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Bus routes question

Wichita, Kansas
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Bus routes question


I am hoping for some help with our brief visit next month.

I have asked DH to print me the tube & bus maps at work today, but am hoping your kind folks here may be able to help me out. I have a feeling they are going to be tough to read, especially the bus one!

We have 2 full days in London. One day will be spent at The Natural History / Science Museum.

The other day we would like to show the kids the 'sights' but without paying for the HOHO tour. We also want to go on the London Eye.

We really want to show them the following:

Buckingham Palace

Big Ben & Parliament

London Bridge

Tower Bridge

The Tower of London

Possible extras:

Westminster Abbey

Horse Guards' Parade

The boys are keen to go on a double decker bus. I am wondering if there are easy ways to travel by bus / tube to see these places? Most just as 'drive bys' so they've seen it, and we could visit the places we really want to get a closer look at.

Also, I am going to pre-book for the Eye (there's a 20% off promo). What time of day is recommended? We are staying at Travelodge Heathrow Central (got a fab deal so worth the travelling) & will buy the 'off peak' travelcards. We will be going on the eye on a Wednesday, one of our son's birthdays.

We are Brits & all our family is in the UK, so we don't have to worry about seeing / doing all of London this time. We'll be back!!

many thanks for your help.

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1. Re: Bus routes question

Just grab your oyster or travelcard and off you go. It's really easy to cross London on buses - virtually every bus stop has a map showing routes from that stop - and if you have any sense of the geography of London you can just follow your nose. Additionally, virtually every bus has GPS with spoken and sign updates of the next stop.

Most bus routes in central London are double decker. But did you mean traditional routemaster? In which case you need route 9 or 15, where a small number of routemasters operate in addition to the main service. Route 15 goes to the Tower.

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2. Re: Bus routes question


Detroit, Michigan
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3. Re: Bus routes question

Check out this link for simplified bus maps. They are designed like the tube maps and are easier to figure out than the full-blown bus map.


Also, staying at the heathrow hotels isn't the most convenient for traveling back and forth into London. Make sure you get an early start to get to the nearest tube station, then it will be 45-60 minute trek in. With such a short stay, it could really eat into your touring time.

Vancouver, Canada
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for London
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4. Re: Bus routes question

Small pocket size Underground maps are offered free of charge at all Tube stations, so you may pick one up when in London. The Central London Bus Map is a bigger fold out creature, also available free of charge. If you will have a laptop with you you can call up spider maps for many parts of London; one easy way is to search for "tfl buses from tower of london" - substituting Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park Corner, King's Cross or what have you for the Tower. The TfL spider map will usually be the first offering for such a search (do include tfl in the search request) - but you'll also find spider maps at most bus stops in central London.

Buses 11, 15 and the RV1 (it's a smaller hoppa bus) will let you see a lot of what's on your list; the spider maps are below. Only six Routemasters operate on the 9 and 15 Heritage routes, so if your boys want to ride on a proper bus you may have to wait for a while. The 15s only run from Trafalgar Square to the Tower, but standard 15s run to and from Paddington and Blackwall.




Wichita, Kansas
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5. Re: Bus routes question

Wow!! Thanks for the very fast replies & links.

I am going to be spending the afternoon doing some more research. Going on holiday is a full time job!!

Surrey UK
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6. Re: Bus routes question

Just a word of warning about Buckingham Palace. No service buses go past the front, only the back garden wall and even the HoHos only give a fleeting corner view. I'd suggest you walk to the Palace from St James's Park or Victoria Underground stations (easy to get to from Heathrow - Piccadilly Line to Hammersmith, then a cross-platform change to the District Line). From Victoria, or anywhere on Victoria Street, you can catch the No 24 (destination Hamptead Heath) or the 11 (Aldwych & Liverpool St) which both go past Wesminster Abbey, Big Ben & Parliament, Horse Guards and Trafalgar Suare, all in short order. But it's only a few stops and it's more pleasant to walk through St James's Park if the weather is decent.

You don't want to see London Bridge IMHO, unless you are interested in a concrete construction of circa 1970. From Trafalgar Square, you can pick up the No 15 to the Tower and Tower Bridge. The route passes St Paul's.

As an alternative, start by going straight to Tower Hill on the District Line and then catch the No 15 back to Trafalgar Square.

Edited: 27 May 2010, 18:32
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7. Re: Bus routes question

Just want to say thankyou for the bus infor. Will be using a few of them a week after next.



Redlands, California
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8. Re: Bus routes question

Westminster Abbey is right next to Parliament and Big Ben so you can easily show your sons those in one fell swoop. You will get a better view of Parliament from across the Bridge, where the London Eye is--and in fact unless your sons are too young, you might all enjoy walking all the way to Tower Bridge. Its a popular, wide path with lots to see along the way and plenty of places to stop for a snack. Then cross Tower Bridge and pick up the bus to get back to the center.

Another idea with active kids is to walk through St. James Park after viewing Buckingham Palace (you also get good photo ops from the bridge across the lake in the park) and then right to the Abbey and Big Ben. The park has lots of waterfowl, squirrels, and even pelicans for amusement.

West London
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9. Re: Bus routes question

Here’s my suggestions.

First go by underground to Vauxhall station, exit the underground station and go to the bus station just outside. Get on the Number 88 bus, which is every 5-8 minutes, and go to the top floor. It will then take you over Vauxhall Bridge (great views) and then will go past: Tate Britain, Westminster Abbey, Parliament Square, 10 Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, Regent Street (Hamleys toy store will be on your right), Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, and Camden Town (near Camden Market). Estimated journey time is 39 minutes.

Then get off the bus and wait for another 88 bus going back the way that you came and get off at Trafalgar Square to wait for the Number 15 bus which will take you past the Royal Courts of Justice, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London. Estimated journey time is 22 minutes.

And you can get on and off them wherever you see something interesting.

Wichita, Kansas
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10. Re: Bus routes question

Thank you, again. Tripadvisor is like having your very own personalised tourist guide!

My boys are 8 & 10 so walking to see the sights is a great way to see them.

Any opinions on the best time of day for the Eye? I am going to book in advance to save waiting in line. I am thinking of around 2pm - or is there a better time?