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Golden Tours London - In-depth review of the Hop-on Hop-off Bus for 2024

Updated: May 4

The Golden Tours hop-on hop-off bus passing by St Paul's Cathedral

If you're exploring London, you've probably heard of Golden Tours. They're a popular sightseeing tour operator that's been in the city for a while. They offer all sorts of tours, from hop-on hop-off bus adventures to day trips to incredible places like Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor Castle, among many others.

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  • Unique route design 

  • Affordable tour options

  • Live guides (certain tours)

  • Extensive array of languages

  • London Pass

           Check online for ticket deals

1. Why choose Golden Tours?

Golden Tours has quite a history behind it. While they didn't start with hop-on hop-off buses back in 1984, they've gained a lot of experience in the field since then. The fact that they've lasted this long is a good sign that they're doing something right.

I found Golden Tours' aproach to the route design quite unique. While most of the other tours are running almost identical routes, their unique approach could fit some travelers better. 

2. Advantages over other companies

You'll observe that each company strives to distinguish itself from competitors, a positive trend for us tourists as it leads to continuous improvements in the tours.


  • Highly rated live guides

  • Cheapest Family ticket

  • Commentary in multiple languages

  • London Pass holders travel for free

Live guides

Currently, Golden Tours stands as the primary tour bus provider offering live guides on selected blue route departures, with TopView being an exception by also offering this unique feature. According to highly positive reviews on TripAdvisor, Golden Tours is known for its exceptional live guides who provide an outstanding experience. (Remember to ask the friendly staff about their live guided bus options).

Affordable tickets

In this current market, every little helps. One thing I like about Golden Tours is that they cater to all budgets. They also have one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest family ticket out there when booked online.

Audio guides 

Golden Tours outshines its competitors, including Big Bus and Toot, by offering a more extensive array of languages for their commentary. With audio guides available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, Hindi, Japanese, and Arabic, they make sure that a wider variety of international visitors can truly enjoy their London tour.

London Pass

Golden Tours accepts the London Pass, allowing pass holders to utilize their services while enjoying the benefits of the pass.


The most economic choice for families, you can purchase a ticket for the whole family for around £80 .

3. Things to consider


  • longer waiting times

  • navigating the map

  • limited buses around Hyde Park

Longer waiting times

After observing them for a while and consulting other people's opinions, I've found that Golden Tours usually has longer waiting times than its top competitors. While there are cases when the difference is minimal, at most of the major stops, you can easily spot the distinction. You can overcome this easily by downloading their bus tracking app and planning accordingly.


In my opinion sightseeing maps should be as easy to read as possible. The last thing you want is to waste a lot of time figuring out where the bus goes, or even worse, hopping on the wrong line. I've found that Golden Tours' map can be a bit more challenging and confusing to read compared to some of its competitors. To simplify your journey, I recommend relying on their app. The easiest way to do this is to remove all other routes except the one you're currently focusing on.

End of day

Another important thing that I have noticed is that Golden Tours usually concludes its services earlier in the day in comparison to many of its competitors. Additionally, as the day progresses, you might notice a reduction in bus frequency.

4. Getting the most out of your bus tour experience

  • You have to try the Red Route to experience the best of London! You get to see Covent Garden, Westminster Abbey, Hyde Park, Regent's Park, Madame Tussauds, King's Cross, the London Eye, the Tower of London, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the Shard, St. Paul's Cathedral, and Piccadilly Circus and many more.

  • Blue Route. If you have limited time or you prefer live guides, the blue route is the ideal choice. It's all about Central London and its iconic landmarks, giving you a packed but fulfilling sightseeing adventure. Also perfect for travelers short on time!

Unlock more tips for maximizing your London adventure by checking out our blog post: The best itinerary for one day in London.

5. Aditional tours on offer by Golden Tours

If you find yourself in Windsor or York, Golden Tours extends their open-top bus tours to these destinations.

6. Routes and Timetable

Route map of the Golden Tours  hop-on hop-off

As of now, Golden Tours offers four distinct tours:

  • The Classic Tour (Blue Route)

  • The Essential Tour (Red Route)

  • The Museum Tour (Orange Route)

  • The Morning and Evening Drop-off Service (Yellow and Green Routes)

A detailed timetable for each route can be found here. Remember to always check the app for the latest updated information.

7. Available Tickets

Pro tip: If you're planning to book some incredible out-of-town experiences they are some of the best in the field with years of experience, and their tours are highly rated. Among the top recommended out-of-town experiences, Golden Tours offers trips to Stonehenge, Windsor, Bath, and the highly sought-after Harry Potter Tour.

We've created a dedicated blog post just for the Harry Potter tour to give it the attention it deserves, which you can find here.

8. Conclusion of our Golden Tours London review 

Golden Tours undoubtedly adds its unique flair to the realm of London hop-on-hop-off buses. While its TripAdvisor reviews may not match those of the top two companies, you can still enjoy a fantastic experience, perhaps even better than with others.

If our Golden Tours 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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