The Original Tour of London's sights

Hop-on hop-off open top double deck sightseeing bus tour discounts

Original London Tour Open Top Sightseeing Bus

Tour highlights: The Original Tour has routes to major sights and free cruises

On this page

Original Tour hop-on hop-off

Forty years ago the company who ran London's red buses decided to put on a special double deck bus on a circuit of London's main attractions. This idea, now called The Original Tour of London's sights, has snowballed globally in popularity to a point where every visitor to London seems to use the tours.


All tours are included in the one ticket which last for a 24 hour or a 48 hour period.

Like its arch rival, Big Bus, The Original Tour offers main sightseeing routes that cover all the main sights in Central London augmented by a couple of feeder services.


The service runs year round during daylight hours (like all rival services there is no evening/night time service included in the ticket).

As well as the bus tours, free walks and river cruises on the River Thames are included in the ticket. There is a kids' club where kids get their own commentary and activity book.

You can buy combination tickets that combine the ho-ho bus service with popular attractions or you can buy tickets to many attractions on the bus.


Key points of The Original Tour (24 & 48 hour tickets)

- Tickets valid for 24 or 48 hours from time of first use

- FREE walking tours! (three of them)

- FREE Thames River Cruise

- FREE wi-fi on buses

- Hop-on and hop-off service with stops at all the attractions

- English live guides + Audio guides (English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Portuguese, Mandarin, Arabic & Brazilian Portuguese).


FREE 24-hour extension until 28th February 2018

From 1st October 2017 until 28th February 2018, all passengers purchasing a 24 or 48 hour ticket receive a FREE 24-hour extension to their tickets during this promotional period.

This offer does not include the City Sampler ticket.


Key points of The Original Tour (City Sampler)

The City Sampler ticket is a cheaper alternative to the 24-hour ticket.

The main difference are:

- Valid for 1 calendar day, not 24 hours (the ticket expires at the end of the day that you ride).

- Hop-on and hop-off bus service, but no river cruise or walking tours included.


The Original Tour bus routes

Your ticket covers all the routes on The Original Tour network in London. You can switch from one to another route as you please.


There are three core sightseeing routes and two connector services.

The T1 and T2 Yellow Route is the main route that covers many of the best known places of interest in London and to a large part duplicate one another.


The Yellow Tour has a live commentary (only in English). In addition there are audio guides available in the following languages: German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Japanese, Portuguese, Mandarin, Arabic and Brazilian Portuguese, as well as English.


Similarly the Blue, Orange and Black Routes also provide the same digitally-recorded commentary in the above languages.


All tours have summer and winter timetables, operating later in the summer months than in the winter.

T1 and T2 The Original Tour Yellow Route 2.5-3 hours

The Yellow Route is the core sightseeing route that cover the most of the major sights in Central London. The Yellow Route has an English speaking live guide and is highly recommended if you can understand English.


T1 buses offer guides in English. T2 buses offer recorded commentary in multiple languages together with English language Kids Club.


The main departure point for this tour route is located at Coventry Street, Piccadilly Circus, but you can board the bus at any stop along the route. You will see main sights like Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, St Paul's Cathedral, London Eye, The Shard, Tower Bridge and Leicester Square.

Comparison of London's Sightseeing Buses

The Yellow Route operates from around 8.10am departing from Coventry Street; during the summer months the last tour starts at 7.30pm from Coventry Street - around two hours earlier in winter months.


Hop-on hop-off buses can be caught every 3-10 minutes during peak summer, 5-12 minutes in spring and autumn and 10-20 minutes during the winter months.


Yellow Route from Monday 11th September until 29th October 2017

Coventry Street: Last full tour is at 5.26pm / last bus is at 7.30pm (terminates at Victoria)
Grosvenor Gardens: Last full tour is at 6pm / last bus is at 6.30pm (terminates at Coventry Street)
Buses operate every 5-10 minutes.


T4 Royal Borough Route (Blue) and T5 The British Museum Route (Orange) 1.5 hours

Two other sightseeing routes, the Orange and Blue tours cover the main sights and hotel districts to the north east and south west of the core Yellow Tour and interconnect with other routes.


The Royal Borough Route (Blue Route) visits the sights south west of the core Yellow Route. The Blue Route covers the popular shopping and hotel district of Kensington with the world famous Harrods and Harvey Nichols department stores as well as the museums in Kensington including Victoria & Albert Museum, Science Museum, Natural History Museum and the Design Museum.

The British Museum Tour (Orange Route) gives you easy access to the British Museum, the hotel districts at Bloomsbury and Kings Cross shops and also provides easy access from Kings Cross, St Pancras and Euston train stations.

The tour also acts as a hotel feeder service to the Yellow and Red Routes covering the South Kensington, Gloucester Road, Kensington High Street, Knightsbridge and Bloomsbury/Euston hotel districts.

Main attractions: Kensington Palace, Baden-Powell House, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum, Brompton Oratory, Harrods, Knightsbridge, Harvey Nichols, Hyde Park, Ritz Hotel, Piccadilly Circus, Shaftesbury Avenue, British Museum, Russell Square, Wellington Museum, Royal Albert Hall, Albert Memorial, Kensington High Street & the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.


Blue and Orange Routes Monday 11th September until 29th October 2017

The blue route runs between 8.20am and last full loop at 5.36pm, every 10-20 minutes in summer, 20-30 minutes in winter.

The orange route runs between 8.15am and last full loop at 5.30pm every 10-20 minutes in summer, 20-30 minutes in winter.


T6 and T7 Capital Connector Routes (Purple & Black Routes)

The two remaining routes are short connection services.


The Purple Route is useful if you are staying in a hotel located in Bayswater, Notting Hill, Holland Park or Lancaster Gate or wish to go shopping at Westfield Shepherds Bush and will connect you into the main sightseeing routes.


The Black Route is the new loop going to Baker Street and Regents Park; covering Madame Tussauds and London Zoo. This route departs every 20 minutes from Marble Arch.


Purple and Black Routes Monday 11th September until 29th October 2017

Purple: Park Lane Southbound: Last bus back to Holland Park is at 6.36pm
Buses operate every 15-30 minutes


Black: Park Lane Southbound: Last bus is at 6pm
Buses operate every 15-20 minutes


Free river cruise with City Cruises (with 24 & 48 hour tickets)

Customers of The Original Tour are automatically offered a FREE cruise on the River Thames.


The river cruise tickets are issued at the same time as your bus tickets and you may use them as many times as you like between Westminster and Tower Pier.


You collect your free pass from a member of The Original Tour staff, present it to the City Cruises ticket office at the boarding pier of your choice and you're on board.

24-hour ticket holders can cruise the Thames between Westminster Pier by Big Ben and Tower Pier (next to the Tower of London).


48-hour ticket holders can cruise the Thames between Westminster Pier and Tower Pier also but can also enjoy an extended cruise to historic Greenwich where they can see the Royal Observatory, the Cutty Sark, the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich Park and the National Maritime Museum.

City Cruises River Boat In Front Of The Tower Of London

Free walking tours (with 24 & 48 hour tickets)

The Original Changing of the Guard Walk

See Buckingham Palace, St James's Palace and the regiments that guard them in this exciting walk as you march alongside the army regiments that guard the Queen and her palaces on this royal walking tour.


The walking tour departs on these days at 10am from The Original Visitor Centre, for both Changing of the Guard (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays), and for the other days, Changing of the Horse Guard.


London Rock 'n' Roll Walk

Departs daily at 1pm from The Original Visitor Centre. A walk through Soho discovering the places where the Rolling Stones recording their first album, where the Beatles played their last gig and where Jimi Hendrix and The Sex Pistols played their first. It's only rock 'n' roll but I like it!


The Original Jack the Ripper Walk

Departs daily at 3.30pm from The Original Tour stop at Tower of London on Tower Hill. Walk in the footsteps of the world's most infamous serial killer as we reveal his murderous tale from the streets of Whitechapel in 1888.

Buy discounted Original Tour tickets online

When purchasing discounted tickets online you will be given three options.

  • Print a voucher emailed to you at home after purchase. You then validate the ticket at any OLT bus stop at the time of your your first journey.

  • Collect them in person from the visitor centre by Trafalgar Square

  • Have them posted to your home address (additional charge for this service)

Original London Tour Tickets

London's main open top hop on, hop off sightseeing tours
(Discounted online advance purchase)


Online advance ticket price adult (child)

1 day‡
Bus only

24 hrs
or 1 day

48 hrs
or 2 days

72 hrs
or 3 days

Original Tour





Big Bus





Golden Tours





†Calendar days ticket      *24/48/72 hours ticket

‡Valid for one calendar day expiring at the end of the day irrespective of start time, river cruise/walking tours not included


Big Bus - 10% discount code available for 1,2 and 3 day tickets at our Big Bus London dedicated page.

Original Tour - 24 hours free with 24 hour and 48 hour ticket.


Save money combining leading London attractions & hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses

The Original Tour as its name implies is the original hop-on hop-off London sightseeing bus service.


The hop-on, hop-off sightseeing buses are an excellent first day in London quickly getting you up to speed and orientated with the layout of London and your guide pointing out sights and destinations you might have not previously considered visiting.


But most visitors to London will have their own "must-see" list of attractions.


So why not save some money and purchase your hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus tickets and your "must-see" attractions as a package. You don't have to use the attraction tickets on the day you use the sightseeing bus either.


Madame Tussauds, The London Eye, London Dungeon, London Aquarium, St Paul’s Cathedral, Kensington Palace and Tower of London are all available.

Original London Tour & Attraction Packages

London Toolkit Social Media Banner London Toolkit Facebook Fan Page London Toolkit on Twitter

Copyright © 2002-2017
Travellers Toolkits Ltd All Rights Reserved