Beautiful bus rides of Britain

With the environment rightfully high on everyone’s agenda it’s a good time to celebrate the glories of public transport.

Much of Britain’s beautiful countryside is only accessible on two feet, a couple of wheels or an all-terrain buggy or wheelchair but there are many rural bus routes that can take you to some of Britain’s best views.

Timetables may be challenging and services sporadic but with a bit of forward planning it’s doable.

Here are 13 of Britain’s most beautiful bus rides.

Yorkshire Moors

Road to Goathland, North Yorkshire Moors UK ©  Darren Flinders, Flickr
Road to Goathland © Darren Flinders, Flickr

The 840 Coastliner from Leeds to Whitby has plenty of wonderful views but the stretch that crosses the moorland from Pickering via Goathland and Sleights is spectacular, frequently earning the service the accolade of Britain’s most scenic bus route.

There are days when the mist obscures everything but on a clear day the colours are spectacular.

Run by The York Bus Company it’s a regular, all-year-round service, used by locals and tourists alike.

Flamborough Head, Yorkshire

North Landing, Flamborough Head, Bridlington © Tim Hill, Pixabay
North Landing, Flamborough Head © Tim Hill, Pixabay

With the service named the Bridlington Beachcomber you can guess what sort of a ride you’re in for!

The open top service runs weekends and school holidays between April and November and takes in all the sights on the way including a stop at Sewerby Hall, a Georgian mansion with a zoo and 50 acres of garden.

When the weather’s bad give the top deck a miss – you’ll still be rewarded with dramatic skylines and stormy seas.

Sewerby Hall, Bridlington © Little Mester Photography
Sewerby Hall, Bridlington © Little Mester Photography

Loch Lomond and Glencoe, Scotland

Loch Lomond, Scotland © Katja Verhoeven, Pixabay
Loch Lomond © Katja Verhoeven, Pixabay

Connecting some of the British Isles’ most remote communities, the services between Glasgow and the Isle of Skye take in the natural beauties of Loch Lomond, Rannoch, Glencoe and Great Glen.

You’ll need to be up early to catch the best views and be prepared for a long haul, but so worth it for the misty views.

The 900 and 913 services are run by Scottish Citylink

Portree, Isle of Skye © Markus Bernet, Wikimedia
Portree, Isle of Skye © Markus Bernet, Wikimedia

Lindisfarne, Northumberland

Lindisfarne castle, Holy Island Northumberland UK © WISEBUYS21, Flickr
Lindisfarne castle is accessible by foot twice a day © WISEBUYS21, Flickr

The number 477 runs from Berwick upon Tweed to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne on the Northumberland coast.

A remote community was established in 635AD when Saint Aidan came from Iona and chose to found a monastery there. It’s been a popular destination for pilgrims ever since.

The route gives stupendous views of the wild coastline but since access is by a narrow causeway, the timetable varies depending on the tides.

Lake Windermere, Cumbria

Stagecoach 599 bus in Ambleside UK © Wikimedia
The 599 bus passes through Ambleside UK © Wikimedia

What could be better than wandering lonely as a cloud through the Lake District? The open top 599 Bowness to Grasmere will take the strain and leave you free to contemplate Wordsworth’s poetry.

It stops near both the poet’s former houses, Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount and runs all year round offering unrivalled views of woods, hills and water.

Lake Windermere from the 599 bus ©  Ed Webster, Flickr
Views of Lake Windermere from the 599 bus © Ed Webster, Flickr

Ramsgate to Broadstairs, Kent

Dumpton Gap beach, Kent © BazViv, Wikimedia
Dumpton Gap © BazViv, Wikimedia

Another summer-only open top ride, the 69 takes in the Kent coast through Thanet with stops at Stone Bay, Dumpton Gap and Ramsgate Harbour for the best-of-British seaside views .

If it’s your first time in the area the circular route allows you to get familiar with Ramsgate and Broadstairs, but in high season go early in the day as it can get very busy.

Ramsgate Clock Tower and Harbour © Joshua Brown, Flickr
Ramsgate Clock Tower and Harbour © Joshua Brown, Flickr

Devil’s Dyke, Brighton

Number 77 Devil's Dyke bus from Brighton UK © Colin Smith
The 77 bus runs via Brighton seafront to Devil’s Dyke © Colin Smith

Legend says the Devil was furious when the folk of the Sussex weald converted to Christianity so he planned to dig a dyke overnight through the South Downs to flood the local villages. But a cockerel saw his candle, thought it was dawn and crowed, raising the alarm and stopping the Devil’s work.

The open top 77 bus runs from the city centre up to Devil’s Dyke on weekends and bank holidays throughout the year, with a special weekday service in the summer.

There are also routes to Stanmer Park and Ditchling Beacon

View from Devil's Dyke East Sussex UK ©
You get a great view from Devil’s Dyke ©

Seven Sisters, Sussex

Beachy Head by bus, East Sussex UK  © Roman Grac, Pixabay
Beachy Head by bus © Roman Grac, Pixabay

Staying in Sussex, Brighton’s open top sightseeing tour runs from April to October and takes in most of the city’s sights but for the best views of the iconic chalk cliffs you need to catch the Coaster 12 service or the 13X which includes Beachy Head.

The service is regular and has lots of stops for walkers, including Cuckmere Haven, Birling Gap and Seaford for the Seaford Head stretch of the Seven Sisters Country Park.

Beachy Head lighthouse and cliffs © Graham Hobster, Pixabay
Beachy Head lighthouse and cliffs © Graham Hobster, Pixabay

The Needles, Isle of Wight

The Needles, Isle of Wight UK © ThisParticularGreg, Flickr
The Needles, Isle of Wight © ThisParticularGreg, Flickr

Probably the most scenic route in the whole of the UK? Well that’s a bold claim but might well be true. The Needles Breezer runs from March to November each year and takes in some dizzying cliff climbs, spectacular bay views and the famous chalk stacks themselves.

The route is a circular one, stopping at classic landmarks including the thatched St Agnes church and the Dimbola gallery.

Needles Breezer bus, Isle of Wight, UK © Wikimedia
Catch the Needles Breezer © Wikimedia

Studland Bay, Dorset

Some of the UK’s best beaches are on this west country coastline and Studland is perfect for family holidays – miles of sand, sea and (often) sun.

Studland beach naturist area, Dorset UK © Matt Brown, Flickr
You might get more views than you bargained for at Studland beach! © Matt Brown, Flickr

The number 50 route run by Morebus between Bournemouth and Swanage takes in the Sandbanks Ferry terminus as well as Studland Post office with Middle Beach just a short walk away.

Weston-super-Mare, Somerset

The Pier Weston-super-Mare © Philip Rimmer, Pixabay
The Pier at Weston-super-Mare © Philip Rimmer, Pixabay

First Bristol run a year-round service to Sand Bay, starting at Weston’s Royal Parade, taking in views of the Bristol Channel before reaching the bay with plenty of time for a stroll to Sand Point.

The number 1 runs hourly, six days a week during the winter and seven days a week every 30 minutes in summer.

Land’s End, Cornwall

Lands End, Cornwall UK © Roman Grac, Pixabay
Lands End, Cornwall © Roman Grac, Pixabay

Cornwall’s a wonderful holiday destination but getting round it isn’t always easy. The A1 bus route from Penzance run by First Kernow will get you to Porthcurno and on to Sennen Cove but Land’s End itself is a brisk walk away.

Whether you’re doing the last stretch on foot or not, the journey is worth it for the views of woods and ancient fields dotted with burial chambers, wayside crosses and stone circles.

Llangollen to Pontcysyllte, Clwyd

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Llangollen, Wales © DeFacto, Wikimedia
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Llangollen, Wales © DeFacto, Wikimedia

It’s only a short ride but takes you through The Horseshoe Pass to the amazing Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, built by Thomas Telford in 1805 to carry the Llangollen canal over the pretty River Dee.

The open top tour is run in the summer by Routemaster4hire and allows you time to stroll across the aqueduct, if you have a head for heights, before returning to the pretty little Welsh town of Llangollen.

Have we missed your favourite scenic bus ride? Drop us a line in the comments.

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