Friday morning I arrived at about 5 am in Heathrow airport in London. I was on my own for the day because my friend was at work of course. After long lines at immigration I finally was released upon Britain and I made my way downtown. Fortunately, my friend who works in the travel industry here in Korea gave me a gift of a bus tour for the day on Friday and so I made my way down to Green Park to find my bus.
I have to mention here that generally I am not a big fan of these tour services... I like to wonder around on my own... but generally I travel with someone and so in this case where I was all alone, and really had done almost no research (since I've spent most of my time investigating my next stop: Spain) it was perfect for me. The Big Bus tour had 3 different routes, but the red route was the best as it had live commentary. But, what made this tour better for me was their extra walking tour features and their free boat tour which was all included in the price.
I attended two of the four walking tours, first was the Royal London walking tour which took you to see the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, and then I got on the Harry Potter walking tour which takes you to some of the filming locations of Harry Potter (and tells you where to find others that they don't have time to bring you to)
I think I'll save Harry Potter for a different post, but here are some of the photos from the Royal London walk. Our guide Phil was awesome and had a game plan in order to see the most amount of action. See, most people go straight to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards, but because of the crowds and the gates around the palace, in reality, you can't see much. Our guide took us to the starting point where the guards come out of St. James' Palace and do their check before marching to Buckingham Palace.
From there, we rushed ahead of them to catch them marching down the street towards Buckingham palace. We walked along side with them, then cut through St. James' Park to the other side in order to catch the other guard coming down the street to meet them. Then we tried to get across the street to Buckingham Palace, but we got stuck at the light and the police wouldn't let us cross for a while. We were told not to bother even try to watch the actual changing of the guards as there were just way too many people with a terrible view anyway.
After my two tours, I hopped back on the bus to continue the tour. We passed parliament and went over the Tower Bridge (which is in fact, not London bridge... London Bridge is a rather unimpressive sight in comparison)
Then it was time for my boat tour. Of course, it wasn't long, but it was fun to see the river from a different perspective. It also gave good views of Tower Bridge and the Eye of London (Ferris Wheel).
So do I recommend the tour? Yes, but make sure you do all the extra tours in order to get the full experience. The bus ride is nice, but not extraordinary. Walking tours are much more fun!