National Afternoon Tea Week is coming to town in August and what better way to start celebrating it than to think about (and scoff down!) some afternoon tea?!
It’s thought that the tradition of afternoon tea was started by the seventh Duchess of Bedford when she needed to fill “that sinking feeling” with some sweet treats between meals and it is now known as a quintessentially British pastime of which we really don’t argue.
National Afternoon Tea Week has been created to celebrate this humble tradition with a week full of activities, themed menus and special offers (up to 25% discount off a range of afternoon tea offerings) within over 50 establishments across the UK throughout August (11th – 17th).
With venues such as The Dorchester, Sketch and The Corinthia Hotel in London through to a castle in Gloucestershire, there’s an exciting buzz around this event and it’s fantastic to see such established afternoon tea venues getting involved to offer something special to locals and tourists alike.
Not only are the more traditional venues getting involved, but some more unusual locations are popping up to support this annual event, including the BB Routemaster afternoon tea bus in London. This is an old fashioned double decker bus called “Rodney” and as it glides past the tourist hotspots of our fine Capital, it serves a divine and French-inspired high tea to keep your sweet tooth satisfied for the rest of the week!
The BB Bakery team are based in Covent Garden, where you can enjoy an afternoon tea or champagne tea as well as their private catering offerings, they are a family-run business with a flair for the finer delights in life. They have decided to take their afternoon tea on the road, quite literally, providing a new way to enjoy our favourite way to eat cake and drink tea… as if I need much of an excuse?!
This week I took to Jubilee Gardens next to the London Eye to meet a group of fellow afternoon tea lovers for a preview tour with the BB team (albeit the hottest day of the year!) for a couple of hours. We were met with a glass of champagne (I was loving them already!) and a stunning spread at each leather-seated bus section with tiers of filled ciabattas & finger sandwiches, quiches and french sweet treats, we got stuck in before the engine had even roared.
At £45 per person for this afternoon tea tour, you certainly do get a lot for your money, with everything above just for starters. Their lemon meringue tart was divine, I may have sneaked a second just to be sure it was everything I thought it was… it was the best meringue I’ve ever tasted. And don’t get me started on their chocolate tart, with a deep and rich chocolate ganache, it would have been perfect with a raspberry on the side to cut through it, a must-have for any serious chocoholic.
Whilst we ordered our French-sourced loose leaf tea and awaited delivery in large porcelain coffee-style cups with lids, we gazed out of the window and saw the culture and historic sights that London has to offer, spotting some of the most famous landmarks of our fair City. We bumbled past Big Ben, Hyde Park, Buckingham Palace, Marble Arch, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square to name but a few sightings before heading back to the London Eye for our drop-off.
The BB Bakery team couldn’t do enough to make us feel at home, topping up our glasses with champagne, offering us chilled orange juice and water, freshly baked fruit scones with strawberry jam and Roddas Clotted Cream as well as miniature cupcakes and macarons to top us all off – we were well and truly full to the rafters by the time we descended back into the street!
This bus tour lasted 1 hour and 30 minutes and we listened to the team tell us about their family-run bakery in Covent Garden and the exciting plans they have to bring a second route master to life with a fantastically “British” name to match “Rodney” – can you guess it?!
You can even hire the BB bus privately for an event or function, even a wedding reception on the go – I love this idea! If booking for your own event, you can request different pick-up and drop-off points too, it’s a very unusual way to enjoy afternoon tea.
And if you love afternoon tea, check out www.afternoontea.co.uk for their upcoming events and offers for #AfternoonTeaWeek between 11th and 17th August 2014- a week after my own heart!
I’m plotting a mini afternoon tea challenge on Instagram for #AfternoonTeaWeek so be sure to come back to the blog very shortly for more info and to get involved!
This trip was complimentary, following a visit to view this venue and meet the team. I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. Any questions or to discuss a “Secret Stay” or review, please do email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All images © 2014 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.