CHANDELIERS, cocktails, velvet curtains and smoked salmon sandwiches are not the luxuries you would normally associate with an old London bus.

But one man has transformed a classic1960s Routemaster into a red-and-gold fine dining bus that whisks its passengers off for a grand tour of Brighton and Hove’s Regency treasures as they enjoy an afternoon tea.

Last year Colin Beaddie bought RML 2333, which used to run Route 13 in London, and over 14 months has had it restored inside and out.

“It has been a labour of love,” said Colin, who also owns Baked cafe in Church Road, Hove. “I saw the bus for sale on eBay and bought it. It had nothing in it. It was just an empty shell. I had never done anything like this before but Brighton is the perfect place for this: it has such a hippy, gritty vibe in contrast with its magnificent Regency buildings.”

The bus, nicknamed Lady Dickson in honour of Colin’s former partner, was first registered in December 1965 and was bought by London Transport in 1977 and painted red. It was withdrawn from service in 2005 and housed a beauty salon before it became a sales office.

After Colin bought it, its Iveco engine was refurbished and its internal and external refurbishment carried out by Bucks Bodyshop Arundel.

Now resplendent in red and gold, the Brighton Regency Routemaster operates an afternoon tea tour, a gin lovers tour and a prosecco tour, setting off twice a day from Pool Valley in Brighton.

Its route, lasting an hour and 45 minutes, takes in the Royal Pavilion, the Palace Pier, Hove’s Grand Avenue, the historic Regency squares and the North Laine before coasting along the seafront to Saltdean, including its historic lido, and Rottingdean, where passengers on the top deck can catch a glimpse of the gardens of houses including the former home of the artist Edward Burne-Jones.

From the high cliff roads on the return journey to Brighton, passengers are afforded a breathtaking view of the city before the Routemaster calls in to the Marina Village at Brighton Marina, heading along Madeira Drive before terminating back at Pool Valley.

Passengers receive a ticket from an original Gibson London Transport ticket machine, just like the old bus conductors used to dispense.

Upstairs and downstairs, passengers are seated at stylish fixed tables and seats covered in blue and white fabric, Brighton and Hove Albion’s colours.

Plush green velvet curtains at the windows are secured with gold tassels and glass vases hold matching flowers. The floors are the original cork and above the ceilings are gold-tinted.

Passengers are seated at tables for two or four on either the lower or the upper deck before they are served by waiter Paolo Dedola. The afternoon tea selection of sandwiches, freshly prepared at Baked, includes smoked salmon with lemon and caper butter and chive cream cheese and cucumber, and among the sweet treats are rose and pistachio cake, fruit-filled eclairs and a buttermilk scone with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Teas blended by Metrodeco include traditional blends as well as the racier-sounding Rockerfella Cleansing and The Devil is a Woman.

Colin provides the commentary during the journey, pointing out the hidden steps outside the private Roedean school where Princess Diana was rumoured to sit and write her diaries, and the man, named Brian by the bus’s crew, with a blue backpack and no clothes who regularly waves at the bus from Brighton’s nudist beach.

The bus is driven by Peter Waldron, who used to drive London buses through Chiswick in the 1970s. “When I saw her, I fell in love with her,” said Peter, who lives in Hove. “She’s romantically beautiful. And there’s a massive sense of nostalgia.”

Among the passengers on one trip was Paul Langman, 40, and his mother-in-law Eileen Curran, from Hove. “We saw the bus at Brighton Pride and thought it would be fantastic to go for a ride,” said Eileen, 71. “Everything about it is wonderful. It’s like going on a bus journey in London but here in Brighton.”

Also on board was 11-year-old bus enthusiast Jack Bristow, who was shown round the driver’s cab by Peter the driver. Jack said: “It was a big experience to sit in the cab and I would love to do it again. I’m bus mad and thought the bus travelled very well.”

Prices for tours on the Brighton Regency Routemaster cost £38 and £48/£25 per child. Booking required. Visit