Editor Picks: The Best London Bus Tours

by Paul Joseph  |  Updated April 21, 2024

London can be a daunting city to navigate, but one of the best ways to see a lot of it in a short space of time is on a guided bus tour.

(Photo: Golden Tours – Gray Line London / Courtesy GetYourGuide)

There’s a saying about waiting for a London bus for ages only for three to turn up at once. Well, if you’ve been waiting for a London bus tour trip, then you’re in luck, because if you scroll down you’ll see five have turned up all at once. Below you’ll find our pick of tours that we think you’ll love, based on a combination of factors including pricing and reviews. We hope you feel suitably inspired to hop aboard and enjoy one of the most quintessential London activities.

London Hop-On Hop-Off Open Top Bus Tour

London’s landmarks are known the world over, from the Tower of London to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Walking between them all could be quite exhausting, but if you want to get up close and spend as much time as you’d like at each one, London’s best bus tour option is the hop-on hop-off experience. Your ticket will last an entire day and can be used on buses using any of three routes, which cover 70 bus stops around the city located near important landmarks. Included in the price is also an audio guide, walking tour and boat tour, to give you insight and fresh perspectives on the city. From £31.50 per person.

Book at GetYourGuide

Self-Guided Sight-Seeing Bus Tour 

(Photo: London For Free)

So much to see, and not enough time to see it, is an often-heard grumble by visitors to London. But fear not, there’s a solution, thanks to this wonderful self-guided, hop-on-hop-off tour that takes you across the length and breadth of the city, all for the price of a public bus ticket. All you need is a London Transport Oyster card and the details provided by the excellent London For Free website, and you’ll be all set for a memorable whistle-stop tour of London’s finest attractions and landmarks. Following a circular route, you can travel out west past such iconic sites as Hyde Park and Harrods before heading back through the City to the fabled east end, where the notorious Kray Brothers once prowled the streets, before traversing both the north and south sides of the River Thames, taking in St Paul’s, the Tower of London, Big Ben and plenty more besides. For all the information you need, click on the link below. From £10 per person.

Book at LondonForFree.net

Open-Top Vintage Bus Tour 

For those wishing to get to know London well without having to do all that walking, the open-top vintage bus is a great alternative. The ride aboard a vintage London bus from the 1960s takes in the likes of the Shard, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Not only that, but comedic tour guides provide an entertaining overview of the significance held at each place, along with interactive multimedia music, sound effects and video clips to further enhance the experience. The tour lasts approximately 75 minutes. From £28 per person.

Book at GetYourGuide

James Bond Filming Locations Bus Tour

(Photo: Brit Movie Tours / Courtesy GetYourGuide)

Step into the glamorous but highly secretive world of 007 on this action-packed 3-hour James Bond tour of London. After being picked up by minibus in Central London, you’ll follow in the footsteps of everyone’s favourite international spy as you visit filming locations from Bond classics like ‘GoldenEye’, ‘The World is Not Enough’ and ‘Die Another Day’, as well as recent hits like ‘Spectre’ and ‘Skyfall’. Brush up on your Bond trivia as you learn more about Bond actors Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig, then get a glimpse of the real world of espionage as you pass the real MI6 Building at Vauxhall Cross. Along the way, your guide will regale you with stories of how Bond films were made as you gain a fascinating insight into the world of espionage. The tour will end by the London Eye where you’ll disembark. From £37 per person.

Book at GetYourGuide

Ghost Bus Tour

Every city has its dark underbelly and London is no different. Accompanied by a ghoulish guide, over 1.15 hours you’ll visit notorious local spots said to be haunted by restless spirits, and pass chilling sites of murder, execution, and torture such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, and infamous Fleet Street. Along the bus route, you’ll hear spooky tales, chilling legends and tales of London’s dark past, such as the Whitehall Mystery, a grisly murder case from the 19th century where neither the victim nor the killer were ever identified, the black dog of Newgate Prison and Sweeney Todd, the butcher of Fleet Street. From £35 per person.

Book at Viator