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, 48 or 72 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. The free river cruise down the River Thames is an excellent extra and well worthwhile.


Key points of The Original Tour (24, 48 & 72 hour tickets)

- Tickets valid for 24, 48 or 72 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

- Kids' Club activity pack and commentary - currently the only London tour company to offer this

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



Original London Tour Tickets


Original London Tour & Attraction Packages


Key points of The Original Tour (City Sampler)

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

The main differences 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 (in English) on T1 buses on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only. 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 provide the same digitally-recorded commentary in the above languages. There is also a Green Route, which is a Leicester Square loop service.


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 on the T1 only and is highly recommended if you can understand English.


T1 buses offer live guides in English every 30 minutes from Grosvenor Gardens on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only. T2 buses offer recorded commentary in multiple languages with English language Kids Club. T1 and T2 headphone commentary tour leaves every 5-12 minutes. After 4.30pm, it's every 15-20 minutes.


The main departure points for this tour route is at Grosvenor Gardens in Victoria or Coventry Street, Piccadilly Circus, but you can board the bus at any stop en 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 departs 8.10am from Coventry Street near Picadilly Circus tube; during the summer the last tour starts at about 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 May 25th 2018 until Sep 9th 2018

Grosvenor Gardens, Victoria:

T1 & T2: First departure: 8.30am. Last full tour: 8.55pm

Buses operate every 5-10 minutes summer, 15-20 minutes winter.


Green Leicester Square Loop service: First departure: 9.15am Charing Cross Road. Last: 2.15pm. End: 3.20pm

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 King's Cross shops and also provides easy access from King's 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 May 25th 2018 until Sep 9th 2018

The blue route runs between 8.20am and last full loop at 5.30pm, every 10-20 minutes in summer, 20-30 minutes in winter.

Blue, first departure: 8.20am Kensington Palace Gate. Last: 5.30pm. Ends: 6.06pm


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.

Orange: First departure: 8.15am Russell Square. Last: 5.30pm. Ends: 6.44pm


The Orange Route will now run on a revised route – joining up with the Yellow Route at Aldwych (bus stop #7) plus the addition of a new bus stop on Charing Cross Road (outside Leicester Square tube station). Kings Cross, St Pancras & Euston stations now also have continuous service throughout the day.

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 Shepherd's 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 May 25th 2018 until Sep 9th 2018

Purple: Park Lane Southbound: Last bus back to Holland Park is at 5.05pm

First departure: 8.10am Holland Park Avenue. Last: 5.05pm. Ends: 5.25pm
Buses operate every 15-30 minutes


Black: Marble Arch: Last bus back is at 6pm

First departure: 9am Marble Arch, Cumberland Gate. Last: 6pm. End of service: 6.31pm

Buses operate every 15-20 minutes

Free river cruise with City Cruises (with 24, 48 & 72 hour tickets)

Customers of The Original Tour are automatically offered an enjoyable FREE cruise on the River Thames. If you're lucky you will get an excellent live guided tour of the river by one of the City Cruise staff, or there's a pre-recorded commentary.


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.


The 72 hour ticket offers validity for the river cruise (between Embankment Pier and Greenwich) for the first 48 hours of your bus tour.


It's well worth the trip as the City Cruise boats are comfortable with a viewing deck upstairs to get some spectacular views of the main sights with ample time to take photographs. You can get off by the Tower of London which is probably one of the best known of London sights.

City Cruises River Boat In Front Of The Tower Of London

Free walking tours (with 24, 48 & 72 hour tickets)

All tours are 90 minutes, and you can go on all three for free! (Aditional tours are also available to purchase for a nominal fee.)


The Original Changing of the Guard Walk - two options:

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.


1. Changing of the Guard Buckingham Palace, 10am: Departs from the The Original London Visitor Centre Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.


2. Horse Guards Parade, 10am: Departs from the The Original London Visitor Centre on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.


London Rock 'n' Roll Walk

Departs daily at 1pm from The Original London 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 4pm from Original Tour Tower of London bus stop at 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.

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