Most travellers in London have seen the big red buses carrying tourists from attraction to attraction. However, there is a way to see some of the best parts of London without having to purchase more than your everyday, normal bus ticket. In fact, if you travel by bus only on TFL vehicles, then the most you can be charged is £4.40. What a bargain! So, if you have made the most of Heathrow hotel deals London and therefore staying in accommodation near Heathrow, then why not travel into the centre of London for the day and use the bus routes to see as much as possible?
Take the Number 9 bus from the iconic Trafalgar Square to High Street Kensington. Even if you were to only go from one spot to the other, you would have a great time in London. However, if you were to stop and explore at every stop along the way, you would also have a pretty sensational time.
The bus stops first after Trafalgar Square at the wonderful National Gallery in Pall Mall, the famous area associated with St James’s Palace, the Institute of Contemporary Arts and Admiralty Arch. Next up is Green Park, one of the beautiful Royal Parks of London perfect for picnics, bike rides, and the general admiration of such a green space in such a cosmopolitan city. Hyde Park Corner is next on the route, arguably London’s most famous park, and the location of the royal residence, Buckingham Palace. Knightbridge is the stop after Hyde Park, which is a lovely area to explore in general, but most famous for Harrods, the world-renowned department store. The most enriching road in London is Exhibition Road, and that comes up next, proffering The Serpentine Gallery, the V&A Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. More culture awaits at the next stop, Kensington Gore, where you can explore the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial. It just keeps getting more enriching as you trundle along, with Palace Gate up next giving you access to Kensington Palace and Kensington Gardens. Finally, you will hit High Street Kensington, where the Design Museum and Holland Park awaits!
Your other option, of course, is to sit at the top of the bus and simply gawk at these different landmarks from the window, being slightly more selective about which to visit. Then again, why not visit them all? You have a Park Grand London Heathrow buffet awaiting you for refuelling later, after all.
Duration: 25-35 minutes
Make your way from your accommodation near Heathrow to Victoria Station and board the Number 11 to St Paul’s Churchyard – or further on to Liverpool Street if you want to explore the east side of London, too. Here are all the incredible places you can visit along this route.
Victoria Street, where you get on, is also where you can enjoy Westminster Cathedral, the mother church of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Next up is Parliament Square – the mother of politics in England and Wales, you might want to call it. Here, you can explore Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and even take a ride on the London Eye. The political theme at the next stop, Whitehall, continues, with the prime minister’s abode, 10 Downing Street, the Horse Guards Parade and St James’s Park. Next is Trafalgar Square, which as mentioned before, is an iconic spot that has become incredibly symbolic of London’s art history, due to the location of the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. Next up is The Strand, which is where to disembark for Covent Garden and all the wonderful things associated with the area. On comes Fleet Street, if you’d like to visit Temple Church, followed by St Paul’s Churchyard, from where you can enjoy St Paul’s Cathedral, the Museum of London, the Millennium Bridge and Tate Modern.
This route is where you may want to change things up a bit, given that route 9 and 11 intersect. Perhaps you want to swap at Trafalgar Square for one or the other, in either direction, depending on which attractions and parks are highest on your London priority list.
Duration: 25-45 minutes
The best way to enjoy the Number 24 bus route is starting at Pimlico and riding all the way until Hampstead Heath. Though you certainly could find something to do at every stop, there are some that are more key than others and so here are the most important stops along the way for sightseeing in London.
Pimlico itself is lovely. It is best known for its grand garden squares and impressive Regency architecture, as well as containing the unmissable Tate Britain. Along comes Victoria Station, Westminster Cathedral, Westminster City Hall, St James’s Park, Westminster Abbey, Horse Guards Parade and Trafalgar Square, which as mentioned before, are well-worth your time and exploration. This is also the point where you can change on to either of the previous bus suggestions, to explore their routes rather than what is to follow (though what is to follow is equally impressive). Leicester Square comes next, a pedestrianised square in the West End buzzing with restaurants, bars, clubs, comedy clubs and theatres. If you keep going, you will hit Tottenham Court Road, which intersects with Oxford Street, London’s shopping district known all over the world. Onwards you go – stopping at the places in between if you are so inclined until you get to the Hartland Road/Camden Market stop. Camden Market is an eclectic, vibrant market that really encapsulates the spirit of Camden Town, with stalls, street food and shopping to last you all day (or at least until you are ready to head to Hampstead Heath, one of London’s favourite green areas and a perfect spot for picnicking and swimming in the Summer.
There you have it – who said you need a tour guide in order to explore and make the most of your time in London? All you need is an Oyster or contactless card and accommodation near Heathrow and you will have days of activity ahead of you!