If you can't afford to spend 25-30 quid on a sightseeing bus then do not fret, because there's a much cheaper alternative -- the No.11 bus. For just a couple of quid you can take in most of the sights that you'd see on a tour bus, but without all that annoying chatter from the tour guide.
We recommend boarding the bus at Liverpool Street station, and bagging yourself a seat on the top deck. You can then enjoy a 40-minute ride all the way to Chelsea.
The route takes you through the heart of The City, going down Threadneedle Street (for the Bank of England, Royal Exchange and Mansion House), and along Ludgate Circus towards St. Paul's Cathedral. If you look to the left as you pass St. Paul's then you can also get a glimpse of the Tate Modern across the Thames.
Next up is Fleet Street and the Royal Courts of Justice. The Strand will then take you down to Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square (for the National Gallery and Nelson's Column). Turning left, the bus will then take you down Whitehall towards Parliament Square, where you can see the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. (Remember to look out for Banqueting House, Horse Guards and Downing Street along the way!)
You will probably want to get off at this point, as your little bus tour will have less interest once you pass Westminster. But if you stay on until the end then you'll get a glimpse of Westminster Cathedral, Sloane Square and King's Road before heading into Fulham.
Lots of people will dismiss this "tour" as being a waste of time... it's just a bus, they will say. But take a tip from us -- it's definitely worth doing. Craig has been on it himself and written a review of what you can see. He's also put together a marathon bus journey around London which strings lots of different buses together. If you'd like to compare the details with a proper sightseeing bus, then check out the Big Bus Tour and Original Bus Tour.
Because it's just a normal everyday bus, you can pay with an Oyster card, Visitor Oyster card, contactless card or travelcard. You can buy a Visitor Oyster cards online. You can also combine them with a London Pass -- saving you even more money. You can purchase a travelcard from the TFL website.
Guest – “can you get the bus from Victoria couch station”
Admin – “yes you can”
Craig’s review – “London sightseeing buses (the open-top ones with a guide at the front) are ridiculously expensive these days. A family of four can easily blow the best part of 100 quid on a two-hour ride. So if you don't fancy the idea of spending a small fortune on a sightseeing bus, but you still want to go on a sightseeing bus, then the No.11 bus is for you. The No.11 is just a no… continued”
If you enjoy sightseeing bus tours in London then you might like these other London events…
The Original Tour — Open-top sightseeing bus – Every day
London Bus Tour — open-top sightseeing bus – Every day
Ride an old-style double-decker bus – Every day
Ghost Bus Tour, around London’s dark past – Every day
See London by night — on a sightseeing bus – Every day
Hire a Boris Bike… and cycle around London – Every day