I rarely write about Central or West London; nearly all of my previous posts about London have been about my beloved East, where I live. I get the occasional email about things to do in London and I always feel a bit lost on what to recommend, especially if the person writing has never been to the Big Smoke before. While people want to find out about lesser-known places like Broadway Market and the Early Morning Rave, let’s face it: London has some of the greatest sightseeing spots in the world, from Buckingham Palace to Big Ben to Trafalgar Square.
It also has some of the best selections of afternoon tea.
Last month, when the Expedia Pioneer for the UK, Kelly, was just beginning her travels, she began in London. You may or may not know that I also work on that project as the Community Manager. I decided to join her, along with my colleagues Jose and Fabienne, for BB Bakery’s Afternoon Tea Bus Tour. Simply put, it is a double-decker bus tour of Central London… where you get to have a delicious afternoon tea.
I was a bit skeptical at first; how good can it be if it is served on a moving bus? And won’t I get hot tea splashed all over me? This would also be the first time I was having a proper afternoon tea in London, and at £45 per person, I wanted to get my money’s worth. Afternoon tea usually costs that much in well-known establishments, however, and so I thought that partaking in one while sitting on a bus that drove past some of London’s best sightseeing spots was a very cool idea. Leaving at 12:30 and 3pm every day, I think it is a pretty fun thing to do whether as a London native or a tourist to the city.
I also sometimes worry about tours – sometimes the tour guides talk too much, and there’s little chance to just enjoy the sights. On this occasion, I actually thought the guides didn’t talk enough; they didn’t point out any of the sights, or talk about London at all. They simply helped with the service, replenishing tea and water whenever needed. It’s up to you to look out the windows and discover the city. Because we were all familiar with London (despite only Kelly being from England, with the rest of us Canadian, French, and Spanish), this was actually quite nice; we were able to chat away, enjoy the food, and point out sights when we wanted to. If you are brand new to London, I still think there is some benefit here, as you can enjoy a cuppa while watching the city go by. Just be sure to follow the map!
For my first afternoon tea in London, I have to say: it was absolutely delicious. The food was amazing, from the little sandwiches to the pastries and cakes. BB Bakery is known for having incredible sweets, and they certainly didn’t disappoint on the tour. As for my fear of spilling hot drinks, they served everything in ceramic cups with rubber lids, so there was no third-degree burns for souvenirs, thankfully.
Overall, it is definitely a steep price if you are looking at a budget tour of London. However, if you’re willing to splash out a bit, I would definitely recommend the BB Bakery Bus Tour. The food alone is worth it, but bring a friend and enjoy watching one of the biggest and most fascinating cities from a double-decker bus.
Is the BB Bakery Bus Tour of London something that appeals to you? Have you ever had afternoon tea?