and we would not have enjoyed all that the ticket offered. This is a hop on hop off service but it was useful to do the full loop first. We travelled the main routes during the first day (Monday) and used these same routes on the Tuesday to reach the meeting points for the walking tours. These tours lasted around 2 hours each, were very interesting and included landmarks such as Westminster, St. Pauls and Buckingham Palace (timed to coincide with the Changing of the Guard). One of the walking tours included the Harry Potter theme and we visited many of the filming sites. However I would say that this particular walk was fast paced and anyone not spritely on their feet would find it difficult to keep up. After each walk we used the bus to go on from there as the tours always end in a convenient spot to rejoin the bus. By timing it right we were still able to use our tickets on the Wednesday morning on the Thames River Cruise to Greenwich where we could have left the boat to tour the village before catching a later boat back to Wesminster. However we chose to do a round trip and then still had time to do the route we had left until last which was one which took us around Knightsbridge, Harrods etc. I have to say here that we gained extra time for this because routes had been disrupted by the funeral of Margaret Thatcher and so Big Bus Tours honoured our tickets for longer than the ticketed expiry, which was appreciated. So, we made our final stop Marble Arch so that we could then walk the length of Oxford Street back to our hotel on the corner of the other end of Oxford Street where it joins Tottenham Court Road. We left Thursday as our free day as we were travelling back to Gatwick for the evening flight home. In real terms, we gently accomplished so much on the big bus tour that, by leaving our shopping time until the evening (shops are open until around 9pm), we could easily have travelled to Gatwick on the Wednesday evening to come home and thus save on our hotel bill for the third and last night. I thoroughly recommend the 48 hour pass with this company. There are other companies operating similar trips and I cannot make any comparison. Certainly we would not have seen half as much (yet would have spent much much more on tube and bus fares) without the BigBusTour and it was hassle free. In between bus rides we chose to walk to places like Covent Garden and Downing Street (as we were in town at the time of Lady Thatcher's funeral) and found that combining all elements we saw and did everything we set out to do, and more.
As a point on interest, my friend and I have also used the Big Bus Tour in Chicago and found it equally the best way to get to grips with the city, it's history and quirks.
Visited April 2013
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