I know some travelers are not fans of HOHOs (Hop-on Hop-off tours). I used to be one of them…until our jaunt to New York a few years back for our Canada/New England cruise.
I was suffering from a pretty bad case of plantar fasciitis. (Side effect of my tennis addiction.) My husband couldn’t bear watching me try to hobble all around in pain. He had a lot he wanted to see and to show me, so he suggested we be totally touristy and do one of the double decker bus HOHO tours.
I reluctantly agreed because I thought it’d be awful, but it was awesome!
We also did one when we went to San Francisco a few years ago. I wasn’t suffering foot problems then, but the San Fran HOHO was the perfect way for us to get all over during our limited visit.
Pros and Cons
Yes, HOHOs are touristy. (Some travelers are snobby and try to avoid such things.)
And they can be busy, where you’ll have to sometimes wait for another bus to come along because not enough people get off to free up seats at the stop you’re at, or perhaps the queue is that long at the stop you’re at and the bus can’t fit everyone.
However, buses normally run very regularly and you never have to wait very long for another. (This is particularly true during peak tourists seasons, like summertime.)
They’re also super useful. They allow you a convenient means of getting around a city, with stops at the biggest sights and attractions.
Some HOHOs Include Other Tours or Admissions
When we were in Vancouver we took a HOHO that included a ticket for a ferry ride from one side of Granville Station to across the marina. (Actually, we did it in reverse. We had been in Granville Station earlier, then got back on the HOHO, rode it around, realized we were hungry, saw we were coming to a stop across the water from Granville Station and could take the ferry across and be back there in five minutes rather than another 20.)
That frugal husband of mine isn’t the only one who appreciates getting the most bang out of a buck possible. So do I.
Which is why I was excited to find Viator had 2 HOHOs that both offered extras with the price to ride:
- The Original London Sightseeing Tour: Hop-on Hop-off – Includes a Thames River cruise plus three walking tours (Changing of the Guard, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Jack the Ripper).
- Big Bus London Hop-On Hop-Off Tour – Also includes a Thames River cruise plus three walking tours (Royal London, Harry Potter Film Locations, and The Ghosts by Gaslight).
Jack the Ripper or Ghosts by Gaslight Tour?
You may think it’d be a no-brainer that I’d pick a ghost tour given my site and all. However, I’m not just interested in ghosts.
I’ve also had an odd fascination with Jack the Ripper ever since my parents took me to see Time After Time when I was a kid. (Which scared the hell out of me. Hey, I was only seven or eight at the time. I remember being gripped by terror during the movie, but absorbed in the storyline. After credits rolled, however, I went into panic mode, thinking Victorian killers could jump from the past to the present and were lurking in the backseat of our car, behind my bedroom door, in the closet… Wasn’t the sort of movie a young child should’ve been taken to. #ParentingFail.)
The Big Bus runs 8:30-6 and buses run 10-20 minutes apart. But on the Vitator site it doesn’t tell when the ghost tour is, just which stop to take it from.
I fear it’ll be at night. We discovered the British Museum is open late on Friday nights (until 8:30) in the summer. We thought that might be a nice late afternoon/early evening thing to do before grabbing a quick dinner and collapsing into bed.
The Original London Sightseeing tour hours aren’t quite as long. (Close. 8:30-5.) However, the Jack the Ripper tour’s time is clearly noted (3:30). Since I’m not going to get to see Stonehenge, and the Jack the Ripper tour is one I want to experience, this is the HOHO we’ll do.
Combo Jack the Ripper and Ghost Tour
I think the other reason the Jack the Ripper tour appeals to me is because I remember it from when I added it to our Macabre and Unusual Tours page. (Specifically the Jack the Ripper Tour and London Ghost Walk and the Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes Tour of Haunted London.)
However, as I was looking around on Viator’s site, I noticed they’d added a couple more Jack the Ripper tours. Such as:
Jack’s pretty popular. Reinforces my decision to pick the HOHO that offers a Ripper tour.