To kick off September- which feels like forever ago, my nana treated me to a Mystery Day tour on a Compass Royston coach. I did it. I experienced a mystery tour and I’m 90% sure I’m never going to go on one again… here’s why:
I’ve been on multiple National Holidays coach trips and loved them. The last place I went to was the Isle of Wight and it was great, so I thought there wouldn’t be much difference with Compass Royston and the idea of a mystery day was exciting. I’m pretty sure my nana paid around £14-ish each for us both to go on the trip after a recommendation from a family member. I had a browse online but couldn’t find any details about the mystery tours they offer, so I didn’t have much to go off but I was looking forward to the day. We headed to town on the Sunday morning and had a coffee in Wetherspoons (yes, I’m always there – I know) and waited for the coach to arrive.
When we got on the bus, I noticed I was by far the youngest one on there but I didn’t mind that. The driver introduced himself as Bruce and made a joke regarding not being asked to do these coach trips very often – man, how that joke came back to bite him on the a**. Maybe it wasn’t even a joke?
We set off and after the first half hour, I already had a headache. One of the old ladies was wearing a very strong smelling perfume and I don’t know if anyone else gets this, but when I hang around such a strong smell for so long I get a migraine. So, that was persistent throughout the trip and didn’t help with the fact I get travel sick. Fortunately, I don’t get it as bad as when I was younger – and I wasn’t sick.
I was told we’d stop at 2 different places and then we’d spend 2-3 hours at the main destination. Well, we were on the coach for an hour and a half and still hadn’t stopped. I assumed we must be going somewhere fairly far as we were on the A1 and multiple people had told me they’d been as far as Edinburgh and Morecambe on these mystery day trips. Let’s just say I had high hopes.
Not long after this, I noticed that the Sat Nav Bruce was using was asking him to turn around and go in different directions to the way he was driving. I prayed he wasn’t lost. I mean, how could he be lost? This is his job and he must know the destination before he sets off. Guess what?
He was lost.
We ended up stopping somewhere and someone got off to ask some passers-by the way without us hearing (after all, it was still a mystery to us). There was multiple stops following this and the Sat Nav was still going on and on. I was losing my patience and getting terribly hot on the stuffy coach. A woman at the front had to end up directing him but nobody bothered to turn the Sat Nav off.
We ended up at the first destination, Warkworth, around 2 and a half hours after we had set off originally and somehow Bruce still told us we were half an hour early. Yet google maps tells me it should have only taken an hour and a half. Confused.
Warkworth was a lovely place but there was next to nothing there. A couple of shops, lots of pubs and a Castle. We were told we could spend an hour here then had to be back on the bus. We had a quick drink and a sandwich in a beer garden, had a look around 1 shop and a quick walk around the castle then it was time to head off again. A few of the ladies travelling with us told us not to be disheartened because they had been on better mystery days. That just felt like rubbing it in.
It was back on the bus we went and it was SO hot. A woman had walked out of the pub, got back on the bus then claimed she had forgotten to pay in the pub. Instead of going straight back in she decided to have a bit of a natter as if we all weren’t waiting to go. At this point I’d already felt slightly deflated so her doing this didn’t help with my bad mood.
We set off again just after half 1 and the lady began directing Bruce again who wasn’t giving me any confidence in his driving. A few people claimed they were too hot and asked Bruce to put the air-con on. They asked again 5 minutes later and he claimed he had forgot. Well, I’d already started sweating my makeup off by then, so thanks Bruce!
I’m not 100% about what time we ended up in Seahouses, our main destination, because I didn’t want to check the time. I wanted to get the hell of that bus. Anyway, it felt like forever and a day. We spent a couple of hours in Seahouses, a coastal area that was pretty much like any seaside you could find in the North of England but without Lemon Tops.
We spent some time in the amusements – I won nothing, which is very much unlike me but I can’t say I was having a very lucky day. We had an Ice Cream, sat and watched some people play crazy golf, looked around some shops and our time was gone. Seahouses is approximately 2 hours away from our original destination. So after a whole day of coach travel. We’d gone as far as Northumberland. I even took a photo on my phone and Apple described the location as North Sunderland.
I live in Sunderland for 3/4 of the year. We hadn’t gone far at all. So was the mystery tour worth it? No. No it wasn’t. Maybe my hopes were built up too high but I wasn’t the only one complaining. But most of all, how can a driver get lost MULTIPLE times on a planned tour that is paid for. Was it a mystery to him too?
Well we got back on the road and I was tired and annoyed so I spent most of the time listening to Spotify on my phone and blocking everyone else out. We stopped again at Durham services and I got a coffee to stay awake but we were dropped off half an hour later so it was kind of a pointless stop.
I just wanted my bed after all that.
Just a side note, before we got off the bus, Bruce claimed that it may be his last coach trip as he feels he is ‘getting too old for it.’
Well, let’s just say I will never be going on a mystery tour again. I’d rather pay a bit extra in petrol and drive to somewhere a little more exciting without getting lost.