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Ladybug18

London Pass or just the Hop On Hop Off Bus

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Hello!

 

We (2 adults & 1 child age ūüė鬆will be in London for the first time in June of 2020. We will only be in town for 2 days prior to our cruise out of Southampton. We definitely¬†want to do the Hop On Hop Off bus to get to and from all the different sites in London.¬†

 

The London Pass offers admission into many different attractions and also includes a river cruise  and a one day use on the Hop On Hop Off Bus. Should we buy two days on the London Pass? Or just one day? With the 2 day pass you only get to use the HOHO Bus one day? Is the London Pass worth it or should we just do two days on the HOHO Bus?

 

Thanks!

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What attractions do you want to see where the London Pass is valid? I doubt you’ll get your money’s worth in 2 days unless you’re just planning to rush from A to B and not allow time to visit London. Don’t try to do too much!
 

I’d also caution using the HOHO as transportation. Good overview of the city since you’ve never been, but the Tube and your feet are probably your most efficient transportation options. 

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Many museums and other sights in London are free and your time there is very limited.

You will be well off to get two day Hop On Hop Off passes.

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Agree with above posts that depending on what you want to see,you will be running from attraction to attraction in order to make the London pass worthwhile..  I have purchased it and 10 days it was worthwhile but we were busy to make it pay for itself. It can be profitable, just decide what you want to see and add it up.

I also did the hop on and off. I feel it was a nice over view of the city but difficult to use as a means of travel. The tube is much more efficient. People also say the public busses are nice mode of transportation  but in my 2 trips to London I was on one once and could not figure out the routes. Found the tube easier.

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20 hours ago, markeb said:


I’d also caution using the HOHO as transportation. Good overview of the city since you’ve never been, but the Tube and your feet are probably your most efficient transportation options. 

 

Agreed one thousand per-cent.

 

Do a complete ho-ho circuit of the main sight-seeing route on Day 1 for orientation, or on Day 2 to mop up the many places you didn't get to on your first day.  

https://www.theoriginaltour.com/en/map-times  (yellow route)

or

https://www.bigbustours.com/en/london/london-routes-and-tour-maps/ (red route)
NB 1. - London Original tickets are good for 24 hours from first boarding, but Big Bus tickets are only valid for the rest of the same day.

NB 2. - no buses or coaches are allowed past the front of Buckingham Palace. To see Buckingham Palace you have to get off the bus on Buckingham Mews, walk a couple of hundred yards round the corner, then back to the ho-ho stop for the next bus. If things are busy and you've got good seats I suggest you skip Buckingham Palace.

 

Golden Tours' ho-ho service is less-frequent than their competitors.

But consider their London-by-night tour https://www.goldentours.com/london-by-night-open-top-bus-tour , especially if your lodgings are handy to Victoria which is where that tour starts & finishes.

 

Ho-ho's are no good for transportation between in-depth site visits because of their convoluted routes, their frequent stops, and traffic congestion.

One side of the route to the other can take an hour - by tube it's ten minutes or less.

https://tfl.gov.uk/tfl/syndication/widgets/tubemap/default-search.html

 

London's metro system ("the tube") is very comprehensive, navigating the system is nowhere near as frightening as the map suggests.

Use a regular London tourist map to find the tube station nearest to your start point and the one nearest to your destination (tourist sights include the name of the most convenient tube station/s in their adverts & literature).

Then use the tube map just to navigate between stations. 

Don't bother to print-off the tube map - there's one inset on regular tourist maps, and displayed throughout the tube system.

 

I can't imagine your having time to make the cost of a London Pass worthwhile, but try to figure where you'll visit and do the maths

 

IMHO the best place to walk - where sights come thick-and-fast and are worth longer than a ho-ho drive-by - is on and around Whitehall, which connects Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square.

Admiralty Arch, Nelson's Column, Horse Guards Parade, 10 Downing Street, the Cenotaph, Churchill's War Rooms, Big Ben & Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Bridge, galleries, and a host of other sights.

 

Lots of useful London tourist info at https://www.londontoolkit.com/

 

JB :classic_smile:

Edited by John Bull

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Sightseeing can be hard work. As JB says, taking the whole hoho trip around London does give you a quick glimpse of the major sights, but without wear and tear (kids love to be upstairs on an open-top bus too).

 

If you are in the Westminster area, The London Eye is just across the river and there is a pier where you can catch a boat tour down-river to get a different view of Tower Bridge and The Tower of London.

 

You have two evenings as well and I bet you could find a show that the junior member of your party would enjoy. 

 

For most people The Tower is a must (buy your ticket in advance and get there early to avoid queues). Anything else will depend on your interests and stamina. 

Edited by Bob++

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On 1/29/2020 at 7:29 AM, John Bull said:

 

Agreed one thousand per-cent.

 

Do a complete ho-ho circuit of the main sight-seeing route on Day 1 for orientation, or on Day 2 to mop up the many places you didn't get to on your first day.  

https://www.theoriginaltour.com/en/map-times  (yellow route)

or

https://www.bigbustours.com/en/london/london-routes-and-tour-maps/ (red route)
NB 1. - London Original tickets are good for 24 hours from first boarding, but Big Bus tickets are only valid for the rest of the same day.

NB 2. - no buses or coaches are allowed past the front of Buckingham Palace. To see Buckingham Palace you have to get off the bus on Buckingham Mews, walk a couple of hundred yards round the corner, then back to the ho-ho stop for the next bus. If things are busy and you've got good seats I suggest you skip Buckingham Palace.

 

Golden Tours' ho-ho service is less-frequent than their competitors.

But consider their London-by-night tour https://www.goldentours.com/london-by-night-open-top-bus-tour , especially if your lodgings are handy to Victoria which is where that tour starts & finishes.

 

Ho-ho's are no good for transportation between in-depth site visits because of their convoluted routes, their frequent stops, and traffic congestion.

One side of the route to the other can take an hour - by tube it's ten minutes or less.

https://tfl.gov.uk/tfl/syndication/widgets/tubemap/default-search.html

 

London's metro system ("the tube") is very comprehensive, navigating the system is nowhere near as frightening as the map suggests.

Use a regular London tourist map to find the tube station nearest to your start point and the one nearest to your destination (tourist sights include the name of the most convenient tube station/s in their adverts & literature).

Then use the tube map just to navigate between stations. 

Don't bother to print-off the tube map - there's one inset on regular tourist maps, and displayed throughout the tube system.

 

I can't imagine your having time to make the cost of a London Pass worthwhile, but try to figure where you'll visit and do the maths

 

IMHO the best place to walk - where sights come thick-and-fast and are worth longer than a ho-ho drive-by - is on and around Whitehall, which connects Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square.

Admiralty Arch, Nelson's Column, Horse Guards Parade, 10 Downing Street, the Cenotaph, Churchill's War Rooms, Big Ben & Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Bridge, galleries, and a host of other sights.

 

Lots of useful London tourist info at https://www.londontoolkit.com/

 

JB :classic_smile:

Wow, thank you so much JB for your wealth of knowledge. I will definitely check out the links you provided. 
 

We have narrowed our hotel stays down to either the Premier Inn County Hall (next to the London Eye) OR the Premier Inn Waterloo. 
 

We are flying into London on a red eye out of Boston so we will be dropping our luggage off at the hotel and then hitting the pavement to try to see as much as we possibly can. The second day we will be more well rested so maybe we should do the HOHO bus the first day and then travel by foot the next. 

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21 hours ago, Bob++ said:

Sightseeing can be hard work. As JB says, taking the whole hoho trip around London does give you a quick glimpse of the major sights, but without wear and tear (kids love to be upstairs on an open-top bus too).

 

If you are in the Westminster area, The London Eye is just across the river and there is a pier where you can catch a boat tour down-river to get a different view of Tower Bridge and The Tower of London.

 

You have two evenings as well and I bet you could find a show that the junior member of your party would enjoy. 

 

For most people The Tower is a must (buy your ticket in advance and get there early to avoid queues). Anything else will depend on your interests and stamina. 

Thank you so much for your response. Yes, our son definitely wants to sit on the top of the open-air bus, it’s been on his bucket list for quite some time. 
 

We have narrowed down our hotel to two Premier Inn both near the London Eye so we will definitely do that. I’ve heard doing it at night is best. 
 

we would love to catch a show while in London. Is there a place you can get last minute tickets at a discounted rate? I think Wicked and Momma Mia are both in town while we are there. 
 

thanks, I had no idea you needed tickets for the tower. I’ll look into that. 

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50 minutes ago, Ladybug18 said:

 

We are flying into London on a red eye out of Boston so we will be dropping our luggage off at the hotel and then hitting the pavement to try to see as much as we possibly can. The second day we will be more well rested so maybe we should do the HOHO bus the first day and then travel by foot the next. 

 

That way round seems to work best for most folk :classic_smile:

 

JB :classic_smile:

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https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/visit/tickets-and-prices/#gs.vjyql2

 

Note that there are two queues (lines) at the Tower. The first is at the ticket booths where those who did not buy in advance (and get a discount) queue up and pay the full price.

 

The second is at the actual entrance and it usually moves fairly fast. This is where they check your tickets. At busy times there is often a queue for the Crown Jewels, so it can pay to head there first.

 

Premier Inns are mid range hotels with a reasonably good reputation. The rooms will be fairly small and probably no air con, but you only really need somewhere to crash at night so that is irrelevant. There are lots of places to eat along the South Bank past the Eye, so you won't depend on the hotel for food, although I recommend paying the extra for Bed and Breakfast if it is not included.

Edited by Bob++

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Now you have decided on a hotel, you need to think about getting there. I suggest catching a National Express coach (£5.00 booked in advance) to Victoria and hailing a cab for the final couple of miles.

 

https://www.nationalexpress.com/en

 

 

Edited by Bob++

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2 hours ago, Ladybug18 said:

we would love to catch a show while in London. Is there a place you can get last minute tickets at a discounted rate? I think Wicked and Momma Mia are both in town while we are there.  

 

TKTS has a discount booth in Leicester Square for last minute tickets. I don't know how availability usually runs, but it's worth a try.

 

50 minutes ago, Bob++ said:

Premier Inns are mid range hotels with a reasonably good reputation. The rooms will be fairly small and probably no air con, but you only really need somewhere to crash at night so that is irrelevant. There are lots of places to eat along the South Bank past the Eye, so you won't depend on the hotel for food, although I recommend paying the extra for Bed and Breakfast if it is not included.

 

I would second the idea to get the Bed and Breakfast rate. It's just simpler. That area of the South Bank is more likely to have lunch and evening options if memory serves, unless you want to join the queue at McDonalds...

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I actually was going to do a HOHO bus but opted for the much cheaper, and still double decker, megabus tour.  It was really good, around 2 hours and you see a lot.   It's recorded narration but they use 2 different voices so I actually paid attention.

 

I too was a first time visitor and tbh, traffic was terrible.  Public transit was great and even though it did involve sitting in traffic, I preferred the buses to the Tube (mainly because even though the stations are all over, once you get into the station, you still may have a LONGGGGG walk to the platform.  Just an observation. PLUS, the escalators are SCARY fast!!  Yikes!!)  I liked being able to see stuff from the public buses too.

 

Get the CITYMAPPER app.¬† It's FABULOUS and really makes getting around easy as it shows lots of ways to get from point A to point B.¬† It made London almost megr1125-proof!¬†ūüėĀ

 

And, JB and others here gave me awesome advice too.  I took National Express to Southampton the day before my cruise.  It was fairly easy but I didn't care for it.  (Got a bit motion sick even with Bonine, and the bus was a little on the hot side.)

 

Have a great time.  Just don't underestimate how long it takes to get around. OYSTER cards are great or you can use contactless credit cards or smart phones with apple pay or google pay but each person needs a different one.  I got a regular oyster card at LHR as opposed to the visitor one, loaded around 30 GBP and ran all over for 3 days!  I think I wound up with a little bit left, but I just kept it on there instead of getting a refund.  I'll be back...(I'll leave the explanations of those cards/payments to the experts so I don't confuse anyone!)

 

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2 hours ago, Ladybug18 said:


 

We have narrowed our hotel stays down to either the Premier Inn County Hall (next to the London Eye) OR the Premier Inn Waterloo. 
 

I have stayed 3x at the Premier Inn Waterloo.  This hotel is at street level with A/C, helpful staff, bar/restaurant in the lower level.  I took the breakfast deal and ate dinner out.

 

The Premier Inn County Hall is only a short walk away (maybe one street, a small plaza) from the Premier Inn Waterloo.  This hotel has a few steps up from street level, I was told no A/C.

 

Both very close to London Eye, Thamas river, HOHO, regular bus,  2 tube stations, Waterloo train station, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, restaurants/pubs, small grocery store.

 

First time in London, after disembarking the ship and taking National Express on the same day,  we took 1 route of HOHO the full route without getting off, transferred to 2 route full route without getting off, next day took 3 route to Tower of London, visited Tower then completed 3 route.

 

We also had the London Pass and only used it for a couple sites.  I did not feel we got our money worth, it did save time, no line up at the Tower of London.  I found that you can only see so much and enjoy.

 

The next few visits to London, I figured out what I wanted to see and purchased tickets in advance sometimes saving £.

Edited by phabric

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1 minute ago, phabric said:

I have stayed 3x at the Premier Inn Waterloo.  This hotel is at street level with A/C, helpful staff, bar/restaurant in the lower level.  I took the breakfast deal and ate dinner out.

 

The Premier Inn County Hall is only a short walk away (maybe one street, a small plaza) from the Premier Inn Waterloo.  This hotel has a few steps up from street level, I was told no A/C.

 

Both very close to London Eye, Thamas river, HOHO, regular bus,  2 tube stations, Waterloo train station, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, restaurants/pubs, small grocery store.

Thank you so much for your response. I saw on the Premier Inn County Hall website that they list that there is Air Conditioning so my guess is that they have recently installed A/C in the rooms.

 

both hotels are the same price so I am torn as to which one to book. The County Hall seems like it might have better views as its on the Thames and near the Eye. 

 

Thanks for the breakfast recommendation. I was debating on getting it or not. I think for convenience it might be worth it. Was it any good? Do you have any lunch/dinner recommendations in that area?

 

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1 hour ago, Bob++ said:

https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/visit/tickets-and-prices/#gs.vjyql2

 

Note that there are two queues (lines) at the Tower. The first is at the ticket booths where those who did not buy in advance (and get a discount) queue up and pay the full price.

 

The second is at the actual entrance and it usually moves fairly fast. This is where they check your tickets. At busy times there is often a queue for the Crown Jewels, so it can pay to head there first.

 

Premier Inns are mid range hotels with a reasonably good reputation. The rooms will be fairly small and probably no air con, but you only really need somewhere to crash at night so that is irrelevant. There are lots of places to eat along the South Bank past the Eye, so you won't depend on the hotel for food, although I recommend paying the extra for Bed and Breakfast if it is not included.

Thank you so much for the link. I will definitely pre-purchase tickets to this attraction. 

 

The website for both Premier Inns say they have A/C so I'm assuming they do. Fingers crossed!

 

Thanks for the recommendation to pay for the breakfast at the hotel. Definitely don't want to waste valuable time trying to find a place to get something for breakfast.

 

Are they any grocery stores in the area of the two Premier Inns?

 

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22 minutes ago, Ladybug18 said:

Thanks for the recommendation to pay for the breakfast at the hotel. Definitely don't want to waste valuable time trying to find a place to get something for breakfast.

 

There is no need to pre-purchase breakfast on your reservation. You can add it at check in. And, as I noted elsewhere, when I stayed at PI St. Pancras last summer, there were actually 2 different breakfast options, the full breakfast for £10.50, or a breakfast that includes everything but the hot food for £8.50.

Edited by gnome12

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Just now, gnome12 said:

There is no need to pre-purchase breakfast on your reservation. You can add it at check in. And, as I noted elsewhere, when I stayed at PI St. Pancras last summer, there were actually 2 different breakfast options, the full breakfast for £10.50, or a breakfast that includes everything but the hot food for £8.50.

Thank you. I believe it is cheaper to add the breakfast on to the reservation when booking

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17 minutes ago, megr1125 said:

I actually was going to do a HOHO bus but opted for the much cheaper, and still double decker, megabus tour.  It was really good, around 2 hours and you see a lot.   It's recorded narration but they use 2 different voices so I actually paid attention.

 

 

I didn't know that Megabus did London tours, I think of them as city-to-city transport like Nat Express.

Their tour looks very much like the Golden Tours one that I mentioned.

But waaay cheaper, more frequent, and their London Eye start-point  is waaaay more convenient from Premier Inns in Waterloo (just 2 minutes from P.I. County Hall).

I've  entered it into my memory bank

 

 

6 minutes ago, Ladybug18 said:

 

The website for both Premier Inns say they have A/C so I'm assuming they do. Fingers crossed!

 

Thanks for the recommendation to pay for the breakfast at the hotel. Definitely don't want to waste valuable time trying to find a place to get something for breakfast.

 

Are they any grocery stores in the area of the two Premier Inns?

 

 

County Hall is marginally the more-convenient of the two, but both are right by Westminster Bridge & London Eye, and on the ho-ho route.

Called County Hall because it was designed as the offices of London County Council, and like most public buildings in London it's built in Portland stone, making it very much part of London's city-scape of the early 20th Century.

P.I. occupies only a part of County Hall, as does the Marriott.

P.I.Waterloo is modern, probably better-designed for a hotel, but bland  & featureless by comparison.

 

Premier Inns are known for their breakfasts :classic_smile:

 

I can''t imagine there being any mainline grocery stores close by. Perhaps a little independent or two, but its not a residential area so its mainly bars & restaurants.

There's a Tesco Express at the other end of Westminster Bridge, opposite Big Ben. But its main trade is takeaway sandwiches & snacks for office workers.

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

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56 minutes ago, Ladybug18 said:

Thank you so much for your response. I saw on the Premier Inn County Hall website that they list that there is Air Conditioning so my guess is that they have recently installed A/C in the rooms.

 

both hotels are the same price so I am torn as to which one to book. The County Hall seems like it might have better views as its on the Thames and near the Eye. 

 

Thanks for the breakfast recommendation. I was debating on getting it or not. I think for convenience it might be worth it. Was it any good? Do you have any lunch/dinner recommendations in that area?

 

I take the breakfast for convenience and eat dinner out where ever we are.  There are many restaurants around the hotels or when you are out.

 

FYI- at a pub, you order your drinks and food at the bar and tell them your table which has a number.

 

Breakfast is buffet style - cereal, yogurt, fruit, bread, scrambled eggs, British bacon, beans, mushrooms, sausage, juice, coffee/tea/milk, a normal British breakfast.

 

There was a small grocery store (like a very small corner store) Tesco Express at the end of Westminster bridge, opposite side of Parliament building for people picking things on/off their way to work - sandwich, chips, candy, cookies, drinks.

Edited by phabric

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A quick stroll down York Rd on Street View shows several small grocery shops including a Marks and Spencer.

 

 

Edited by Bob++

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Jumping on this to ask, we are scheduled to arrive at Heathrow at 8: 10 am, figuring we'll go from there to our hotel near Buckingham Palace and drop our bags, then hit the road to start sightseeing.  (We booked Monday-Tuesday-Weds pre-cruise to take in the sights before leaving Thursday to head down to Southampton).  In the past, when we've done a similar itinerary, we took a walking tour around a city (in that case, Rome) to get acquainted with the city and to stay awake.  Doing the Megabus sightseeing sounds like a good way to start our three days in London, two hours, and get an overview of the city.  Do you think this is better than a walking tour for our first impression of the city? Also, considering  the time it takes to get out of the airport, take transportation to our hotel, check in, drop bags, and make our way to the London Eye to pick up the tour, what time do you think I should book the Megabus tour?

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9 minutes ago, cruisegal415 said:

Also, considering  the time it takes to get out of the airport, take transportation to our hotel, check in, drop bags, and make our way to the London Eye to pick up the tour, what time do you think I should book the Megabus tour?

Since you will lose your money if you miss the bus, I wouldn't book in advance.

Tickets are only valid for the service(s) you have booked. If you miss your service you will not be permitted to travel on a later service, unless you purchase a new Ticket. If you arrive early enough for another service you will not be permitted to travel on that earlier service, unless you purchase a new Ticket. You cannot start or end your journey at any intermediate stops and must travel the entire journey between the origin and destination, on the date and at the time(s) shown on your Ticket.

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1 hour ago, Ladybug18 said:

Thank you. I believe it is cheaper to add the breakfast on to the reservation when booking

It wasn't when I was there. It was £10.50 on reservation and £10.50 on site. Also, they didn't say anything on the website about the £8.50 option; I found out about that in my room, and went down and had reception change it so I ended up with a refund.

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9 minutes ago, Bob++ said:

Since you will lose your money if you miss the bus, I wouldn't book in advance.

 

 

Unless we book it for the time we know we would get there.  That's why I'm trying to figure out how much time to allow to leave the airport, get to our hotel on Buckingham Road, check in, drop bags, then get to the pickup location which is either the Tower of London or the London Eye

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