Routemaster sightseeing London in a red double-decker bus

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Emilie Filou

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Do you dream of getting on a red bus from the 60s? This is possible by taking the “Heritage” line 15. This line is served by new buses but also by Routemasters. Here is a good plan for a walk to discover London in an original and traditional way and all at a lower cost!

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What is a Routemaster?

The Routemaster is a double-decker bus manufactured from 1958 to 1968 that typically has an engine in the front and open access in the rear.

In terms of materials, comfort, heating and suspension, it was way ahead of its time. Ultralight thanks to its aluminum frame, without a frame, easy to repair, and equipped with hydraulic brakes, it had two employees at its service, a driver and a punching controller - often a woman - wearing a uniform and cap.


What is the route of line 15?

Line 15 starts at the Tower of London and ends at Trafalgar Square via the Saint Paul's cathedral.

Arrêts de bus 15H: Trafalgar Square–Charing Cross–Aldwych–City Thameslink–St Paul’s Churchyard–Mansion House–Cannon Street–Tower Hill


When does the Routemaster Historic 15 operate?

The Routemaster Historic 15 runs every day - except 25 December- from 09:30 a.m. to 18:30 p.m. and serves the stops every 15 minutes. The journey takes about 25 minutes depending on traffic.

Tower Hill: First departure at 09:37 a.m. and last departure at 18:37 p.m.

Trafalgar Square (Charing Cross station): First departure at 09:48 a.m. and last departure at 18:33 p.m.


Where exactly are the stops in Trafalgar Square and Tower Hill?

To leave Trafalgar Square, head towards the Strand which is right next to Charing Cross tube station.
Once on the Strand walk on the left sidewalk with your back to Trafalgar and walk about XNUMX yards and stop at the F bus stop.


To leave from Tower Hill, you will find the bus stop in front of the Tower of London, on the same sidewalk as the monument ticket office.


How are the double-decker buses inside?

Although more rudimentary than current buses, Routemasters are no less comfortable. They are well maintained and clean.

The only difference is that the stations are neither displayed nor announced and only one device located at the back at the exit of the bus is present to announce that you want to get off. No need to look for the red button, on the vertical bars, there is none !!!



Where to stand on the bus to get the best view?

To make the most of your trip and have the best view, I advise you to either place yourself in the front seats up or down, but for the latter, put yourself on the left so as not to be hampered by the driver.


How much does a trip on a Routemaster cost?

You can of course take these buses with the TravelCard ou l’Oyster Card or pay your ticket by unit on board! Payment is made in cash only.

Good plan ! The ride is free for children under 11!


Practical advice !

I advise you to take the Routemaster to Trafalgar Square which is the heart of London and an ideal point to start your walk. Take the opportunity to go to its terminus at the Tower of London, from where you can visit this magnificent monument or discover the Tower Bridge and cruiser HMS Belfast.

Please note, not all buses on this line are Routemaster; you will have to wait for the next one!

When boarding, you do not need to validate your ticket, an employee will come to do it during the trip.

No space for strollers, they must be folded up before boarding the bus.

Please note, unlike current buses, Routemasters do not have a retractable ramp and cannot accommodate people with a Wheelchair.


What future for the Routemasters?

I really encourage you to travel on these buses before it's too late. In view of their maintenance costs, the city has since July 2014 eliminated the second legacy line (line 9) running from Trafalgar Square to Albert Hall.

Finally, if you want to discover the history of London transport and board other routemasters and omnibuses, I recommend you visit the transport museum located in Covent Garden which is fun and family friendly.

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