Everyone knows afternoon tea is quintessential of British culture and when you are in London, you definitely need to find time for a legit British high tea session. Having high tea in the hotel, a restaurant or a cafe is becoming very common and too main stream so when I discovered this exclusive tour, I decided to give it a try.
There are at least 10 different departure timings for the tour from Victoria Coach Station from gate 0 which is at the far left of the station once you enter from the main entrance.The bus is refurbished and remodelled from the traditional London bus to include tables for customers to have their high tea.
You will need to check in at the gates 10mins before departure with the first at 12.30 pm. The buses will leave on time and will not wait even though the tour is pre-paid.
The bus has tables on both decks with the top deck housing 20 persons and the lower deck housing only 12 person. The high tea per person cost from £49 per person. The prices differ on weekdays and weekends, lower or upper deck as well as which position the table is located. We took a weekday first table on top deck with the front view and it costs us £68 with a £3.20 processing fee.
We board the bus with our high tea set up nicely on the table in front of us with nice 2 tiered plating for the savoury and sweet snacks. Cute little cups holds the sugar while a little jug holds the milk for your tea or coffee. Quaint plates are also laid out for your to enjoy your high tea. For those afraid of your plates moving around, they are cleverly held in place with the anti slip rubber mats hidden just below the plates and 2 tier plate. Utensils are also placed nicely in pink napkins as the tour supports the breast cancer movement.
You can choose the beverage from the menu between coffee and tea as well as hot chocolate. You can also change your beverage mid tour. The tea offered is from tea bags and hot water can be refilled. The hot chocolate is quite light and flavourful but it is not thick enough.
For savoury items, there is egg mayonnaise bun, cheese and ham sandwich, cucumber sandwich, mushroom and cheese quiche, smoked salmon and cucumber pancake as well as a chicken ciabatta sandwich ( it is originally beef which was changed to chicken as we do not take beef ) The savoury items were quite general and the taste is good although not exquisite.
For the sweet items, you have a mini vanilla muffin with strawberry cream, cream raspberry tart, cherry macaroon and a red velvet crumble bun. The sweet items were pretty sweet even for a sweet tooth addict like me.
Halfway through the tour, we were served warm scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. The scones were very good and soft in the middle with a warm crispy crust.
For the butter fingers and butter hands, fret not as there is a dedicated slot for you to place you tumbler housing your hot drink.
The tour drives around most of the sights in central London like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Marble Arch, Harrods and many more. While you cannot alight the bus during the entire tour which takes about 1h 30 mins to 2h, you can take some pretty pictures from the top deck. The tour also includes English commentary where they will introduce each sight to you as well as give you some background on the different interest areas.
Overall, the bus ride can be a little bumpy during the route especially over the older streets and you might experience some of your plates moving a little bit, it is a very fun and interesting once in a lifetime experience. You are given a little key chain as well as a very special gift when your tour ends. While the cost of £68 seems expensive, I did an calculate of a hop on and off city tour bus plus pastries plus key chain plus 2 cups of beverages plus the special gift, I think this is well worth it’s price.
You can book your seats here.