This morning started with an impromptu video call with Mum and Dad, and eventually also Lauren to give them a bit of an update on how things were going and to get a file sent through that I needed for an important reason.
That took a little longer than anticipated but no harm today was bus tour day anyway. This morning I caught the tube to Edgeware Road, the closest stop to Shephard’s Bush on the tour company’s Blue Line. This line at the moment (for this summer at least) is running as a Coronation Special with extra bits added to the tour as part of King Charles’ coronation.
It turns out there are at least five different London Tour Bus companies operating around London, with many crossing paths as they see similar sights along the way. As I had caught the TootBus in Brussels, I figured I knew their service and would jump on again for the London tours.
It was kind of funny to hear the same voices on the pre-recorded commentary. One went from being a comic book artist in Brussels to a banker in London.
The Blue Line focused more on the west and south areas of inner London. While the yellow line, which I would be catching in the afternoon, looked at the eastern and central areas, with some overlaps to the Blue Line so people can change between the routes. There is also a Green Line that looks at the north east but that was a shorter route and nothing really of interest to me on the map, it is also newer so it doesn’t have as much in it yet.
One of the better parts about the Blue Line tour at the moment is the running of live commentary. Tim was absolute blast to have on board as, for pretty much the whole journey, I was the only person that expressed interest in the live commentary so I basically had the guy all to myself telling me all kinds of quirky stories you don’t get on the pre-recorded audio. An example was talking about the size of windows on some of the older houses, the further up the house levels you got the smaller the windows were. This was typically due to the living areas being at the bottom, parent’s bedroom windows on the first floor, children on the second, and butler/servant at the top. So while they got the space that would get the best views they typically didn’t get them as they had very few windows to look out of, and the ones they had were very small. Often these high floor windows were also blanked out to avoid paying window taxes (households would get charged based on the number of windows they had).
The groundskeepers and servants of Buckingham Palace also had onsite residences. Once they finish at one end they have to go back to the start and begin again because they have so much ground to cover so the palace provides them with on site residence. The Palace also provides ongoing residences to staff that have retired in return for their services, especially the ones that worked for the royal family for many years or even decades.
The crossover between the Blue and Yellow lines worked out well as Tim had jumped on at Victoria Station, the stop after I had jumped on, so I carried on around the extra section with Tim’s commentary to the Victoria stop and changed to the Yellow Line after a quick bite to eat.
This line took us along the riverfront of the Thames, with the London Eye, Tower Bridge, the Shard, and Waterloo among others. As we got closer to Tower Bridge the temperature started to drop as the wind had picked up. Assuming it was going to be warm day I had worn shorts and was starting to feel the pinch of the cold wind. Analysing the map I saw the upcoming stop at Tower Hill linked up with a tube stop that was on the Circle and Hammersmith lines I would need to get back to the hotel. So I jumped off the bus here figuring I could pick up the last quarter of the route tomorrow.
I made my way back to the hotel on the tube, changed into a pair of pants and headed around the corner to one of the pubs for dinner. Took a bit more of a stroll around the area that night but basically called it a day.