B Bakery Afternoon Tea River Boat Tour
+020 3026 1188 • b-bakery.com/afternoon-tea/afternoon-tea-boat-tour
Departing from Butlers Wharf, where the now-refurbished warehouses used to store tons and tons of bulk tea, B Bakery’s two Afternoon Tea Boats (The Edwardian carries up to 50 people, and the Elizabethan has places for 120) are always fully booked for the two and a half–hour trips up the river past Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, Parliament, and Tate Britain, as far as the new American Embassy at Battersea, and back down under Tower Bridge, past Canary Wharf, the Cutty Sark, and beyond. I sailed on the Elizabethan and had the most wonderful time. As we arrived and climbed the elegant staircase, with its polished brass rails and shiny wood banister, to the wooden dance floor (what a perfect venue this would be for a tea dance!), we were served a glass of sparkling wine, then mingled and chatted with other excited passengers. Also onboard this and every Afternoon Tea Boat tour were B Bakery’s owners, Brigit and Philippe Bloch. They are always there to ensure that every journey is perfect, and they move around the tables, chatting to passengers, answering questions, and making everyone feel special.
Their French staff, all dressed engagingly as cheeky French sailors in stripy blue-and-white shirts and a range of nautical hats, were all friendly, smiley, and helpful. For the first half hour of the voyage, we stood on deck in the sunshine with our glasses of wine, enjoying the famous riverscape. As the boat slowly turned around close to the vast new development at Battersea, we were invited to take our seats for tea in the saloon downstairs, where everything looked delightfully elegant and charming. Just as in the Covent Garden shop, the tables are set with vintage mix-and-match china, three-tier cake stands, and generous portions of B Bakery’s lovely food. The tea is served in colourful floral pots that are refilled as often as required. The afternoon passed much too quickly as we watched London go by and conversed with the friendly, interesting people sharing our table. When our voyage was over and we found ourselves back at Butlers Wharf, I think everyone was silently promising themselves to do it all again very soon.