If you’re visiting London for a few short days, it can be difficult trying to decide which landmarks and tourist hotspots you should visit and which ones should be left for another time. Since London has so much to offer, choosing can be quite the conundrum. However, help is at hand, in the unlikely guise of the number 24 bus. That’s right, one of London’s famous red double Decker bus might well save you the trouble of deciding which famous landmarks might not get graced with your presence.
Just because you don’t have enough time to physically stand outside of each of London’s glorious landmarks like The Houses of Parliament or number 10 Downing Street, that’s no reason not to view them from the comfort of a nicely padded bus seat. Whether you choose to sit upstairs or on the ground deck is entirely down to your personal preference, although sitting on top usually means you’ll get a better view of the aforementioned landmarks, purely because you won’t have any other traffic in your line of vision. Another tip is to avoid the window seat, and instead nab an aisle seat, as the curved top of the bus means that otherwise your views might be a little bit impaired.
The number 24 bus is fully accessible and can be boarded from South End Green, which is the starting point for this particular route, and after boarding, Camden town is only about ten minutes away. If you’re a fan of pop music, you might be interested to spot The Hawley Arms, which was one of Amy Winehouse’s favourite places to have a drink. Because of the one way system in place, you won’t get to see the famous Camden markets, but if you do the return journey home, you should get a glimpse then. If you’re keen to explore Camden then you can of course hop off the bus here and go and do your own thing. If you are aiming to stop off along a few stops and then plan to jump back on the bus at varying intervals, then an Oyster travel card could be your best friend. It’s a neat little credit card styled token that can be ‘topped up’ prior to travelling to avoid carrying cash for fares with you when you’re out and about. It is especially handy if you are planning to combine the use of buses with that of the underground system or the London trams, as it is a universally accepted form of payment across most London public transport. For your peace of mind, once your card is prepaid, the balance will also be protected against any theft of the card, so should the worst happen, at least you know you won’t have lost out on your travel expenses- it’s important to look for the silver linings in all circumstances! Having an Oyster card also makes it quick and easy to hop on and off the bus route at your leisure.
The bus will continue on from Camden onto Hampstead Road then in to the centre of London, if you look ahead during this leg of the journey you should be able to see the BT tower, which used to have a revolving restaurant, sadly though that was closed during the 1970s. The bus will continue down Gower Street; where any buildings that have blue plaques on them mean that someone significant once resided there, before heading towards Covent Garden.
Covent Garden is a wonderful area of London, brimming with restaurants offering stunning cuisine, and sleek bars and lounges seducing you with cocktail offers. It’s also a stone’s throw away from the main West End theatres, which means that many of the restaurants will offer a pre-theatre dinner menu, so that you can often eat outstanding food at unbeatable prices before a certain time of night.
The bus route carries on to Trafalgar Square and then Whitehall where you can clock a fantastic view of Big Ben in all of his grandeur. (If you have time to stop here, British citizens are allowed to go on a tour of the inside of the clcok tower and see the clock face.) To the right you should also be able to see mounted cavalry for the Horse Guard’s parade. If you notice armed policemen soon after, don’t be alarmed, as you’ll then be able to glimpse number 10 Downing Street, which is where the British Prime Minister resides. To the left of here you can see the well-loved London Eye experience, before being able to view the Houses of Parliament in all of its beauty. London really does have some superb architecture, displayed in all of these wonderful and significant landmarks.
If you’re lucky enough to be staying in London for a few days, then do try and visit some of the other grand landmarks of London that are not featured on this tour, such as Harrods- London’s flagship department store, Buckingham Palace and St. James Cathedral, as you definitely won’t be disappointed. Not only will the breath taking beauty of the buildings astound you, but they also provide plenty of wonderful photo opportunities that might otherwise be missed, such as the guardsmen of the Palace.
Many visitors to London will be weary about booking a hotel in the city simply because they are concerned that it may be too noisy to get a good night’s sleep, but staying in London has it’s distinct advantages, like being able to wake up to a sumptuous breakfast before being just a short walk away from South End Green, ready to alight one of London’s most iconic modes of transport to guide you through the wonderful sights of England’s capital.