When it comes to exploring Edinburgh, there are dozens of tours to choose from. Walking tours, bus tours, bike tours, you name it. But what if you could mix a tour of Edinburgh with a delicious lunch or dinner? The Red Bus Bistro lets you do just that!
The iconic double-decker Red Bus Bistro leaves from Waterloo Place, just a couple minutes away from Waverley Train Station and the central bus station. There are three tours a day, all of which come with a full afternoon tea and a glass of bubbly.
Now, if you’re an American like me and not accustomed to drinking tea, in the afternoon or any other time of the day, then you’ll really be in for a treat. You can get a cup of tea if you want, but that’s not what afternoon tea is in the UK (which I didn’t know until I jumped across the pond). Afternoon tea was born in the 1840’s as an interim meal between lunch and a late dinner. Finger sandwiches and pastries are a common component. Scones, clotted cream and jelly were added later.
When you arrive at the bus stop, the chef will greet you and show you your assigned table. A glass of prosecco will be waiting for you, along with mini quiches, finger sandwiches, salmon bites and an array of pastries (including the aforementioned scones). You can also get a coffee or tea along with the meal. Everything is served on platters mounted to the table that won’t fall over even on the bumpiest cobblestone streets in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
If you’re looking for a more hearty meal, you can get the gourmet burger tour on Friday and Saturday nights. That tour lasts a full two and a half hours, giving you plenty of time to finish your meal. Oh, and the burgers, sandwiches, pastries and everything else are prepared fresh right on the bus. Believe me, it’s a ton of food. But if you do manage to still be hungry after devouring everything you’re served, you can always ask for more!
The Red Bus Bistro Afternoon Tea tour lasts about 90 minutes, winding through the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh. Rather than the tour guide droning on for the entire route, there are eight points on the tour where you’ll get really cool tidbits about Scotland’s capital. Somehow, I actually learned things at each of the stops despite all the other tours I’ve taken in the city. But I won’t spoil the information; you’ll just have to take the tour for yourself!