A few of Saturdays ago it was my daughters 21st birthday, so a weekend of treats was in order.
I decided to choose an afternoon tea, but I wanted something a little quirkier. Upon checking out the superb afternoontea.co.uk (the afternoon tea website bible) I stumbled across the B (Brigit’s) Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. This offered an Afternoon Tea with a difference by having the tea served on a Vintage red London Routemaster bus while touring the sights around such a fantastic city. They offered lots of various dietary variations for vegetarians, gluten free and halal and you can pick up the bus from Victoria Coach Station or Northumberland Avenue. I booked for myself, my husband and the birthday girl herself costing £45 per person.
The bus was booked to pick us up at 14:30 at Victoria Coach Station, but just as we were on our way, we had a phone call saying that the bus would be in fact an hour late due to the previous tour being stuck in traffic. We found the pick up point on bus stand 0 at the coach station and waited for the bus that arrived, emptied of customers, cleaned and replenished and then we were let on and set off at 15:30. The two lovely young men on the bus were very apologetic about the delay, but to be fair the terms and conditions upon booking did state that the bus may be subject to delays.
We were sitting downstairs on the bus (as you can choose when booking). First impressions of the bus were really good. The bus was clean and really nicely decorated with flowers and fairy lights. The tables were bright, laid nicely and already had the treats laid out on a pretty cake stand. The table had a welcome cup holder to stop any tea tipping over the table when going around corners. Once all boarded, the bus was full. The guys looking after us went through the literary of the trip and reminded us that there wasn’t a toilet on board. I think the fact there was no loo was a little off putting and I must admit, I didn’t drink as much tea as I usually would because of it.
The bus left Victoria Coach station and the planned route was passing Harrods, South Kensington, (we even passed the shop where the Kingsman is set), Royal Albert Hall, Notting Hill, Piccadilly, Trafalgar Square, London Eye, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. Upon reaching certain points on our route, a recorded commentary was telling us all about what we were seeing, and it was really informative.
The tea started to flow and I chose the English Breakfast Betjeman and Barton tea in my beaker, but you could also choose from Darjeeling, peppermint, Earl Grey, jasmine, green and Rooibush Jardin Rouge tea as well as coffee and hot chocolate. Once the drinks had been served we excitedly tucked into the treats. There were plenty of savoury elements, with a chicken and mayo in a tomato roll, a submarine roll with pesto, parmesan and tomato, cucumber sandwiches and an amazing cream cheese and salmon bun with lemon zest. The savoury section was completed with a fabulous mini quiche lorraine.
As we were continuing our journey through the busy Saturday streets of London, the bus would stop in traffic and we suddenly felt like fish in a bowl as people outside would look in with wonder on their faces and take photos as they realised we weren’t just an ordinary bus passing through London as they could spy the treats on our tables. Music playing through the bus between the commentary encouraged us and our fellow passengers to every now and again break into song. We sounded like a choir as the whole bus would start singing along, it made the atmosphere a very happy one.
Sweet treats were next on the agenda, a very rich chocolate muffin, coconutty cake, a custard filled puff and a perfectly formed individual zesty lemon meringue pie, lastly a beautifully decorated mini passion fruit trifle was AMAZINGLY tasty. It was zingy and creamy, I just wish it was bigger as it was without doubt my most favourite element to the tea. Another beaker of tea was in order as the bus continued to weave through the streets and the table was cleared and then the warm scones arrived. To be honest, I was about ready to pop, but who can resist a scone with a mini pot of jam and Roddas clotted cream? The guys then appeared with a mini cupcake with a candle lit and sang happy birthday to Chloe (which suitably embarrassed her) the whole bus joined in and it really made her day.
We were well and truely stuffed and by now we were passing our last destination, Buckingham Palace I was thinking to myself, that the Queen would LOVE this tour. There are also various other tours the company offer, such as the Christmas Afternoon Tea Tour, an evening tour, a Gin and Sushi tour, a Halloween themed tour and a Gin tour. For those that aren’t too keen on the idea of a bus tour, there is a tour down the River Thames on a vintage motor yacht that runs in the summer. If you are on the move, the bakery will deliver to addresses in Greater London or provide a picnic service if given 24 hours notice. You can also go to the Covent Garden Brigit’s Bakery for a quick coffee or just have the full Afternoon Tea there. The fun isn’t just located in London, as there is a Brigit’s in Bath too! The buses can be hired out to corporate companies and for weddings which is a superb idea.
Just as the tour was ending the hosts on board informed us that the beaker we were using was ours to keep which was a lovely touch.
I would recommend this tour – it was relaxed, fun and above all totally yummy! The only thing I would say is, go to the loo before you board and pace yourself with the tea!! We all loved it.