London's Greatest Hits

Q: What's a good tour to get a general overview of London? This is our

first visit.

A: A good option is to pick up a double-decker bus tour of London from
either the Paddington and Victoria train stations with the Big Bus
, which costs about $40. Buses run every 15 to 30 minutes depending on season and time of day. Your bus tour
also includes a river cruise down the Thames or your choice of five
walking tours such as the Royal London Walk (at 10 AM) and The Da
Vinci Code Walk (at 1 PM). Each tour lasts one and a half to two
hours. Another option is the Original London Sightseeing Tour, which costs about $36. Their Original Tour offers live commentary; the City Sightseeing Tour has prerecorded commentary in seven languages. Buses run every 15 to 20 minutes. You can catch either tour from Victoria Station, or from one of five other starting points. The first bus departs between 8:30 AM and 9:30 AM depending on starting point. Both companies' tours stop at all the
major tourist attractions, such as Marble Arch, Madame Tussaud's,
Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, the London Eye, St. Paul's
Cathedral, London Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey,
Harrods and others. You can hop on and off at will. Or for a special
splurge, see London from the back of a spacious London black taxi
with Black Taxi Tours. A two-hour "Sights of London" tour costs about $160, but since up to five passengers can be carried, if you're traveling in a small group this option might actually save you money over a coach tour and you can customize it as you like.