Opting to go topless on holiday is usually a choice that arises on beaches abroad rather than here in Borders.
That’s all about to change, however, though it will be a bus roofs being given the cold shoulder instead of bikini tops.
Open-top bus tours will be on offer in the region from this Saturday, May 27.
Called City Sightseeing Scottish Borders, the new service is part of City Sightseeing Worldwide but will be operated by Borders Buses as a hop-on-hop-off tour offering visitors and locals alike the chance to explore a selection of the region’s historical attractions and scenic views.
Abbotsford House near Tweedbank, Dryburgh Abbey, Melrose’s Three Hills Roman Heritage Centre, the William Wallace statue at Bemersyde and nearby Scott’s View are among the destinations to be visited.
The first tour will set off from Galashiels Transport Interchange’s stance two at 10am on Saturday 27, and from then until Sunday, September 24, they will operate every Saturday and Sunday, at two-hourly intervals, between 10am and 4pm and 10.20am and 4.20pm respectively.
The new tours will take about an hour and a half.
Tickets, available on board or online, cost £8 for adults, £6 for concessions or children and £23 for a family.
Sharon Morrison, commercial manager at West Coast Motors, Borders Buses’ parent company, said: “We are thrilled to be launching our City Sightseeing Scottish Borders open-top bus tour.
“The Scottish Borders is a beautiful part of the country, and its history, which will be clearly visible from our open-top bus, makes it such an exciting place for both UK and overseas visitors.
“Travelling on an open-top tour bus is not just a wonderful way to travel, but it also brings the Scottish Borders’ fantastic story to life.
“We have worked closely with the main attractions and local businesses to ensure we deliver a truly memorable tour which captures all that is wonderful in the area.
“With frequent bus and rail connections, Galashiels Transport Interchange provides the perfect starting place for both local people and visitors alike.”
Kate Pearson, Scottish Borders Council’s economic development officer for tourism, said: “We are delighted Borders Buses is offering this new open-top bus service which will take visitors across the Borders in style to some of our most iconic tourist attractions.
“We are seeing increasing numbers of tourists visiting the Borders, and this offering should encourage even more to come and enjoy our scenic area.
“It will also link into the extensive Borders Buses network and Borders Railway with pick-ups at Galashiels Transport Interchange and Tweedbank station, ensuring as many people as possible get access to this exciting new service.”
The Main Street Trading Company bookshop and cafe in St Boswells and the Grapevine Coffee Fouse and bar in Galashiels will be among the businesses served, and their bosses, Rosamund de la Hey and Will Haegeland respectively, are delighted at the prospect of the new tours.
Rosamund said: “There will be a very warm welcome at the Mainstreet Trading Company for visitors enjoying the sights of the beautiful Borders countryside on a City Sightseeing Scottish Borders open-top tour.”
Will added: “This is wonderful news for the Scottish Borders.
“It provides a great opportunity for us to showcase the best of the Borders to visitors.
“This is a refreshing initiative by Border Buses and puts the Scottish Borders on the map as a major visitor destination.”
For further details, go to www.citysightseeingscottishborders.co.uk