Oh I do love an afternoon tea. Fancy finger sandwiches, bitesized pastries *almost* too pretty to eat and bottomless brews – I mean, what’s not to love? Which is why as soon as I found out about the Afternoon Tea Bus Tour with Brigit’s Bakery I was like, a food coma on wheels with a slice of tourism? This sounds like a job for LC. That’s right, you get on a big red London bus and you fill your boots with banging food. It’s basically the fanciest commute going, and there’s not a thermal flask scraping porridge eater in sight! And even if there was, I wouldn’t have been able to hear them over the dulcet tones of the Christmas soundtrack.
I took my mum along for the ride. She doesn’t drink tea or coffee (say what?!) but she wasn’t about to turn her nose up at the ‘proper’ hot chocolate in a reindeer cup now was she. After a few hours shopping around London, deliberating over important stuff like Liberty baubles and avoiding all the nice food smells – which is pretty impossible when they’re flipping crepes on every corner – we were more than ready to chow down on a calorific platter of OCD-friendly sandwiches. That bread to filling ratio though! And don’t even get me started on those perfect right angled edges.
Even from the outside, the bus was impressive. A shiny, vintage Routemaster double decker, gift-wrapped in twinkly white fairy lights and festive foliage – it reminded me of something, a scene from Love Actually maybe? That’s gonna bug me for about 3 months now. Some of you may be thinking Christmas afternoon tea in November, really? But if that’s wrong then I don’t wanna be right. You’re talking to the girl who’s had Michael Buble’s Christmas album in the car since the end of September and I’m not even sorry. It’s all about track 17 on the deluxe special edition CD. Ahem. But in other cool life stories, THAT BUS.
When you order your tickets you can select from a menu of traditional, gluten free, veggie, pescatarian and halal options. We opted for the traditional, the gut bus-ter, if you will *don’t hate me, I can’t stop myself*.
So, let’s address the most burning question first – does your tea slip off the table and burn your vagita? It was a real concern of mine too but no, your crotch will remain scorch-free thanks to the cute Christmassy thermal cups complete with cup holder that they serve all the beverages in. And, they even let you keep it as a little souvenir of your tea tour. Ok, we’ve demystified the tea sitch – it’s time to salivate.
I knew then I was in safe hands and that this cake stand – though starting in immaculate form – was soon gonna be nothing but a clotted-cream smeared reminder that, even with my jeans undone, my chins cannibalising one another and my diaphragm in jeopardy, I still don’t know when to stop eating.
I don’t know if it’s just me but whenever I’ve been for afternoon tea before they’ve always been lovely and blah blah blah but there’s always one thing that throws me off a bit. Salmon blinis – good, cream cheese and cucumber – good, chocolate and cornflake scotch egg – ah, we were doing so well. See, I believe there is such a thing as going too cray cray adventurous with these things, and when it comes to afternoon tea you can’t beat a good ol’ traditional spread. So when we took our seats on the upper deck my little tiny eyes (they are abnormally small) lit right on up. I could see sun-dried tomato bread, I could see quiche, I could see turkey baps and profiteroles with christmas tree piping on. I knew then I was in safe hands and that this cake stand – though starting in immaculate form – was soon gonna be nothing but a clotted-cream smeared reminder that, even with my jeans undone, my chins cannibalising one another and my diaphragm in jeopardy (the respiratory kind, not the birth control kind just fyi), I still don’t know when to stop eating.
The hot choc kept on coming as we soaked in the beautiful sights of London. From the picturesque corners of Notting Hill to Big Ben, the horse guards parade and Buckingham Palace, you’ll uncover all the places that make this city one of the best on the planet – all while stuffing your face silly. I felt a little bit bad/smug when we would pull up next to one of the bog standard London buses and the commuters would suddenly clock that we were far too smiley for it to be any ordinary bus ride. I’ll never forget the look on their faces as we shovelled freshly baked scones into our gobs. I felt like a dog when it’s going for a poo – I just didn’t know whether to make eye contact or not.
We booked our slot on a Thursday at 2.30pm and the tour lasted bang on 1 hour and 30 minutes. I was a bit nervous Nigel because we had booked ice skating at Somerset House for 5.30pm and it said the tour duration depends on traffic, but the timings all worked out in the end. If you’re looking for something traditional but different in all the best kinda ways, then the B Bakery bus tour is bound to be everyone’s cup of tea.
Tours start at £45 per ticket depending on seating, which is a great price when you consider you’re getting a city tour AND a platter of dreams. It runs from 15th November to 5th January, so round up your pastry loving pals now before it’s fully booked! Elasticated trousers at the ready…
Love you bye.