The Definitive London Travel Guide
Sightseeing bus tours are run by several rival companies, their
open-top double-deckers setting off every thirty minutes from
Victoria station, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly, and other tourist
spots. Tours take roughly ninety minutes (though you can hop
on and off as often as you like) and cost around £12.
Alternatively, you can hop aboard one of the bright yellow World
War II amphibious vehicles used by Frog Tours (tel 20/7928
3132; www.frogtours.com) for a combined bus and boat tour .
After fifty minutes driving round the usual sights, you plunge into
the river and go on a half-hour cruise. Tours set off every half-
hour from behind County Hall, from 10am to dusk, with tickets
costing £13. Another money-saving option is to skip the
commentary by hopping on a real London bus - the #11 from
Victoria will take you past Westminster Abbey, the Houses of
Parliament, up Whitehall, round Trafalgar Square, along the
Strand and on to St Paul's Cathedral.
Walking tours are infinitely more appealing, mixing solid
historical facts with juicy anecdotes in the company of a local
specialist. Walks on offer range from a literary pub crawl round
Bloomsbury to a tour of places associated with the Beatles.
Tours tend to cost £4-5 and usually take two hours. To find out
what's on offer for the week, check in the "Around Town" section
of Time Out. The widest range of walks on offer are run by
Original London (tel 020/7624 3978).
London By Balloon
If the London Eye hasn't given you enough of a lift, you can go
even higher, to over 500ft (weather permitting) in the hot-air
balloon situated behind Vauxhall tube station in Spring
Gardens. Though the Skyview Balloon (daily 10am-dusk; £9.95;
www.skyviewballooning.com) is the largest tethered helium
balloon in the world, it remains to be seen whether it can
withstand the competition from the wheel.