Today, my first full day in London, was a long one. I hopped aboard an open top double-decker tour bus at the Vitoria Station near my hotel shortly after breakfast and got off for the last time near Buckingham Palace around 8 PM. I chose to ride the tour buses run by the The Big Bus Company with a Live English Commentator (a red bus). I stayed on the bus all the way to the Tower of London. At the Tower of London I got off to get a better look at Tower Bridge, then went for a walk to London Bridge. From London Bridge I walked back to the Tower of London where I caught a river cruise along the Thames to Westminster Pier across from the London Eye. After the river cruise I walked over to the London Eye for a ride on the wheel. Then after that it was back on the bus to St Paul's Cathedral. I did a full tour of St Paul's, including the long climb to the top of the dome and a tour of the crypt in the basement. After St Paul's I stopped in a local pub for some fish & chips and a beer then took a walk across Millennium Bridge to the Tate Museum. I didn't stay long at the museum because I wanted to make sure I could catch another tour bus before they stopped for the day. The bus I caught after the Tate Museum was one without a commentator (a blue bus), it was extremely boring compared to the buses I road on earlier, so I got off at the next stop and waited for another red bus to come along. I took a red bus to Buckingham Palace, where I got off to wander around the Palace a bit before returning to my hotel.
The longest stretch on the bus was the first one in the morning, due to very slow traffic approaching Piccadilly Circus. The slow traffic was due to a 40ft mechanical Sultan's Elephant parading through London closing roads (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/4977870.stm for more details). We didn't see the Elephant from the bus, but I saw it later from the London Eye.
Here's a few of the photos I took today:
The tour buses.
Stuck in traffic.
A whole lot of bridges.
On the London Eye.
The Sultan's Elephant.
St Paul's Cathedral.
The Millennium Bridge and Tate Museum from St Paul's dome.