There’s no shortage of fabulous spots to have tea in London. From the ultimate, ultra-pricey Ritz, to the traditions of Selfridges, to a room with a view at the National Gallery, you can have your pick of teas in any price range.
But if you’re looking for unique setting and a great introduction to London, there’s nothing better than the Afternoon Tea Bus. It’s a vintage Routemaster bus (that’s an old-school, red, double-decker to those of you not familiar with your London transport) that the lovely folks at BB Bakery in Covent Garden have converted to a moving tea shop. Reservations are a must, and the earlier you make them the more likely you are to get the prime seating on the top floor at the front.
You'll meet your ride on a shady, tree-lined street just off Trafalgar Square. Each table is pre-set with a gorgeous tea tray for each person filled with delicious sandwiches, savory treats and delicate pastries. As you settle in the waiter will come around and take your order of tea. Tea is served in specialty BB cups with silicone lids to avoid any hot beverage lawsuits.
Once the bus is off and running it’s a fairly quiet journey, no tour guides will be talking your ear off. Each table has a booklet detailing the sites that you’ll be passing by. The tables have giant route maps on them. If you’re looking for a lot of information, this wouldn’t be the tour for you. It’s an opportunity for you to get oriented to the city and chat with your traveling companions while someone else does the navigating for a while.
No tea is complete without scones with clotted cream and jam. As you come around the far side of Hyde Park, your friendly waiter will clear the tea trays and bring around the scones, so be sure to save a little bit of room for them.