Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Summer Staycation 9 The Original Bus Tour

I always say when your in London the a bus, because you get to see the sights. Yes a bus is stop start and slower than the tube but its the only way to see the big city. This is why we chose to work with The OriginalTour company, and take a tour of London.

They offer 6 bus routes for you to take, The Redline, the yellow line, the purple line, Green line, Blackline and the blue line, Although the three tour routes are the yellow, red and blue lines.  We collected our tickets from a lovely man in The Original Tour visitor office in Trafalgar Square, it was very easy to find and walking distance from Charing Cross station or Trafalgar square tube station. The man asked how many children we had and I said two, he then handed me a goodie bag for them both, full of activities to do.

We were directed to the nearest bus stop to get on the Red route and we waited for a bus, due to a teachers march going on in central London, we had to wait a long time for a bus to arrive. The buses had all been re routed, so we walked to Aldwich and hopped on a bus there. So if your thinking of doing this, please make sure there is no special event going on or protests as it could make the difference between a good day and a bad day.  If there is going to be a disruption, it is normally posted on the website. As we got on the bus, we picked up some earphones so we could listen to the commentary, it was spoken in 10 languages so if your a tourist, then you will be able to understand it. The earphones are all new for every passenger and come in little sealed bags, so when you get off the bus, just pop them in your bag or pocket untill you get on the next bus.

We were on the red route and it took us to HMS Belfast where we got off and went on to the ship. When we rejoined the bus, we were able to get an upstairs seat, and it was lovely with the breeze blowing (it was a very hot day). We went over Tower bridge, Past the Tower of London, Past the London Eye, Buckingham Palace (although you dont see it, you have to get off the bus to see it), hyde park corner and when we reached Marble Arch we had to get off and Swap buses as ours was out of service. We were quite happy with this and we chose to use this point to swap to the yellow route, where there is a live commentator on the bus. I prefer this as i find the live commentators comical and they tell you additional bits of information that isnt on the script.

Whilst we were waiting for the Yellow route we were entertained by a chap working for The original Tour, and he kept on his toes, he was alwatys asking the people waiting what bus they wanted and he was always on his walkie talkie asking where the buses were and what time they would be at Marble Arch. These people have such long days working in the sunshine and for him to still be jolly and interacting with us and the kids in the evening was really good. Fantastic customer service, so if you see this man - give him a pat on the back.

The yellow bus turned up, they are easy to distinguish because they have a coloured triangle in the front. So we hopped on and took a seat upstairs again. We took a seat at the back of the top deck and watched again as London went by. We past Buckingham Palace again, past Westminster Abbey and Big Ben, over the river and past the London eye again, before coming back to Aldwich, where we got off the bus, walked down the strand and we were back at Charing Cross station where we got the bus home again.
The prices for the Bus tour are

Child (5-15) £14.00
Adult £29.00
Family £86.00

Tickets can be bought from the website at a discount at the moment, so pop over here

And the buses run from morning to night, you can do as many routes as you want as well as the river cruise. And when you think that you would pay nearly £9 for a one day travel card on the tube, I think the bus tour shows very good value for money. If you stay on the buses and do a whole route it would take approx 2 hours 15 mins to do each one, and i would of loved to have done more routes, but we just ran out of time.

What did the kids think?

Tilly enjoyed the experience as she could sit upstairs and see the sights of London, she listened to the tour and felt so grown up with the earphones. Kelsey aged 8 loved the bus ride as it took her to the places she wanted to see, she wanted to see Buckingham Palace, but unfortunately you dont see it from the bus. Tilly was so comfortable and it gave her chance to rest her little legs and she fell asleep whilst listening to the commentary

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