Top 5 London Bus Tours – The Best Ways to Explore London on a Rooftop Bus

A tour bus is an excellent way to see many of London’s top attractions in a single day; perfect if you don’t have a huge amount of time or you aren’t sure where the best attractions are. Tour busses have been running in London for decades and millions have used them to explore the city. There are now a huge number of companies that run tour bus guides in London, so it can be hard to know which one to use. We here at Day Out in London have found 5 London bus tours that we think take in the best London attractions, have the most flexibility and provide the best overall experience.


Top 5 London Bus Tours


London in One Day – Sightseeing Coach Tour Including St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London and Changing of The Guard – Top Rated Tour.

st pauls cathedral review

Only have limited time in London but still want to see all of the must-see sights?  Then the London in One Day Sightseeing Tour Including Tower of London and Changing of the Guard with optional London Eye Upgrade is your tour!  It is quite a long day but it is so worth it, and it is great value for money.  Even if you have a good amount of time in London, the tour is a great way to get an overview of all the sights and decide which ones you want to come back and spend more time at.

What you will see:

Setting off from central London, the comfortable, air conditioned coach will  take you around the heart of historical London while your super friendly, well informed guide introduces themselves and goes through the running order of the day.  On the drive to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guards, you will take in the iconic Big Ben and Houses of Parliament along with Westminster Abbey and Downing Street.  After arriving at Buckingham Palace you will walk to the gates to watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony and learn about the century’s old tradition from your guide.

best london bus tours

After the ceremony, it is back to the bus and off to Trafalgar Square for a traditional London pub lunch (lunch not included in tour price).  After lunch the tour heads to the City, London’s financial district, and on to St Paul’s Cathedral where you will get fast track entry, past the massive queues and a guided tour.

The last stop is the imposing Tower of London where you can explore the site independently or join one of the complimentary Beefeater Tours to learn about the Tower’s dark history.  At the end of the tour, guests receive a complimentary ticket for a river sightseeing cruise on the Thames that departs from the nearby Tower Pier down to Westminster Pier.  You can also upgrade your tour to include a flexible ticket for the London Eye, to be used any time, which is great value for money.

This is the ultimate London tour, providing guest with a London experience that is unrivaled. You’ll be taken directly to all of London’s biggest attractions and guided around each one. Book online and receive your tickets via email with instructions on where to meet.

Click the buttons below to book or read reviews on the experience.

See Price and Booking Information Read Over 800 Reviews of This Tour


Bakery Vintage Afternoon Tea Bus Tour for Two – Most Unique Tour

top 5 London bus tours

There is nothing more quintessentially London than a vintage red Routemaster Bus and an afternoon tea.  Virgin Experience Days combines the two for a classy afternoon of sightseeing around London whilst enjoying sweet and savoury afternoon tea treats lovingly made by B Bakery.  The vintage 1960’s Routemaster bus has been modified to create a stylish and comfortable dining space with vintage diner type booth seats and tables.

What you will see:

Depending on departure time, you will depart from Trafalgar Square’s Northumberland Avenue or Victoria Coach Station and embark on an hour and a half long tour with delectable afternoon tea whilst taking in London’s most famous sights.  From Trafalgar Square, you will take in the sights of the towering Nelsons Column and the goings on in the square itself.  From there you will travel through the heart of London, past the architectural wonder of The London Eye, iconic Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street and Westminster Abbey.

Continuing along St James’ Park to the spectacular Buckingham Palace, definitely one of the highlights of the sightseeing tour.  The vintage bus heads further west along Hyde Park where you get to see the Marble Arch, the famous Harrods department store, Royal Albert Hall in all its glory and the beautiful pastel coloured houses of Notting Hill.  Continuing the tour as you devour the delectable treats, you will take in the flashing lights and famous scenery of Piccadilly Circus.

afternoon tea bus tour

This tour is a quirky, different and delicious way to see London’s sights.  The service on board is great and the afternoon tea is fresh and tastes great.  If notified in advance, most dietary requirements can be catered for, the gluten free options are not only varied, they are tasty.

Tip: book the top deck table at the right hand side of the bus to get the absolute best views.

See Price and Booking Information Read Over 60 Reviews of This Tour


The original Hop-on Hop-off London Bus Tour – Best Value Tour


The Original London Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off tour is one of the best value sightseeing bus tours in London.  Not only do you get a 24 hour ticket for the open top Hop-on Hop-off double decker tour bus with full audio commentary, you also get a Thames River sightseeing cruise and three great walking tours: the iconic Changing of the Guard, Rock ‘n’ Roll legends and the infamous Jack the Ripper guided tours.

Your ticket gives you ultimate flexibility, with starting points all over central London, three different sightseeing routes and three transport links for you to use at your leisure.  Two of the sightseeing routes have multi lingual audio commentary and one route has an informative, entertaining live guide.  A great way to learn about all of the fascinating history and interesting facts that makes London so unique.

best london bus tours

The routes cover all of the iconic sights that London has to offer and the best bit: you are free to leave the bus to take a closer look at the sights that interest you the most, then hop back on any bus you come across to continue your adventure.  Highlights include the iconic Tower Bridge and Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe, the London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Ritz Hotel, Kensington Palace and London’s awesome museums.

See Price and Booking Information Read over 3000 Reviews of This Tour

Big Bus Tour


The Big Bus 24-hour hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tour with London Eye fast track is the ultimate tour for anyone who wants to take in all of London’s famous sights and go on the London Eye.  This tour is great value for money all year round but especially during peak tourist seasons when the queue for the London Eye can be hours long.  Why waste your precious holiday time stuck in a queue when you can get fast tracked and be enjoying the stunning views over London in no time at all.  After all, time is money!

Included in the tour price is a 24 hour ticket for the Hop-on Hop-off double decker tour bus with full audio commentary on two routes and live audio commentary on one route, a Thames River sightseeing cruise, three guided walking tours, and the best part, fast track entry to the unforgettable London Eye.  With fifty stops over three different routes, you can get closer to London’s famous landmarks by hopping off and exploring at your own pace.  The different routes take in all of the iconic sights including Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Oxford Street, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Piccadilly Circus and many more.


London Vintage Bus Tour Including River Thames Cruise with Optional Lunch

top london bus tours

What could be better than cruising around London and seeing all of the famous sights in a classic London icon, the vintage red Routemaster bus?  The Vintage Bus Tour Including River Thames Cruise with Optional Lunch is a great way to see London.

The half day tours start at the centrally located Victoria Coach Station where you will meet with your fabulous, friendly guide.  As you cruise around, you will get to hear interesting historical information and fun anecdotes about many of the famous sights such as Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, Houses of Parliament and the stunning Westminster Abbey.   You will continue along the Thames River to the Tower of London where you will learn about its tumultuous history as a prison and execution site, its famous Beefeater Guards and the resident Crown Jewels.

At the nearby Tower Pier you will board the River Thames Cruise where you will cruise along the river, rich with history, hearing audio commentary as you go along.  From the river you will get stunning views of the London Eye, Houses of Parliament and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.  After the river cruise it is back to the vintage bus and on to Buckingham palace to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony.  By now you would have worked up an appetite so why not upgrade your tour to include a traditional fish and chips lunch in a central London pub.  The perfect end to a classic London experience.

See Price and Booking Information Read over 25 Reviews of this Tour


All of these London bus tours are great value and worth booking, but my recommendation would be the Bakery Vintage Afternoon Tea Bus Tour for Two just because it’s a truly unique experience.


London Writer and Blogger. Featured in the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times.

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