Hop on Hop Off Buses in London

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Feb 9th, 2009, 01:17 PM
  #1
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Hop on Hop Off Buses in London

We are travelling with a child & thought this bus-ride might be a good introduction to the city. Does anyone have a recommendation about a particular company or any other thoughts about doing this?
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Feb 9th, 2009, 02:08 PM
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Hi

We used Big Bus Tours in 2001 - http://www.bigbustours.com. I highly recommended it. I like the Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours that many cities run. It's a great way to quickly familiarise yourself with the city you're visiting. The Big Bus tour also had a Rock n Roll tour included in the price which we enjoyed immensely.
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Feb 9th, 2009, 02:53 PM
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We used Big Bus in 2007; tired and jetlagged as we were, it was a painless, easy way to see the sites on our first day in London.

Lee Ann
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Feb 9th, 2009, 07:01 PM
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I don't remember which company we used, but the hop on/off is an ieal way to see the city.

The tickets were good for a twenty four hour period.
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Feb 9th, 2009, 07:05 PM
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the two main companies are the Big Bus and The Original and it is really 6 of one/half dozen of the other . . . .

They are just about identical values/routes
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Feb 9th, 2009, 08:07 PM
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I don't know why a ho/ho bus is a better introduction to the city than getting a good travel guide book that has bus tours (e.g., AAA Spiral) and going from place to place on a city bus? An all-day bus pass (covers all of Greater London with no zone or peak restrictions) costs £3.80 - your map is here:

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloa...al_bus_map.pdf
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Feb 9th, 2009, 08:27 PM
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I have never taken a Ho-Ho bus ever, but obviously lots of people like it, otherwise these comapanies won't exist. I seem to recall seeing lots of tourists riding the ho-ho bus in most cities I visited that offer them.

There are lots of Americans who have never taken a public bus ever in their lives, so I can imagine the thought of taking a public bus in a foreign city (esp on their first trip) can be a daunting task.

Then there are people who just can't read/handle maps. They probably can follow the simple route that HOHO goes, but not the tfl bus map which lists 20+ lines. Plus, finding the correct bus stop for a particular line (eg, Trafalgar Sq) is not that easy for a first-timer.

And then there are tourists from other countries like China or Russia who don't read or speak English. It's much easier and comforting for them to ride a HOHO than to figure out whether they should get a travelcard or Oyster.

Lastly, perhaps the tourists just think it's worth shelling out the £22 for the HOHO in London, to avoid mistakes or headaches of figuring out the regular buses.

These are just a few examples I can think of which explains why *certain* tourists may prefer the HOHO over a DIY public bus tour. It's their money and they can spend it whichever way they want, as long as they don't force ME to ride a HOHO.
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Feb 10th, 2009, 08:46 AM
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I couldn't agree more. But I think it's helpful for beginners to know what all the alternatives are, so they can make an informed choice rather than being stampeded into spending a lot of money they could probably make better use of.

OP asked for "any other thoughts" and I offered mine.
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Feb 10th, 2009, 05:25 PM
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For us, the ho/ho was a good choice because we didn't have to think too hard about how to see things we wanted to see - just get on that bus and go!

Lord willing, we'll go to London again; if we do, we'll take Robespierre's suggestion and ride a regular bus.

Lee Ann
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Feb 10th, 2009, 05:34 PM
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Robespierre,

I appreciate the alternate view. I travel with all my kids (4) (and often an extra or two)so costs add up. I appreciate having alternates to consider!
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Feb 11th, 2009, 04:08 AM
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Try the number 11 bus, it passes lots of tourist areas on it's way to Liverpool Station
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Feb 11th, 2009, 05:32 AM
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Another great bus line from anywhere along Oxford Street is the #15....from Oxford Street it goes to Oxford Circus turns right onto Regents Street to Picadilly Circus goes down the Haymarket towards Trafalgar Square from Trafalgar Square it winds up on the Strand passes through the City the passes a block away from Monument till it arrives at the Tower of London (which is almost the same exact route of the HO HO bus....of course there is no commentary but sometimes when I have a few spare hours in London (not often) I just jump on a double decker bus (some are being replaced and of course most of the routemasters are gone), ride upstairs and can capture some great pictures. Total outlay on oyster £1.....

Not though suggesting there's anything wrong with using the HO HO buses but some people for a family of four might prefer to pay £4 rather than £88....it might be worth it to some.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 06:55 AM
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All the Routemasters have been retired, except on "Heritage" routes on lines 9 and 15.

A family can probably make out even better than £4, because under-11s are free, and under-16s are free with an Oyster Photocard.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 07:12 AM
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Do you not get some sort of "spiel" with the hop on/hop off that tells you what you're passing?
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Feb 11th, 2009, 07:14 AM
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Take a look at the Frog tours as well - kids (and us bigger kids) love it. Amphibious vehicle, half the tour from land and half on the Thames.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 07:48 AM
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Yes you do get a commentary on the HO HO tours and that is their only advantage over the public buses (although it might be an important one).
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Feb 11th, 2009, 08:05 AM
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The taped commentaries are pretty good - almost as good as a tour book except you can't re-read if you miss something. If you happen to get a live guide, you may or may not be able to understand his/her regional dialect.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 08:23 AM
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Frog tours

I thought they were called duck tours. At least the vehicle is painted yellowlike a duck.
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Feb 11th, 2009, 08:50 AM
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Robespierre,

You mention that the AAA spiral guide has bus tours. Is that the AAA London or is there a separate guide dedicated to bus tours?

Thanks -- Laura
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Feb 11th, 2009, 09:19 AM
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AAA: London

Duck - the vehicles are WWII amphibious trucks bearing the military designation DUKW, which the GIs pronounced "duck" - like GP (Jeep) or HMV (Humvee).

Many historians believe that the ducks were essential to victory in Europe, because from a beachhead they could transport men & materiel straight from the ships to the front without further handling - a critical need when we were chasing the Reich out of northwest France.

www.londonducktours.co.uk/
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