If there’s one afternoon tea that everyone seemed to be talking about in 2014 it’s the BB Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. It’s a pretty ingenious idea. Served on an iconic red Routemaster (a double-decker bus), it’s a modern and inventive twist on the classically English afternoon tea.
It’d probably do well with tourists even if the bus was stationery, but the fact you get a tour of some of London’s most famous landmarks whilst you sip your cup of tea makes it even more popular. Whilst it may be a bit of a novelty, the tour is filled with visitors both old and young, from near and far, and it seems to be a winner with those looking to do something a little different.
The number one thing that everyone wants to know is how you can have afternoon tea on a moving vehicle. Flying scones and broken china just wouldn’t really work. Okay, maybe the flying scones…but, let’s park that idea for another time. The tables (mostly booths of four) have sunken holes in the corner (like a drinks holder in a car) so that you can pop your tea or coffee in there without fear of it spilling. The drinks are also served in a cute travel beaker, that’ll you want to take home with you (unfortunately you can’t). And as for the plates and cake stands, well they’re suctioned onto the table. Simple!
BB Bakery is a traditional French Salon de Thé, so it’s lovely French baking in London. It also means that the staff are French. You’ll have to pay attention when they announce the long list of different teas in their gorgeous, thick accents.
BB Bakery prides itself on catering for special dietary requirements. The vegetarian platter consists of delicious cream cheese sandwiches, a miniature quiche and a dainty roll. As with most afternoon teas, it’s deceivingly filling and that’s before you even start on the top tier of beautiful sweet treats or the grand finale of scones. Gluten-free and halal afternoon teas are also available. However, nut allergies are not catered for as far as the cakes go.
The cakes are a petite collection of popular desserts, like meringue, pastries and sponge cakes. The star is definitely the raspberry topped cake that’s dressed with some sort of pistachio cream icing. The large scones are served with clotted cream and strawberry jam – as they should be. It’s quite a feat if you manage to eat all of your savouries and sweets, and then a scone. Cute, pink takeaway boxes are available for the weaker eaters!
The tour last about ninety minutes, taking in some of London’s most treasured buildings. You’ll see Big Ben, Harrods, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, the Royal Albert Hall, Notting Hill, Marble Arch, Piccadilly, Trafalger Square and Covent Garden…that is of course if you’re paying attention. There’s no running commentary or announcement when you’re at each point of the tour. There’s a route map on the tables, as well as a little guide book explaining a few facts about each sight, but it’s left in your hands to decide whether you want to play tourist.
If it’s a miserable day (highly possible in London!) be prepared for a steamy tour as the windows fog up. The staff do their best at wiping them regularly, but if you’re more into the tour than the tea be prepared to give the window a wipe too.
A two-for-one experience (a bus tour of London AND afternoon tea), it’s a little pricier than some other afternoon teas in London. However, it’s only £5/10 more than some of the most famous ones, so it’s worth it for the novel experience. It’s a unique experience and a great way to see the city, especially for visitors outside of London. You can find out availability and book online here. You can book a whole floor, or even the whole bus if you want. Don’t forget to let them know that Taylor Hearts Travel sent you.
Have you been on this tour or is it something that you’d like to do? X
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Big thanks to BB Afternoon Tea Bus Tour for hosting my yummy tour.