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Which is Best London Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour - Big Bus Tour vs Original Bus Tours vs Golden?

Overview of London Hop On Hop Off Bus tours

London has so many sights and attractions. However long you are in the capital for, you will wish it was longer! A great way to get around the sights, at least for part of your trip, is to use a guided bus tour. This is especially good at the start of you stay – they can whisk you around the sights and orientate you in the city.

There are three main companies Original Bus Tours, Big Bus Tour, Golden Double Decker Bus Tours, each offering comprehensive tours, There are many similarities in the offerings and routes, although check which route suits you best. Passes will more bus routes may be better if you know where you want to go, but longer routes may suit you if you want to see everything in one trip!

Also note that the Golden Tour Pass is included with certain discount attraction passes for London. This can offer great savings if it fits with what you want to see.

The Original London Sightseeing

Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Golden Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

What is it?

The Original London Sightseeing Bus Tour goes through 6 routes covering all the major attractions in London. It offers live audio commentary on headphone, and also has a live guide on the bus for yellow route. There are 3 complimentary walking tours, a Thames river cruise, and a kids activity pack with the 48-hour ticket.

Big Bus offers unlimited hop on hop off tours onin three different routes covering over 50 attractions. The tour has a live guide on the bus in Red Route and recorded audio commentary in 12 languages in other routes. The complimentary offer includes 3 walking tours, Thames river cruise, and a voucher booklet with attractive discounts in restaurants and attractions.

The Golden Tours offer unlimited hop on and hop off opportunity to discover London at your own pace. The buses offer free Wi-Fi, live audio commentary on the Blue Route, and recorded commentary in other routes. This pass also offers family discounts and complimentary offers like walking tours and Thames River Cruise.

Ticket Cost

24-hour Ticket:£26 Adult (Age: 16+)/£12.5 Child (Age: 5-15)

48-hour Ticket:£36 Adult (Age: 16+)/£16.5 Child (Age: 5-15)

(Thames River cruise + 3 Walking Tours)

24-hour Ticket:£26 Adult (Age: 16+)/£13 Child (Age: 5-15)

48-hour Ticket:£33 Adult (Age: 16+)/£17.5 Child (Age: 5-15)

1 Day basic Ticket:£25 Adult (Age: 17+)/£11 Child (Age: 3-16)

1 Day basic family Ticket:£60 (2 adults + 2 children)

1+2 Day Ticket:£29 Adult (Age: 17+)/£13 Child (Age: 3-16)

(1 Day Bus tour + 2 days for Boat Ride and Walking tour)

1+2 Day basic family Ticket:£75 (2 adults + 2 children)

(1 Day Bus tour + 2 days for Boat Ride and Walking tour)

Ticket Validity

1/2 consecutive days

1/2 consecutive days

1/3 days

Routes and Time

1. Yellow Route

First Tour: 8.30 A.M.

Last Tour: 4.30 P.M.

2. Red Route

First Tour: 8.30 A.M.

Last Tour: 4.50 P.M.

3. Blue Route

First Tour: 8.30 A.M.

Last Tour: 5.50 P.M.

4. Orange Route

First Tour: 8.45 A.M.

Last Tour: 2.00 P.M.

5. Green Route

First Tour: 9.15 A.M.

Last Tour: 2.35 P.M.

6. Purple Route

First Tour: 8.10 A.M.

Last Tour: 5.05 P.M.

1. Red Route

First Tour: 8.20 A.M.

2. Blue Route

First Tour: 8.20 A.M.

3. Green Route

First Tour: 8.30 A.M.

Please ask the bus official for the last tour time as they vary regularly.

1. Blue Route (Essential Tour)

First Tour: 8.00 A.M.

Last Tour: 4.30 P.M. (5.00 P.M. in Summer)

2. Red Route (Classic Tour)

First Tour: 8.00 A.M.

Last Tour: 4.30 P.M. (5.00 P.M. in Summer)

3. Orange Route (Grand Tour)

First Tour: 7.15 A.M.

Last Tour: 2.20 P.M. (4.00 P.M. in Summer)

4. Yellow Route (Pick Up)

First Tour: 7.00 A.M.

Last Tour: 10.00 A.M.

5. Green Route (The Drop Off Route)

First Tour: 4.56 P.M.

Last Tour: 6.28 P.M.

Tour Duration

Yellow Route: 2 hours 15 minutes

Red Route: 2 hours 15 minutes

Blue Route: 2 hours 15 minutes

Orange Route: 1 hour

Green Route: 1 hour

Purple Route: 40 minutes

Red Route: 2 hours 15 minutes

Blue Route: 3 hours 15 minutes

Green Route: 1 hour

Blue Route (Essential Tour): 3 hours

Red Route (Classic Tour): 3 hours

Orange Route (Grand Tour): 2.5 hours

Yellow Route (Pick Up): 15 minutes

Green Route (The Drop Off Route): 30 minutes

Departure Point

Yellow Route: Coventry Street

Red Route: Grosvenor Gardens

Blue Route: Kensington Palace Gate

Orange Route: Woburn Place

Green Route: Charing Cross Road

Purple Route: Holland Park

Red Route: Green Park Underground

Blue Route: Queen Mother Gates

Green Route: Woburn

Blue Route (Essential Tour): Haymarket

Red Route (Classic Tour): Queen Elizabeth Gate

Orange Route (Grand Tour): Queen Elizabeth Gate

Yellow Route (Pick Up): Holland Park Avenue

Green Route (The Drop Off Route): Lambeth Palace Road

Bus Stops/Attractions

Yellow Route:

  1. Piccadilly Circus / Eros Statue

  2. Trafalgar Square

  3. Buckingham Palace

  4. St James's Palace

  5. Ritz Hotel

  6. Hyde Park

  7. Westminster Abbey

  8. Big Ben

  9. The London Eye

  10. London Dungeon

  11. Westminster Pier

  12. The Tower of London

  13. Shakespeare's Globe

  14. London Aquarium

Red Route:

  1. Victoria

  2. Wellington Museum

  3. Hyde Park

  4. Madame Tussauds

  5. Oxford Street

  6. St Paul's Cathedral

  7. London Bridge

  8. The Tower of London

  9. Lambeth Palace

Blue Route - Museum Tour:

  1. Kensington Palace

  2. Baden-Powell House

  3. Natural History Museum

  4. Victoria & Albert Museum

  5. Harrods, Knightsbridge

  6. Harvey Nichols

  7. Albert Memorial

  8. The Royal Albert Hall

Green Route:

  1. The National Gallery, Nelson's Column

  2. Trafalgar Square

  3. Big Ben & Parliament

  4. Westminster Abbey

  5. The London Eye

  6. Downing Street

  7. Horse Guards' Parade

  8. Piccadilly Circus / Eros Statue

  9. Leicester Square

Orange Route:

  1. Ripley's, Believe it or not!

  2. Russell Square

  3. British Museum

  4. Kings Cross Station

  5. St Pancras Station

  6. Euston Station

Red Route:

  1. Green Park Underground

  2. Hyde Park Corner Stop

  3. Queen Mother Gates Stop

  4. Marble Arch

  1. Regent Street

  2. Piccadilly Circus

  3. Haymarket

  4. Trafalgar Square

  5. Craig's Court

  6. Whitehall

  7. Westminster Bridge

  8. London Eye

  9. Covent Garden

  10. St. Paul's

  11. London Bridge

  12. Tower of London

  13. Embankment Pier

  14. Westminster Pier

  15. Westminster Bridge

  16. Lambeth Palace

  17. Parliament Square

  18. Westminster Abbey

  19. Buckingham Palace

  20. Royal Mews

  21. Victoria

  22. Victoria Station

31. Mayfair

Blue Route

  1. Green Park Underground

  2. Hyde Park Corner

  3. Queen Mother Gates

  4. Marble Arch

  5. Madame Tussaud's

  6. Oxford Circus

  7. Regent Street

  8. Piccadilly Circus

  9. Haymarket

  10. Trafalgar Square

  11. Craig's Court

  12. Whitehall

  13. Westminster Bridge

  14. London Eye

  15. Covent Garden

  16. St. Paul's

  17. London Bridge

  18. Tower of London

  19. Embankment Pier

  20. Westminster Pier

  21. Westminster Bridge

  22. Lambeth Palace

  23. Parliament Square

  24. Westminster Abbey

  25. Buckingham Palace

  26. Royal Mews

  27. Victoria

  28. Victoria Station

  29. Marble Arch

  30. Mayfair

  31. Green Park Underground

  32. Hyde Park Corner

  33. Hyde Park Corner (outside Lanesborough Hotel)

  34. Harrods

  35. South Kensington

  36. Gloucester Road

  37. Kensington Palace

  38. Notting Hill

  39. Kensington Gardens

  40. Thistle Hotel

  41. Bayswater

  42. Paddington Station

Green Route:

  1. Woburn

  2. Euston Station

  3. Kings Cross

  4. St. Pancras

  5. Euston Road

  6. Woburn

  7. British Museum Stop

  8. York Road

  9. St. Thomas Hospital

  10. Horseguards

  11. Duncannon street

  12. Covent Garden

Blue Route:

  1. Haymarket

  2. Pall Mall East, west of Trafalgar Square

  3. Duncannon Street

  4. Aldwych, west arm

  5. Ludgate Hill

  6. Queen Victoria Street

  7. Tower Hill

  8. Southwark Bridge Road

  9. York Road

  10. Westminster Bridge Road

  11. Tothill Street

  12. Buckingham Gate

  13. Buckingham Palace Rd, Bus stop Z5

  14. Lambeth Palace Road

  15. Imperial War Museum

Red Route:

  1. Kensington Museums

  2. Marble Arch

  3. Buckingham Palace

  4. Trafalgar Square

  5. St Paul's Cathedral

  6. Tower of London

  7. London Eye

  8. Piccadilly Circus

  9. Green Park Station

  10. Hyde Park Corner

  11. Knightsbridge, Lanesborough Hotel

  12. Knightsbridge, At Scotch House

  13. Kensington Gore, Royal Albert Hall

Orange Route:

  1. Buckingham Palace

  2. Marble Arch

  3. Paddington

  4. Madame Tussauds

  5. Kings Cross/St Pancras International

  6. Russell Square

  7. Holborn

  8. St Paul's Cathedral

  9. Tower of London

  10. London Eye

  11. Lambeth Palace

Yellow Route:

  1. Holland Park Avenue, opp. Hilton London Kensington

  2. Holland Park Avenue, Holland Park LUL Station

  3. Notting Hill Gate, west of Clanricarde Gardens

  4. Bayswater Road, outside London Hyde Park Hotel

  5. Bayswater Road

  6. Bayswater Road, Lancaster Gate

  7. Lancaster Gate, Lancaster Terrace

Green Route:

  1. Lambeth Palace Road

  2. Westminster Bridge Road

  3. Tothill Street

  4. Buckingham Gate

  5. Victoria, Buckingham Palace Road

  6. Queen Elizabeth Gate

  7. Lancaster Gate


Yellow Route: 15-30 minutes

Red Route: 15-30 minutes

Blue Route: 15-30 minutes

Orange Route: 20-30 minutes

Green Route: 20-30 minutes

Purple Route: 20-30 minutes

Red Route: 10-20 minutes

Blue Route: 10-20 minutes

Green Route: 20 minutes

Blue Route (Essential Tour): 30 minutes

Red Route (Classic Tour): 10-20 minutes

Orange Route (Grand Tour): 15-20 minutes

Yellow Route (Pick Up): 20-30 minutes

Green Route (The Drop Off Route): 20-30 minutes

Audio commentary


Yellow Route: Live English commentary

Other Routes: Recorded English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin, Kids commentary

Yes (12)

Red Route: Live English commentary

Other Routes: Recorded English, German, Spanish, Arabic, French, Italian, Russian, Hindi, Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese, and Mandarin commentary

Yes (11)

Spanish, English, French, Hindi, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian, Mandarin

Complimentary tours and cruises

3 Free Walking tours (only with 2 day ticket):

Thames River Cruise (only with 2 day ticket)

Kids club and activity pack

3 Free Walking tours

  • Royal London walking tour

  • Harry Potter Film Locations walking tour

  • The Ghosts by Gaslight walking tour

River Thames cruise (30 minutes)

Walking tour (Choose any one) (only with 3 day ticket)

The Royal Walking Tour including the Changing of the Guards

The Beatles London Walking Tour

Thames Clipper Boat Ride (only with 3 day ticket)

Other amenities

Live guide on bus (only on yellow route)

  • Live guide on bus (only on Red route)

  • Free Wi-Fi

  • Voucher Booklet (attraction and restaurant discounts)

  • Free Hotel drop-off

  • Mobile App

  • Wheelchair accessible buses

  • Live guide on bus (only on Blue route)

  • Free Wi-Fi

City Pass which includes this tour


London 2for1 offer

London Pass

London City Pass

Other information
  • No bus service on 25th December.

  • Free for children below 4 years.

  • 3 months validity since the day of purchase

  • Valid for 24h/48h from the time of first boarding of bus.

  • Both printed and mobile voucher accepted.

  • Free for children below 4 years.

  • No service on 25th December

  • Valid for 24h/48h from the time of first boarding of bus.

  • Free for children below 3 years.

  • Route changes/disruptions on major events, especially 31st December and 1st January.

  • Thames Boat Ride is not valid on 25th and 26th December.

How to use

Exchange the e-voucher or voucher print out at The Original Sightseeing Tour visitor centre in Trafalgar Square to get your ticket.

Show the mobile or printed voucher to the Big Bus employee in the bus.

Show your printed voucher to the bus driver.

The Original London Sightseeing

Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Golden Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

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