Monday

Original Tour London Christmas Lights

When I was little, my dad would drive up to central London in the run up to Christmas so we could see the Christmas lights on Oxford Street and Regent Street. He'd drive along the streets (I know, crazy!) and I've never forgotten the feeling of being wrapped up in a cosy car watching the festive lights through the window while listening to Christmas music... and that bagpipe player that used to stand outside Hamley's. I'm sure I didn't imagine that. Did I? Anyway, when I was contacted by Original Tour London to experience their Magical Christmas Lights Tour, I immediately thought of those times I spent marvelling at the streets of London all lit up, and I just had to try it out.

original tour london sightseeing bus magical christmas lights review

My ticket was emailed to me with very clear instructions to find the bus stop. I was a bit worried as it departs from Leicester Square and, this being a Saturday evening, I was concerned the crowds would make things difficult. Not to worry- the bus is pretty obvious straight away, as it has the Original Tour London branding right across it. We were a little early so planned to get a drink before boarding the bus but, as there was one already there, thought we'd check to see if they were already allowing people on. It actually turned out to be an earlier departure, but the staff were lovely and checked to see if we could join. We insisted we were happy to get a drink and return later but they wouldn't have any of it, seeing as we were already there. Great first impressions right there!

As we boarded, we were given a Santa hat (to keep!), a snuggly blanket each to keep warm, and a voucher for a free glass of mulled wine at Planet Hollywood. Obviously we went straight to the top deck, which was covered at the front half and open at the back. Not one to shy away from the full experience, I headed for the back. Of course it was chilly, especially when the bus picked up speed and was whizzing through the London streets, but with the blanket on our knees, we kept ourselves toasty. The front half is much warmer, so if you'd prefer not to feel the chill, don't be afraid!

Harvey Nichols christmas window 2018
There were a few other passengers on the bus, hailing from countries as far apart as Sweden and Australia, and everybody got into the Christmas spirit with their hats on. Our guide shared lots of interesting facts as we ventured through London, although I annoyed Rich by finishing all the anecdotes before the guide got to the end. I can't help it- I'm a sucker for trivia! (Don't worry, I didn't speak loud enough to ruin it for anyone else!) I think Rich was very relieved when the guide started telling us bad Christmas cracker jokes, because some of them made it pretty tricky to work out the punchline. (How does King Wenceslas like his pizza? Deep pan, crisp and even. I love a bad joke!)

Regent Street Christmas Lights 2018
Departing from Leicester Square, our tour took us past Trafalgar Square, along Whitehall to Westminster Abbey and on to Knightsbridge where we got a peek at the windows of Harrods and Harvey Nicholls. We turned back around the Royal Albert Hall, past Hyde Park... and got stuck in a bit of traffic. Luckily our guide was on hand to keep us entertained while we slowly crept past the roadworks (and it meant we got a little bit extra time on our tour too!) At Hyde Park Corner, the bus stops so you can get off and go to Winter Wonderland if you like, which I thought was a nice touch, although we were on the last tour of the day so we decided against it, not wanting to miss the end of the tour. Finally, the bus drove down Oxford Street before heading into Regent Street and returning to Leicester Square, where it stops right outside Planet Hollywood, the place to stop by and cash in the mulled wine voucher.

Oxford Circus Street Christmas Lights 2018

We had a lovely time sitting back and taking in the sights of festive London without having to deal with the stresses of crowds and navigating public transport. If you're looking for a Christmas sightseeing experience, give it a go! 

Get a 20% discount on the full ticket price with code BeckyBedbug20

Tour provided by Original Tour London in exchange for review but all opinions my own.

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