Not only did Scotland have some glorious weather over the bank holiday weekend (which I got a lot of enjoyment from), but I also got to do something really fun and also really different. Hold on to your prosecco (quite literally) and get ready to have the ride of your life because I’m going to be telling you all about my time spent on an afternoon tea bus tour on Saturday afternoon. Afternoon tea by the the Red Bus Bistro isn’t just your plain and simple afternoon tea, it’s an experience. One thing I’ve been wanting to do for a number of years now is an afternoon tea bus tour, with the well talked about B Bakery bus in London catching my eye. However, with Scotland now having its very own afternoon tea tour bus in both Glasgow and Edinburgh all thanks to Red Bus Bistro (meaning I don’t have to travel miles to get in on the action), I couldn’t contain my excitement when offered the chance to get a taste of what this experience has to offer.
The Red Bus Bistro are a wonderful company offering you afternoon tea, gin tea or a gourmet burger experience all whilst touring the popular sights of Glasgow or Edinburgh on board a vintage 1966 Routemaster Bus. The bus itself will leave you in awe, leaving you feeling like you’ve just been transported into a completely different era. Picking us up on George Street, just off of the famous George Square, David and I headed into Glasgow for our 12pm pickup time. Upon arrival, I had the lovely opportunity to meet the founder Alison who couldn’t have been more enthusiastic about her quirky creation and business adventure, which only doubled my excitement to step on-board and get going.
After climbing the set of stairs to the upper deck, we walked straight down the aisle to our little two seater table at the very front of the bus, allowing for some great views. The decor on this bus really sets the scene, with little wooden baskets, hints of tartan, vintage looking pillows, adding a touch of Scottish heritage to a well known British red bus. What truly amazed me is how this bus has been totally revamped for hosting unique experiences like afternoon tea, but without getting rid of the history and iconic nature of the bus. With our little afternoon tea stand perched upon our table waiting to be devoured, it was hard to decide where to start, with everything looking far too perfect to touch.
With this afternoon tea there’s a great balance of sweet and savoury, with a selection of sandwiches, mini quiches, smoked salmon blinis, and for anyone like me with a sweet tooth, there are petits fours, cream cakes and freshly baked scones. Of course, let’s not forget the good old glass of prosecco to wash it down with. What more could you ask for?
Making sure we were well looked after from WAY before the bus even started off on its tour were John and Craig, who couldn’t have been any more friendly or attentive than they were. Service like this really set the tone for the rest of the journey as they were on hand if needed and constantly asking us if we were alright, if we required anything else, or just for a general chit chat. We set off on our approximately 90 minute tour of the city, taking in some of Glasgow’s most popular sites like Glasgow University, the Provan’s Lordship, and the Riverside Museum.
With any afternoon tea I’ve experienced, I’d usually start with the cakes and work my way backwards to the savoury bites, but having never tried quiches before and these miniature ones looking dainty, I started off with one of these, followed by a ham and mustard sandwich. Despite how lovely the little smoked salmon blinis looked, I’m not a fan of this so unfortunately and annoyingly had to give these a miss. Everything was all so fresh, with the freshly baked scones being a favourite of mine, as were the macarons considering my undying love for these little delights.
Tea or coffee is unlimited and I couldn’t wait to get a nice warm cup of tea down me. Due to the bus being on the go, the tea and coffee was provided in bright red travel cups with lids to prevent any spillages or burns. Not only is this a great idea and keeps your beverage at the perfect temperature, but the cup with its little Red Bus Bistro logo was very cute (where can I get one of these for work, it’s a must!). As I sat back and relaxed taking in the many sights the city has to offer with my travel cup in hand, I watched passers by stopping and instantly rummaging around for their cameras or phones to snap a picture of this vintage bus. To see the amount of internet the bus gained in a matter of 90 minutes made me feel pretty lucky to have been sat on it experiencing it for myself, so much so that I could do it all over again and feel just as excited as the first time.
I had such an amazing afternoon on this bus, I’ve told anyone about this that is willing to listen. There’s also talks of doing it in Edinburgh with a few of my friends, which again would be great experiencing it in a different city as I’m not too familiar of all the sights in Edinburgh. This bus is perfect for special occasions and the staff are so accommodating (there was a retirement party on board who were a lot of fun), it’s also perfect for doing something different if you’re struggling for ideas. The next point will make your smile even wider…the bus has an alcohol licence, so if that one glass of prosecco leaves you wanting more, then you have an array of alcoholic choices. The afternoon tea bus tour costs £35 per person but think about what you’d be getting for the money…afternoon teas alone (without alcohol) can cost £20+ so to have it on board a very photogenic, homely and well looked after bus like this, tour the city AND be served by the loveliest of staff, then you can certainly justify the price. Everywhere needs more unique experiences like this, and I can only look forward to trying out the other experiences on offer by Red Bus Bistro.