When in London, most visitors will be keen to do a bit of sight seeing, whether that’s to visit famous landmarks like Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, or to experience fun attractions like the London Eye or Madame Tussaud’s and the London Dungeons. The simple fact remains, that there is a lot to see and do in and around London. The problem for most, isn’t having a lack of things to do, but rather a lack of time in which to squeeze everything in. This is when a quick bus trip can come in handy, because although you might not have time to stop off at every place you wish, you can almost certainly see every place you wish, as the bus drives past.
Buses have a distinct advantage over the underground system when it comes to views and sight seeing, because naturally everything is much darker and covered whilst travelling below ground level, whilst on the other hand, using London’s road’s will ensure that you can take in the sights of the city even as you journey around.
The RV1 follows a route alongside the River Thames and that is where its name is derived from. It begins near the Tower of London and finishes at Covent Garden, which means that whilst this bus isn’t as well suited to sight seeing as the famous red double deckers that can be found, it still offers a route that is well worth the trip. It also features on route announcements to inform you of where to get off in order to see certain tourist hotspots, such as The Globe theatre or the Tate modern.
The bus begins by going over the bridge opposite the tower of London- an exquisite castle which was built by William the Conqueror, before turning off into Tooley Street which used to house the London dungeons before it was relocated to it’s former venue near the London Eye experience. You’ll also drive on to see the Hays Galleria, which was where the biggest fire in London (since the great fire of London 1666) broke out. You will have a stunning view of London Bridge just down from here too.
You might notice that as you pass under a railway bridge, there’s an interesting light installation, which was part of a local initiative to improve the area. The lights gradually change from a scattering of colour into a solid wall of colour, and if you happen to be especially lucky, you’ll drive past at just the right time to see them change. It’s a nice little contrast to the grey tones of London, and is poignant that sometimes things aren’t as dull as they seem- that sometimes a light can appear that’s both unexpected and refreshing. Perhaps that’s what was meant by the phrase ‘the light at the end of the tunnel,’ or bridge in this case.
After you’ve been onboard for around twenty minutes and passed another bridge, you should be able to spot both the London Eye and Big Ben. After this, it’s left onto Waterloo Bridge where you can take in some of the greatest cityscapes in London. You should be able to see the picturesque Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye in all of their fullness, and after taking in the sights, you will then arrive at Covent Garden.
Once in Covent Garden, you’ll find an array of chic bars, lounges and eateries, including bistros, brassieres, grills and Oyster houses, so there’s sure to be something to suit every palette. Covent Garden is considerably close to Theatre land and it’s for that reason that many restaurants here will offer a pre-theatre menu which may include 2-3 courses from a set menu at a sensational price, so if you’re after more bang for your buck, as the saying goes, the best time to eat is around 6pm in order to make your money go the furthest.
If you are visiting Covent Garden throughout the day then you should consider checking out the renowned boutiques where you’ll find everything from antiques to the latest fashions, and almost everything in between. It really is an Aladdin’s cave for the vintage lover, or the savvy shopper looking for a great bargain.
If you are planning to stop off anywhere along the RV1 route and then re-alight at a later time, then it might be worthwhile obtaining an Oyster travel card. This savvy little card will act as your ticket across most London public transport platforms, including trams, trains, the underground service and of course, London buses too. It can be prepaid or ‘topped up’ before you travel and saves you carrying cash with you to pay for your fares. What’s even better is that the balance of your card is protected against theft too, so you can have that added peace of mind that if something were to happen, at least you wouldn’t have the stress of being stranded with no cash left to get back to your hotel!
Since the entire route of the RV1 only takes around 40minutes, it’s a nice little extra thing to add into your day if you find yourself with an hour or so to spare before dinner one afternoon, or even after a leisurely breakfast at your hotel. Many London hotels will include breakfast in the room rate, so be sure to make the most of a sumptuous breakfast before heading out for the day. Doing so might well save you from getting hunger pangs at around noon and splashing out on an over-priced sandwich! The Montcalm, is one such hotel that’s near Marble Arch, which has an incredible restaurant where breakfast is served fresh each morning, so eat well, you’re going to need your energy for all of the sightseeing that you have planned.