Brighton Regency Route Master

What’s better than a cream tea?

Words by Nancy Duckels

There are many potential answers to that question but I would argue this: a cream tea on a beautiful vintage bus on a sunny day – I know, because that’s exactly what I had the pleasure of experiencing on the Brighton Regency Routemaster. The Brighton Regency Routemaster is a tour of Brighton and Hove on an iconic Routemaster bus, whilst being served a delicious array of food and drink. Run by childhood friends as well as business partners Nicola Hedley and Jemima Sonnex, the team offer either the traditional afternoon tea or a Brighton Gin or Prosecco afternoon tea experience – all served aboard their magnificent red bus! I stepped aboard the bus at the collection point at Pool Valley and off we went, rolling along in the sunshine towards the i360. It was splendid taking in the view of the beach and the promenade as the bus made its way along the seafront, before turning up Grand Avenue. Jemima and Nicola came upstairs to take drinks orders – the hot day called for one of their iced teas: delicious and refreshing. The bus was full of happy customers but I thought I’d ask a stupid question – how’s business? Nicola tells me: “Business has been great! We’ve been working hard on building the business up from a two or three day-week business to a five-day -week business and we had bookings for 10 days in a row at the beginning of the month which was fantastic! We’re working hard on building up partnerships and networks within Brighton which has also helped enormously.” As the bus weaved its way around Brighton station and then towards the Lanes, the food started to arrive. On the savoury side, there was a very delicious sausage roll and an array of delicate little sandwiches with a variety of tasty fillings: chicken with pesto, ham, and the classic cucumber and cream cheese. On the sweet side, I was positively spoiled for choice – pretty little macaroons, chocolate and fruit pastry tarts and mousses, and of course, the main event: fluffy scones with lashings of Cornish clotted cream and jam. Leaving The Lanes, the bus continued its stately procession through the city, passing the glorious Brighton Pavilion before turning up towards the Royal Crescent. Our destination was the Saltdean Lido, where the bus stopped for a few minutes to take in the wonderful view. Nicola and Jemima have plans to expand their private hire side of the business for corporate events and private parties. I asked them about running a business in Brighton. They told me: “Brighton is such a unique city. There is such a wonderful mix of people and ideas and innovative, independent restaurants and businesses. So many partners and business owners in Brighton are keen and willing to help new businesses…the support for new companies down here is incredible.” The bus began its journey back to Brighton in the sunshine. It occurred to me (not for the first time) what a marvellous place Brighton is. Nicola agreed: “Being by the sea and being able to spend regular time on the beach is a privilege, there’s nothing quite like a good sea swim at the end of a long day! Getting to work on a sunny day and admiring the view along the coast whilst driving along in the bus is pretty special as well!” As I sat sipping my cup of very good Earl Grey tea on the bus, I couldn’t help but agree.

Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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