There are few things more British than afternoon tea; that quintessentially English tradition that allows for a pause mid-afternoon to enjoy sandwiches and cakes accompanied by a freshly brewed pot of tea.
Now, however, there’s an even more British way to enjoy teatime…on a double-decker London bus!
There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
– author Henry James
Afternoon tea is a British tradition that dates back to the year 1840 when the Duchess of Bedford, who found herself feeling peckish in the long gap between lunch and dinner, started asking that a tray of tea, bread and butter, and cake be brought to her room in the afternoon. This mid-afternoon break quickly became a daily habit and she started inviting friends to join her.
Soon, this afternoon pause for tea and cakes became a fashionable event and during the 1880s, high society women would change into long gowns, gloves and hats for their afternoon tea which was usually served in the drawing room between four and five o’clock.
Although afternoon tea these days usually consists of nothing more than a mug of tea and a biscuit, there are many ways to enjoy this archetypal British past time. One of the more original ways to experience afternoon tea is aboard a vintage London double-decker bus on a tour through central London.
The B Afternoon Tea Bus Tour is a 90-minute tour around central London that takes in some of the capital’s main sights while you enjoy high tea. Your uniformed driver will take you round The London Eye, Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James’s Park, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall, Marble Arch, Piccadilly Circus, Nelson’s Column, Downing Street and more while you munch away on delicately cut sandwiches, freshly baked scones and delicious cakes and pastries. Gluten-free, vegetarian and halal Afternoon Teas are also available.
And, if you’re not in the mood for sharing your cakes with anyone else, the bus is available to hire for your own private party (you can also hire either just the upstairs or downstairs sections of the bus). All aboard! It’s time for tea and cakes.
Katja Gaskell is a travel writer recently returned to London, U.K. after 12 years of living abroad in Australia, India and Mexico. She’s the co-founder of globetotting.com and is a firm believer that you can – and should! – take your kids everywhere. Katja has written across a range of titles for Lonely Planet guidebooks, tested luxury hotels for Mr & Mrs Smith and has contributed to publications including BBC Food, Hotelier International and The Australian.
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