Afternoon tea is one of those must-do experiences for visitors to London, and Londoners alike. What isn’t to love about sitting for an hour or two with the ones you love whilst demolishing a selection of cakes and pastries. There are so many afternoon teas on offer around the capital that there is something to suit everyone. Recently, I was lucky enough to enjoy one of the coolest new options. A sight-seeing and afternoon tea mash up with Brigit Bakery; the vintage Routemaster B Bakery bus afternoon tea tour of London.
I was a guest of B Bakery and www.buyagift.co.uk for this experience but all opinions are entirely my own.
What Is B Bakery?
Brigit Bakery (or B Bakery) is a patisserie specialising in afternoon tea with a french accent. They call it l’afternoon tea, I call it un petit délicieuse. They started in London back in 2010 and now have a branch in Covent Garden, and one in Bath, Their afternoon teas took to the road in 2014 with the purchase of their own Routemaster. All of the baked goods for the London afternoon tea tours are produced in their Bermondsey kitchen (but more about those later).
The B Bakery Bus – The Classic Red London Routemaster
Wandering around London, we have spotted this beautiful red bus whizz past us. It is a Routemaster, the iconic red double-decker bus that filled London’s streets in the 1950s and 1960s. The back platform is open which back in the day made running for the bus and jumping on a lot easier. now, with health and safety, it just makes an excellent spot for a quick photoshoot.
Where to Catch the B Bakery Bus Afternoon Tea Tour
Running around like a headless chicken, I managed to dash straight past the bus on the wrong side of the road. I am notoriously late for things and was getting flustered thinking that I would miss the departure. If your bus departs from 8 Northumberland Avenue, you’ll find it on the opposite side of the road from the Grand At Trafalgar Hotel, on the South-bound side of the road.
Seating Options on the B Bakery Bus Afternoon Tea Tour
The B Bakery afternoon tea bus has eleven tables, four on the lower deck and six on the top decks. These are for sale as tables of two or four.
How Much Does the B Bakery Bus Afternoon Tea Tour Cost?
Prices start at £45 per person. For that, you get a seat on the lower deck, just like we did. For a little more you will be seated on the upper deck, giving you a better view of the sights you are passing. Finally, for a bit more (up to £65) you can sit at one of the two VIP tables. These are at the front of the upper deck, so you have both side and front windows. This is the perfect spot for photography.
The Food Aboard the B Bakery Bus Afternoon Tea Tour
As you board, you will see your cakes and sandwiches set out and ready to dive into. This made me a little wary, thinking that they would be dry, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Brigit Bakery has upped the bar when it comes to afternoon tea treats.
The sandwiches were not AT ALL dry, even the ham and cheese finger variety. Everything must have been very fresh. My favourite one was the salmon pretzel, despite being super paranoid about having poppy seeds in my teeth for the rest of the bus ride! The sandwiches we had were:
- Pastrami burger with tomato salad and mustardy mayonnaise – Quite a filling choice but the pastrami was lovely and tender.
- Ham and cheese and whole grain mayonnaise on granary bread – Finger sandwich perfection.
- Salmon pretzel with chives, cream cheese and cucumber – This was an unusual twist on a classic. The pretzel was soft and slightly chewy. I love salmon so I thoroughly enjoyed this and thought the balance was just right.
Normally included in the menu, you will get:
- Minty cucumber sandwich and cream cheese on beetroot bread
- Seasonal savoury muffin
Oh tiny cakes, how I love you! Being with a group of other girls, I had to eat these slowly and in a delicate manner but I could have eaten the lot in four bites. I really enjoyed trying to work out the flavours of each cake. The mango and caramel tart defeated me so I was very happy to find it on the internet. I couldn’t decide between the four cakes as they were all delicious and baked to perfection. You could really tell that these came from a proper bakery.
- Vanilla and apricot compote choux – A gently fruity cream and a lovely craquelin top made these choux buns a level up.
- Queen sablé and cream cheese mousse – The buttery, crumbly base and super light cream cheese mousse were a lovely light nibble. I took some pictures with it but couldn’t resist eating the berry on the top which rather ruined it.
- Strawberry cupcake – Just SO cute!
- Caramel, mango and cream tart – These were like a gorgeous creme brulee flavour combined with subtle mango. I was tempted to hoover up the rest on the plate (that belonged to my afternoon tea buddies).
For some reason, we weren’t served scones despite the normal tour including them. Everyone was getting pretty full so I am not sure they missed them but for me, it is not a full afternoon tea without them.
B Bakery can accommodate all kinds of dietary requirement, I was quite impressed when I saw the options. Be you vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free or halal, they can cater for you!
The Drinks Aboard the B Bakery Bus Afternoon Tea Tour
Onboard, there was a surprisingly nice selection of teas. However, I think they all came in tea bag form. Trying to deal with a teapot and loose leaf tea on a moving bus would be extremely dangerous. Instead, all the tea is served in super cute plastic cups with screw-on lids. Once your tea is brewed, there is a little plastic tub to pop the tea bag in. The best bit?
You get to keep the mug forever!
If you are not into tea, you can choose a coffee or hot chocolate. I couldn’t resist a coffee once I smelled the glorious warming whiff of someone else’s.
We were also treated to a glass of prosecco. These are available to pre-purchase with B Bakery. You can opt for a glass at £8 or bottles of bubbly ranging from prosecco at £28 all the way up to a bottle of Castelnau Hors Serie champagne at £125.
Now, as you know, I am a spiller so I was worried about my drinks going flying but every table has cup holders for each person…a simple and ingenious fix!
The B Bakery Bus Afternoon Tea Tour Route
The average tour length is 1.5 hours, and in that time the bus takes you past some of west London’s top sights. As you pass each one, a commentary is played over the speakers.
We began the journey with the windows open and the sunlight streamed in. Halfway through the tour, the British summer returned to form and there was a huge rain shower. A deluge pelted down from above and we hurriedly wound the window handles to close them. The windows steamed up, and with the heavy rain, we struggled to get good photos. I have used some from my back catalogue for you. Here are some of the highlights;
See if you can spot the King as you zoom past one of his London residences.
Big Ben, the grand old bell inside the Elizabeth Tower, stands close to the River Thames. Alongside the Houses of Parliament is Westminster Abbey, and across the river is the London Eye.
Royal Albert Hall
This grand Victorian hall, home of the BBC Proms in the summer, Cirque Du Soleil in winter and all sorts in between, this is where I used to work so I always get a little overexcited when I see it.
The Royal Albert Hall is also home to the Opera Afternoon Tea. Check it out here!
Not a famous sight…unless you are an Instagrammer that is. This pretty pub is a social media classic.
Lord Nelson stands atop his column and keeps an eye on the tourists below. Beyond the fountains and the arty fourth plinth, there are two of London’s favourite free museums, The National Gallery and Portrait Gallery.
What Is It Like Aboard the B Bakery Bus Afternoon Tea Tour?
This is a great way to spend the afternoon and of course, as with all things, there are highlights and lowlights. Other than the food and drinks, here are my favourite things:
- Some classic tunes were played during the trip which was really fun. If you had a large group of friends you could have a great singalong as you accidentally sprayed cake crumbs across the table.
- The staff were very friendly and made sure we had everything we needed.
- We were offered little cake boxes to take home any leftover nibbles….we didn’t have any.
- The tea, coffee, juice and water are unlimited so you can have seven cups of tea if you like!
There are some disadvantages of being on a bus rather than on a train, or indeed a non-moving tea room.
- There is no toilet on the bus so bear that in mind when you are enjoying your seventh cup of tea.
- As the space is quite enclosed, it can get very noisy (especially when you invite a bus full of female bloggers).
- The London traffic can be rather stop/start which makes it a little difficult not to spill (especially if you are like me and can cover yourself in anything and everything).
- Some chairs face backwards so if you are prone to travel sickness you’ll need to make sure you book the right kind of seats.
It is also worth noting that our bus was decorated with ladies in mind. There were lots of bright pink and drawings of “ladies about town” on the cups and tables. I don’t know if the other bus is the same, but I thought it was worth mentioning if you are planning to come in a mixed group.
Important Information for the B Bakery Bus Afternoon Tea Tour
If you are thinking of booking your spot on this super fun vintage bus afternoon tea, here are some things you might like to know.
- The best place to book is on the Brigit Bakery website.
- If you are buying it as a gift for someone else, then the buyagift website is the best place to get a voucher.
- Brigit Bakery also does gin afternoon teas, Thames cruise afternoon teas and fun seasonal options too.
- B Bakery Bus Afternoon Tea tours depart from 8 Northumberland Avenue and Victoria Coach Station.
- Prices range from £45 – £65.
- There is no toilet on board so pop to the bathroom before you board. The bus will not stop for toilet breaks.
- The tour lasts around 90 minutes depending on traffic.
- B Bakery can cater for lots of different dietary requirements but they cannot guarantee nut-free.
Final Thoughts on the B Bakery Bus Afternoon Tea Tour
This is not London’s cheapest afternoon tea, but it does combine two activities that make a day trip to London special. I had a whale of a time and enjoyed absolutely everything I ate and drank. Plus, I managed to get it all in my mouth without spilling…no mean feat on a moving bus. I think that the B Bakery vintage bus afternoon tea would be a perfect experience for girly catch-ups with a difference or hen parties. It doesn’t feel stuffy like some tea rooms do so you can just relax and enjoy the sights, good conversation and mouth-watering B Bakery goodies.