If you happen to have an afternoon tea bucket-list (and I know a few of you have!) then this is something that should definitely secure a place onto it!
B Bakery’s London Afternoon Tea Bus Tour takes everything we know and love about the traditional afternoon tea, places it on a vintage London 1960 Routemaster double-decker bus and tours it around some of London’s most iconic landmarks.
My friends and I decided to take a spin on their seasonal Christmas lights London afternoon tea bus. Quite simply we found it highly memorable, delicious and a whole lot-of fun!
Here’s all you need to know about the London Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
At the bus stop…
It took me a moment to get my head around where our pick-up point was – Victoria coach station. I mean I knew we were getting on a bus, but a coach station doesn’t exactly smack you with the glamour and refinement you come to associate with an afternoon tea setting, does it?
However, once we located our departure gate and were greeted by some lovely representatives of Brigit’s Bakery, I became far more settled in my idea of it.
Good to know: Check the screens in the entrance hall in order to locate your departure gate. The tour lasts around 90 minutes (depending on traffic) and with no toilets on board, Victoria coach station is your last opportunity to make use of the facilities.
I could not have felt more excited approaching the bus – stepping onto this double-decker felt like stepping on to a little piece of London history. I was intrigued to know what the interior would look like. It surpassed my expectations. It was so pretty with all the fairy lights and flower garlands. Booth-style diner tables were laid with quintessentially British tea plates and blankets were available to get you nice and snug. Despite it being post-Christmas, all the festive decorations reignited some of my (by then) declining Christmas spirit.
We were shown to our table all pre-laid out and we couldn’t wait to tuck in. Although we did manage to restrain ourselves, whilst we eagerly waited to cheers with a glass (OK who am I kidding – a bottle) of Prosecco first.
I had a few concerns before the experience. One – the food wouldn’t be great, due to the focus being on the novelty factor of the bus and two – the movement of the bus would make the experience of eating and drinking slightly less pleasurable.
Both of my concerns were quickly dispelled.
The movement of the bus could be felt – there is no avoiding that, but everything else – the food, the atmosphere, the setting, the sights – greatly lessened your awareness of the motion. I am susceptible to travel sickness, but I personally didn’t experience it whilst on this tour.
The afternoon tea…
Coronation chicken buns, smoked salmon and cucumber blinis, spinach & goats cheese quiches and my personal favourite (the rather moorish) cheddar, caramelised onion & ham finger sandwich. I could sound like the M&S voiceover lady, but let’s just say they were a selection of highly yummy savouries. Which led us nicely into my go-to section – the homemade cakes & tarts. Chou pastry, chocolate cupcakes, caramel tarts, something that they named a gingerbread & coffee sablé and I’ve just named ‘heaven’. Once ready, you’re served the traditional scones with clotted cream and jam – well it just wouldn’t be an afternoon tea without one would it?
Could I have eaten more? Yes! But more through greed than need. For anyone that doesn’t manage to complete the offerings in front of them, food can be wrapped up and placed in a take-home box.
A selection of Betjamin & Barton teas are included, as well as coffees, hot chocolate and water. Each hot drink is served in a handy reusable travel mug which sits neatly in the very practical cupholders on each table, keeping you spillage and burn free. You are also able to keep the travel mug as a memento of your experience which I believe is a lovely touch.
Good to know: If, like us – you wish to treat yourself to some sparkling wine, Champagne or perhaps a gin cocktail be sure to pre-order online.
The bus moved out of Victoria coach station and into a bustling Central London. On their regular tours you can expect to pass landmarks such as The London Eye, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Marble Arch to name a few. However, as this was the ‘Christmas Lights’ tour we were taken on a unique route through Regent Street to see London at it’s Christmas lights finest.
A few minutes into our tour party music classics could be heard through the speakers, to which more than one person started to at least lip-sync along to. It definitely made for a lot of fun but wasn’t overbearing.
At certain points as the landmarks approached, the music would cut out whilst some interesting facts about what we were seeing were given.
I’m sure we made it on to plenty of Instagram feeds that evening – tourists watching the bus go by are often fascinated and many a camera was pointed in the bus’ direction.
Top Tip: As with any bus tour, you get better views from the top. When booking try to secure a top deck table. However, if they are fully booked don’t despair, we were on the lower level and still got to see a reasonable view of the sites.
All too soon the bus pulled back in to Victoria. We disembarked into the cold London evening air hugging our still warm souvenir travel mugs of tea. This was definitely one afternoon tea – if not one experience in London – I will never forget.
I cannot wait to find an excuse to go and catch the B Bakery bus again!
Good to know:
- Prices start at £45 per adult
- Don’t want to head into London? Afternoon tea bus tours also operate in Bath
- In addition to the regular afternoon tea menu, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan & halal options are also available.
- For more information or to book visit the B-Bakery website
Want even more inspiration for some happy days out? You might like to read:
Do you enjoy an afternoon tea? Is there one in particular you recommend I try next? What’s your favourite part? Is it jam first then clotted cream on the scone or is it clotted cream then jam? I’m from Devon so am loyal to the Devonian method – cream then jam! What do you think? If you have any questions about the London afternoon tea bus tour or anything you’d just like to say – get in touch by leaving a comment in the box below – I’m happy to help and I always love to hear from you!