London tour bus

Apr 22nd, 2007, 01:47 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 46
London tour bus

Do any of you have an opinion on whether the Big Bus tour or the Original Bus tour are better? Also, it is my understanding that the Oyster card can be purchased in London at a Tube station. Do you know if that is correct? Thank you!

Cinzia
Cinzia is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 02:07 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
Our experience on the Original Tour was that waiting for the next bus at each stop took longer than we would have liked. We took the tour during the last week in June. Some of the live guides had regional accents that were hard to puzzle out. I don't suppose Big Bus is any different. I recommend getting from sight to sight using public transport, and absorb the history from printed guides. The AAA Spiral Guide: London contains a #15 bus historic tour. Lots of fun on one of the old Routemaster double-deckers on that Heritage Route.

Here is a map you can download and print out to plan your d.i.y. tour:

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/cen_bus.pdf

Oyster cards are sold at all Tube stations that I know of. If you load a 7-day Travelcard on it, the usual £3 deposit is waived.
Robespierre is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 02:24 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,554
How long you have to wait pretty much depends on the time of year. In Summer they are VERY frequent and often one is pulling in before the previous one is leaving a stop. In the off seasons there are fewer buses on the route so you will have to wait longer. They are pretty fluid - adding buses during the day if they are crowded/busy.

Really not much difference in the routes - some prefer the live commentary - but others prefer having the tapes because they tend to be a bit easier to understand.

The DIY bus routes mentioned above are good - but the commentary on the tour buses really helps first timers - plus the open tops make seeing the sites a lot easier.
janisj is online now  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 07:33 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 46
Thank you. I only need a 3 day oyster card. Is it worth it?
Cinzia is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:12 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
There is no 3-day Oyster Card, because an Oyster is just a stored-value electronic payment medium that you can load with cash for Pay As You Go fares or Travelcards (passes).

But there is a 3-day Travelcard that costs £16.40 and is valid for both off-peak as well as peak period travel.

If you don't have to travel during peak hours, I would suggest you load an Oyster with £13.80 and plan to ride the Tube only after 9:30AM. You can ride buses any time (no peak restrictions) anywhere in Greater London (no zone restrictions).
Robespierre is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 08:40 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,414
Over the years, I've been on Big Bus and Original. I preferred the Big Bus. At the time I did the original, the Big Bus seemed to have a more varied route. It appears that may have changed, in fact, the Original may now have the larger route. I liked the live commentary on the Big Bus. We generally had taped commentary on Original.
wojazz3 is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:14 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
Both companies publish their route maps on line. They're almost identical.

http://www.theoriginaltour.com/files/jbmnrfokqt.pdf

http://www.bigbus.co.uk/uk/html/i/summer_07_map.pdf
Robespierre is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 02:50 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 11,469
>>The DIY bus routes mentioned above are good - but the commentary on the tour buses really helps first timers - plus the open tops make seeing the sites a lot easier.<<

This is why we've booked the Big Bus tour. I know we'll be jet lagged and tired, too, and it's just one less thing to figure out on our first day in London.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 06:35 PM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 46
Once again, I thank you all for your advice. Do you know where to buy Tower of London tickets in advance?

Cinzia
Cinzia is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 07:25 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
Any Tube station.

They also sell tickets to Madame Tussaud's/Planetarium* and Kensington Palace.

* Except at Baker Street
Robespierre is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 08:03 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 2,832
Bookmarking, thanks!
azzure is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 03:45 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 29
I was considering the Thames sightseeing cruise which lets you jump on and off at waterloo, embankment, bankside, Tower and Greenwich to take in some of the many attrations. Is this a worthwhile thing or should we stick to the previous recommendation and just jump on the tube? Thx! CC
CodyC is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 08:34 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 19,000
The problem with ho/ho tours (bus or boat) is that they're rarely there when you're ready to move on.

I'd jump on a city bus for all your destinations except Greenwich, which I would reach either by boat or DLR.
Robespierre is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:07 AM.