Christmas in London is a stressful time of year. We want to see all the Christmas lights, markets and trees, but the city is just MASSIVE (not to mention cold, and full of tourists walking at approximately 2mph, but we digress…) Of course we could travel by tube, but we’d rather not spend the majority of our sightseeing trip underground. So the solution is clearly to hop on a London double-decker bus for the most Christmassy bus route in town. Destination? CHRISTMAS.
Yes, this is the perfect route for a spot of Christmas sightseeing, and it’ll only cost you the princely sum of £1.50! The route in question is the 139, heading from Waterloo to Golders Green, and the magic begins before you even get on the bus, as you can admire the lovely Christmas tree in Waterloo station first.
But now, it’s time to hop aboard – and naturally, you’ll want to bag yourself a front-row seat up on the top deck, for all the best views of the festive sights to come…
Cruise across Waterloo Bridge, and you’ll admire the twinkling lights of the city, lit up at night like the front of a Christmas card.
You’ll then get the best view of these Christmas lights as you ride along The Strand…
Next, the bus heads towards Trafalgar Square, where you won’t be able to miss the festive market and Trafalgar Square tree (just a little longer until this reappears) – a gift donated by the lovely people of Norway as a thanks for helping them out in World War 2 (a tradition that’s taken place every year since 1947).
If you hop off around Piccadilly Circus (you can hop back on for free within an hour of starting your journey, thanks to the Hopper Fare) a short jaunt down Piccadilly will take you to Fortnum & Mason’s giant advent calendar display later in the festive period, which we’d really love to be opening right about now. Anyway, back to the bus!
After rounding Piccadilly Circus – where the giant billboards will no doubt be filled with Christmas content – it’s time for one of the capital’s true festive treats. Because really, what would a festive tour of London be without a journey under the heavenly Regent Street angels?
You can alight here to take a look at Carnaby Street’s festive makeover: take in the magic of the 2021 Christmas lights, which come in the form of 600 hand-decorated, colourful butterflies spanning the length of Carnaby Street, Foubert’s Place and Newburgh Street.
You can also drop by Hamley’s Toy Store (just by the Beak Street stop) for a cuddly Christmas gift.
Right, it’s time for one of the highlights of your trip, the Oxford Street Christmas lights – instead of the shimmering LED banners of the past few years, we’ve got thousands of softly-glowing stars, all suspended on strings of fairy lights. It’s a pretty enchanting effect, and though last year’s tribute to community heroes was a nice touch, this lot are downright magical.
Again, if you’d like to stretch your legs, you can pop into John Lewis for a beautifully organised Christmas store and a festive winter rooftop.
Next stop is Selfridges, where you’ll find some delightful Christmas window displays to feast your eyes on. It’s also handy for the disorganised amongst you who are still frantically searching for gifts…
With most of the big attractions behind you, it’s a mostly quiet run up to Golders Green from here, but there’s still time to catch Christmas lights at Portman Square Gardens on Baker Street.
Of course, you could stay on for some less Christmassy but equally cool attractions – Abbey Road Studios, Lord’s Cricket Ground, and Regent’s Park are all around here – but the 139 still has a good way to go, and you’ve got plenty of other festive things to see. Unless you wanted to hop on a bus going the other direction and do it all again?