Guide Friday

Classic Buses profiles

Guide Friday 1975 to 2002 (by Shane Conway)


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Last updated on 1st January 2017


Guide Friday was originally established in William Shakespeare's hometown of Stratford-on-Avon in 1975, by Roger Thompson. Over the following quarter century its green and cream painted open top double deck buses were to become a familiar sight throughout the U K and further afield as operations spread to other European countries. Its Irish tours were to adopt a black and gold livery though, as rival operator Dublin Bus had already painted its Atlanteans in a livery similar to Guide Friday.

The main vehicle choice in later years was of ex Nottingham Leyland Atlanteans (and a few Daimler Fleetlines), although other operators and vehicle types were sourced too. In York for example Bristol VRTs were preferred, as these were maintained by Rider York who had no Atlanteans in their fleet. Other unusual vehicles included two opentop AEC Regals, one Leyland PD3 (the only rear entrance vehicle owned), and in the late 1990s fleet replacement had started to favour Olympians and Titans.

Over the course of several years I travelled on Guide Friday services in Dublin, York, Cardiff and their home territory of Stratford-on-Avon, sampling Atlanteans, VRTs and the ex Leicester PD3 in the process.

Guide Friday was taken over by City Sightseeing Tours of Purfleet, Essex in May 2002. The fleetlist below lists as many (179 so far) of the company's fleet as I have been able to trace, but does not include other operators vehicles operating on contract to Guide Friday.


I sampled this vehicle in Stratford in 1993, when it was some 30 years old. Having been acquired from Leicester City Transport in 1978, it was Guide Friday's first ever open top bus.

Seen outside Cardiff Castle in June 1998, KHC 814K was one of four ex Eastbourne East Lancs bodied Atlanteans in the fleet.

Guide Friday's York services used seven Bristol VRTs, due to the fact that these vehicles were maintained and garaged by Rider York, which had no experience of Fleetlines or Atlanteans. This is GHL 191L.

Another York based VRT, WWR 419S is seen at St. Leonard's Place in the centre of the Viking city. These VRT photos were taken in 1995.

Seen in O'Connell Street, Dublin, was 75-KE-517. This East Lancs bodied Atlantean was new to Nottingham City Transport as GVO 719N, but had been acquired by Guide Friday from Confidence Coaches of Leicester who also ran several similar buses on school transport.

The second version of the Irish livery was black and orange, applied in this "wavy" style. Like all of the Irish based fleet, it's another ex Nottingham Atlantean (74-KE-528, originally GRC 889N) new in December 1974.

For the Bath tour, Badgerline provided the vehicles with a modified Guide Friday livery and the Stratford based company providing a live commentary. All the buses on this run were Bristol VRTs except for the above, a 1941 Bristol K5G which became an opentopper in 1955.


Guide Friday known vehicles:


Locations where Guide Friday operated tours:


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