The thing I love the most about afternoon tea is that it always looks so dainty. The cakes and sandwiches are always bitesize. So, when you hold them you feel a bit like a giant… or is that just me?
I’ve been to afternoon tea in a few places now and they’ve always had a hook to make them stand out. There was the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at The Sanderson, the Afternoon Tea Bus tour and Pret A Portea at The Berkeley. My latest adventure into the world of afternoon tea was thanks to City Cruises. Steph and I took to the Thames to try it out a couple of Saturdays ago.
City Cruises have a daily sailing (is that what’s it’s called?) that serves afternoon tea. It departs from Tower Pier at 3.30pm and returns at 5pm. So, if you go right now, there’s still plenty of time to go ice skating at the Tower Of London afterwards. This is not what we did, but it would have been nice.
If there’s just two of you I highly recommend getting a window seat because obviously, you get a better view. That’s not to say you can’t see anything if you’re sitting closer to the middle of the boat. The windows are huge and all around so you can see from every angle. Also, don’t worry about which side you sit on because the boat goes up and down a couple of times so you can see both banks from where you are. Also, you’re free to head upstairs to the outdoor viewing deck to get a better, unobstructed view of the sights and had the weather been better we may have been tempted.
With the timing of the cruise, it was starting to get dark as we boarded. We weren’t sure how this would bode with it being a sightseeing tour. But we actually thought it made it a little bit more special. Everywhere was lit up beautifully and Tower Bridge in the dark is a spectacular thing on its own (fun fact: Tower Bridge is Steph’s favourite bridge! Ha). There is a commentary that plays pointing out places of interest and facts about the landmarks and sights but with the general chatter on board we couldn’t really make out what was being said.
There was plenty of food for the two of us and quite an array of sandwiches. I’m not sure if they always add a seasonal one but we both agreed the festive one was the tastiest. I don’t know why but fling a bit of cranberry sauce on a butty and December and tell me it a seasonal special and I’ll be all over it. Wouldn’t touch the stuff the other 11 months of the year though. The cakes were varied too, although I think instead of having more choice and just one of each I’d have preferred two of a more limited variety (if that makes sense). I like to discuss and compare thoughts on these things. That could just be me though.
The best part of the afternoon tea was the scones. They were huge and lovely and fluffy. Obviously, we stacked them high with jam and cream. I always put the cream on first I think. Is that the right way to do it? Is there a right way? Weirdly, I love scones as part of an afternoon tea or a cream tea if I’m out somewhere but I’d never choose one otherwise.
I’d definitely recommend it as a different take on sightseeing. If you’re visiting the city or being a tourist in your own town it’s a fun and relaxing way to tick off some of the big landmarks you want to see.
*I was invited for afternoon tea for free for the purposes of a review. All words and thoughts are my own.