I discovered this little wheeze in my teenage years when exploring London was brilliant fun, hampered only by the meagre contents of my wallet.
If you jump on certain bus routes you get to see the best views of the city. Pay a couple of pounds, head upstairs to the front windows and relax for the next hour or so as you shuffle past the best of London’s sights.
The number 15 bus is one of my favourites. Starting at Trafalgar Square you pass Charring Cross Station before heading east down what was once the Roman road to Londinium. Fleet Street as it later became known was famous in the nineteenth century for being home to the capitals newspaper industry.
Soon you will cross from the city of Westminster into the City of London as you pass the the imposing edifice of The Royal Courts Of Justice. If you get out here and walk along Fleet Street you will come across some great pubs including the old bank, reputedly the location of Sweeny Todd’s barber shop and better still the Old Cheshire Cheese, an ancient pub once frequented by Charles Dickens.
At Ludgate Circus you cross the Fleet, London’s second river which was gradually buried underground and turned into a sewer as the city expanded.
American visitors would do well to note 24-26 Ludgate Hill where a coffee house frequented by Benjamin Franklin once stood.
St Paul’s Cathedral sits at the top of the hill and is definitely one of Londons great sites, but if you carry on the trusty number 15 will take you on past the Mansion House where King Charles the 1st was executed, then past the monument to the great fire of 1666 and then to the Tower Of London itself.
After this you head into the ‘old east end’ and pass historic areas such as St Botolph Street, Aldgate, Watney Market, Limehouse Station and on through to Blackwell.
Remembering these trips has been lots of fun and I really will go for a number 15 bus ride again soon to see how many changes have taken place in this vibrant, ever-changing metropolis.