Pictured (left to right) Stephen Baird (on-board chef), tours creator Alison Simpson and Mark Keddie (transport manager).

Pictured (left to right) Stephen Baird (on-board chef), tours creator Alison Simpson and Mark Keddie (transport manager).

Edinburgh residents and visitors to the Scottish capital are being treated to a tasty new city experience as a brand new city tour, that includes on-board gourmet dining, is launched yesterday (Thursday 29 September).

The new Red Bus Bistro is a fully staffed, vintage 1966 Routemaster bus, making its public debut this weekend when it introduces its brand new concept of city tour – offering passengers chic, double decker dining options as part of their Edinburgh destination experience.

The iconic Routemaster will serve daily Afternoon Tea Tours and Gourmet Burger Tours, inviting passengers to enjoy a quality dining experience whilst they take in the stunning sights and historic culture of Scotland’s capital city.

Meals are served by a friendly, smartly dressed crew, donning Black Watch tartan uniforms, ready to provide customers with local insights about Edinburgh’s key attractions. Free wifi on-board invites guests to ‘dine and download’ with a dedicated Red Bus Bistro Tour application to become available on customers’ mobile phones.The tour takes in key city attractions for a duration of one to two hours depending on the tour chosen.

The Red Bus Bistro is the creation of Alison Simpson, from East Kilbride, who aims to capitalise on Scotland’s growing reputation as a land of quality food and drink and the fact that £1 in every £5 is spent on food and drink by visitors during their stay. Alison aims to attract the domestic and overseas markets with the tour translated into twelve different languages. This along with serving the very best of Scottish produce, she believes, will attract many city residents and businesses who can book the Red Bus Bistro for parties and corporate events or simply a day out with a difference!

The Afternoon Tea Tours and Gourmet Burger Tours depart at 12pm, 3pm and 5.30pm with the first tour consisting of a selection of freshly made sandwiches presented on beautifully decorated three-tiered, slate platters. Homemade pastries, award winning cupcakes and warm, home baked scones with traditional preserves and clotted cream bring a whole new meaning to ‘meals on wheels’. Diners can choose hot drinks from an array of specially selected breakfast and herbal teas and freshly brewed barista coffees prepared by Alison in a modified kitchen situated on the bottom deck.

An Evening Gourmet Burger Tour offers a unique, night time experience for passengers to witness the wonderful illuminated landmarks of Scotland’s capital. Diners can book their menu choice online ahead of the tour, selecting either a 7oz Angus Burger, Cajun Chicken Burger, Slow Roasted Pulled Pork Burger or Mushroom Blue Cheese Burger, all served on warm brioches and accompanied by seasoned fries and onion rings.

The Red Bus Bistro Tours depart from Bay 16 in St Andrews Bus Station and covers some of the most popular landmarks including attractions such as Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyrood House, Charlotte Square, South Lothian Road, Castle Terrace, Spittal Street, Lady Lawson Street, Forrest Road, Candlemaker Row, Grassmarket, Lawnmarket, George IV Bridge, Chambers Street, South Bridge, Royal Mile, Canongate, Horsewynd, Abbeyhill, Waterloo Place, Princes Street.

Having formerly worked for years on long haul airlines from Glasgow and Gatwick, Alison conceived the idea whilst on one of her frequent trips to the Cayman Islands during her time off between flights.

Alison Simpson, Owner of Red Bus Bistro, said:

“During my days off from work on the airlines I fell in love with a restaurant on the Caymen Islands which was in fact a double decker bus offering excellent food! Quality food and drink is becoming more and more important to people as we all become more concerned with eating fresh, local produce and this is an important part of the visitor experience for particularly our international visitors.

As a Scot who is passionate about my country the double decker bus idea inspired me to offer a combination of excellent, fresh food with a tour of Edinburgh’s top sights in a Routemaster Bus which is already turning heads and very much stands out from the crowd!”

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop said:

“The Red Bus Bistro epitomises the spirit of Scotland as a dynamic, creative nation, that provides new and exciting things to do for its visitors and welcomes them with warmth and a sense of fun. I am delighted that such an innovative experience will now be part of what will make Scotland a destination of first choice around the world and will keep people returning time and again.”

Manuela Calchini, Regional Director at VisitScotland, said:

“We welcome this exciting new and innovative addition to the unique attractions served up in Edinburgh, with its timely launch during the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. The tourism industry needs to embrace innovation and new ways of working if it wants to compete in a competitive global market. Scotland’s food and drink is hugely important to the visitor economy and a tour of our beautiful capital will be the perfect complement to our natural larder.”

Family packages and gift vouchers are available as well as private hire with the upper deck seating up to 28 people and full capacity of the bus seating 40 people. Discounts are available for groups and an alcohol licence is in place.

For more information on the Red Bus Bistro visit www.redbusbistro.co.uk or telephone 01355 229 448 or 07484 073 355 and on social channels; Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.