My husband and son are fascinated by vintage cars and motorbikes. Last year we went to the vintage car rally at Kielder Water and had a great time. When we found out that there was a vintage bus rally at Whitley Bay we had to go. We had been before, many years ago when my son was around five. I have an picture of him standing in front of a big yellow bus looking very excited from that visit. I enjoy visiting Whitley Bay. There is something nice about walking along the sea front, looking at the waves crashing on the beach and seeing the lighthouse in the distance. The other direction takes you to Tynemouth, which is a lovely place to stop and shop. Tynemouth priory dominates the seafront, perched on a cliff and two smaller lighthouses mark the start of the river Tyne. Blue Reef Aquarium is also a nice place to visit for an hour or two.
The bus rally was taking place at the Links. When we arrived there were quite a few buses there and others still arriving. It was interesting to see all the buses gathered in one place and the differences between them. Behind them we could see the sea, a couple of small yachts were making the most of the wind.
Read more: A vintage bus tour of Newcastle
As well as the buses there were stalls selling bus memorabilia. There were old bus tickets, timetables and magazines about buses as well as a selection of toy buses. One stall had old photographs of buses going back years, it was fascinating seeing how the designs had changed over time.
We set about exploring the buses, some where older than others. I remember buses being yellow in Newcastle around twenty years ago. The smaller yellow bus in the middle looked older and my son ventured inside, taking his place in the driving seat. Fortunately he could not go anywhere, there were no keys. The passenger seats did look very cosy and much bigger than seats today.
Behind one of the buses the dome of Spanish City could be seen. This has been a feature of Whitley Bay since 1910 and has been a concert hall and funfair during its lifetime. It is currently being refurbished and the Under The Dome festival will be held there over the Summer with plenty of events to look out for.
These London buses made me think of visiting the theatre with their posters on the outside. One even had eyes and was keeping a close eye on the proceedings. A bit later one of these buses started giving rides down to Tynemouth and back which would have been fun.
Buses kept arriving while we were there, this blue bus was from 1964 and was quite unique. I am sure that there are not many of these remaining. It must be a labour of love to keep them running and to locate the parts for them.
Last time we were there I am sure there were a lot more buses, some very old ones had made an appearance. I suspect that some of these buses will not be running for that much longer and it was interesting seeing them while they were still going. It is nice to see them all in one place. While we were at the bus rally I caught sight of Di Meo’s ice cream shop across the road. We had tried their ice cream whilst we were at the Jesmond Food Market and it was delicious. I insisted that my husband had to try some.
We were spoiled for choice, there were a lot more flavours to choose from in the shop. It was a difficult decision. In the end my husband chose strawberry cheesecake, my son chose milky bar and I went for the salted caramel flavour.