CHRISTMAS can be an expensive time of year, but visiting some of the country’s festive attractions doesn’t have to break the bank.
While bespoke open-top bus tours through London’s Christmas lights do exist, they can be pretty expensive – with 90-minute routes costing around £28 per person.
While this figure can drop down to £20 during flash sales and promotional deals, there is a budget-friendly alternative to exploring the festive lights.
Even though most visitors to London simply use the city’s iconic red buses to get from one attraction to the next, there’s one bus route that is its very own experience.
This is because the bus passes right through Regent Street’s Lights – the oldest light display in the capital.
The number 139 bus runs from Golders Green to Waterloo Train Station, and it passes through landmarks like Abbey Road, the Sherlock Holmes Museum, Trafalgar Square, Bond Street, and Regent Street.
To make the most of the journey, and to avoid, some of the north London suburbs, passengers may want to board the bus outside Abbey Road Studios.
Another good spot to board, before the bus becomes too busy, is outside Baker Street Station, which is a mere stone’s throw from the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
The bus then pootles through Bond Street, one of London’s prime shopping locations, before heading down Regent Street.
The Regent Street Lights are some of the largest in London, and they have been a festive staple in the capital since 1954.
This year, the Regent Street angels were lit on November 9, 2023.
While the journey may end for some passengers at the Regent Street Christmas Lights, the bus continues past Trafalgar Square and the Savoy Hotel before making its way over Waterloo Bridge.
The journey from Golders Green to Waterloo Train Station takes 75 minutes (depending on traffic), and it costs just £1.75 for a one-way journey.
This means it costs £3.50 for a return journey, making it £16.50 cheaper than the cheapest open-top Christmas light bus tour.
London’s hopper fare also gives passengers unlimited journeys for £1.75, if they’re made within one hour of the first tap.
But if you’re not that quick, daily bus fares in London are capped at £5.25 for a full-paying adult.
For the best views, passengers should aim to sit on the four front-row seats on the top floor of the red double-decker buses.
While the route has been operating since 1992, this version has been running since 2003.
Both travel experts and holidaymakers have been using the London bus route to glimpse the magical Christmas Lights and festive shop windows for years.
Last year, Youtuber Wanderizm posted a video about their journey on the red double-decker bus.
They wrote: “The best (and cheapest!) way to see London’s Christmas lights from a double-decker bus is by taking bus 139.”
There are plenty of other public buses that take passengers through festive parts of the capital, including bus number 453, which passes near Hamley’s and Carnaby Street.
Other public transport routes also provide passengers with breathtaking views.
One of those is the East Coast train line between Durham and Edinburgh, which has coastal views and city landscapes that can be spotted out of the window.
Newcastle, Berwick, Lindisfarne, and Durham Cathedral are all among the highlights along that route.
Meanwhile, you can ride a London tube train with sea views on this British island.
And these are some of the most beautiful railway journeys in the UK.