The wheels on the bus go yum and yum

June 10, 2015
Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

I can't remember the last time I took public transport (definitely 2014, or earlier) as I have a real phobia of...the public. But there I was last Sunday, on a traditional London Routemaster having afternoon tea with the people from Thistle Hotel and BB Bakery, thinking: "Oh, this isn't so bad after all...TFL, take note!"

Meals On Wheels: A bus tour of London with afternoon tea on board 


The good people at Thistle Hotel picked me up from the South Bank in London's most quintessential people carrier (after the iconic Hackney Carriage) — the classic red Routemaster. These days, it takes a lot to coax me onto a bus but the sight of the afternoon tea spread — cakes, scones, sandwiches, pastries catered by BB Bakery — sweetened the deal. Literally. Spoonful after spoonful of clotted cream (I eschewed the scone, diving straight into the cream pot), surprisingly moreish cucumber sandwiches (I usually despise the taste of cucumber, I prefer it on my eyes not in my mouth), endless orange juices and peppermint teas PLUS an impromptu Backstreet Boys karaoke session (take that, Backseat Girls) made for a very enjoyable bus tour of London's more famous sights  from the South Bank, over the river through Westminster, past Buckingham Palace, and back again. The icing on the cake were the envious looks from tourists on passing London bus tours, looking longingly into my afternoon tea spread on the upper deck, probably thinking: "Why can't I get a slice of that?" Book a BB Afternoon Tea Bus Tour, guys, if you want to have your cake and eat it too!  

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

The old-school London Routemaster (not the terrifying runaway new ones). When I lived in South Kensington I used to hop on the back of the 9 to get to the high street. Clambering up the stairs on the open back to the top deck gave me serious nostalgia for my student days of living with psychotic ballerinas in Queen Alexandra's House — having a view of the Royal Albert Hall being one of my fonder memories of those bygone times.

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.
Source

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

A forgotten benefit of taking the bus — flattering, diffused lighting from every angle, perfect for taking selfies.

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.


Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.


Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

Why don't my selfies ever look this good when I'm in the back of a car? Note to self, must take the bus more often. Please excuse the repetitive appearance of my face, I was trying to make the most of the optimal lighting.

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.


Prime selfie-conditions aside, another unique benefit of riding a bus is the view from the top deck. The weather was perfect that day — azure skies, Simpsons clouds, glorious sun  — showcasing London at its best, making for gorgeous urban landscapes. We rode past London's icons, including some of Thistle's Top 10 London Attractions.


Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.


Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.


Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.


Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.

If my blog's name isn't clear enough, you should know that I can be quite the committed snob, especially when it comes to doing anything vaguely touristy in both my cities (London and Kuala Lumpur). Although lately I've had quite the change of heart, playing tour guide to my boyfriend by showing him around Malaysia, and two weekends ago I had a day tour of London in a black cab. I attribute that to, ahem, the spirit of journalism. Fine —  for the sake of blog fodder. Besides, jaded cynicism is practically my civic duty — as an (adopted) Londoner (I am practically a naturalised citizen), I'm not supposed to openly admit how awed I am by this fair city, and also I am expected to be dismissive of all things touristy (tourists included). But, I proudly and freely proclaim myself to have thoroughly enjoyed playing tourist with my Thistle Bus Tour of London — quintessentially English afternoon tea and all! I might even be convinced to get myself on the top deck of a London bus — if only all modes of public transport came with refreshments and wait staff.

Thistle Hotels arranged for a private bus tour around London with afternoon tea by BB Bakery - a tourist bus tour, in style.


Contemplating seeing London through my eyes (and palate?) There's the BB Bakery Afternoon Tea Bus Tour, which is what I did, or even the boat tour on the Thames. Thank you, Thistle Hotel and BB Bakery for taking good care of me. Now...can I have my own Routemaster? I have some friends from abroad coming to visit me in London, and I want to show them around... x

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18 comments:

  1. High tea in a cute red bus is such a great idea! Those pastries look amazing. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. This looks like so much fun, I'm a huge fan of the old Routemasters - thank goodness they kept some of them. I once rocked up to a 50s themed party on one, it felt very fitting!

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

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  3. its the 3 rd review i read about this bus and still looks amazing ! I am plannng to do it at some point this year :)

    great pictures by the way . xx

    ps: I am following you now :)

    http://allornothing-blog.blogspot.co.uk/

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  4. You look fab hun, love the sunnies. I went on the BB tour last year over Christmas and it was so much fun!

    Hanh x | hanhabelle

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  5. This is waaaay better than the usual cramped London bus journey that I'm used to! This really is a quintessentially English afternoon.


    Lauren xx
    The Lifestyle Diaries

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  6. I love the idea of seeing London while in enjoying tea in a big red bus, it combines so many iconic elements of London.

    Lots of love,
    Angie

    SilverSpoon London

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  7. Angie, it really does! Afternoon tea on a London bus is so English, it hurts! x

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  8. Tell me about it Lauren! If all buses were like this, I'd take public transport, for sure! x

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  9. Thank you Hanh, they're Dior! x

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  10. Thanks Marie! I hope you enjoy the bus tour! x

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  11. The old Routemasters are so cute aren't they? x

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  12. Heheh glad you liked the post Michelle x

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  13. This sounds like great fun - those lil cupcakes look divine!
    Your photography is always so beautiful!

    Ceri
    October Eleven

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  14. I drool every time I walk past the BB Bakery. I am so envious of your incredible day! x

    Martha Jane | http://marthajanemusic.blogspot.co.uk

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  15. Thank you so much for an inspiring post. The idea of enjoying afternoon tea on the bus is very interesting and relaxing. The trays of cakes, tarts, sandwiches and cupcakes are delicious and appetizing. Especially I like the fruit tarts and the scones with clotted cream. Your photography skill is amazing. BB Afternoon Tea Bus Tour is on my list now.

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  16. Martha you should book a bus tour, too! x

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