Cost – Approx. £56 (Aug 2018)
Parking and Access – This Afternoon Tea starts at Victoria Coach Station in central London so parking is extremely difficult. The nearest Underground station is a short distance away at Victoria train station. There is a large step on to the bus for the downstairs tables. The upstairs tables are up a twisty and steep flight of stairs. There are no toilets on the bus. There are toilets at Victoria coach station (30p charge).
Background – I was given a voucher for this Afternoon Tea experience by my lovely partner for Christmas. We decided Summer was the best time to go so we picked a date and booked the bus online some weeks earlier as it gets very booked up in advance.
When the actual day arrived we had an absolute nightmare reaching the bus, finally arriving with less than five minutes to go before the bus left! We were so glad to have made it in time, having thought there was no chance. We were shown to our seats on the upper deck and collapsed onto the benches with huge relief!
The bus used for the tour is a classic London red Routemaster double decker
with an open rear platform.
Inside it has been adapted to house six tables for four (four upstairs, two downstairs) and four tables for two (two upstairs, two downstairs). The tables are printed with B Bakery images and have holes in them to hold cups safely.
Contents – Two finger sandwiches (ham and cheese, cucumber and cream cheese), a mini cheese and tomato roll, a square olive bread roll filled with bacon, lettuce and tomato, a smoked salmon blini and a mini mushroom tartlette. A small plain scone, mini pot of strawberry jam and a mini pot of Rodda’s clotted cream. A mini choux pastry filled with blackberry, a mini chocolate cupcake, a mini mango and coconut tartlette and a mini tart with vanilla cream with a raspberry on top. A lidded cup of tea and an optional lidded cup of still lemonade.
Options Available – Traditional, Vegetarian, Vegan, Halal and Gluten free options are all available. We were having the Traditional option.
Comments – We were shown to our table at the back of the upstairs level of the double decker bus. We were lucky that we had been given a table for four for just the two of us. The tables and seats are not over large and it would have been very cosy if we had had four at the table.
The tables were all laid with vintage china plates and pink thick paper napkins containing a knife, fork and teaspoon.
The Afternoon Tea was already waiting on the tables on two-tier spindle stands with rectangular white plates. The scones, jam and cream were brought along later.
Once the bus was moving we were asked what we would like to drink. As usual we chose English breakfast tea but we also asked for some lemonade as we had got very hot getting to the bus on time. We expected to be charged extra for the lemonade but it was included. All drinks are served in large cups with lids as the bus is moving and drinking from a normal cup would be pretty impossible. There are holes in the tables to put the cups in securely. The drinks arrived quite quickly. The lemonade was really delicious whilst the tea was just ok.
The savoury part of the Afternoon Tea had a nice mix of sandwiches, rolls and other items. They were all small but were all tasty and fresh. The sandwiches could perhaps have been a little better filled.
The scone was brought separately whilst we were eating the savouries. We were also given a mini jar of strawberry jam and a mini pot of clotted cream each. The scone was reasonably fresh but quite small. There was plenty of jam and cream for the size of the scone.
My favourite part was the cakes. They were all really good.
My particular favourite was the mango and coconut tartlette.
The cakes were all small but they made up for that with taste as they were all delicious.
The tea arrived with the tea bag in but no milk. There was a separate jug with milk in it.
The lid of the cup had to be unscrewed to remove the teabag and to put the milk in. Unfortunately, the tea was not brilliant, possibly because it was in a sealed cup. However, it was still drinkable. Luckily the cup of lemonade more than made up for the tea. We were able to get a refill of lemonade when we asked.
The service was reasonably good but involved a lot of running up and down the stairs by the two staff.
Whilst we were enjoying our Afternoon Tea the bus was taking us on a tour of the sights of central London. There was some recorded commentary provided and it was possible to pre-order a guide book (price £5) during booking.
At the end of the tour we were told that we could take home the cups we had used as a souvenir of our trip.
The whole experience was very good and was an interesting and different way to have an Afternoon Tea. We had a very enjoyable time.