How about an open-top sightseeing bus? This is a great way to begin your holiday, because it will give you a quick overview of the city on your first morning. If you devote a couple of hours to a sightseeing bus then you can tick off a lot of the best landmarks and attractions on your first day, giving you time to explore your favourite ones later.
London Bus Tours is one of the biggest sightseeing bus companies, and their vehicles use live guides at the front of the bus, or a recorded commentary on your headphones. You also get a river cruise and tickets for a guided walk included.
Craig has tried out all of these sightseeing buses himself, and written a review of the London Bus Tour on his blog. He's also written another big review for the Original Bus Tour (a rival company). If truth be told he thinks they are all way too expensive. But lots of people have their heart set on it, so if you fancy it giving it a go at least take this one piece of advice: save it for your very first morning. Do it first thing, on the first day. The whole point of doing a sightseeing bus is that it gets you excited for what you're going to see later in the week.
GrannyRoars – “I'm not sure if I went around 3, or 4 times, Problem is, I had an undiagnosed fracture of the ankle, and was in agony. It was also my first trip abroad, I simply had to do as much as possible! The one time, I was with my girl friends, the 4 of us wearing sequinned and netted mini-red hats and purple. It was enormous fun! Everyone was asking to take photos with us, or of us, or for us, asking what the occasion was, etc. I was introduced as 'Granny of Africa' by way of explanation . The live commentary was my favourite, as you could ask questions too.”
Craig’s review – “I haven't been to London for months and when I returned to the city today there were skyscrapers up that were still stone stumps six months ago. There were statues of people who weren't even dead last September. There were pigeons I'd never met before, new cycle lines all over the goddam place -- I felt like a tourist wandering around on their very first day. So I tho… continued”
The Original Tour — Open-top sightseeing bus – Every day – The Original Tour is one of London's most popular sightseeing buses, and it's also a great way to travel around the capital.
Ghost Bus Tour, around London’s dark past – Every day – The Ghost Bus Tour will take you on a journey through London's gruesome past, and into the dark heart of the capital.
See London by night — on a sightseeing bus – Every day – The 'See London By Night' bus tour will show you London's most famous landmarks beautifully lit up in the night sky.
Ride an old-style double-decker bus – Every day – Enjoy riding around on one of London's old 1960s double-decker buses (the one with a conductor and an open platform at the back).
11 — London’s cheapest sightseeing bus – Every day – If you don't fancy spending 25-30 pounds on an open-top sightseeing bus, then there's a much cheaper alternative — the No 11 bus.
TRS river cruise, from Big Ben to Greenwich – Every day – Spend a leisurely afternoon on a TRS river cruise from Big Ben to Greenwich, and see some of the sights along the river.
Boat trip down the Thames, with City Cruises – Every day – City Cruises offer one-way, return or all-day boat trips between Westminster and Greenwich, stopping off at Tower Bridge.
If you enjoy Big Bus Tours then you might like to visit Ghost Bus Tours (walk it in 22 mins or catch the tube from Victoria to Embankment) and Original Bus Tour (walk it in 20 mins or catch the tube from Victoria to Charing Cross)
Disclaimer: Event details can change at short notice and you should reconfirm everything before making plans