One of London’s worst kept secrets in London is that for just £1.55 with an Oyster or contactless card, you can visit most of London’s major sightseeing hotspots.
Transport for London (TfL) even released a list of its favourite festive bus routes this winter to encourage Londoners to see the sights.
The iconic routes 11 (Fulham Broadway-Liverpool Street) and 24 (Hampstead Heath-Pimlico) are well known for passing through Zone 1 1 with impressive views, but outside the hustle and bustle of the ring road, there are other London bus routes which have impressive views of the city from various vantage points.
READ MORE:What happened to London’s bendy buses 10 years after being kicked out of the capital
Whether it’s the iconic city skyline or a landmark along the route, there are three which for very different reasons have captured the attention of the MyLondon team. Each runs every day of the week at least every 20 minutes and all are run with low-floor buses which accept TfL passes and the £1.55 Hopper fare.
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W3: The view from above
One of the most striking viewpoints you can get of the city is from the front seats of the top deck of the W3 bus as it travels through Alexandra Palace and its park.
The route starts from the busy Finsbury Park station then climbs up through the back streets of Crouch End to reach the foot of Alexandra Park. The real fun happens as it traverses the park reaching a summit outside the palace 95 metres above ground. It offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city.
In winter, the palace and park served by the W3 are given a festive ambience due to the nearby ice rink and several decorations. In the summer, the park is filled with picnickers and you can also catch the occasional celebrity as the viewpoint is often used as a filming location.
The route continues to Northumberland Park station, connecting again with the Piccadilly line at Wood Green en route.
OUR FAVOURITE BIT: As the bus turns into Ferme Park Road, check out Parkland Walk, a pleasant walking route through scenic parts of North London on a former railway line once planned to be part of the London Underground Northern line
(Image: Callum Marius)
R68: The scenic route
The R68 is a windy residential route that provides local links between residential areas of South West London and their nearest transport hubs. It happens to also cross the River Thames twice and run along its banks for two further stretches.
The route starts at Kew Retail Park, just seven minutes’ walk from Kew Gardens, before snaking its way through one of London’s most attractive town centres at Richmond. It then plods through Twickenham, Strawberry Hill, Teddington and Hampton before terminating at Hampton Court, with its impressive palace, bridge and royal Bushy Park.
OUR FAVOURITE BIT: You can catch plenty of iconic London views, in paper form, at the National Archives next door to the route’s starting point, Kew Retail Park. In the summer you can also duplicate the route by taking a boat along the river from Hampton Court back towards Kew and then Central London.
(Image: km30192002 / CC)
108: Uniquely London
The 108 is the only bus route which goes from North East London to South East London in Outer London, avoiding Zone 1. It uses the Blackwall Tunnel to get from Stratford International to Lewisham.
The route does not pass many places which are conventionally scenic but passengers can certainly catch come iconic views of London landmarks which have truly transformed the capital as we know it.
Starting at Stratford International, the route passes the award-winning Manhattan Loft Gardens ‘city in a building’, before looping the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre. In then graces the southern portion of the Olympic Park with The Orbit, Aquatics Centre and London Stadium in full view.
Along the back streets of Poplar, the 108 passes Chrisp Street Market under the shadow of Canary Wharf’s dominating towers. It then plunges into the Blackwall Tunnel, stopping at London’s most ridiculous bus stop on the dual carriageway leading up to the tunnel mouth only accessible via a dark pedestrian subway.
Emerging on the south bank, the route is shadowed by The O2 as it serves North Greenwich and Greenwich Peninsula. You can catch glimpses of the River Thames and the city skyline as it ascends and descends the hills along the final section of the route to Lewisham.
OUR FAVOURITE BIT: Hop off at the ‘Millenium Village’ stop and explore the Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Park with its lakes and marshland. You can then catch the also unique Emirates Air Line cable car to cross the river behind it.
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Are there any Outer London bus routes you’d recommend for great views? Tell us in the comments below!
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