I’m a big fan of quirky and unique experiences. It won’t come as a surprise that I’m a big fan of food, particularly afternoon tea. I also love London and exploring it. So you’d naturally assume that a combination of these things through the medium of a traditional London Routemaster bus would be a real winner, right?
London Bus Afternoon Tea by B Bakery London
Not content with my recent sightseeing trip across London in a helicopter, the opportunity to tour London on a vintage Routemaster double-decker bus presented itself. And I was all over it.
With departures from both Victoria Coach Station and Northumberland Avenue, the London Afternoon Tea Bus Tour snakes along key London attractions such as:
- The London Eye
- Big Ben
- Houses of Parliament
- Westminster Abbey
- St James Park
- Hyde Park
- Royal Albert Hall
- Marble Arch
- Nelson’s Column
It’s probably worthwhile noting that this isn’t really a substitute of a proper London tour; whilst the London Afternoon Tea Bus Tour does take in some of London’s attractions and provides commentary whilst you’re whisked around the route, it isn’t a patch on official tours with in-depth knowledge and full coverage of everything you should see on a trip to the capital. The eagle-eyed among you will notice that key attractions such as The Gherkin, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and Buckingham Palace are largely missed. Instead, consider this more of a novelty experience, sitting back and relaxing with a delightful afternoon tea whilst soaking up London in style.
The vintage London Routemaster itself is charming, a kitsch throwback to times gone-by, tables and seating to accommodate afternoon tea, cupholders to prevent beverage spillages in stop-start London traffic and cute (well, I was told it was cute) decoration to add to the ambience of a high-tea experience, whilst classic hits play out over the Routemaster’s passenger sound-system.
The afternoon tea itself was, to my surprise and delight, not a half bad affair. Plenty of sandwiches on soft bread, rolls and even mini quiches available, with sweet options in the form of delicious macarons, rich cakes, pastries and lemon meringue. Dare I say it was too much to consume as the bus wound its way around Knightsbridge and Trafalgar Square, but takeaway boxes are provided to passengers for anything not consumed during the tour. A decent selection of unlimited hot and soft beverages were on offer (particularly fortunate for me as a non-tea drinker… don’t judge), but a word of caution that there are no toilets onboard the bus, which may dampen your thirst along the hour and a half tour.
The highlight of the afternoon tea, as always, was the traditional scones, served with clotted cream and jam. Now, this typically invokes a strong debate about whether one should apply the cream or jam first, but the truth is I don’t care much for this; it’s always been cream first in my book. But each to their own…!
Whilst perhaps the sights on the route out of Victoria Coach Station are somewhat limited and not exhaustive of everything one would want to see if touring London for the first time, it was still nonetheless enjoyable to experience afternoon tea with a pretty epic backdrop of London – even on this rainy afternoon.
Okay, so it’s not a fantastic in-depth bus tour. But it isn’t a half-bad afternoon tea, and it delivers big time on the novelty and fun factor, surely the main pull for afternoon tea on a vintage Routemaster in the first place. Prices vary from £45 – £63pp, which is good value for afternoon tea when compared against London’s top-tier hotels, so naturally this gets the big seal of approval from me.
Good fun and something different.
B Bakery London
020 3026 1188