10 Routes Recommended This Holiday

A rather short post, but it'll give you, our reader, something to do over the holidays whilst pursuing your love [we hope] for buses. This is a whole blog effort, with each blogger writing about two services they recommend. There's also an Optare Solo on route 25 today.


© Rushaune157
 10th position sees Route 88. This route has recently gained a lot of attention having undergone a recent conversion to New Wright Routemaster operation. Route 88 is commonly known for its disappearing act between Vauxhall Bridge and Westminster. The Route is operated by London General (Go Ahead London) from their Stockwell (SW) garage. The route sweeps through many of Londons notorious landmarks such as: Westminster (Big Ben/ Houses of Parliament), Trafarlgar Square (The National Gallery), Piccadilly Circus (Trocadero) and Oxford Circus. The route has a running time of approx. 40-70mins

The route is very unique; great for readers wanting to view London from a tourists perspective without being packed. The route manoeuvres through small roads of Wesminster to the lively, camera frenzy Christmas lights along Regent Street and Oxford Circus. A journey on Route 88 can certainly shed light on any woeful Christmas spirit - speaking directly from experience. Journeys on the route are certainly not as of that during its allocation of Enviro 400 E40Hs - However can remain very cheerful on the well-looked after New Routemasters. The Route is seems long but is actually a lot shorter you think! Route 88 is Must Do! for users wanting to experience an all-round great New Routemaster route. 

A map of route 88 can be viewed here
A current timetable for route 88 can be viewed here

This route comes in at number 9, and it comes from the south-west of our great city, this route being the 337. Running between the busy town centre of Clapham Junction and the sometimes-peaceful town centre of Richmond via Wandsworth, Putney and Sheen, the 337 makes for a great ride. It operates out of Go-Ahead London's Stockwell (SW) Garage, which is under the London General subsidiary, with '12' Alexander Dennis Enviro400 diesels, which 5 are currently away at other garages covering for buses receiving emission modifications, so Enviro400 hybrids and Volvo B7TL's are both common on the route at the moment.

© KLConnected
The 337 makes this list of routes to do as it's a nice, quiet, reasonably-fast residential route that's currently using fairly quiet roads and a load of very fine hybrids, if that doesn't sound interesting to you: what does?! Fun aside, actually we can't do that otherwise we wouldn't have the 337 on the list! If you want to do a bit of boxing day shopping then look no further as the 337 links you with the south-west shopping hotspots of Clapham Junction, Wandsworth for Southside Shopping Centre, Putney for the High Street and Richmond, of course - all in under an hour!

A map of the 337 can be viewed here
A timetable for the 337 can be viewed here

© London Bus Breh
Route G1 stands at number 8 in this article. Operated by Go-Ahead London: London General from Waterside Way (PL), the G1 is a single-decker route which gets its letter prefix from St. George's Hospital in Tooting.

Connecting and circumnavigating estates around Clapham Junction and Tooting to both Springfield Hospital and the aforementioned St. George's Hospital, as well as more rural surroundings around Streatham, route G1 is timetabled to take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from Battersea's Shaftesbury Avenue to Streatham's Green Lane. A lengthy journey, for sure, but what can also be guaranteed - especially on an evening journey - is an exciting powerful drive aboard the route's new 8.9m Euro VI E200s, vehicles that have exceptional manoeuvrability to maintain satisfying speeds through the abundant obstacles drivers take on with outstanding precision throughout the route. Easy to ignore, route G1 is one to explore.

A map of route G1 can be viewed here.
The current timetable for route G1 can be viewed here.


T185 is seen at Hainault Street in Ilford.
This route comes in at position number 7, as we now head to the streets of East London - we're talking Redbridge and the likes of Ilford, Hainault, Chigwell and Goodmayes. Route 150 is quite a popular service with the locals, although it's not often mentioned in the enthusiast society. Operated by Arriva London from Barking (DX) garage, the 150 service runs between Chigwell Row The Maypole and Becontree Heath, Bus Station calling at stops along the way in Valence Wood, Goodmayes, Ilford, Gants Hill, Barkingside and Hainault. 

The route is one of those routes where it comes a lot more frequent than advertised most of the time, and somehow does not create a significant gap in the service. Anyways, the reason this route made it into our top 10 was that the route is a very fast route - most of the roads that it uses are straight lines, allowing buses to pick up speed quicker and maintain that speed a lot more than your average route. It is truly a fun route to do, with a lot of drivers being very friendly and the buses allocated (T180+) are probably one of Arriva's best Enviro 400s in London service. It comes in at number 7, and I especially recommend doing the service between Chigwell Row and Ilford. Don't worry - although The Maypole Public House is situated in the middle of nowhere, it's safe to say that a 150 will pick you up almost immediately to take you back into London (yes, Chigwell Row is in Essex).

A map of route 150 can be viewed here.
The current timetable for route 150 can be viewed here.
In Sixth Place we have route 238, which runs between Barking Station and Stratford Bus Station. It is operated by Stagecoach London from their West Ham (WH). The route is allocated with Enviro400s however appearances of Dennis Tridents are daily and you often get the odd Omnicity as well. But whatever the type route 238 will give you a wonderful feel for the Holidays. A lot of the route runs through major areas so you won't feel lost anywhere on this route. But before you get on this route make sure that you admire the lights at Westfield Stratford City to get you into the Christmas mood.

19860 is seen outside Barking Station
© EastLondoner

Once you leave Stratford you will pass through some residential housing. But don't be put off as the route is very enjoyable in this section. You will then reach Upton Park where you are welcomed by the nice Christmas lights of Upton Park. It's not long before you are then met with the nice Christmas lights of East Ham before swiftly being taken on to Barking. A ride on the 238 will not disappoint you in any way. The route is also frequent so you won't be waiting long for a bus and it's also very short, so the viewers who have short attention spans this is your route!

A map of route 238 can be viewed here  
The current timetable for route 238 can be viewed here
Coming in fifth place is route 107, which runs between Edgware Bus Station and New Barnet Station. The route is operated by Metroline Travel, from their Edgware (EW) garage which is situated at the back of the bus station in Edgware. As you can imagine, route 107 is obviously allocated Enviro 400s as that's the only vehicle type at Edgware (EW) garage at present. Be careful on which bus you get, not all of them are nice - the best buses to do on the route are the 56 and 57 plated vehicles as they set off very quickly, in comparison to other vehicles. The worst vehicles, which would be a waste of your time are the 59 plated vehicles, and the 08 plated aren't always a definite that your journey is worthwhile.
TE721 (LK56 FHR) leaves New Barnet Station on a nice summer afternoon.
Anyways, the route 107 is rather unique as majority of the route is 40+ in terms of speed, and although it's terminis are in London, the route actually does leave London, as from Edgware it goes via Borehamwood, Elstree, Stirling Corner, coming back into London through Barnet High Street and High Barnet, terminating at New Barnet Station.

The route is defined as a low frequency route, as one every 15 minutes. However, during the holidays you may [unfortunately] have to wait 20-30 minutes for a bus, but hey, that gives you more spotting time wherever you pick up the bus! The reason why route 107 was recommended was that the route is incredibly fun, and full of hills. It's not your usual out of London route (and dare I say it, it's better than the Borehamwood alternative, the 292). There's a lot of open space and greenery that the route goes through. The calm and happy nature of the people and towns along the route really does give you a sense of the holidays!

A map of route 107 can be viewed here. 
The current timetable for route 107 can be viewed here.

© London Bus Breh
Route 116 is at number 4 and is everything you want from a double-decker bus route. Operated by London United from Hounslow Heath (HH), the 116 runs from Hounslow Bus Station to Ashford Hospital and has recently converted to double-decker service, although tendered as a single-decker route.

It's quite a steady start as the route navigates through Hounslow Town Centre. But exiting the shopping area, the route enters Staines Road and stays on the long straight road to its terminus. The route averages at 30mph whilst breezing past the suburban surroundings of Hounslow Heath and Bedfont before reaching the Clockhouse Roundabout. You are then greeted with the A30 section to Staines Road which becomes the A30 London Road as drivers achieve 40mph+ on an invigorating drive to complete the route in just half an hour. Even better, you have London United's gleaming new VHs with their Volvo I-shift hybrid driveline and its exhilarating gear-powered acceleration to try the route out on.

A map of route 116 can be viewed here.
The current timetable for route 116 can be viewed here


© Rushaune157
In Third position sits Route W3; not a very known route but on the 5th Novemeber, becomes a very popular high demanding route. If you want to see what London looks like from the top-deck of a bus on a high viewpoint, this is the route for you! The route connects Finsbury Park with Northumberland Park via Crouch End, Alexandra Palace, Wood Green and White Hart Lane, undoubtedly providing a faster link to Wood Green rather than a slow, busy and painful joruney on Route 29. It has a running time of 30-50mins. The route is operated by Arriva London from their head base at Wood Green (WN). The route was previously operated from their Lee Valley (LV) which is a few from the Northumberland Park end but moved to Wood Green (WN) after the closure of the garage.

The route first starts off along Stroud Green Road before ascending up its first hill along Stapleton Hall Road and Ferme Park Road, the bus calmly proceeds up the hill with no problem before the cooling fan starts roaring with adrenaline giving the bus more power to take the hill further with ease, at then reaching the top of the short hill and the bus rolling down along with the mighty force of gravity. The route then continues down the tight Elmfield Road before rolling down the little descent of Middle Lane without a fuss, the route continues down Priory Road as drivers step down on the gas pedal; immediately activating the cooling fan. The route continues on until reaching the thrilling hill ascent of Alexandra Palace Way along with the cooling fan roaring louder through the determination of reaching the top only to be slapped in the face by a lovely aerial view of North London

A map for the W3 can be viewed here
A timetable for the W3 can be viewed here
Coming in at Second Place we have route 139. The route is operated by Metroline from their Cricklewood (W) garage. The route operates between Waterloo and West Hampstead. The route is allocated with some of London's nicest Euro5 Hybrids which are found in the form of Alexander Dennis Enviro400 Hybrids. 
© London Bus Breh

The route itself can probably be classed as your average central London route. But once you get on the bus you will learn that you won't have an average experience. Once you set off from Waterloo make sure you admire the wonderful scenery of London while crossing Waterloo bridge. Then as you reach Trafalgar Square make sure you cast an eye at the huge Christmas tree set up in the middle. You then move onto Regent Street where you find some wonderful futuristic Christmas lights which will fail to disappoint. You will then reach the slow crawl of Oxford Street, but instead of complaining about the traffic just take into account that you are surrounded by wonderful Christmas lights which will make you smile. You will then move onto Baker Street and taken past the famous Abbey Road Beatles Zebra crossing and then you get to West Hampstead.

A map for the 139 can be viewed here
A timetable for the 139 can be viewed here
And now for the route that tops our list, the 49. This route links one of Europe's largest shopping centres in the north-west of London with 'Britain's Busiest Rail Station' in the south-west of London whilst running via Kensington High Street (or High Street Kensington, whichever floats your boat), Gloucester Road, South Kensington for the Natural History, Science and Royal & Albert Museums, King's Road and Battersea Bridge allowing easy shopping access, great Christmas decorations and lights and a nice view of Albert and Chelsea Bridges all with an average journey time of 45 minutes.

© KLConnected

Similar to route 150, the 49 is a route that runs more frequently than it's actually advertised without any significant gaps to the service, most of the time, so you won't be waiting too long for your bus to turn up. And besides, the areas it runs through aren't in the middle of nowhere and are generally quite interesting. The route's operated from Abellio London's massive Battersea (QB) Garage with a batch of relatively-new Euro 6 hybrids, numbered 2465-2486, and they make for a great journey, no matter the weather, trust me! Darting through the back streets of Chelsea and Kensington at 30mph whilst crawling down their high streets at 15mph - it's a route that contradicts itself in a spectacular fashion and it would love for you to come and experience it in all of its Christmas glory!

A map for the 49 can be viewed here
A timetable for the 49 can be viewed here

That's all 10 routes, so why not ride them and comment below on what you think about the services. 

The blog would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, and happy holidays!


  1. Optare Solo on 25, wait whaaat??
    So confused.
    Wasn't it what I said earlier, a punishment for TfL's & co.'s insensible ideas? :P
    [So the team who brought LTs to life, whole of Tower Transit and Abellio (the bandits!), those who put (hint hint) an Optare Solo daily on 394, or the creators of the proposal to divert 436 away from Paddington, etc etc.]

  2. Solo on the 25's impossible - It's not April Fools day!
    1: Tower Transit have no Solos
    2: When you posted this, it was Xmas day, so no buses were running!

    1. They said 10 routes they recommend this holiday ie a day other than christmas day.. not on Christmas day...