London’s famous red double decker buses are a major attraction in the city. I personally like riding the bus in my every day life in London but I particularly like some lines such as the line 11. Why? Simply because it goes via many of London’s best attractions such as Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and St Pauls Cathedral. I get to the first row on the upper floor to enjoy an amazing view on one of the oldest bus routes of London, as it started operating in 1906. This is by far the cheapest alternative for a London sightseeing bus.
Click on the map for more details on London’s 11 Bus Route.
The bus line starts from Fulham Broadway near Chelsea’s football stadium, known as The Stamford Bridge and goes all the way to Liverpool Street, connecting West to East via a very delicate and pretty path. It crosses London’s main sights which makes this line one of the best for sightseeing on local buses.
Instead of paying £25 for a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, this is a great option for people on budget as the ride costs the normal fare of London public buses. As cash is no longer accepted on London buses, I suggest to top up an Oyster Card for a single journey or use an unlimited travel card so you can board in and off much as you want, literarily making this the cheapest hop-on-hop-off bus tour in London.
The following sights are my favourite on this line of the bus starting from West to East.
This is Chelsea’s main high street with many shops, restaurants and some great cafés. It is a busy street during the day but very empty after 7pm especially on week-ends. I really appreciate this street when it’s empty but I know some people who like it the way it is buzzing during the rush hours.
I don’t find any particular interesting places to stop here but why not try to visit Chelsea’s prettiest streets and hop-on the bus again. On the same road, there’s Duke of York Square, it is a cute square along the bus 11 route, it is known to be home to a food market on weekends and permanent location for worldwide known art gallery, Saatchi Gallery, which is free to visit.
This square connects many parts of London’s chic neighbourhoods of Chelsea, Belgravia and Knightsbridge via Sloane Street. The tube station is connected to the district and circle lines and the square is home to the Royal Court for select theatre plays.
I suggest a walk around the fountain at the middle of the square. It looks very pretty, in Autumn the orange leaves start to drop from the trees so the whole square gets covered. Around Christmas time, it gets some decorations making this square one of the best kept secrets in London!
Westminster Cathedral and Abbey
At the heart of busy Victoria, a peaceful place from the inside with a huge posture from the outside is Westminster Cathedral. The tower of the cathedral is easily noticeable and the amazing red brick facade of it shines bright under the sun lights.
Few stops away on the bus but a totally different architecture from Westminster Cathedral, there is Westminster Abbey which has some historic relations with the kingdom of England. So no wonder why Kate and William’s spectacular wedding was celebrated there. The abbey costs £18 to visit, except on Sundays during mass when it is free to enter but do not look like a tourist!
Unmissable! One of the most famous clock towers in the world is right there on the bus 11 route. It’s so pretty you will wish the bus stops for longer at the traffic light. On the background, the top of London Eye is spotted. I think it’s even definitely worth a stop at Parliament Square from where nice pictures can be taken.
This is argued to be the heart of London. This square is known for its giant lion status and refreshing fountains. It is also home to the National Gallery, which is free to visit. I don’t find Trafalgar Square particularly interesting but it attracts tons of tourists given it is a central point in London. Just few minutes by walk, it’s possible to reach to Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square which are also tourist magnets.
Royal Courts of Justice
The Victorian Gothic style of this edifice is standing out from the design of buildings around it. But also marks the bus entering the City of London. Many other things are found here like Temple Church and some of the smallest alleys of the city.
Sadly, most of this part of London was destroyed during the Great Fire of London but the current state of it is very appealing with many architectural styles which has followed the waves of constructions after the fire.
St Pauls Cathedral
Slowly after passing the Royal Courts of Justice, St Pauls Cathedral starts to appear all high up in the skyline of London. The reason why it looks higher than most buildings is because it stands on the highest point of the City of London! I think the cathedral is worth a visit and a climb to the top for an incredible view over London and the Millenium Bridge under it.
Bank of England
The Bank of England is a major building in the City. It marks the start of many other offices standing up on many of London’s famous towers such as the Walkie-Talkie which is home to Sky Garden. The nearby Sky Garden is free to visit, but it must be booked online in advance.
The whole area is extremely busy Monday to Friday as it is the financial heart of London where many head quarters and offices operate. However, it is totally deserted during the weekend, making it a great time to discover it and walk around freely without being disturbed by busy bankers.
The bus route 11 ends in Liverpool Street where it is not a bad idea to go for a walk around the City and its many skyscrapers. Or go further East to hipster Shoreditch which has a totally different look from the rest of London. Or take an underground ride from the station to other parts of London. Or take another public ride for more sightseeing of London on a bus. It’s totally your choice!
For more information on Bus 11, follow this link to Transport for London website here.