Tourist in London: Big Bus Tour

I’ve decided to do a short series of ‘tourist in London’ posts over the next week or so – it might seem strange considering I have been here for nearly 7 years, but Mr Bird, baby and I are trying to make the most of our last few weeks by trying to rediscover the city that has shaped our lives so much. We’ve got all sorts of typically touristy things planned and hubby has the week off so that we can really take advantage…

We kicked off our ‘Tour de London’ on Monday by seeing the city’s main sights from the top of a double decker tour bus. Our 24-hour tickets for the Big Bus Tour cost £22.00 each and included access to all their routes, a free river cruise (which we didn’t actually go on because we thought it would be impractical with Addi and her pram etc) and full commentary on board the bus.

{ Baby Bird being such a good girl on the bus }

We started off just outside Waterloo Station and crossed the Thames towards Embankment. We drove on through the city, up past St Paul’s Cathedral and then passed by Bank and headed over London Bridge. (London Bridge is the plain, boring one – not to be confused with it’s more attractive counterpart up the creek, Tower Bridge!) We decided to hop off just after that and tried to get some touristy snaps of HMS Belfast, The Shard, Boris’s office and more (sadly the weather was a bit gloomy so they aren’t the greatest…) Got a few of Tower Bridge as well, but so disappointed to see that they had the Olympic rings drawn up (and I heard today that they’ve already been removed completely – boo!)

After crossing the bridge back to the North side of the river, we walked up along the bank past the beautiful Old Billingsgate building (now a hospitality and events venue, originally Billingsgate Fish Market, the world’s largest fish market) towards the Tower of London. We hung out around there for a while, watched beachcombers hunting for treasures on the shore of the river, and had an amazing hot chocolate from Apostrophe. We also managed to pull a sneaky maneuver by changing baby’s nappy behind a random building (luckily out of public view) because we couldn’t find a freaking changing room anywhere (we’re still new at this parenting thing, clearly!)

Hopped back on the bus and enjoyed a longer leg, following the river past Mansion House, Blackfriars, Temple and towards Westminster. We drove through some ultra posh areas (mostly named Something SQUARE, eg. Sloane, Eaton etc) and hit the St James’s Park / Green Park / Buckingham Palace areas before a quick spin around Marble Arch and Mayfair.

We decided to get off in Knightsbridge to grab a snack at Harrods – £100 pounds later, we left with full tummy’s, a bottle of special Harrod’s whiskey to take back to SA with us, and some other treats (namely Leonidas butter cream chocolates – I DIE! – and yummy Firefly Bramley Apple & Ginger juice, and my fave posh-wannabe bottled water, Voss) We ate at The Diner on the 4th floor – it’s an American style joint specialising in burgers and milkshakes. We made the rookie error of not ordering a burger, but their Oreo milkshake is worth the visit on it’s own – amazing. (We stupidly ordered hot dogs to eat- they weren’t terrible but they definitely weren’t what we were expecting…)

{ The beautifully decorated ceilings at Harrod’s in the Food Halls are simply amazing! }

{Loving the patriotic packaging design of these Firefly drinks, espesh the corgy on the lid! }

After finishing up at Harrod’s (obligatory trips to the Pet department and an unsuccessful hunt for the perfect Harrod’s teddy for Addi – just couldnt find one we loved) we headed back to the bus stop to await our chariot. We boarded for the the last leg of the trip (it was nearing home time and to be truthful, by that stage we were exhausted already) and enjoyed a long ride from Knightsbridge, around Hyde Park (around Marble Arch for the millionth time – the road system over there is wild), up past Baker Street, down Regent Street, past Picadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square towards Westminster where we got off and headed back to Waterloo on foot to catch a train home…

Such an awesome day out – if I were doing it again, I would definitely consider the 48-hour pass – you just cant see and do everything in one day. Would love to have gotten off at a few more stops but it just wasn’t practical with baby in tow, even though she was so well behaved all day, but seriously cannot complain and highly recommend it for anyone who wants to blitz through London’s sights quickly and easily.



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