Surprises scare me. So when my mum and dad said that my birthday present from then was going to be a surprise day out in London, I had mixed emotions. I waited to meet my mum at Waterloo last Saturday when my best friend and her mum (who is close with my mum too) popped out and yelled ‘surprise!’ with her. All I could muster was a ‘wahhhh!?’ I was even more confused, but happy they were involved too! We got on the tube to Charring Cross (me still being kept in the dark) and walked over to The Grand Hotel. My first thought was it must be afternoon tea in a posh London hotel – which I would have been more than happy about, but instead of going in we just lingered outside. Other people seemed to be hanging around outside the hotel, and I really had no idea what was going on. That was until a big red fella turned up and everything was clear!
The old London Routemaster bus pulled up to where we were waiting and I was blown away. This bus had been turned into a tea room filled with tasty sandwiches and delicious cakes and pastries; ready for us to climb on board and take us on a tour of London landmarks and history, all whilst sipping on lovely cups of tea. We had our own uniformed London bus driver and a very sweet French girl serving us, and got taken 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.
The bus is a part of BB Bakery, which has a tea room based in Covent Garden. With my birthday being so close to Christmas, we had the honour of being the first bus to taste BB’s Christmas Menu, and ohhhh lordy it was delicious. First of all the tables were displayed beautifully with Christmassy touches such as our own gingerbread men and candy canes on our plates, and Christmas candles on the table. We really didn’t know where to start when it came to tucking into the food, it all looked so beautiful, I didn’t want to mess it up! We started on the sandwiches and then worked our way up to the sweet stuff. We must have had a five minute discussion on how the ham and cheese sandwich was the best we’ve ever tasted, literally the crack of all sarnies?! The macaroons were another of my fave’s and had I been able to get away with it, would have devoured everyone else’s. After the tea we were given scones with cream and jam (although feeling ridiculously full by now it would have been rude to say no…).
Riding around London drinking tea on this fab bus caused quite a lot of attention from mostly tourists outside, who peaked through the windows when they had a chance, and even took photos. My mum was clearly loving this new found ‘fame’, waving to people outside and holding up cakes smiling! I was later surprised even further with the staff bringing a tiny cupcake with a candle out for me while everyone on the bus sang happy birthday. Although she got the wrong person at first until my mum yelled ‘it’s for her!!!’ and pointed at me while everyone stared mid song, thanks for that… The whole day was a treat and I felt very spoilt indeed. I didn’t even mind that my poor gingerbread man had become decapitated among the excitement. You can take home whatever you couldn’t eat in a cute doggy bag, although I have to admit there wasn’t much left on our table, much to the disappointment to our boyfriend’s and husbands. I would recommend this experience to anyone, and it is such a great gift idea (thanks ma&pa). I came home feeling full and sleepy, but proceeded to then eat a brownie when I got home. Oh the shame.