If you are in London tomorrow, then you need to know it is London Marathon day.

The race starts in south east London, runs across the river, round the docks and docklands areas and along the Embankment, finishing on The Mall near Buckingham Palace.

If you are interested, there are plenty of places to watch.

Even if you are not be aware that:

  • there will be a lot of people out on the streets
  • crime will be at an all time high, so take only what you need and be extra careful
  • travel will be difficult at best, with stations closed, restricted access and other regulations, and not just on the route
  • the event lasts all day
  • roads will be closed
  • bus routes will be severely affected, shortened, diverted or just not running, and will be busy

Plan your day in advance and be aware that London will not be its usual, quiet self.

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Night buses

Night buses run, er, through the night on many routes.

A few things to note:

  • most start from Trafalgar Square
  • not all routes have night buses
  • routes on night buses may not be exactly the same as their daytime equivalent. They may be longer or shorter or just different
  • the frequency is not the same as daytime
  • night buses only stop where the number (eg N91) is shown at the stop
  • treat each stop as a request stop
  • the journey can be quicker and more reliable than daytime as there is less traffic
  • night buses are popular and can be busy
  • night buses can be carrying noisy or drunk passengers
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The big red bus

We have met people, many people, who have come to London for a holiday (aka vacation) and have never, ever been on a bus. How shocking is that? So many are from the USA, where a ‘bus’ is more like a coach.

Here in London, we have the red bus which is, well, red again, usually, after a period of random colours. Getting a bus is a cheap and entertaining, if not fast, way of getting about. Using the public bus is a cheap way of seeing a lot.

Oh, if you have limited time, there are bus tours you can take, great if the weather is nice, but they are not run by TfL and can be expensive. You could do that at the start, to get the lie of the land, or at the end of your holiday to mop up things you have missed.

Here are some very simple instructions on what to do on the bus. If they look long, the best advice we can give is: do what everyone else does.

Types of bus

There are two types of bus: double deckers like this:

or this:

or something similar.

Then there’s the single decker bus, like this:

or this:

If you are mostly in and around central London, or not venturing too far away, then it’ll be double decker buses most of the time.

There are various manufacturers and styles of bus, but they are basically the same.

It’s worth pointing out that we drive on the left hand side of the road, so the driver sits at the front on the right. Also, if you have been before and remember bendy buses, they don’t run any more here.

Every bus has a unique route code, usually a number but not always (eg the W5 above) and a sign showing its destination.

Bus routes can run at different frequencies (to each other and at different times of day). An app may help.

There are many night buses. They do not always run the exact same routes that their day bus equivalents do.

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