The proliferation of buses in London of late has been the cause of much of the capital’s congestion. Outside the rush hour, especially during the evening, great convoys of these empty red monsters convey nothing but air.
At least some of these leviathans have been put to novel use. These tours offer an insight into what makes our capital city so distinctive, the guides boast diverse interests and expertise.
Afternoon Tea Tours
Combining two English icons, the red Routemaster and traditional cream tea. For one-and-a- half hours you are driven around much of the London tourist sights: London Eye, Houses of Parliament; Piccadilly Circus, nothing unusual you might claim, but while London passes by your window you are served scones, sandwiches and tea whilst seated at your table resplendent with a crisp white linen tablecloth.
Afternoon Tea Bus Tour 12.30 and 15.00 from Northumberland Avenue
In a city as ancient it’s hardly surprising that reports of a supernatural nature have been reported. Whether real or imagined this tour takes you by night (naturally apparitions don’t appear in daylight). The black gothic themed funeral bus, as it was in a previous reincarnation, takes you on a 75-minute experience full of stories many of which should be taken with a high degree of scepticism.
The Ghost Bus Tours 19.30 and 21.00 from Northumberland Avenue
Harry Potter Tour
Somebody had to do it, yes your favourite apprentice wizard takes you to places in London featured in his stories, but you will need to be au fait with the novels. A three-hour mini coach tour of all the London plot locations. Walk through the wall at Platform 9¾ or walk in the footsteps of Rubeus Hagrid with opportunity (naturally!) to buy the merchandise at the end of the tour.
Harry Potter Bus Tours of London from Temple tube station see website for tour times and dates
London Spy Tours
With the tag line ‘take a ride on our discretely disguised open top tour bus’ this irresistible tour claims to guide you to the dark and dangerous world of intelligence gathering. It’s all a bit hush-hush, but apparently you meet on route number SP1.
London Spy Tours from Aldwych on Sundays 11.30
National Trust Routemaster Bus Tours
Known for stately homes and cream teas the Trust is also involved in preserving the best of modernity. They worked with Aviva Heritage Fleet to restore RMC 1453 the first ever Routemaster coach back to its original condition and green livery. At this time of year they offer tours of London in the vehicle conducted by knowledgeable guides. The limited number of tours this year can be found at the National Trust website.
National Trust Routemaster Bus Tours from Festival Village Southbank Centre Saturdays