Hop To It
To be frank I was somewhat dubious about the Hop-On Hop-Off option when I first heard about it. A number of friends in Hamilton and Australia had waxed on about it and I felt it might be a little tacky and not really value for money. How wrong I was!
It has to be one of the best ways to find your way around easily and quickly if you're not too familiar with London, and it gives you the grounding before you go venturing out on your own with the tube, bus and rail systems.
The Slater Chartered Accountants Jet Lag Solution
There's not always a lot you can do about jet lag once you land. Staying up all night won't help and I think the best thing you can do is try to rest and sleep if you can when night falls. Then, get up on Day 1 of your vacation and make your way out and about.
Best to choose an activity that allows you to see things in relative comfort and without a lot of trudging and walking from tourist site to tourist site.
The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus is the perfect choice for a first day activity in London.
You can spend a good 3 hours on the bus from start to finish without even getting off and this allows you to see the sites and acclimatise your body and mind to the new timezone. You're not wasting time languishing in bed trying to settle your body, and you're relatively comfortable and able to laze back and just enjoy the trees, the people, the energy and the architecture that makes London the brilliant city it is. Headphones are available free for a recorded commentary that gives a bit of background to the sites, so the whole experience is relatively low in terms of expending energy. Just perfect if your body's wondering whether it's midnight or midday.
There are 3 operators following the circuit of London tourist sites and roads continuously:
Original London Tour
Golden Tours Panorama
These open-topped double deckers can be seen all over London from Buckingham Palace through to Pall Mall, across to Mayfair and up along Paddington, Kensington and Notting Hill. There's a weave and criss cross over a couple of the main bridges, and a great view up The Thames, as well as a fantastic peek at Westminster, Big Ben, The Tower and The London Eye.
The buses traverse both the City of London and The City of Westminster and give you a fantastic overall view of the main attractions and the typical lay of the land in this massive and sprawling city. And yes, anywhere along the circuit you can hop off and stop to visit a site before boarding again and continuing on with your journey.
If you shop around for you might be able to get a good deal on the Hop On Hop Off that includes one of the Thames cruises up to Greenwich. This is well worth it if you get to the quay early and find a good spot on the boat. The cruise up the Thames to the home of Greenwich Mean Time, takes you way beyond the Tower Bridge and Tower of London and a red bus back to the centre of the city can give you a good feel of some of the less salubrious, non-touristy areas outside of the city's main traveller destinations. Well worth it.
The great thing about the ticket is that it also covers a good 24 hour period, so if you purchase/start your tour at midday on one day, you have the following day until midday before your tickets expires. We used it over 2 days and thought it was great value.
Millie Slater is Marketing, Social Media and HR Manager at Slater Chartered Accountants. She's also a regular contributor to the Slater Blog. For more information visit http://www.slater.co.nz
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