All Aboard the Mega Mystery Bus!

22 February, 2018

A few months ago an email landed in my inbox inviting me to an event with Megabus. Now, I think everyone in Britain is familiar with those iconic blue & yellow buses that you see cruising regularly down the motorways and I'm sure many of us have used them as a cheap & cheerful ride for a weekend getaway. I mean, I'm a bootstrap traveller and I've used Megabus countlessly over the years, including a trip to and from Amsterdam a few years ago that cost just £13 (!!!) and also that time I organised a group holiday whilst I was in sixth form to Newquay for 25 people and we all travelled from London to Cornwall on the Megabus for £1 each - that's 25 people on a seven hour journey for TWENTY-FIVE POUNDS (+ the 50p booking fee, of course). Yep, those £1 fares that they brazenly emblazon on the sides of their buses actually do exist! Megabus has indeed been an absolute saviour over the years when planning to get from A to B when I've been strapped for cash, so I couldn't think of a more ~on brand~ event for me to be invited to, in all honesty.

Whilst the invitation itself was a little vague, it promised that the event itself was some sort of mystery tour around London and as someone who has never been involved in any sort of mystery activity before, I was certainly eager to put my detective skills to the test! I was feeling pretty confident in my skills simply down to the fact that I listen to true crime YouTube shows & podcasts pretty much religiously. Spoiler: My true crime knowledge really didn't help us out on this particular evening.

After work, I oppedAfter work, I hopped on a bus to the Radisson Blu Portman hotel where our #MegaMysteryBus adventure began. It was here that I mingled with a few of the other bloggers invited along over a glass of wine and nibbles before we were all stopped mid-conversation (or mid-bite of a vegetable spring roll for me) as two fellas dressed in a policeman's get-up strolled into the lobby full of bloggers and made themselves known rather loudly. Despite this sounding like the set-up of two strippers at a hen party, it wasn't; in fact, it was our introduction to the first two characters of the night who explained how the evening would play out.

We were split into four random teams of six people who would be our detective squad for the night and were each given an iPad marked with our locations for the evening and a bag full of clue cards, evidence bags and a tube cipher that we had to unlock before the end of the night. Despite the through explanation from the two policeman on how to solve the mystery, as usual my brain took in absolutely no information so I hopped on the bus absolutely clueless as to what we were about to embark on! Luckily, the rest of my team were a little more attentive than me and explained everything during our trip to our first stop at Westminster Abbey.

We spent the next few hours running around our stops in London hunting down clues, answering riddles and chasing down characters - I quite literally sprinted across Covent Garden when I spotted one of the characters that we needed to question! Whilst hunting down the answers to help us solve questions on our iPad, I found that I was actually noticing parts of London that I'd never really noticed before, as well as learning little snippets of the history in the surrounding areas. For example, I found myself carefully studying the plaques that I would usually stroll past in Covent Garden and taking the time to look up inquisitively in a bid to seek out clues.

It seemed like time flew by and before we knew it, we were back on the bus headed to where the night began at the Radisson Blue hotel. I had intended to take photos throughout the night and try to Instagram Stories the entire event but unfortunately I didn't have a chance as I was so involved in the tour's activities, which is the sign of a good night!

At the start of the evening, our guides promised there would be a special guest at the end of the tour and I joked (I was actually dead serious) that I hoped the guest would be the Megabus poster boy that always graces the side of their buses... well, I only got my bloody wish didn't I? As soon as we stepped off the Megabus, we were greeted by Sid the actual Megabus man and I was honestly more excited than a kid meeting Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. I didn't hold back my excitement either as I was quite literally the first person to run over to him and ask for a photo in my starstruck daze.

So, thanks Megabus for making this 27 year old's dreams come true and thanks Sid for all the £1 journeys across the country!

All photos by Matt Chappell for Search Laboratory.


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