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All Aboard! – Award-Winning Afternoon Tea on Brighton Regency Routemaster

Those of you who know me, may have occasionally been frustrated by my optimistic timekeeping. For my family, I’ll admit that this ‘quirk’ has been the cause of some stress and the adoption of management tactics including misleading me about start times to improve my punctuality. 

Perfect timing

Unfortunately, this particular strategy is thwarted when I’m in charge of the plan, which I was, when booking an afternoon tea tour aboard the gorgeous Brighton Regency Routemaster. An early springtime treat to mark the end of a slog of a winter, the whole family was excited and raring to go. I’d received instructions not to be late (the tea bus waits for no woman) so I had planned our departure meticulously. Mysteriously, we still ended up bombing it past The Brighton Pavillion, across the Old Stein’s weather bashed lawns, around the dried-up fountain and through to the historic Pool Valley Bus Station. We found that there’s nothing much more motivating than the idea of missing an afternoon sipping prosecco and eating fancy cakes and so we legged it and boarded the beautiful old bus with moments to spare! Perfect timing (in my view). 

bus tour with Brighton Regency Routemaster

A Glorious-Nostalgia-Hit

My kids, who apparently think I’m 105, were delighted to find that as a youngster in London, I’d been able to throw myself dangerously onto the open backed routemaster buses still prevalent. A lively lot, the children were quickly planning to spend the next couple of hours hanging jauntily off the back of the bus. Thankfully, we were quickly ensconced on a perfect pair of tables on the top deck. It was as if they’d been made for us. With optimism winning over experience again, we sat the kids on one while us two love birds made eyes at each other across the divide. Nice while it lasted… 

Hannahs daughter looking at the menu at Brighton Regency Routemaster bus tour

The whole experience is a glorious-nostalgia-hit, from your first step up the winding stairs, to the sweet formica tables and pitch-perfect 1960s playlist (Now That’s What I Call 1960s!!). While we soaked it all in, owner Nicky came to take our drinks order. I decided on a glass of prosecco (why not?), the other-half opted for a Brighton Gin & Tonic while the kids ordered iced-tea. The bus pulled out of the station onto the seafront, passed the end of The Palace Pier and along the seafront. 

Hannah holding a glass of Prosecco

If you live in Brighton, you’ll know that it’s possible for it to be raining in Seven Dials while the sun shines down on the beach and this was just one of those days. The second our tea tour started, the clouds parted and we were treated to the Brighton promenade in all its shining glory, smiles spreading quickly across lucky little faces. 

Hannah's husband in front of afternoon tea served on Brighton Regency Routemaster bus tour

BRAVO Best Afternoon Tea Winner

Extremely generous platters of afternoon tea arrived shortly after departure. It was great to have them early as it gave us the full tour time to enjoy it. Everyone is different – but I like to start savoury. There was a great selection of freshly-cut finger sandwiches, soft bread, deeply filled with delicious fillings; granary bread with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes and cucumber with cream cheese on squidgy white. Tasty little sausage rolls were served alongside. 

Hannahs daughters on the bus tour of Brighton Regency Routemaster enjoying afternoon tea

There were, of course, essential fresh buttermilk scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam (cream then jam!) and a selection of cakes and viennoiserie. The menu changes regularly but we were delighted with little Victoria sponges, lemon meringue tarts and chocolate eclairs. All were delicious; everyone was happy. 

Victoria sponges, lemon meringue tarts and chocolate eclairs

The bus turned off the seafront and drove through some of the finer streets of Hove, the North Laine, back past the Pavillion before heading east towards the Marina and Saltdean Lido where the bus stops for a brief moment before the return leg. 

What A Dream!

We took in the sights from this unusual vantage, loving the opportunity to chat uninterrupted and enjoy the wonderful food. We ordered cups of very good tea, then more drinks, making merry, making memories, taking time to be together. It really was something special. Thank you Brighton Regency Routemaster – we’ll be looking for any excuse to visit again!

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