I had the opportunity to do my first ever hop on hop off bus tour during my trip to London early last month. I know some people frown at this and call it touristy, and maybe it is, but I really feel that it’s okay. In fact, I highly suggest the hop on hop off tour if you want to see a city but are running short on time.
I took off with the company “Big Bus Tours” and they have two main routes the red being a bit shorter and with live commentary, and the blue route which is longer but only has audio commentary. (All routes include commentary in 8 languages and free headphones).
I first hopped onto the blue line bus (the longer route) and though it was chilly, it was really fascinating to see the different streets throughout the city. What I particularly liked about this route was that it goes through Notting Hill which I wouldn’t have had time to see otherwise. Also since it was within a week of Princess Charlotte being born, seeing Kensington Palace, albeit briefly, was quite exciting.
Once the blue line bus got to the Big Ben, that’s the only place I hopped off as I was still feeling a bit queasy from the day before (read about that here). I was in awe of what I saw. For me, I love finding amazing places off the beaten path for sure, but when I see an iconic symbol of a country, that’s when it seems to hit me that ‘yes this is real life and not just a dream’. So I ventured around from Big Ben and Parliament, over to Westminster Abbey and sat with a hot chocolate to warm up marvelling in the sights around me. I continued to spend some time walking around on smaller surrounding streets then I hopped back on a bus, however this time it was a red line bus I decided to hop as it was now following the same track as the blue. This way I also had the opportunity to experience the live commenter. Having the live commenter was a lot of fun. He was upbeat, funny, and entertaining. I found that I learned a bit more from having him versus the audio.
Another thing I liked about the bus tour was getting a different angle on things. You see different places from a whole new perspective and I thought that was a lot of fun.
I may have played tourist for the day, but I have to say it was such a wonderful experience, and it’s a great way to not get over tired as you can rest in between your places of interest while learning about the history of the area around you. I will be doing hop on hop off trips again in the future! #Shameless