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Original London Sightseeing Bus Tour

The 10 best bus tours in London

Anyone call for a bright red double-decker? See the capital in all its glory on one of these brilliant London bus tours

Alex Floyd-Douglass
Edited by
Time Out London editors
Alex Floyd-Douglass

Whether you’re after a whirlwind tour of London’s attractions for the first time or you want a little refresher of your favourite spots in London, we’ve rounded up the best London bus tours for you to take your pick. Our choice selection includes open-top classics that enable you to tick off your favourite landmarks one by one and some sinister tours that take place after dark... And don’t worry Harry Potter fans – we’ve included a London bus tour that takes in all the bespectacled boy wizard’s trips around the capital, from King’s Cross to Number 12 Grimmauld Place. 

RECOMMENDED: Try a London bike tour instead
RECOMMENDED: The best London tours 

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Best London bus tours

The Beatles evening tour

1. The Beatles evening tour

Trace the years from 1962 to 1970, when Beatlemania was at its peak, as you visit more than 35 Beatles-related landmarks on this evening tour of central London. You’ll also see some of the sites surrounding the band members’ individual music careers, while your expert local guide entertains you with Beatles history through music and film footage - don't worry, there are plenty of photo stops.

Ghost bus tour

2. Ghost bus tour

Set aside an hour of your time to get well and truly spooked. On this ghost bus tour you’ll cruise the city’s historic streets in an old Routemaster (painted black, of course), learning all about London’s grisly past with a hefty helping on chilling tales and the most haunted sites in the capital.

Big Bus London hop-on hop-off tour
Abigail Lelliott

3. Big Bus London hop-on hop-off tour

Hop on and off at London's best landmarks and attractions on this classic open-top tour bus. Soak up the sights with over 40 stops around capital, listen to captivating commentary about your surroundings and experience it all at your own pace. Plus, you can grab a ticket that is valid for up to three days so you can take your time getting to know London.

Harry Potter bus tour
Hans Jürgen

4. Harry Potter bus tour

We may all be muggles, but London contains a wealth of fun Harry Potter experiences that are more than magical. Hop onboard this tour and you’ll journey from Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross to Number 12 Grimmauld Place – a trip that takes three hours (aka just enough time to get really into the Potterverse). You’ll get to learn about locations that inspired JK Rowling’s awesome books and discover the tales behind some of wizarding wonders. And the best thing? You’ll also be shown some of the most famous Harry Potter film locations.

James Bond bus tour

5. James Bond bus tour

Sure, James Bond drives fancy cars, like a classic Aston Martin, but can he fit all his mates in there for a jolly around London? Not likely. Especially if you want to throw a guide in for good measure, too. Luckily, you can fit all those people and more on this Bond bus tour. Delve into 007’s world of espionage and late-night wanderings to discover filming locations as well as sites frequented by Ian Fleming.

London at night tour

6. London at night tour

Giving lucky riders a taste of the lit-up London skyline, this 1.5-hour night tour hits all of the top tourist spots. Naturally, you’ll be travelling on-board a classic double-decker, and it’s the perfect way get views of famous attractions, including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye after hours. Plus, learn fascinating facts about these legendary landmarks from your expert guide and hear insider tips on exciting places to visit in the capital at night.

Open-top tour on a vintage bus

7. Open-top tour on a vintage bus

A vintage double-decker bus has been transformed into an open-top sightseeing experience. From Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London via the Houses of Parliament, The Shard and St Paul’s Cathedral, see London without any of those annoying panes of glass in the way. 

1960s Routemaster bus tour

8. 1960s Routemaster bus tour

Make like a groovy cat and hop on an old Routemaster for a trip around town. See the city like they did in the Swinging Sixties, except with a knowledgeable guide giving you the lowdown on London of old. And if you've got a bit of extra cash to splash, spring for the bulked-up version of the tour that includes a Thames River Cruise and an afternoon at Stonehenge.

Bustronome London

9. Bustronome London

A bus tour for gourmands. The Bustronome team combine fine views with fine dining, across a series of lunch, afternoon tea and dinner services. As you pass a sequence of landmarks including Nelson’s Column, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s and the Tower of London, you’ll also enjoy a seasonal menu with an optional paired wine. Bon appetit!

Afternoon Tea Bus London Tour
Courtesy: Get Your Guide

10. Afternoon Tea Bus London Tour

Fancy a quintessentially British afternoon tea on a classic London bus? Get involved on one of Golden Tours' afternoon tea buses  – as you sit down to a brew and a spread of sandwiches, cakes and pastries, you’ll be driven past Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St James’s Park, Hyde Park, the Royal Albert Hall and all the usual suspects. Splendid!

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