The ice cream van tourist trap against the Tower of London backdrop
London has been basking under glorious sunshine for the past couple of days and good weather is likely to stay at least till the weekend when thundery showers are expected to engulf southeast England.
I gobbled down my lunch and rushed out for a walk during lunchtime in 15min flat. Would have been sooner if not for the fact that I got caught up in a conversation with a colleague about her lunch (yes, I know).
Anyway, there I was, merrily skipping out of the office and into the sun. There must be over a hundred souls picnicking at the Naval Memorial opposite Tower of London. Oblivious to each other, many managed to find a small space on the grass to lie upon, tending to their suntan.
The ice cream vans are doing a roaring business. With City workers and tourists stumbling over each other for a cone of ice cream, those vendors selling ice cream are doing a roaring business despite what the Bank of England says.
I had to get one. I mean, it just seemed so right to have a Cornetto in my hands under the summer heat. To my horror, a classic Cornetto was going for £2.60 each! To think that the same cone at Liverpool Street Station, a mere 10min walk away was going for £1.40. And still the queues for them at the Tower just grew longer and longer.
Since I had some time on my hands I walked around a bit, did some surveying and mapped out the four locations where the ice cream vans are stationed (marked with a red "x" on the map below). Each of them had identical price guides. I smelt a conspiracy at work.
Then I came upon the cafe at the Tower itself (marked with the yellow arrow). The Tower Cafe, which is located outside the Tower walls, is freely accessible to the public. As it provides for sitting under shelter, one would have thought that items are at the premium over there.
The same classic Cornetto priced at a princely sum of £2.60 by those darn vans goes for £1.95 here. With seating provided, this is a steal indeed.
There you go, my lunch time dedicated to find out where to get cheap(er) ice cream in the Tower of London vicinity.