Last week our colleagues Caroline and Hitesh went to try…
There’s no better way to discover the best of a new city than with a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, especially in London. With so much to see and discover, it’s almost impossible to fit it all in with the bustling Tube journeys and that’s why our open top bus tours are such a hit. The Golden Tours Blue Route drops you to the doorstep of every tourist’s (and Londoner’s for that matter) favourite locations. Throughout this blog, I’m going to take you on our blue route journey so you know what to expect when you hop-on one of our Golden Tours buses for a London exploration like no other.
Driving you through Parliament Square, home to the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, hop off here and practise your curtsy as you head into the most famous royal venue in the world.
Built over 1,000 years ago, Westminster Abbey is one of the most iconic landmarks in the UK. Most recently, you would have seen it as the royal wedding venue for Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton in April 2011. Before royal weddings were streamed to millions of people across the globe, the Abbey was home to Benedictine monks and transformed by King Edward the Confessor as a royal burial church.
These days, the Abbey beholds many of England’s most prized royal memories including the longest-serving British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. You’ll get to see the historic Coronation Chair as well as Poets’ Corner where the likes of Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer and Thomas Hardy are buried if you buy a ticket to explore inside.
Get back on the bus and hop-off at London’s Whitehall. Walk down the vast street and come up to the black metal gates of Downing Street. Spot number 10 and see if you can catch a glimpse of the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, as you snap a selfie or two at one of the most famous streets in London.
If you want to discover more about Britain’s Prime Ministers, then Churchill’s War Rooms are just a few minutes away.
Churchill’s War Rooms
This museum is unlike any other in London; it houses an underground complex that the British government used during the Second World War. Head on down to the deep depths beneath the Treasury and wander the huge expanse of rooms that were hidden from German bombing raids. Hear how Churchill and his government plotted against Hitler and his army in the Cabinet War Rooms, the Map Room and Churchill’s secret communications room. See his bedroom, his kitchen and much more on this fascinating walk through 1930’s Wartime.
Household Cavalry Museum
Along Whitehall, you’ll find the iconic Household Calvary Museum, home to the history and accomplishments of the Household Calvary. You’ll get the chance to enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be the Queen’s Bodyguard, dress-up in the Cavalryman attire, enjoy the Calvary in action and see the working stables.
Trafalgar Square is one of the most famous locations in London, named after the Battle of Trafalgar and home to the towering 19th century National Gallery. You’ll get to see the giant statue of Nelson’s Column and the four bronze lions that protect it alongside the huge water fountain and many street performers and artists that spend their days in this vast public square.
If you’ve got tickets to one of London’s spectacular theatre shows like Dream Girls or Kinky Boots, you’ll need to hop-off at The Strand. As one of the most famous areas in the capital, it’s got more secrets than you could ever imagine. For instance, it’s often claimed that Guy Fawkes’ Gunpowder Plot was thought up in the Duck and Drake Tavern on The Strand!
Known as the printing and publishing area of London, Fleet Street has housed some of the most famous media outlets in the country. Now, most newspaper establishments have left this iconic street but it’s maintained its reputation as the media hub of the capital. But that’s not the only thing Fleet Street is known for. The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd, once lived on Fleet Street so be sure to check out any barber shops before entering!
St Paul’s Cathedral
Our hop-on hop-off London bus tour takes you to arguably the most famous landmark in London, St Paul’s Cathedral. Often referred to as ‘the beating heart of the capital’, it is one of our most popular stops. Sitting on the highest point of the City of London and designed by architect Sir Christopher Wren, St Paul’s is a real sight to behold. It’s held many famous services including Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral, the Prince of Wales and Princess Diana’s royal wedding and Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations.
If you venture inside, you’ll get to enjoy the three famous galleries: the Golden Gallery, the Stone Gallery and the Whispering Gallery. The Golden Gallery sits at the top of St Paul’s in the dome, 85 metres from the Cathedral Floor and over 500 steps up. It gives you exceptional views of the Cathedral and London where you can spot Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe. The Stone Gallery is the next gallery at 53 metres above the Cathedral floor, followed by the Whispering Gallery. Although it’s the lowest gallery of them all, the Whispering Gallery is famous for its ‘whispering powers’. Stand on one side of the wall, whisper and hear it across the wall – try it for yourself!
The Tower of London
The formidable Tower of London no longer fills Londoners with dread but hundreds of years ago, it was a place of brutal torture and imprisonment. From the 11th century, the Tower of London held some of the most notorious criminals in the country including those who had committed the ultimate betrayal of treason.
The Tower, however, was not only a prison. It’s also been the home of the Royal Mint, an armoury, the guarding place for the Crown Jewels and more shockingly, a zoo! The Royal Zoo held bears, lions and a whole host of terrifying wild beasts that you can now learn more about at the Royal Beasts Exhibition inside the Tower of London as well as come up close to the exquisite Crown Jewels – a must-do in London 2019.
Hop-off at Tate Modern for a walk through the history of art from the 16th century to the present day. The collection houses art from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and across the world to showcase the versatility of contemporary artwork and is an unmissable treat for any culture-lovers visiting the capital.
The London Eye
One of the most popular stops on our London bus tour is the UK’s most visited attraction with over 3 million visitors a year, the London Eye. At 135 metres above ground level, the London Eye’s iconic glass capsules give you spectacular panoramic views of the capital as you’re taken on a 30-minute ride around the world’s former tallest Ferris wheel. You’ll get to see the Queen’s official royal residence of Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and even as far as Windsor Castle on a good day!
The area that surrounds the London Eye is a bustling playground for tourists. With the likes of the London Dungeon, Shrek’s Adventure and the SEA LIFE London Aquarium all within seconds of the Eye, it’s the perfect location to explore for hours on end. You’ll get to enjoy fish and chips by the Thames or a delicious gelato from the pop-up stalls before watching one of the many singers and musicians that line Southbank.
The Imperial War Museum
Discover stories of real-life war survivors and learn of wartime experience with hundreds of fascinating artefacts from World War One and World War Two with a visit to the Imperial War Museum. When you arrive, you’ll see the 15-inch guns from HMS Ramillies and HMS Resolution outside the Museum which gives you just a taste of what you are to find inside.
The blue route is just one of 4 routes that we offer with over 60 stops to choose from. Where can you buy our London Bus Tour tickets? Well the list is (almost) endless! You can book online, call our reservations team or approach one our many hop-on hop-off street sellers – we just can’t wait to welcome you aboard and share memories with you!