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Is Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours worth doing?

Dallas
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Is Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours worth doing?

I have been told by many people on this forum that taking the Hop on Hop off buses are one of the best ways to see London (especially since I only have two days). I went to check out both of the websites here, and I want to be sure that the costs is really worth the benefit.

www.bigbus.co.uk

www.theoriginaltour.com

The Big Bus Company is 20 GBP if I buy online

The Original Tour is 17.5 GBP if I buy online, and it includes a Thames River Cruise, which I was hoping to do anyways.

Can anyone provide some suggestions on:

1. Is the hop on hop off bus tours really worth the price?

2. If so, is the Original Tour just as good as the Big Bus Company, since the price is a little better, and includes a cruise?

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Hampshire, United...
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1. Re: Is Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours worth doing?

Yes and yes, basically.

I think it's a little pricey, but if you value being able to at least see from the outside the majority of the London sights, having a commentary to tell you what you're looking at, and have a short amount of time, then I think it's worth it.

Did this this summer with my Japanese student. Having a commentary in Japanese for him, a children-friendly one for my daughter, and one for me was extremely useful. We went on the cruise a few days later, and again was very enjoyable (we also had extremely good weather which helped). I have to say, I got better photos from the boat trip than I did from the top of the bus! The boat trip being included certainly made me feel I'd got my money's worth.

However, it is still possible to see quite a few sights for free if you're up for a fair bit of walking - namely, get the tube to Westminster, and walk to the surface. Immediate gratification what with views of the London Eye and the South Bank, Big Ben and Parliament and Westminster Abbey, all right there. And then you walk up Northumberland Avenue, going past Downing Street (don't get excited; you can't go down there) and up to Trafalgar Square. From there you could go down to see Buckingham Palace and that, arguably, is most of the 'main' sights done.

The Tower, Tower Bridge and St Paul's Cathedral would require a separate day.

Watford
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2. Re: Is Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours worth doing?

Big Bus also include a river cruise AND a choice of three walking tours hence the slightly higher price.

Minneapolis...
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3. Re: Is Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours worth doing?

I thought it was pricey, but then again, much of what I did there was pricey. I thought the return on the price for the Original Tours tour was excellent, though. Strongly recommend. Nice way to get your bearings in a huge city.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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4. Re: Is Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours worth doing?

Have done both and can say that for first time visitors the price is worth it. Have gone on both companies tours. The Original Tour in May 2007 seemed to have more buses on the streets.

The Big Bus Company lauds their live commentary but they only have that on one route and one of the guides we had was not that well informed. The Original has live guides on at least one route but I agree with Gillianuk that the recorded commentary is better: its easier to hear with out interference.

Boat trips:

At last look, the Big Bus had a shorter circular cruise went from Tower Bridge to the Embankment (?). The Original goes all the way to Greenwich.

With all this, I prefer the Original Tour.

Also, look at www.walks.com for the Original London Walks. The one we took was great and you will find other favorable comments in this Forum. The bus ride will give you a great once-over and help you get your bearings. A walking tour will give you much more indepth information.

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Centereach, New York
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5. Re: Is Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours worth doing?

LucyKong- I've wondered the same things, and after reading a lot of the threads, I actually decided against the HOHO buses. Not because people say they are bad, because generally I've read they're pretty good, but because people here (and some reding I've done elsewhere) have given suggestions of regular bus routes that would allow me to see the same things but would be covered by my Travelcard. I'd rather do some of my own reading about the sites and save the money for other things. But I'm on a tight budget, so that influenced the decision as well.

I'll look for some of the threads for you so you can see what I mean...

Centereach, New York
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6. Re: Is Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours worth doing?

OK - here's a link!

tripadvisor.com/…8482973

Charlottesville, VA
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7. Re: Is Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours worth doing?

I did the Original Tour on my first day on my first trip. It was also something to do that did not require much physical activity in the period between my arrival at 8am and the hotel checkin at 3pm.

Indiana
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8. Re: Is Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours worth doing?

I would say, too, that it's a great thing on your first day. We did the Big Bus Company on the first day of our first trip when you really don't want to go to bed in the middle of the day but you're too jet lagged to walk around much. This was the perfect solution. It gives you a good overview of the city.

Dallas
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9. Re: Is Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours worth doing?

Thanks for the feedback everyone. I think I'll be going with the Original Tour, since the price is a little better, and the stops seem just as good, if not a better.

Any ideas on which cruise I should take? I have 2 to choose from.

1. Thames Circular non-stop 50-minute cruise with a professional multi-lingual commentary in 7 languages

2. Point-to-Point cruise, towards Greenwich or Waterloo, with the live "Captain's commentary" by the Catamaran crew. Point-to-point cruises are available from Embankment, Waterloo, Bankside, Tower and historic Greenwich.

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Dallas
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10. Re: Is Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours worth doing?

I just checked the cruise timetable and it seems the cruises are only available through Sept 9, 2007, and I'll be visiting on the 27th of September.

Is the HOHO tour still worth doing then? Or am I better off taking the tube and getting off at each relevant stop as another poster suggested?