Sightseeing tours are a good and easy way to explore a city and to get a first overview. When I am in a new city I enjoy such tours a lot. But as I know London quite well, I hadn’t booked a bus tour in ages. However, the Afternoon Tea Bus Tour by B-Bakery made me curious. They offer a combined classical sightseeing tour in a bus with an afternoon tea. I first came across the eye-catching bus in June 2016 when I saw it on Westminster Bridge. A year after I joined for my first own tour.
Afternoon Tea in an old Routemaster bus
Afternoon Tea inside a bus doesn’t sound too comfy, does it? But no worries, you don’t need to balance your plate on your lap while holding your tea and at the same time admiring the sights in London.
It’s very comfortable and cosy, trendy and pink inside the B-Bakery Bus. An old 1960s Routemaster was transformed into a rolling tea salon and the 11 tables are used by mainly female customers who enjoy the ride through London. A standard table has space for four people. If you are looking for a more private atmosphere and/or if you want to sit on the upper deck right at the front you can book a VIP table. There is space for 2 people only. VIP tables cost a bit more than the standard ones but you will get the best views on top. Prices vary between £ 45 and £ 65, depending on table and location.
You will realise that the bus is a popular photo opportunity. During my trip many tourists took pics whenever the bus came to a stop.
Who is behind the B-Bakery?
The B-Bakery is a patisserie in Covent Garden which was founded by the French Birgit Bloch. She runs the place together with her son Cedric.
Besides offering a classical afternoon tea in the Covent Garden rooms you can also book the bus tours, river cruises and you can order your picknick to enjoy in one of the many parks. To me, the special tours like the “Gin Lovers Afternoon Tea” or the christmas tours, sound very appealing.
What you get during the Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
During the 90 minutes tour (depending on traffic) you will have your seat at your chosen table (you will pick your table while booking online). Two of the 11 tables are VIP tables. They are on the upper deck right on front. These VIP tables sit two people only and you will have the best views (but you will pay a slightly higher price for them). The other tables are either on the upper or the lower deck. Prices per person depend on your table and its location in the bus. They vary between £45 and £65.
You can choose between several flavours of tea and coffee, there is also orange juice (freshly squeezed) and water. Feel free to order new drinks but keep in mind that there is no toilet on board.
The tables are prepared once you enter the bus and you will find a nice selection of sandwiches, macarons, cupcakes and other delicious pastry in front of you. Each of them looks stunning and tastes gorgeous. I think it’s great that you can get a vegetarian, gluten-free and Halal afternoon tea. Everybody can enjoy the afternoon tea that way.
I had the vegetarian option and I liked it A LOT! The lemon meringue tartlet was to die for! I am a big fan now (never had one before).
After approximately 45 minutes you will get fresh scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. To be fair, you won’t be hungry at all at that time but the scones smell so nice and they are so fresh and still warm. You HAVE to try them.
While enjoying all the great food it’s easy to forget that you are on a sightseeing bus tour. This also happens because there is hardly any explanation by the guides. When you ask them, they will tell you which sights you just passed but I had expected a bit more. Especially if you are new in town and want to learn a lot during the tour, you might be a bit disappointed. This is my only critical point towards the tour.
The route takes you to all the important sights in town: Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and many more.
Is the tour worth booking?
Despite the hardly existing sightseeing info, I would book the tour again for sure. The afternoon tea was delicious and the atmosphere in the bus was truly special. Yes, it is very pink and might be better for a girls night out than for a romantic first date. But for everyone who is new to London and who wants to try an afternoon tea and get a not too detailled sightseeing tour, the bus is your place! I also recommend the tour for male visitors. The decor might be rather feminin but the food speaks for itself and will please a guy, too. If you have visited London before, the tour is great because you can enjoy wonderful pastry while being driven around in town.
First time in London and you want to learn a lot from the comments of your tour guide or you want to listen to the comments in your own language? Then you should think about choosing another provider. There are several providers in London.
Useful stuff to know
- There are several tours per day. At 12.30 and 15 o’clock the bus will depart from 8 Northumberland Avenue which is close to Trafalgar Square. The 12, 14.30 and 17 o’clock tours leave from Victoria Coach Station. Meeting point is in the waiting hall close to gate 1.
- There are no toilets on board, keep that in mind when you order your drinks
- I recommend not to think about the calories during your tour. Just relax, enjoy and explore London afterwards by foot. All will be good then. But: depending on the time of your tour, don’t have a big lunch before it.
- If you cannot finish all the good stuff during the tour, you can take the left-overs home
- Good to know for all parents: kids are only allowed if they are 5 years or older
- Tourguide and bus driver will be grateful for a tip at the end of your tour (all voluntary, of course)
At the main location in Covent Garden (6-7 Chandos Place) you can get your afternoon tea with Prosecco or Champagne. Prices are lower than in the bus. To make sure that you get a table at your desired date and time, I recommend to book online. Via the homepage you can also book the bus tour, the boat cruise and pre-order your picknick.
B-Bakery has recently opened a shop in Bath, too.
National Tea Week 2017
From 14th – 20th of August it’s National Tea Week. In this week tea lovers are encouraged to have an afternoon tea daily. This can be in one of the posh hotels or in a tea salon, in an old Routemaster bus or at home with friends.
National Tea week inspired me to finally write this blog post.
Enjoy your afternoon tea whereever you may have it!
This post is also available in: Deutsch