What London bucket list items do you think are on most people’s to-do lists? Jumping on a London bus and seeing Big Ben and St Pauls’s? Trying an afternoon tea before heading out to see Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge? Well, GoldenTours have come up with a way for you to experience all of the above in one trip! The Bella Vista afternoon tea bus gives you the full afternoon tea experience while showing you around all of London’s top sights. They invited me on board this weekend to check it out.
It’s hard to miss the brightly coloured, confusingly Italian themed bus as you jump on board at Victoria Coach station. The staff were amazingly attentive and knowledgeable right from the start as they showed us to our seat. The bus is set up with tables throughout with four seats to each table, so there’s plenty of room for all the delicious food! There are even flowers on each table, not your typical coach trip!
We all know London streets can be a bit bumpy, but thankfully the Bella Vista team have taken this into account. The plates and cutlery are on anti-slip matsand the afternoon tea stands are designed to fit into a specially built stand on the table which also holds our prosecco and tea firmly.
As for the food itself, well it’s mostly what you’d expect on an afternoon tea bus! They do have a good variety for people with different dietary needs, with vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and halal options. We went with the standard option which started with finger sandwiches of salmon and creme cheese, egg and cress and coronation chicken which was my personal favourite. The slight change from the usual afternoon tea offerings came with the second layer which was a choice of wraps. You were supposed to be given a choice of three but on our visit, there were only the Mexican bean and falafel and yoghurt on offer, both of which were tasty and filling.
Next up it was onto the sweet stuff, and there was quite the spread! Starting with two flavours of macaroons, a delicious red velvet cake, fruit tart and a mini chocolate tart which surprised me by being one of my favourites despite not usually being a fan of chocolate desserts. All of this is served with a glass of prosecco or orange juice.
Then halfway through the 90-minute journey we were supplied with the most important part of an afternoon tea, scones! Our currant scones were served warm with clotted creme and strawberry jam (of course!). I always put on the creme first before the jam, a move which proved rather controversial. A choice of different teas is also served at this time in a reusable branded Bella Vista cup that you can keep as a souvenir of your trip.
The food was good but you can’t forget about the other attraction, the amazing views. The bus winds it’s way past Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament, St Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and Tower Bridge and more as you enjoy your meal. What really adds to this is the amazing glass ceiling which allows you a really unique perspective as you get amazing 360-degree views. Be aware that this glass ceiling is only at the back of the upper deck, so get there early to make sure you secure the best seats.
The staff were one of the best parts of the trip. They do have microphones to give a guided tour of the scenery but their commentary is minimal, however, they will happily talk one on one to answer any questions, take photos and do everything they can to make your trip more enjoyable.
The GoldenTours Bella Vista afternoon tea bus journey lasts 90 minutes and comes with a full four-course afternoon tea, choice of hot tea and a glass of prosecco or orange juice, Prices for the afternoon tea bus start from £55 and can be booked directly through the GoldenTours website.
Tickets were complimentary in exchange for review