London sightseeing: Top 3 bus routes
Hopping on a London bus is one of the best ways to see the city on a budget – it’s only £1.45 a ride with your Visitor Oyster Card.
To celebrate the Year of the Bus in London, here's a guide to three bus routes which are perfect for a cut-price sightseeing tour, taking in the majority of the city's most famous sights.
Route 24: Pimlico to Hampstead Heath
You can catch the 24 from Victoria, where it passes both Westminster Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. The bus then turns down Whitehall and passes Downing Street, the Prime Minister's home, before reaching one of the most famous parts of London, bustling Trafalgar Square, where you can spot Nelson’s Column and the famous lion statues.
The bus continues through the fringes of London’s historic theatre district, passing Denmark Street, known as Tin Pan Alley for its famous music shops.
Delving deeper into rock n' roll territory, the 24 continues to Camden Town – famous for its music scene and labyrinth of street markets. If you hop off here, you’ll find all kinds of things for sale within the market including vintage fashion, books, antiques, street food, and of course, souvenirs.
The route ends at Hampstead Heath, where the lush, green park is waiting to take you a million miles away from the busy city. Make the short trip up the hill to see spectacular views of London – what better way to end your sightseeing tour on a sunny day?
Route 11: Fulham to Liverpool Street
The 11 takes in the luxurious King's Road in Chelsea and the chic streets of Belgravia before it passesWestminster Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in quick succession.
Turning onto Whitehall and making its way up toTrafalgar Square, the bus continues along the historic Strand,passes the Royal Courts of Justice, and turns down Fleet Street towards London's financial district, known as the City or 'Square Mile'.
Look out for the disused Strand tube station on your way - closed in 1994, it's since made an appearance in many films and TV shows including Atonement, 28 Days Later and Sherlock.
Magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral welcomes you into the City, where you'll also see the historic Royal Exchange, theBank of England - the world's second-oldest central bank, and Mansion House - the London mayor's official home.
The 11 ends its journey at Liverpool Street station, a bustling commuter and tourist hub and the gateway to stylish east London. A short walk away you'll find Spitalfields market, famous Brick Lane and trendy Shoreditch, each dotted with bustling coffee shops, street art and street food stalls.
Route 9: Aldwych to Hammersmith
The 9 is one of the oldest bus routes in London, as well as one of the 'richest,' passing through many of the city's most affluent areas. It begins at Aldwych, close to the cultural hub of Somerset House, and continues along the Strand to Trafalgar Square. Travelling down Piccadilly, you can spot leafy Green Park and the world famousRitz Hotel.
The route continues through Knightsbridge, home to luxury department store Harrods, a must-visit for any discerning designer shopper. The 11 then passes the Royal Albert Hall and the immaculate Kensington Gardens, through which Kensington Palace, once the home of Diana, Princess of Wales, is a short stroll away.
Then it’s on to Kensington High Street; one of London’s most popular shopping streets and a pleasantly quiet alternative to Oxford Street.
Shortly before it ends in Hammersmith, the route passes beautiful Holland Park. More tucked away than Hyde Park, but every bit as pretty, it features a Japanese garden, tennis courts and even a few resident peacocks!
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