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When you think of iconic London images, the red double-decker buses are always top of mind. What I find funny is that when people are looking to do the ultimate tourist thing of exploring the famous landmarks of the city by bus, they automatically turn to companies offering hop on-hop off bus services instead of using the red double-decker buses themselves. Granted, these tour companies offer commentary and have an education by osmosis thing happening but in my humble opinion, there’s nothing that tops the cost-effective method of using the cities own buses to tour the famous landmarks and so this is exactly what I did. As I was lacking the commentary that usually goes along with these tours, I decided it was only fitting to restrict my musical choice to all things British until my cheapo tour concluded. Encase you were curious – there was no One Direction on my playlist…UGH, still trying to wipe their closing ceremony performance from my mind!
My Oyster Card – Olympics Special Edition!
Anyway, the thing that made my tour that much easier is I had a little thing called an Oyster Card which makes paying for transit in London hassle-free and cheaper as it provides a daily pricing cap. A card that monitors my activity and gives me the best rate possible – priceless. With my special edition Oyster Card in hand, I dashed off to Liverpool Street Station on the first free day I had to play tourist. The reason why I was off to Liverpool Street Station is because this is where Route 11 starts. I boarded the red double-decker bus and bee-lined to the top front seat. My personal recommendation is that if the top front seats are taken, it’s worth waiting for the next bus but I was lucky and always managed to get the seats that I was after. The journey on this bus has you travelling through some of London’s most famous landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey to name a few until it terminates at Fulham Broadway. What I did to orient myself with the city and avoid the rain that was pouring down was to stayed on it for the entire journey the first time around. On the way back to Liverpool Station – I treated it like a hop on-hop off tour bus and got off at locations that interested me such as Buckingham Palace to catch a glimpse of the guards or Chelsea for a little coffee and cake action.
Famous Image for Transit in London
Despite the fact that I prefer travelling in London by bus and overground, I went on to further supplement my cheapo tour of London by using the tube to travel to places such as Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, and Notting Hill. The tube is much faster and so this alone makes up for the fact that its hot as hell down there. Yes, I may have been a sweaty mess when exiting the stations but between Route 11, the tube, and some old-fashioned walking, I managed to cover the same ground as the big tour bus companies for fraction of the price. At the end of the day, I was glistening with pride as I loved the feeling of mixing in with the locals as I learned to navigate their transit system like a pro. Honestly, can’t think of a better way to see the landmarks of London other than to do it like a Londoner would do.