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Big Bus vs TopView London

Big Bus vs TopView London


This comparison will be tricky because Big Bus has been in London for over 30 years, while TopView is a newcomer, with less than 1 year of operation. However, TopView has some unique advantages. This blog post aims to highlight them and assess if they're convincing enough to choose the newer company.

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Infographic Big Bus vs TopView

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1. Brief overview of the open-top bus tours

When choosing the right tour for you, consider factors such as the duration of your visit, preferred commentary language, the day of the week you're visiting, and the location of your hotel.

Overall, Big Bus is a safe bet when considering all these factors. However, when it comes to commentary, things get a bit more complicated as their offerings cater to two different preferences. TopView's live guides take the spotlight, while Big Bus caters to those whose English is not their forte.

2. Head-to-head comparison of Big Bus vs City Sightseeing 

  • Frequency: Excellent bus frequency

  • Route: Covers places that TopView doesn't

  • London Pass: If you have the pass you can use the bus for 1 day

  • Merlin: Different passes and options to add attractions at lower rates

  • Commentary: Has commentary in 5 different languages

  • Blue route: Covers all the major attractions without the need to change buses

  • Live guides: Currently TopView is the only company that offers live guides on all their buses.

  • Tickets: Paperless boarding

  • Price: Their tickets are slightly cheaper

Let's delve into more detail:

Service: None of the companies in London truly surpass Big Bus service, and this remains the case here. While TopView is making efforts to increase visibility by deploying numerous buses, they still have a long way to go to rival their competitors.

Route: TopView's main route is almost identical to that of Big Bus. However, where Big Bus truly stands out is with their blue route, which covers all the main attractions in one go without the need to change buses.

Attraction Tickets:  TopView, being a new player in the London market, currently lacks packages and deals with famous attractions. If you plan to visit places like the London Eye or Madame Tussauds, among others, consider looking into Big Bus and its available passes.

Commentary: This is where the field levels out. If you're comfortable with English commentary, TopView is the best choice, offering live guides on all their buses. Listening to a live guide is a more enjoyable experience than a recorded commentary, especially given their high ratings. However, if English isn't your first language and you prefer a different language, Big Bus offers commentary in five different languages, making it the clear choice for non-English speakers.

Walking Tours: When it comes to walking tours, if you purchase tickets for 48 hours, both companies offer free walking tours, which I highly recommend taking if you find the time. They are highly entertaining.

Price: The price difference between the tours is not extremely high, but TopView tends to be 10% cheaper than Big Bus usually. For budget-conscious travelers, this could be a meaningful difference.

3. User reviews

Comparing these tours based on the stars they have on TripAdvisor is not accurate because TopView, being a new company, has way fewer reviews than its competitors.

Most of the positive reviews and the high score that TopView has so far are mainly due to extremely good reviews for their live guides. When it comes to negative reviews, most of them are due to their service, which can be less frequent than their competitors'. One of the most frustrating things when doing a tour bus in London is seeing other tours passing by while you're waiting for yours. However, this is not always an accurate measure because buses follow different routes and sometimes delays can happen in certain parts of London.

Currently, Big Bus has a rating of 4 stars, which is fairly high for a bus tour company in London. One thing to keep in mind when choosing Big Bus is to avoid extremely busy times like school holidays or weekends when buses tend to get overcrowded

4. Summary of Big Bus vs TopView London

If you're in London for a short time, not planning to hop on and off too much, and English is not a problem, then I would recommend going for TopView and their live guides. In any other scenario, Big Bus is the safest bet as they are the most reliable and have a proven track record of offering great service over the years with extremely well-designed routes and additional offers.

If you enjoyed our Big Bus vs TopView London, make sure you check our Travel Tips section for more valuable advices.

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