You can tour London in a vintage Routemaster bus this December

All aboard for the London Transport Museum’s festive magical mystery tour

Alice Saville
Written by
Alice Saville
Contributing writer
Red London bus
Photograph: Chris Jenner/

Soaking up London’s festive vibes is typically kinda stressful. The streets get packed with panicked shoppers, you need seriously aggressive bar technique to bag yourself a mulled wine at the city’s prettier pubs, and let’s not even talk about the manic, wild-eyed energy generated by the costumed characters outside Hamley’s. Luckily, London Transport Museum is offering a gentler, more old-timey way to enjoy the city this Christmas.

The museum is offering Lights & Sights tours for the first time since 2019, giving punters the chance to tour London’s streets on a classic red Routemaster bus. An old-school ‘clippie’ in a 1940s bus conductor’s uniform will take tickets, and then the bus will drive through the West End’s most storied streets as a soundtrack of jolly Christmas tunes plays.

It’s a welcome dose of nostalgia for anyone with fond Routemaster memories. Sadly, the last of these famous buses was retired from regular routes last year, with Transport for London citing accessibility issues and environmental limitations. Still, if you can’t stretch to the £18 ticket price, why not create your own, much cheaper, festive bus experience? The number 139 tours Oxford Street and Regent Street before offering grand vistas over the Thames from Waterloo Bridge. Bring a thermos of strong mulled wine, pop on a Santa hat and initiate jolly top-deck carol singsongs for maximum festive cheer. (NB: Time Out takes no responsibility if the season of goodwill doesn’t extend to your fellow passengers.)

London Transport Museum will run four tours a day on Sat Dec 10, Sun Dec 11, Sat Dec 17 and Sun Dec 18. Tickets are £18 (£16 for concessions, £11 for kids) and can be acquired via the museum’s website

Like old stuff? Take a look inside the spectacular renovation of Battersea Power Station.

Like old transport stuff? Book a tour of a creepy disused tube station.

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