A Fun Family Day Out in Glasgow or Edinburgh

The school summer holidays – for the kids it is an exciting break from homework and freedom to play all day but for the parents, it can be a logistical nightmare. Trying to find enough play dates, activities and ideas for days out over the six-week break isn’t always easy.

Here at Red Bus Bistro, we have a deal for a fun day out for the whole family to enjoy that won’t break the bank. Over the summer holidays we are offering a table of four for the bargain price of £80 – that’s a saving of £20 off the full price for two adults and two children!

We’ve had glorious weather in the past few weeks so what better way to see Glasgow or Edinburgh in all its glory in the sunshine than in a vintage Routemaster double-decker bus?

The tour will take you around all of the sights of the city in an hour and a half. Our knowledgeable staff will be there to tell you the story behind each sight and bring refreshments to your table.
Included in the price is our full Afternoon Tea which comprises of a selection of finger sandwiches, Scottish smoked salmon blinis, tasty mini quiches, traditionally baked scones with fresh whipped cream and jam and a selection of petit fours and cakes. To drink, you can have as much tea and coffee as you can manage. We also have a selection of fruit juices in our onboard bar for the kids and a glass of prosecco is available for the adults.

If you want to book, please call our office today on 01355 229 448.

Celebrate Graduation aboard the Red Bus Bistro

It’s been four years of hard work and dedication, but you’ve finally made it. Well done graduates! You’ve got your whole life ahead of you but first of all, it’s time to celebrate!

Your family members will all be coming to town to celebrate you and your achievement, so why not make it extra special by coming aboard the Red Bus Bistro?

Show them around the sights of the city in which you’ve been studying in style! Step aboard our beautifully restored vintage Routemasters and take in the sights and delights whilst sipping on a celebratory glass of fizz.

Give them a taste of British heritage with Scottish flavour with our classic afternoon tea. Enjoy our smoked salmon bellinis followed by traditional scones with cream and jam washed down with cocktails made with gin from the Scottish small-batch gin distillery, Gin Bothy.


If you are after a nighttime affair, we have something for you too. Departing from 6 pm on Fridays and Saturday nights we have our Gourmet Burger and Deli Board tours.

Graduation is a big day with attending the ceremony, clapping for all of your classmates and posing for the 5 million photos your mum will want to take. At the end of it all, you’ll be starving. Our massive and moreish burgers are the perfect cure. Choose from Aberdeen Angus, Cajun Chicken, Pulled Pork or a Veggie Burger cooked freshly in our onboard galley kitchen.

Otherwise, if you want to have a taste of the Mediterranean, choose our deli boards.  There’s a sophisticated selection of mouth-watering delicacies to try: from the finest selection of cured hams, pates and locally-sourced cheeses to an enticing array of homemade chutneys and pickles, rustic herb-infused olives, and roasted peppers. Or sample our Balsamic dressed crispy salad, gorgeous sunblush tomatoes, traditional Scottish oatcakes and thick toasted small batch baked bread.

Our reservations team are ready to take your booking so give us a ring on 01355 229 448 and we will put the celebratory bubbly in the cooler ready for you.

Celebrate Father’s Day with Red Bus Bistro

Have you got an amazing Father? Show him that he means way more to you than another cheap #1 Dad mug with our Red Bus Bistro Fathers Day package.

Take him aboard one of our lovingly restored 1966 Routemaster buses for a special day out he will never forget.
As he steps on board all the best memories of yesteryear will come flooding back – the only big difference is that we’ve replaced the Clippy with a gourmet chef!

Don’t worry about racing for a good seat. Every seat on the Red Bus Bistro has a wonderful view as the bus trundles through the majestic streets of Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Soon after arrival, he will be tucking into a mouth-watering gourmet burger of his choice of Aberdeen Angus, Cajun Chicken, Pulled Pork or a Vegetarian choice.
To wash it down we have a selection of cold beers or better yet, the unforgettable Gunshot Gin by Gin Bothy.

Gin Bothy – Gunshot Gin

Gunshot Gin by our Scottish Gin supplier, Gin Bothy, is one of the most uniquely delicious gins on the market. If you are unsure of gin is your thing, tasting this infused tipple will make you think again.

The gin, which is made in small batches in a Bothy located just outside Kirriemuir, is infused with cinnamon, cloves and mixed spices.

It is fantastic neat on the rocks, with ginger ale to bring out the citrus notes or as part of the Smoking Gun cocktail which we will be serving aboard the bus.

The Smoking Gun Cocktail
50ml – Gin Bothy Gunshot
Splash Demerara Syrup
3 dashes Angostura Bitter
2 dashes orange bitter
Add ice to Boston Shaker add ingredients shake well.
Sieve through Hawthorn Strainer
Serve with cinnamon stick wrapped in orange peel
(light cinnamon stick for extra effect!)


On father’s day itself, we have tours running throughout the day in both Glasgow and Edinburgh. If you can’t make aboard on the 17th of June, why not purchase him a gift voucher so that he can enjoy the experience at his leisure.

To book, email or telephone 01355 229448.

Read all about it!


Read all about it! We are proud to have been featured in The Herald,  The Evening Times and Glasgow Live in the past couple of months. Read what they had to say about us here:

Timeless Afternoon Tea Experience in Gorgeous Glasgow

Step aboard our elegantly vintage ’66 Routemaster in Glasgowand let all of the best memories of years gone by flood back. Scottish heritage blends in with the iconic Britishness of our red bus as hints of tartan and stag lamps decorate the interior. Upon arrival, a friendly member of the crew will direct you to your table – and your celebratory glass of fizz.


Take a seat and begin to relax and enjoy your experience aboard the Red Bus Bistro. Your cake stand will be set up ready for you laden with a sumptuous selection of sandwiches, smoked salmon blinis, mini quiches, petits fours, cream cakes and warmed freshly baked scones.


Plus – what is Afternoon Tea without the tea! Ours is unlimited and will be brought to your table in a bright red Red Bus Bistro travel cup that will keep your drink at the perfect temperature whilst you tuck into your treats.


If you prefer something a little bit stronger than tea, we have a fully licensed bar to order from. Just look for the little red bar list on your table.


The highlight of our bar offerings is our gin cocktails, or ‘pot-tails’ as we like to call them. Our gin is sourced locally from Scottish gin distillery, Gin Bothy, and comes in a variety of flavours. The ‘pot-tails’ are served in darling transparent teapots and are topped off with edible flowers.


As the tour trundles around the historic streets of Glasgow, the crew will (time permitting) point out points of interest on our onboard microphone. If you are hungry to learn more about Glasgow, they are always happy to answer any questions that may pop into your head.


Our tours typically operate at 12 noon, 3.00 p.m. and 6.00 p.m., with each tour lasting approximately 90 minutes.

A Braw Brew Tour


Trying to find a gift for the man who has got everything? Or just looking for something new to do in Glasgow? Why not choose the Red Bus Bistro for a brewery tour experience like no other.

Jump aboard our beautifully restored vintage Routemaster red bus where a fridge full of cool beers will be waiting to be brought to your table as you take in the sights of Glasgow.

We will have your mouth watering as the smell of our freshly cooked gourmet burgers travels from our onboard galley to your table. You will be served from a choice of delicious Burgers of Aberdeen Angus, Cajun Chicken, Pulled Pork or a vegetarian option, all garnished with crispy lettuce, tomatoes, streaky bacon and served in a brioche burger bun, all dressed with our signature burger sauce. The burger will be served with gherkins and seasoned fries. Your first beer is free. After that, you can take your pick from our selection of drinks from our fully licensed bar.

Aboard the Red Bus Bistro, there is no need to fight for a table with a view as from every table you can look out the window and take in the delights of Glasgow from the majestic Glasgow Cathedral to the stylish West End.

After you have been suitably fed and watered we shall drop you off at Tennant’s famous  Wellpark Brewery which is home to more than 450 years of brewing tradition and award-winning beers – a must-see for any beer buff! On this exciting tour, you will be taken behind the scenes to discover how Tennent’s Beer is produced and what makes it so special. You’ll learn all about brand and production processes plus you’ll have the opportunity to view the rare collection of vintage and retro Tennent’s packaging.

The tour will take approximately 3 hours in total and will cost £35 per head. Call our reservations team on 01355 229 448 to make your booking today as this is a completely unique experience that is not to be missed! Our reservations team will talk you through your booking and the Red Bus Bistro team will work together to make everything perfect for you – all you need to do is book the babysitter and bring your comfiest shoes for walking around the brewery in.

Spotlight on Suppliers: The Gin Bothy

Here at Red Bus Bistro, a great amount of thought is given to choosing suppliers for our bus tours. We look for many things such as provenance, quality and of course price. When it came to choosing our signature Gin supplier, the decision was easy. The good people at The Gin Bothy proved they had all the attributes we were looking for and more!


Located in Kirriemuir in the foothills of the breathtaking Glens of Angus, owner Kim Cameron happened upon her gin business almost accidentally. Originally a jam maker and owner of Peel Farm Coffee shop & Crafts, Kim’s creative output initially won her an award for her jam making skills when she became the World Jampionship Jampion. Ever the entrepreneur, and on her mum’s suggestion, the fruits leftover from the jam-making process were soon put to good use and infused into her first batch of gin.

The Gin Bothy was born. The Old Smiddy  near Kirriemuir became home to Kim’s artisan production line where the gin batches were made by hand, using simple accoutrements like jugs and buckets.  With the ongoing success of the company, Kim has since moved to larger premises where customers are encouraged to bring back their bottles in exchange for money off their next purchase. Recycling at its best.

Following the ethos of the Slow Food Movement, Kim ensures that her gin batches are not mass produced. She follows the same fruit calendar for jam making with initial infusions of raspberry, strawberry, sloe and chili sourced from the local area.


Gin Foraging

One of the advantages of living in such idyllic surroundings is the opportunity to go foraging. In May when gorse is in plentiful supply, the brilliant yellow flower is transformed into gorse flower syrup, which is then used as a natural flavouring for gin. Infused with essence of coconut and butter almond, the gorse flower syrup is a wonderful addition to Kim’s gin.

Then there is Mulled Gin, often described as ‘Christmas in a Glass’, this aromatic drink infused with cinnamon, clove and nutmeg heightens the senses while warming the soul.

The Bothy Original takes you back to the hills with hints of heather, hawthorn berries, milk thistle, and the refreshing aroma of pine needles while hearty Gunshot makes an ideal accompaniment to a good book in front of a roaring fire.


Old-School Glamour


Most recently for Mother’s Day, Red Bus Bistro collaborated with The Gin Bothy and served up the delectable Rose Gin Cocktail with our eclectic afternoon tea. This cocktail was such a hit on the Glasgow and Edinburgh bus tours, that we have reproduced the recipe for you below:




Rose Cocktail Ingredients

50ml – Gin Bothy Rose Liqueur
15ml – Crème De Violette Liqueur
25ml – Lemon Juice
Elderflower Tonic
Add ice to Boston Shaker add ingredients shake well.
Pour into a wine glass along with the ice.
Top with Elderflower Tonic
Garnish with Mint Leaves and Rose Petals

Other options to try include:

Bothy Original Gin

Mulled Infused Gin

Gunshot Infused Gin

Stirrup Cup


Blueberry Infused Liquer

Raspberry Infused Liqueur

Amaretto Infused Liqueur

Chili Infused Liqueur

Rhubarb Infused Liqueur

Sloe Infused Liqueur

Strawberry Infused Liqueur

Gingerbread Infused Liqueur

To find out more go to

Or email


Red Bus Bistro gets set to host its first ever Burns Supper.  Celebrating the life and times of Scotland’s National Poet: Robert “Rabbie” Burns.

This tour is perfect for tourists and natives alike, and the lads and lasssies aboard are proud to celebrate its national bard.

Oor Menu

Dram of Whisky Upon Arrival


Cock a leekie Soup with a warm bread roll


Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, accompanied by a whisky sauce


Vegetarian Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, accompanied with a whisky sauce.



To Finish:

Coffee, tea with thistle chocolates and a wee nip fir the road

For more information please call: 01355 229448 or email

Ex air hostess says quirky Caribbean restaurants were inspiration behind new double decker restaurant

Taken from Daily Record

WORKING as an air hostess in the Caribbean, Alison Simpson would frequently dine at bus restaurants and knew the idea would take off in Scotland.

She was charmed by the quirky venture, with old vehicles being converted into cafes and diners for tourists to enjoy.

But when her son Bradley was diagnosed with autism, requiring her full time support, Alison put her business dream on hold.

She gave up flying and became a full time mother, loving each day she got to spend with her son. But her ‘bus bistro’ plan was never quite forgotten.

Alison, 51, from East Kilbride, explains: “During my days off from work on the airlines I fell in love with a restaurant on the Cayman Islands which was a static double-decker bus offering excellent food. But thought, ‘how much better would it be if the bus actually travelled’.

“Soon I became a busy mum and thought I’d missed my chance to start my own bus bistro, but the idea always stayed with me and my family knew it was something I was keen to do.

Happy diners

“When Bradley, now 12, started high school last year, he coped better than we expected. Suddenly I had more time on my hands and thought, ‘If I don’t go for it now, I’m going to regret it for the rest of my life’

Alison and husband Stuart managed to find a vintage 1966 Routemaster, developed shortly after the Second World War to replace London’s trolleybuses.

They set about transforming it into the stylish Red Bus Bistro offering tasty afternoon tea and gourmet burgers tours around Edinburgh.

She said: “These buses are like hen’s teeth and are expensive to come by, but we found it online and knew exactly how we wanted it to look.

“In all just 2,876 Routemasters were built and it cost a small fortune transforming it into an eatery.

“Pretty much everything was ripped out and we had to start from scratch.”

Alison oversaw the entire project, from the engine tests right down to the napkins.

The design includes hints of tartan, retro bistro seats and beloved Scottish phrases on the windows, such as ‘Haste ye back’.

The couple’s bus serviced the good folk of London from 1966 until it was decommissioned with the rest of the Routemaster fleet in 2005. Now it’s an eyecatcher on the streets of Edinburgh where the business is based.

Menu options

She said: “We thought about keeping the bus in one location, but finding the right place was tricky.

“So we decided to combine quality food with a historic tour of the city. We managed to get all the relevant permission and after gutting the bus and adding a kitchen at the rear, we were good to go.

“The idea is people can relax, take in the sites of this wonderful city and enjoy fantastic food

“It’s the first of its kind in Scotland and we are very excited.”

Alison now aims to capture the domestic and overseas markets with a tour of the city in 12 different languages and the very best of Scottish produce on the way.

The Red Bus Bistro, which launched earlier this month, is fully staffed by a friendly crew wearing Blackwatch tartan uniforms, and all equipped with local insights into the city’s many attractions.

She said: “We’ve been doing tours for a few weeks now and we’ve been inundated. We have received great feedback about the quality of food and high standard of service.

“The tour lasts an hour and a half and all our staff are briefed and able to answer questions.

“We can’t believe the response we are getting. People actually stop the bus in the street to take pictures – it’s incredible.”

With the Edinburgh tour proving so successful, Alison has now purchased a second Routemaster bus and hopes to launch in Glasgow next year.

Alison with husband and bus driver Stuart Simpson

She adds: “We want to expand and know there’s an appetite for this type of tour in Glasgow too.

“Currently we can get 40 people on the bus and we run three tours a day during the winter. We appeal to a wide range of people, which is exactly what we want.

“Now we are hosting Christmas parties and we are hoping to offer tours at Hogmanay too.”

Alison admits some of her close friends are surprised by how well the venture has taken off, with the Routemaster bus now being booked for hen parties, weddings and birthdays.

She adds: “A few people thought I was crazy but I never had any doubts. I knew it would work and we can cater for most events. Eventually I would like to expand across the country. There’s a lot of potential and we are just getting started. “

After spending two decades dreaming about starting her business, Alison admits she has no regrets and hopes she will encourage others to do the same.

She said: “It takes a lot of hard work but the results speak for themselves.

“My son Bradley is very proud of what we’ve achieved and I’m glad I found the courage to do it.

“I’d say to anything thinking about starting up their own business to take financial advise, do plenty of research and absolutely go for it.

“I never thought it would happen but it has. Our bus offers something unique and I’m very proud of it.”

The Red Bus Bistro Tours depart from Bay 16 at Edinburgh Bus Station and covers some of the most popular landmarks including attractions such as; Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood House, Charlotte Square and much more.

Throughout October Two for One deals are available on all Afternoon Tea Tours and Gourmet Burger Tours.

All aboard! Mother’s dream bistro for foodies on double decker bus

taken from stv

Alison Simpson is finally about to jump about her touring bus cafe after years of planning.

Many years before she became a mother Alison Simpson sat on a bus on a Caribbean island her head whirling with possibility.

A dedicated member of a British Airways flight crew, she worked what was known as “the beach fleet” flying passengers from damp Scotland to sunnier, coconut clad tropics.

There, she discovered the ‘bus restaurants’ – quirky dining ventures with old vehicles being converted into static cafes and diners for the curious tourist to enjoy.

Alison was charmed and her brain was hooked. She wanted a bus too, she thought, but how much better would it be if the bus actually moved?

A few years later she had her son Bradley, a fantastic young boy whose autism required her full time support.

Her bus idea was placed on the back burner, she gave up flying and became a full time mother, loving each day she got to spend with her son instead.

But her ‘bus bistro’ dream was never quite forgotten.

“It always stayed with me, I knew in my gut it was something I really wanted to do,” says Alison.

“And then Bradley reached high school and everything began to change.”

The Red Bus Bistro will launch in October.
The Red Bus Bistro will launch in October. Red Bus Bistro

At school, Bradley thrived. He got better and better and more settled, to the point where the stoic young lad told his mother he didn’t need her around as much.

“It wasn’t what I was expecting,” says Alison, 51, with a laugh, “but I was thrilled to see him doing so well.”

With that, Alison’s bus dream steamrolled.

“I found my bus,” she says simply.

“These buses are like hens’ teeth and are expensive to come by but I found it online and knew exactly how I wanted it to look.”

The bus has a retro bistro design.
The bus has a retro bistro design. Red Bus Bistro

Alison oversaw the entire project, from the engine tests right down to the napkins.

The design includes hints of tartan, retro bistro seats and beloved Scottish phrases at the windows, such as ‘Haste ye back’ and ‘yer erse is oot the windae’.

The staff are dressed in Blackwatch tartan.
The staff are dressed in Blackwatch tartan. Red Bus Bistro

A vintage 1966 Routemaster, Alison’s bus was developed shortly after the second world war, to replace London’s trolleybuses. In all 2,876 Routemasters were built.

It was an innovative design and used lightweight aluminium and techniques developed in aircraft production during the war.

As well as a novel weight-saving integral design, the Routemaster also introduced (for the first time on a bus) independent front suspension, power steering, a fully automatic gearbox and power-hydraulic brakes.

The old Routemaster dates back to 1966.
The old Routemaster dates back to 1966. Red Bus Bistro

Alison’s bus was registered and started its service in 1966, serving the good folk of London before it was decommissioned with the rest of the Routemaster fleet in 2005.

“Now it’s about to begin it’s life in Edinburgh,” says Alison, whose Red Bus Bistro company will launch in October.

“We will start with a charity event, a Macmillan Cancer Support coffee morning with all proceeds going to them.”

The service will launch with a charity coffee morning.
The service will launch with a charity coffee morning. Red Bus Bistro

The bus will then begin its new route, undertaking afternoon tea tours and gourmet burger tours around Edinburgh.

The serving staff are to be dressed in Blackwatch tartan with barista coffees, sandwiches, burgers and cakes on offer including vegetarian and gluten free options.

Afternoon tea tours and gourmet burger tours are on offer.
Afternoon tea tours and gourmet burger tours are on offer. Red Bus Bistro

Due to health and safety regulations, children under six are unable to board.

“We tried it last weekend in Edinburgh with a hen do and we’re hoping mums and daughters will like the afternoon teas too,” says Alison.

The Red Bus Tour will cover the most popular landmarks.
The Red Bus Tour will cover the most popular landmarks. Red Bus Bistro

The Red Bus Tour will cover the most popular landmarks with staff schooled on local history and knowledge to help point out places of interest.

“To say we’re excited is an understatement,” says Alison.

“So many friends and family have helped out – even my cousin’s mother-in-law, Cathie, 89, has been helping make the sandwiches.

“I never thought it would happen but it has – I think it’s perfect.”