Ride an old-style double-decker bus

Trafalgar Square, London

Dates and ticket price

Dates & Time:
8th October 2018 31st December 2019 Every day
Modern buses run every 6-10 mins from 5.50 AM to 1 AM, but the heritage buses only run every 15 mins from 9.30 AM to 6.30 PM (so make sure you catch the right one). It's easy to tell the difference because the heritage buses look old and they have an open platform at the back
Tickets & Cost:
This is a normal London bus, so you just pay the normal adult bus fare and child bus fare

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Good for kids? Value for money? Worth a visit?

The traditional old-style red double-decker buses (with a conductor and an open platform at the back) were a much-loved part of London life, so when they were phased out in 2005 lots of people were aghast. Luckily, the Mayor decided to keep a few of the old 1960s buses running on two special 'heritage routes'.

So how about forgoing the tube for a day, and taking a ride on one of London's old buses?

The first route is called No.9, and runs between Trafalgar Square and Kensington High Street:
Trafalgar Square --> Piccadilly Circus --> Piccadilly --> Hyde Park Corner --> Knightsbridge --> Royal Albert Hall --> Kensington High Street

The second route is called No.15, and operates between Trafalgar Square and the Tower of London:
Trafalgar Square --> Strand --> Fleet Street --> Blackfriars --> Mansion House --> Cannon Street --> The Monument --> Tower of London

Craig has written a review of the No.15 on his blog, if you'd like to get an idea of what it's like. Feel free to ask him a question about the bus. He actually recommends catching the No.11 instead, which is a lot more interesting (it's not a heritage bus -- but it's a much better sightseeing tour). He's also put together a marathon bus journey around London which strings together lots of different bus routes, so you can see lots of London landmarks.

Important note: The heritage routes operate between 9.30 AM and 6.30 PM. Modern buses also operate on the same route, using exactly the same bus numbers, but with extended hours and routes -- so make sure you board the right one. The heritage buses have an open platform and staircase at the back. If you want to see some real old buses (even older than these heritage ones), then check out the exhibits at the London Transport Museum.

Because these heritage buses are just normal everyday buses, you can still pay with an Oyster card, Visitor Oyster card, contactless card or travelcard. They don't have any Oyster machines inside, though (those big yellow things that you tap the card down on). They have an old-fashioned conductor instead, with a hand-held machine. So all you have to do is sit down and show him your card when he approaches. Sometimes he's a bit lazy and will just stand by the bottom of the stairs instead, so you have to show him your card as you board, or when you get off.

You can buy a Visitor Oyster card online. You can also combine them with a London Pass -- saving you even more money. You can purchase a travelcard from the TFL website.


Talk about No 15 Heritage Bus

Craig’s review – “Have you ever seen one of those No.15 heritage buses they keep running for the bus spotters? I'm on one from the Tower of London to Trafalgar Square today. You don't even realise that it's a vintage bus at first. You look around for the big-yellow Oyster reader to beep your card down and it's not there, and then a conductor comes along and says take a seat, sir (he ac… continued”

Read Craig’s review of this event

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No 11 Sightseeing Bus at Trafalgar SquareNo 11 Sightseeing Bus at The City – Every day – If you don't fancy spending money on an open-top sightseeing bus, then there's a cheaper alternative — the No 11 bus.

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If you enjoy Trafalgar Square then you might like to visit Covent Garden (you can walk it in 7 mins), Horse Guards (you can walk it in 6 mins), Leicester Square (you can walk it in 4 mins) and Parliament Square (walk it in 12 mins or catch the tube from Charing Cross to Westminster)

Craig’s review of No.11 sightseeing bus 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 y… continued
Craig’s review of No.15 heritage bus Have you ever seen one of those No.15 heritage buses they keep running for the bus spotters? I'm on one from the Tower of London to Trafalgar Square today. You don't even realise that it's a vintage bus at first. You look around for the big-yellow Oyster reader to beep your… continued
Craig’s review of Original Bus Tour Can of Coke... check. Gloves, coat and scarf... check. Been down the bank to take out a loan so I can afford to buy a ticket... check. Okay, I'm ready to go. There are three big bus tour companies in London: the Original Bus Tour, Big Bus Tours and Golden Tours, and the Ori… continued
Craig’s review of riding a London bus I'm fifth in line behind three beer bottles and a half-eaten hamburger in a sauce-splattered carton. The other guy standing here is trying to peel the pages of his rain-sodden newspaper apart while we're waiting for the bus to loom out of the morning mist. There's a stream o… continued
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