What to do with your family in London

tower bridge from bus

Although my parents and Aunt Maria were only with us for a week and we had lots already planned (including the wedding) we couldn’t pass up a day in London.

Tom and I gave Abby the “sister” tour of London a couple of months back (which focused a bit more on the off-the-beaten-path side of the city) but we knew that with my parents and Maria that we’d stick to the iconic London sights.

I had been on one of the Big Bus Tours briefly back in June for a fun blogging event, and after our 45-minute ride around the city, I knew it would be the best way to show them the sights without (completely) exhausting them (and us!)

So we booked our tickets and hopped on the Big Bus Tour. It was quite warm that day so it was lovely to sit on top of the bus and get a nice breeze as we passed by some of the most famous sites in the world!

tower of london

The benefit of these buses is that you can hop on and off of them when you want to stop and see something. After passing the Tower of London (just before they installed the poppies unfortunately– if you don’t know what that means, take a look at this ), we hopped off near Westminster for some photos.

london eye

mom dad westminster bridge road london eye bridge

big ben parents

big ben traffic

After some classic snaps, we hopped back on the bus and disembarked at Buckingham Palace.

big ben red bus bridge

buckingham palace

Tom and I love Covent Garden, so we made sure we took the bus towards there next. We were starting to get hungry so we ate lunch at Rossopomodoro, my favorite spot in town for pizza, before heading to Covent Garden to see the street performers and the market.

tom covent garden covent garden

Included in the price of your full-day bus ticket is a river cruise, so to finish our day of sightseeing, we hopped on the cruise at the London Eye and got some last-minute views of London before heading back to Surrey.

big ben waiting for river cruise shadow big ben

tower bridge

If you want to do a day of sightseeing in London, I’d recommend the Big Bus Tour. The tickets aren’t the cheapest (I think we paid £32 each for the day) but if you order them ahead of time online it’s cheaper. It’s not something we would have chosen to do with Abby, as we weren’t too concerned with seeing the iconic London sites as much (she had seen those on her own while Tom and I were still at work). But it’s a much better way to go than attempting to work out the underground or London bus system– and it’s fun to ride on the top of the bus and pass some of the most beautiful sights in the world!

How do you like to sightsee in a city? What do you usually recommend doing when parents or family members come to visit?

All five of us paid for our tickets on the Big Bus Tour, and I was not compensated in any way for writing this post. I just think it’s a great way to see the sights in London when you’re with your family!



  1. September 9, 2014 / 8:45 am

    Thanks for sharing this idea. Great tip! I was wondering what to do when my mom gets here in December. I don’t think the sitting outside on top of the bus will work, but we should be quite comfortable inside!

    • September 12, 2014 / 2:42 am

      Yes, sit inside and you’ll be just fine! There’s even an inside bit on the top of the bus– it’s still technically outside so won’t be the warmest, but you’ll be out of the wind at least. You can buy a 48-hour ticket for the price of a 24-hour too, so you’ll get even more for your money!

  2. September 9, 2014 / 5:46 pm

    The bus tour is the best way to see London, I did it with family years ago, it’s always good to be a tourist for the day!

    • September 12, 2014 / 2:36 am

      Glad you agree Caroline!

  3. September 9, 2014 / 7:43 pm

    I spent a short 12 hour layover in London this summer and every time one of those buses passed me and my aching feet wished we bought a ticket to be on one! I think it is a great way to see London, definitely will be what we do next time.

    • September 12, 2014 / 2:35 am

      I know, it’s easy to have achy feet in London!

  4. September 17, 2014 / 8:00 am

    If you want to see the sights all in one go or get a feel for the city this is a great way to do it. I love biking around the city on the renal bikes this breaks up the walking. Doing a walk tour is also a great way to see london. Lucy x

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