• STV
  • MySTV

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

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

The bus will servie cakes and gourmet burgers while touring Edinburgh.
The bus will servie cakes and gourmet burgers while touring Edinburgh. Red Bus Bistro

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."

The bistro will launch in Edinburgh in a few weeks' time.
The bistro will launch in Edinburgh in a few weeks' time. Red Bus Bistro

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.