Buns and tea at St John

The best thing about being a tour guide to those who visit is the motivational kick to find new things.
I’m starting to realise that one afternoon of tour guide options just isn’t enough. Particularly since I’ve got my Mum turning up soon for a week.

I have on module down pat. It goes a little like this; ‘meet at our place, then head for coffee, baguettes, butter and jam at Monmouth. Then we stroll around the markets. From there we meander up to the Tate. We get a hit of culture and fawn over the Thames.  Yes, that really is Tower Bridge.  It gets finished  off with wine and tapas at Brindisa.

Nobody has complained yet. 

That works fine if you’re here for a day. But now I have another afternoon’s module to add on.
It starts with a visit to the British Museum. Shockingly, we’ve been in London for six months and never set inside.

It took a visiting history buff with a finesse for podcasts to get us through the door. So one Saturday afternoon there were were; The Hungry One, the photographer, the film critic and me, sitting side by side infront of the  head of Augustus, the swimming reindeer and the statue of Ramesses II, sharing white headphones and listening to podcasts of A History of the World in 100 Objects, right in front of the objects.  If they remade ‘Ferris Bueller’s day off’ in London I think they should include this scene.

Four or five podcasts are enough. It allows you to really delve into the objects, in a personally curated tour, rather than blindly skimming through rooms. I’m now a firm convert. Thank goodness there are still 94 objects left to discover.

And from there we head to a place that should be on the list of 100 Wonders of the World, but isn’t yet. It’s not a trip to London without a visit to St John.  Luckily, the St John hotel in Soho is just a 10 minute wander down through the charming scenery of Seven Dials and into Chinatown.

Upstairs we go, past the white minimalism and into the second floor bar, which with the port hole windows in the doors and the white, cornflower blue and moron colour scheme feels a little like a the medic’s waiting room on a cruise ship.

Between 3pm and 5pm the bar serves ‘buns’. But not just any buns- perfect ‘buttock shaped buns’. They come freshly baked on a gleaming cake stand. There’s one filled with a salty puree of anchovies, another with the childishly soothing texture of spiced prunes and a third which erupts with molten black chocolate.

A pot of Earl Grey is the perfect accompaniment. Or if you’re The Hungry One, then an Argentinian combination of Fernet Branca and Coke goes down a treat.

Below you is the hustle and bustle of Chinatown. But upstairs, there’s nothing but calm. Which leaves you plenty of time to contemplate the next section of the tour.

Perhaps a stroll to Buckingham Palace, back to The National Portrait Gallery, then to pre theatre at  Le Deux Salon, a West End show and cocktails at The Savoy….


But then that’s a whole other module. 

(Tailored itineraries available on request 😉 )

St John Hotel
1-2 Leicester Street Soho, London,
WC2H 7BL – 020 7251 0848

  1. This day goes up there amongst the happiest of my life. Yes, it was the buttock buns that did it 😉

  2. Your tour sounds super lovely. I like the focus on food and drink. 😀

    Thank you for wandering on over to my blog for, if you had not, I wouldn't have been able to discover yours.

  3. A history of the World in 100 objects; I was so sad when I got to 100! Looking forward to hearing your next module!

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