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TopView London - A Complete Review of the Sightseeing Bus (2024)

Updated: May 5


TopView Sightseeing crossing the Tower Bridge

In this review, I'll dive into TopView London, the latest addition to our sightseeing scene. They started rolling in late 2023, bringing in new energy and a proven track record from their success in New York.


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 Summary:  

  • TopView offers live guides on all buses

  • Highly competitive prices

  • Board with the phone app

  • Walking tours on the 48hr ticket






1. Why choose TopView Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off?


TopView Sightseeing, being relatively new to the city, holds the promise of offering a unique perspective on sightseeing in London. It will be intriguing to observe how they distinguish themselves and bring fresh, innovative ideas to set them apart from the crowd of established open top bus competitors. Based on history, it's likely that all the other tours will start matching the new innovations after some time, which means we all have something to gain from this.




2. Advantages over other companies


 Summary:  

  • Cheaper tickets

  • No need to have a paper ticket

  • Walking tours/Night Tour on the 48hr ticket

  • Live guides on all buses


Live guided service

To set themselves apart in the London market, TopView Sightseeing has introduced a live guided service on all their Red Route departures. This goes against all the other sightseeing companies, which gave up on their live guides after the pandemic and switched to audio commentary. As a big fan of live guides, I can only celebrate their decision and hope that the others will follow.


To top it off, their guides put in exceptional effort to make your London tour a memorable and insightful experience.


Competitive prices

To compete with other companies and stand out, TopView is offering considerably lower prices. It's a great opportunity to take advantage of this, especially considering all the things they're offering. With such value, it's likely that prices will increase sooner rather than later.


Printed pass

Another feature that I find highly advantageous is the ability to board with your phone, eliminating the need for a printed pass. You no longer have to worry about losing your ticket, plus, it's more environmentally friendly. Currently, only Toot offers this option. 



3. Things to consider


 Summary:  

  • red route doesn't cover West London

  • no bus tracking app

  • could experience more delays

  • no recorded commentary in different languages


One route

If your hotel is situated in West London or you want to explore attractions like Kensington Palace, Harrods, The Natural History Museum, or Notting Hill, it might be more fitting to consider other sightseeing tours in the city as Topview does not have a route that covers that area.


Bus tracking app

TopView doesn't have a bus tracking app, which can make it a bit more challenging to predict bus arrivals, especially during the off-season when they run less frequently. One way to overcome this is by asking one of the uniformed staff that you can find at almost every stop.


Delays

Getting around Central London during busy times or on event days can be tricky, requiring years of experience. Although they've hired many competent people with field experience, there's still a certain level of unpredictability. This might result in occasional delays in their service.


Language

For those whose primary language isn't English and who might not feel entirely comfortable with an English-speaking guide throughout the tour, opting for a tour that offers commentary in their preferred language could be the best choice.




4. Maximising your time while using the bus tour


1 Day itinerary:


  • Hop on the red line towards Buckingham Palace to witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony. If you have a 48-hour ticket and feel like starting the day with a nice walking tour, head to Trafalgar Square for 9:30. 

  • After the ceremony, catch the bus to your next stop, Hyde Park. It's a great place to go for a walk. If you happen to be there on a Sunday, don't miss the Speaker's Corner!

  • From Hyde Park, make your way to Piccadilly Circus for some shopping and other exciting activities.

  • If you're feeling hungry and looking for a place to have lunch, Covent Garden is on the way, or you can opt for the renowned Borough Market. In my opinion, the last option is way more authentic and enjoyable.


  • Once you've refueled, head to the Tower of London. Enjoy this incredible castle, then take a boat ride back to Westminster where you can spend some time admiring Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. To get more inspiration on how to spend your day in London, visit our blog post: The best itinerary for one day in London.



5. Additional tours on offer by TopView


If you choose the 48-hour ticket, you'll enjoy the bonus of 3 free walking tours:


- Royal Park & Palace Walk departs daily at 9:45 AM from Pall Mall East between Suffolk St. & Whitcomb St. - Rock n' Roll Soho Walk departs daily at 1:00 PM from Pall Mall East between Suffolk St. & Whitcomb St.

- Jack the Ripper Walk departs daily at 4:00 PM from Tower Hill between Minories & Trinity Sq


London Lights Night Tour: They've recently added their own night tour to keep up with the competition. The route is quite similar to what its competitors are offering, but one way they could stand out is with their highly rated guides.


Departure points:


York Road 7:00 p.m.


Haymarket Bus Stop P 7:30 p.m


6. Routes and Timetable

TopView hop-on hop-off route map

TopView Sightseeing keeps it simple with just the red route, making it easy for those who want to explore London's major attractions without navigating multiple routes.


Boat ride

I highly recommend adding the boat ride to your open-top bus tour. One of the main reasons is that the boat ride offers a unique perspective. As you cruise along the Thames, you'll enjoy great views of the Tower of London, the Shard, and the London Eye, all while listening to fascinating stories from their famous guides.


Secondly, the boat ride is designed to complement your open-top bus tour itinerary. For instance, once you reach the Tower of London, it's much more enjoyable to continue your journey with the boat ride towards Westminster than sticking with the bus tour. The bus mainly follows a straight line along a busy road with few attractions to see.


Pro tip: Opting to include the boat ride later in your journey could end up costing you more. When you bundle it with the bus tour, the combined price usually stays around £5, giving you some significant savings.


Their buses typically operate from 8 AM to 5 PM, with Marble Arch serving as their primary departure point.




7. Available Tickets


TopView Sightseeing provides a range of ticket options, from 24 to 48 or 72 hours. However, I recommend 48 hours as the maximum duration.


They also offer a 24-hour ticket without the boat ride, which is the most budget-friendly choice among all the hop-on hop-off bus tours in London. At the moment of writing you can purchase it online for roughly £25 which makes it an absolute bargain in 2024.




8. Conclusion of our TopView Sightseeing London review 


Forming a solid impression of TopView is a bit tricky since they've been around for less than a year. However, my gut feeling tells me they're going to grow quickly and become top players in no time. I believe it's worth giving them a chance to see what they have to offer.


If our TopView 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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