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City Sightseeing London - A Complete Review (2024)

Updated: May 4


CitySightseeing London tour bus in Piccadilly


You've probably heard of City Sightseeing - it's one of the most well-known sightseeing operators worldwide. Recently, they've made their appearance in the London market, quickly becoming one of the top operators. 


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 Summary:  

  • Citysightseeing offers a wider range of languages

  • Competitive pricing

  • One day ticket without the cruise

  • Self-Guided Royal London Tour

  • Worldwide network

  • Direct link from The London Eye to The British Museum







1. Why choose City Sightseeing London?


City Sightseeing London is part of the renowned City Sightseeing Worldwide network, which operates in more than 100 cities worldwide. As they have a well-deserved reputation to uphold, they are continuously working on improving their service. I have watched them closely for a while and I can say that I am truly impressed with their ability to adapt and catch up with the competition.


Their hop-on hop-off buses are easily recognizable thanks to their eye-catching and beautifully designed red exteriors. They truly stand out as you explore the city.




2. Advantages over other companies


Commentary

City Sightseeing London stands out by offering a wider range of languages in their options compared to Big Bus and Toot . While the later 2 offer English, Spanish, French, German and Italian, City Sightseeing offers Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Arabic in addition. If you happen to speak one of the languages offered, it makes them the clear choice for you.


Discounts

Presenting an older City Sightseeing ticket may increase your chances of receiving a discount on your next purchase, as they often provide discounts or promotional offers for returning customer.


One-day ticket

While tours like Big Bus offer only all-inclusive tickets, where you can't opt out from the river cruise, City Sightseeing offers a more budget-friendly option without the boat ride. This option is perfect for someone who has already experienced the cruise or simply has no desire to do it.


Self-Guided Royal London Tour

Their ticket includes a fascinating podcast-style self-guided audio tour in English which tells the 100-years-old story of the British Royal Family.




3. Things to consider



Summary:

  • shorter buses that get more crowded

  • shorter blue route

  • relatively new to the London market

  • more delays possible during busy times



Service frequency 

While City Sightseeing London is part of a worldwide recognized company, it is relatively new to the London market compared to other established tour operators. This means that in certain situations, you might spot more buses from other companies or experience slightly more delays during diversions caused by events in the city.


Peak times

Their hop-on hop-off buses can get crowded on weekends because of high demand.  Compared to Toot and Big Bus, their buses are usually shorter and have fewer seats upstairs. This can make it a bit more challenging to find empty seats on the upper deck during busy times. 


Blue route

In comparison to its main competitors, it's important to be aware that CitySightseeing London's Blue Route doesn't extend to Bayswater, Paddington, and Notting Hill.


Pro tip: On Saturdays or during school holidays, it's recommended to start your sightseeing early to avoid crowds. Alternatively, the evening can be a good time to join the tour, when the crowds tend to be smaller.




4. Maximising your time while using the bus tour


One day itinerary:

  • Ideally you want to start your morning by hopping on the red line towards Buckingham Palace to witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony. 

  • After the ceremony, catch the bus to your next stop, Hyde Park. If the weather permits, i recommend taking a stroll through this amazing park.

  • From Hyde Park you can pick the blue line if Harrods, Kensington Palace and The Museums are on your list.

  • Make your way to Piccadilly Circus for some shopping and other exciting activities. 

  • From Picadilly you can walk or take the bus towards Trafalgar Square. If you are into art, make sure you visit the National Gallery, you won't be disappointed. 

  • From Trafalgar Square head to Covent Garden for some amazing food, or you can choose the renowned Borough Market, a historical spot offering a wide variety of delicious food options.


Remember, the main ticket (Essential) includes a boat ride that is truly worth the experience. The guides are highly rated , the views are spectacular, plus you can get yourself some snacks and beverages from the bar and enjoy them while wondering at the sights.


Depending on your starting point, a popular approach is to take the bus to the Tower of London, hop off to explore the attractions in that area, and then catch the boat towards Westminster. The bus goes on a straight line, so you won't miss much if taking the boat, quite the contrary, you get to see London from a different perspective and learn some interesting facts about the River Thames. 


Pro tip: The friendly staff at City Sightseeing London are knowledgeable and can provide recommendations on the best routes to take and must-see attractions based on your preferences. They can quickly help you plan your tour to make the most of your time in London.


To discover additional tips on maximizing your day in London, visit our blog post:




5. Additional tours on offer by City Sightseeing London


  • London Eye + City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off for 24hrs and the boat £89


  • Madame Tussauds + City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off for 24hrs and the boat £90





6. Routes and Timetable

Route map of the Citysightseeing London hop-on hop-off tour

City Sightseeing offers a choice of 3 hop-on hop-off routes:


  • The Red route is the primary route, taking you to the major sites. The red route tends to have the most frequent departures

  •  The Blue route explores West London, including attractions like the museums, Hyde Park, and Harrods.

  •  The Green route takes you from the London Eye to Covent Garden and The British Museum and viceversa


The blue route, compared to some of its competitors, focuses on the south side of Hyde Park exclusively. This can be an advantage because buses often get caught in traffic when circling the entirety of Hyde Park. The Blue route has key interchanging points at Hyde Park and Marble Arch.


Pro tip: A notable advantage City Sightseeing London offers over its competitors is the direct connection from the London Eye to the British Museum through the Green route. No other company provides direct buses from this stop to the British Museum. 


Timetable:

  • First buses: Westminster Bridge, 8:25; Tower Hill, 8:44; Buckingham Palace Gate, 8:58; Haymarket, 9:03.

  • Full route: 8:30 to 16:00 every ten minutes. 16:20 to 17:20 every 20 minutes.

  • Departures from stop 1 with Tower Hill as final stop: 16:10, 16:25, 16:30, 16:50, 17:05, 17:10, 17:30, 18:05 and 19:00

  • Departures from stop 1 with Haymarket as final stop :17:40, 18:00, 18:20

  • Departure from stop 1 with Grosvenor Gardens as final stop: 18:40.


Pro tip: In the vibrant city of London, events and protests occur frequently. To guarantee a seamless tour experience, it's a wise move to regularly visit their website and stay informed by checking the service updates. You can also come back and visit our City Sightseeing London review for updates on their tour.




7. Available Tickets


CitySightseeing provides two ticket options:



While the Iconic ticket is a budget-friendly choice for a single day without the boat ride, I highly recommend going for the Essential ticket. It's valid for 24 or 48 hours and includes the boat ride, and the price difference is minimal.


If you decide to opt for the 48-hour ticket, keep in mind that it includes a fantastic bonus – five award-winning self-guided walking tours.


For all the Harry Potter enthusiasts out there, you can enjoy a fantastic deal that combines a Harry Potter Tour, a Hop-on Hop-off Bus, and a Cruise. You can find more details here.




8. Conclusion of our City Sightseeing London review 


City Sightseeing comfortably secures a spot among the top three hop-on-hop-off tour providers in London. You can confidently choose this service, taking into account the factors I've highlighted. Their vibrant buses and commitment to continuous improvement make for an enjoyable and reliable sightseeing experience.


If our City Sightseeing London review captivated your interest, be sure to explore our assessment of other tours here and discover valuable travel tips here.



Getting tickets


Booking online is significantly cheaper than purcharsing tickets on the bus.






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