Tips for London mini-bus and coach tourism

Useful tips for London bus groups with ‘what to see’ and ‘what to do’ items and  ‘bus- friendly’ or must see tourist sites in London. Check our list of attractions before planning your bus tour with a stop or departure in London. Let us know if your favourite attraction or ‘bus-stop’ is not there and you think we should add it to our list of London highlights.

What to see in the City of London with a hired coach or mini bus 

Where do you start in the city of London? Having so many iconic sights makes London one of the most revered destinations in the world. All those famous images from the television and films! Well they all can be found in central London, in an area that is tailored made for the tourist experience.

This video follows a classic tourist loop and is perfect for those on a coach tour to the city of London. Where better to start than Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, two of the most famous buildings on the planet. Now head over to Piccadilly Circus and gaze at the city lights, as well as a few red London buses passing by. Tower Bridge is next. You could see if from the River Thames, but with your coach you might as well drive over it. Horseguard"s Parade and Buckingham Palace need little introduction, but most people"s highlight when they come to London is discovering the old buildings that cover nearly every street. Finish your tour back on the River Thames, gazing across at the Palace of Westminster and Big Ben.

London is one of the largest cities in the world and is a major tourist and business destination. It has a huge network of transport services, like coach and minibus hire, taxi services, and airport shuttles. While it has a very famous public transport system, it is expensive and it can take a long time between attractions.

What to see on your bus trip in the Greater London area

London City

Your tour with a rented bus or minibus with driver around Greater London can start at London city, that is the name given to the historic political centre that was founded by the Romans and it"s where you"ll find the most famous attractions. Most locals rarely go into London City. They"ve seen it all before of course, but for visitors certain sights can"t be skipped. Like Buckingham Palace, home of the Queen, and if you"re very lucky you might get a glimpse of a royal getting changed through an opened curtain. Then there is Westminster, the imposing house of parliament building that impresses from every angle. St Paul"s Cathedral, Big Ben, Tower of London, the list of must see attractions never seems to stop. Try to keep the map in your pocket. Londoners have a short patience with map reading tourists blocking the road.

Only 8,000 people actually live in London City (half of them probably the Queen"s bodyguards). It"s a place of banks, skyscrapers, and tourists. But while you"re here check out the different free attractions. The huge Tate Modern art gallery is completely free, and rather than take the escalator you can take a slide from the top floor back to the ground. Then walk across one of the many Thames River bridges; the different styles showing just how much styles of changed over the years. At night head to nearby Convent Garden and Soho and discover just how badly dressed British people can be.

West End London

Another bucket load of London attractions can be found relatively close to London City. Go to the West End and see a famous musical show; from Aladdin to Grease there will always be dancing men in tights to keep you entertained. Nearby Trafalgar Square is a monument to the English defeating Napoleon, and is surrounded by brilliant old buildings. And in Leicester Square you"ll find never ending shopping. This whole area is the entertainment heart of London and if you can"t find what you"re looking for you"re too hard to please.

High School Musical 3 Premiere, Leicester Square, London

High School Musical 3 Premiere, Leicester Square, London credit: Mario Sánchez Prada CC BY-SA 2.0

East London

East London was formerly a place of working class cliches. This was where everyone looked like a character from the popular English soap opera Eastenders. However, it"s been reinventing and redeveloping itself and has become the cultural heart of the city. The stand out attraction is the shining 2012 Olympic Stadium and Olympic Park which are both open to visitors. Pretend your Usain Bolt on the track, and then immediately sprain a hamstring and realise you"re not.

Each East London suburb has its own character. Previously run down areas of Hoxton, Hackney, and Dalston, are now thriving cultural hubs where underground artists and funky bars have recently found a home. The centre of this cultural mix is Brick Lane, a famous street that"s influenced from all over the world. Enjoy unique street performers, check out markets fall of vintage clothes, and sample cuisine from all over the world. Japanese octopus balls, hot Indian curry, Burmese stir fry; you"ll find everything apart from what England is famous for – fish and chips.

Posh London

The South Kensington and Chelsea area is for people with more money than sense. You"ll find luxury boutiques charging thousands for toilet paper and houses that still have servants. But aside from Knightbridge and posh people, this area has some of the best museums in London, including the Victoria and Albert Musuem, and the Natural History Museum which has an exhibition dedicated to David Attenborough. Check out Earl"s Coart and the Royal Albert Hall, then make sure someone else is paying for dinner.

Kyoto Gardens, Holland Park, Royal London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

Kyoto Gardens, Holland Park, Royal London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea credit: Ewan Munro CC BY-SA 2.0

Visit Greater London with a private hire minibus

Greater London area suburbs

London has a huge tick lists of must-see sights. In many ways you don"t need a guidebook for London, because everyone already has their own list of monuments they don"t want to miss. While many of these famous attractions are in Central London, the Greater London area holds some secrets that let you get off the beaten track. If you have private transport it"s good to visit different suburbs and get a real sense of London"s diversity. There is funky but run-down East London, swanky and exclusive London, and then charming North London.

Burgess Rd., SUTTON, Surrey, Greater London

Burgess Rd., SUTTON, Surrey, Greater London credit: Tony Monblat Dominio público

Iconic London tourist video visit

This video starts with an iconic London experience, driving to St Paul"s Cathedral through central London. Then there is Big Ben and those memorable London buses, which are just as red as you have imagined. For fantastic views over the city head to the London Eye, before checking out two of London"s prime shopping areas; Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street. Nobody leaves London without seeing Buckingham Palace or Westminster Abbey, and as this video shows, getting up early for a sunrise over the River Thames is one of the most peaceful and spectacular sights in London. Get a minibus quote or book a car or coach with a private driver tour around these London sights.

Visit London City by minibus or coach with a driver-guide

Meet the talkative locals

You can rent a bus in London for tours in the city or in Greater London Region. No city is as iconic and as full of attractions as London. The question is do you want to follow the tourist trail, or get off the beaten track and try out what the locals do. Central to any London visit is meeting the locals. There is a full spectrum of London locals; from the posh well dressed who sound like the Queen, to the cheeky Cockneys who will teach you London"s secret language - Cockney rhyming slang,  For example, "apples and  pears" means stairs, and "it"s all gone Pete Tong" means everything"s gone completely wrong. The London driver of your rented minibus can probably also act as a guide and show your group around.

Iconic Central London

Head to London City and take in the famous buildings like Westminster, London Bridge, and Buckingham Palace. Remember to wave at the queen and try distracting those guards that stand forever without even blinking. For entertainment go to the West End, where you"ll find men dressed in tights and singing on stage (a famous West End musical) or squares fall of street performers, and shops so large you"ll lose all your friends.

East London

For vibrant culture go to East London, where different neighbourhoods have their own funky and trendy high streets. It"s where you"ll find the latest fashion trends and agree that they look ridiculous. Like showing off designer socks, wearing hideous wooly jumpers from the 1960s, and competing in the world"s most brightly coloured trouser competition. It"s all a cultural melting pot and on Brick Lane you"ll find every world cuisine except fish and chips. But don"t worry, that"s not even a London dish. If you want to go really local try pie and mash, and then cover it in liqour (parsely sauce).

South Kensington and Chelsea

For a glimpse at one of the richest neighbourhoods in the world head out to Kensington and Chelsea, where a three course meal can easily cost more than an African nation"s GDP. Famous museums and brilliant old architecture can be found here, as well as the most deluxe boutique stalls in the country. 

Visit London with a hired minibus with driver

When you rent a coach or mini bus for an excursion or trip in and around London you"ve got hundreds of different attractions to see. Below we"ve given you some suggestions of places to include and grouped them by geographical area to help maximise your time.

London City

Of course all of London is a city, but this is the name given to the historic centre of London. Founded by the Romans, and home to the Queen and Buckingham Palace, very few people actually live here. Buildings here are famous around the world. Some are old, like Westminster and Big Ben, St Paul"s Cathedral, or the Tower of London. They stand next to new skyscrapers; one that looks like a gherkin (yes the same thing you get on a Mcdonald"s burger), and another that is modeled on a shard of glass. Most attractions charge extortionate entry fees, except for the Tate Modern gallery which is free, and has a fairground slide instead of an escalator. Coach drivers can"t park directly outside each attraction but will usually agree a pick up time to collect you, and collect you outside the attraction.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace credit: Oleg Brovko CC BY-SA 2.0

West End London

Musicals, endless shopping, thousands of restaurants, ballet, opera, old fashioned cinemas; if you can"t find entertainment in the West End of London then you"re not a person who likes to be entertained. For cheap installments of amusement a huge gang of street performers hang around hoping for your loose change. When your feet get tied and your head hurts from it all sit down in Trafalgar Square and admire the buildings. Again, this is a very crowded area so you"re coach may not be able to stop outside each attraction. They will drop you off and agree a time to pick you up in the same spot.

East London

The city"s cultural heart and home to a more local side of London, the East End is a fascinating journey through different suburbs. Each has its own centre and distinct feel. The stand out attractions are the cultural melting pot of Brick Lane and the 2012 Olympic Stadium. But check out some of the trendy suburbs like Dalston, Shoreditch, Hoxton, and Stoke Newington. The locals have a funny sense of fashion but they"re happy people who"ll start conversations in one of the many traditional pubs. The best way to explore this area by coach is to go from suburb centre to centre, and allow an hour or more to walk around enjoying the atmosphere.

Posh London

In South Kensington and Chelsea you"ll find designer boutiques and some of the world"s most expensive housing areas. Even if you don"t have money you can admire the architecture and visit some of the city"s best museums. While in East London people will be talking in unexplainable cockney slang,  in Chelsea locals sound like they"re direct descendents of the royal family.

South of the River

London is divided by the river Thames, and while most of the attractions lie north, with a coach you"ve got a great opportunity to head south and admire the city from a different angle. First stop at the riverside and photograph the skyline before jumping on the London Eye. Then venture to Brixton, a multicultural suburb where you"ll find more Caribbean jerk chicken than pie and mash. Time fanatics will also want to go to Greenwich, home to Greenwich mean time.

Transport for groups to/ from airports in Greater London

London Heathrow (LHR) has 5 terminals and is the third busiest airport in the world. It is located in West London, 22kms from London city centre. A journey to the centre will take around an hour. In South London, Gatwick Airport (LGW) is 48kms from the city centre and receives 35million passengers a year. London Stansted (STN) and London Luton (LTN) are both around 60kms north of the city and a group transfer in a rental bus or coach to the centre of London city will take around 1.5 hours. London City (LCY) and Southend (SEN) are far smaller and rarely used by international visitors.

Having some help from a local coach hire operator in planning your itinerary is always good to maximize your time.

08 Leaving Great Britain

08: Leaving Great Britain credit: Neo_II CC BY-SA 2.0
Airport from Gatwick, England

Pre-book your London group transfer with a bus or coach and our tool 

London airports have a bad reputation for being overcrowded and having ancient facilities. They"re are huge places and can be very confusing for first time visitors, especially with so many different terminals. Rumour has it that Heathrow doesn"t have enough seating to make sure visitors spend more time browsing in the expensive shops. A pre booked airport transfer for your group helps remove the guess work and ensure you have airport transportation to your hotel.

You can compare travel and transport companies, compare price quotes and pre book your group airport transfer by bus using our tool.

When hiring a coach plan both Greater London and city attractions

With so much to see and experience it"s hard to squeeze everything into your time in London. Most people already have a good idea of the main attractions they want to see, as these are often seen on television images all around the world. But for a real taste of London you should also plan to visit the attractions out of central London when touring the Greater London area with your minibus or coach.

Save time with a London minibus or coach hire and driver

Touring between different places often takes at least an hour by public transport, and that"s after you"ve worked out which tube line to take, where"s best to change lines, and which direction bus to hop on. A chauffeured service like a rented minibus or motor-coach with a private driver is a great help to get the maximum "return on investment" for your London visists. The advantages for hiring a bus coach with driver with driver in London are obvious: London is a confusing and crowded city and visiting all touristic sites can be a very time en energy consuming task for your group members.

Group airport transfers and bus rental in London for LHR and LGW

London has six international airports but in general foreign groups will be arriving in one of four of them. London Heathrow (LHR) is the largest and closest to the city and is 22km west of the centre. This is the main long distance airport. London Gatwick (LGW) is 48kms south of the city and it will take over one hour to reach the centre by a bus or coach transfer, and even longer by public transport.

Transfers by minibus or coach to/from STN and LTN

Groups travelling on budget airlines are likely to arrive in the north of the city at Stansted (STN) or Luton (LTN), both of which are at least an hour to the centre. When landing in London be prepared for terrible facilities, grumpy staff, and many delays. Nobody is sure why it"s so bad, perhaps it"s a ploy to keep London from becoming even more overcrowded. You can reserve or request minibus or coach with driver in the city of London, where you can choose from multiple specialized companies, and you can request a size or specific type of vehicle.

Duty free shops and a waiting area of London Heathrow Airport Terminal 3

Duty free shops and a waiting area of London Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 credit: Masayuki (Yuki) Kawagishi CC BY 2.0

Airport group transfers companies in London

A number of companies specialize in airport transfers for groups and provide a service to all of London"s airports. They don"t have imaginative names but they know their business; for example there is Airport Transfer in Park Place, and Airport Transfer Company in Battersea Business Centre. Other companies specialise in particular airports, like Heathrow Airport Transfers on City Road, and Westampstead Minicab on West End Lane. Expect modern cars and an efficient service. You will be given a meeting point in the airport to meet your driver. For an additional fee you can also book a meet and greet service and have the driver meet your group at the arrivals gate.


More about London

Would you like to organize a bus tour to see all these beautiful highlights? Request quotes and compare the different bus and coach hire companies:

Bus tours in London
Coach hire in London