Single decker buses converted to holiday homes for '˜glamping'

Some holidaymakers may worry about being taken for a ride when they are looking for a place to stay.

Tuesday, 18th October 2016, 8:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 8:35 pm
A family rural business has spotted a growing trend for staycation holidays using single decker buses. Picture; contributed

But one farmer has taken that quite literally with a unique take on the “glamping” craze.

Bankrugg Farm, near Gifford, is offering holidaymakers the chance of a one-of-a-kind stay inside one of two converted single-decker buses.

The luxury vehicles – named The Bus Stop – were purchased by vintage bus enthusiast and East Lothian farm owner Balfour Stewart two years ago and have been fully renovated to include all modern conveniences, featuring king size beds, fully functional kitchens and 
bathrooms and a large private deck area with a wood-fired hot tub.

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The Bus Stop team  left to right: Sandy, Balfour, Elaine. Picture; contributed

Mr Stewart, 61, who was born on Bankrugg Farm and continues to operate it as a working farm, said he wanted something to separate his farm offering from the rest.

“It’s just something you have to do now when you’re running a farm, you have to be able to diversify,” he said.

“We’ve seen things like Grand Designs and Amazing Spaces on TV before and always wanted to have a go, this seemed like the perfect way to do it.

“Our son-in-law, Jason, designed and built everything on the inside, so it’s definitely fantastic quality.”

Inside the converted buses. Picture; contributed

Mr Stewart admits he does not know what route the buses drove on, but said that one was “a number 13 in Edinburgh for a while”.

The quirky hotel has unsurprisingly attracted a lot of attention from both home and abroad, with its international appeal growing all the time.

“There’s been a lot of interest from people who’ve heard about us through word of mouth but we’re starting to get a lot of inquiries from people who’ve found us on Airbnb,” said Mr Stewart.

“Since we launched in July, we’ve had 20 bookings. It started with a couple from Dundee and it’s just spiralled from there so this weekend we had a couple from Cologne, Germany, who were just really excited to be here.

The Bus Stop team  left to right: Sandy, Balfour, Elaine. Picture; contributed

“I think the location has been a big factor in that, we’re probably 40 minutes from Edinburgh on a good day. But we can offer a picturesque and romantic setting with some amazing views across the farmland, it’s more attractive to people than staying in a chain in the middle of the city.”

Set on the land of a working arable farm – home to chickens, horses and alpacas, among othe animals – guests are offered the opportunity to see the day-to-day running of the farm, with Mr Stewart admitting he’s already set to add to his offering with a converted double decker bus next year.

“That will be next year’s project, but for the moment we’re focusing on the two we already have. We’re still working out exactly how that one is going to work, whether it will be one room or two, but it is something we’re definitely looking into trying.”

The unique setting does not come cheap, with prices for a three-night stay starting at £399, rising to £799 for seven nights.

Inside the converted buses. Picture; contributed