There is no better way to travel around London (other than walking) than by the iconic red double decker bus.
It may take a bit more research than travelling by tube, but it is worth it. So buy a travelcard, get yourself a good seat on the upper decker and enjoy the sights.
There a few routes that are particularly useful and interesting for tourists. They link the main stations, take you to the door of many tourist haunts and give you great views.
Number 9: Somerset House, along the Strand to Trafalgar Square, along Pall Mall and Piccadilly, around Hyde Park Corner, into Knightsbridge, past the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial to Kensington High Street on to Hammersmith.
Number 10: Kings Cross Station, down Gower Street, past the British Museum, along Oxford Street to Marble Arch, down Park Lane, around Hyde Park Corner, into Knightsbridge, past the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial to Kensington High Street and on to Hammersmith.
Number 11: Liverpool Street Station, Bank of England, past St Paul’s, down Fleet Street and the Strand to Trafalgar Square and then Parliament Square, New Scotland Yard, Victoria Station, Sloane Square and down the Kings Road to Fulham Town Hall.
Number 12: Oxford Circus, south to Piccadilly Circus andTrafalgar Square, then Parliament Square and over the Thames close to the London Eye and Waterloo Station and on to Dulwich.
Number 15: Tower of London, past St Paul’s to City Thameslink Station and then down Fleet Street and the Strand to Charing Cross Station (for Trafalgar Square).
Number 29: Emirates Stadium, Camden, Mornington Crescent (for the Carreras Building), to Euston Station, down Gower Street, past the British Museum then on down Charing Cross Road (for Soho, Leicester Square and Covent Garden) and on to Charing Cross Station (for Trafalgar Square).
Number 73: connects Victoria Station to Kings Cross and St Pancras International, via Park Lane and Oxford Street then on to Stoke Newington with its London village look and feel.
Number 159: Paddington Station to Marble Arch, east along Oxford Street to Oxford Circus, down Regent Street to Piccadilly Circus, them Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and and over the Thames close to the London Eye and Waterloo Station and on to Streatham.
Number RV1: Tower of London, St Katehrines Pier, over Tower Bridge and along teh South Bank to London Bridge, then London Eye and Waterloo and back over the river to the north bank, past Somerset House to the edge of Covent Garden.
The famous Routemaster bus with its open rear platform has been withdrawn from service, but thankfully a few of these beauties still operate on two heritage routes.
These routes are short sections of the Number 9 and Number 15, with just five of the wonderful old buses on each route. Using one of these is a real London experience, the decor is traditional and there is even a conductor to chat with as you marvel at the views. They are part of the normal Transport for London network so you can use your travel card as normal.
There is now a new bus on the block, all red, shiny and sexy; it’s fancy and fun to use but still not as good as the traditional Routemaster. Or maybe I’m just getting nostalgic in my old age…
To help you plan your travels, you can download a route map here. There are also useful maps at the bus stops, showing the whole network plus individual routes and time to travel between stops.