Our readers choose their favorite UK bus routes | Travel

VSheaps, reliable and with decent eco-credentials to boot – is bus travel back in fashion? Last week, the Reverend Richard Coles took to Twitter to declare Brighton’s Eastbourne No.12 the best in the world, ‘without a doubt’. Our chief travel writer Chris Haslam begged to disagree, and the two fought (in the most civilized way) on social media, while readers flooded our inboxes with their own choice. Here are some of our favorite comments, letters and emails:

Although Chris Haslam’s suggestions are good bus routes, they certainly cannot be compared to the 915/916 service from central Glasgow to Uig on the Isle of Skye. It is apparently the longest in the country carriage service and is an absolute marvel. After leaving Glasgow, the bus heads towards Balloch, at the southern end of the bonnie Loch Lomond. For the next half hour you are allowed the full length of the Loch to Ardlui. Then comes the fabulous crossing of Rannoch Moor and the descent to Glencoe. Then comes the run along Loch Linnhe to Fort William and after a brief stop to change drivers, you’re off again. Passing the secluded Cluanie Inn, you descend through Glen Shiel – the bus I was on one night hit a deer here – to the sea at Kintail Lodge, and continue along the sea lochs of Duich and Alsh and through Kyle of Lochalsh to cross the bridge to Skye. There are less than 50 miles left until the end of the trip, but those miles are magnificent. Passed the sea lochs and a grand view of the Cuillins before the final run to Uig Pier. If you are lucky you will take the ferry to the Outer Hebrides. Wherever you are on the road, there’s nothing quite like waiting by the side of the road for the ever-reliable 915 to show up and take you home.
Barry Cross, Edinburgh

tranquil lakes

My selection of UK bus lines? The famous 555 service that connects Lancaster to Keswick every hour, operated by Stagecoach. This is a double-decker bus and is best enjoyed in the summer, with an open top for fantastic countryside views. The best place to join the route is Kendal, as from here the bus passes through Staveley (make time to stop at Hawkshead Brewery) and other lake towns and villages including Bowness, Windermere, Ambleside and Grasmere , before ending up in Keswick. You can hop on and off as you please to visit pubs, restaurants etc as there is always another within an hour. The cost? A piece at £12 for an all-day Explorer ticket.
Duncan Macbeth, Cumbria


Cornish cream

No 70 is a Transport for Cornwall route from Plymouth town center to Cremyll in Cornwall and never disappoints, whatever the time of year. Board the bus through Stoke, then hop off at the Torpoint car ferry to cross the River Tamar to Cornwall, with buses enjoying priority boarding. Back on dry land, you’ll pass through Torpoint and meander along the beautiful cliff-top road around Whitsand Bay. Sit upstairs for stunning views of beautiful beaches and vacation cabins perched on the cliffs. The route continues to the villages of Cawsand and Kingsand then to Millbrook. Finally it’s down the hill to Cremyll where the bus ends. From here you can walk through the gardens and woods of Mount Edgcumbe. To return, hop on the Cremyll passenger ferry across the river to Plymouth. The best day.
Liz Perry, Plymouth

Dunluce Castle

The road to Ballycastle

I would suggest the 172 Ulsterbus between Coleraine and Ballycastle. Run along the North Antrim coastline, passing landmarks like Dunluce Castle, the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Plus lots of stunning coastline, Bushmills and Port Rush Golf Course. The only downside is that it is not a double decker.
Olly Benson, via thetimes.co.uk

Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle


Highlands in a day

My favorite route includes the best sites in Scotland and is possible in one day. Take the 6.40am to Fort William and Glasgow is soon behind you as you drive along the A82 towards Loch Lomond. The route skirts the beautiful shore of the loch before heading towards Crianlarich and Tyndrum. Cross Rannoch Moor then enter spectacular Glencoe, beyond which you descend to the shore of Loch Leven. The route then follows Loch Linnhe to Fort William, where it’s time for coffee before taking the 11:20 am to Inverness in time for a late lunch. This stage takes you through the stunning scenery of the Great Glen following the Caledonian Canal route. Highlights include Fort Augustus and Loch Ness, passing Urquhart Castle and looking for the monster. For the final leg there is a frequent service back to Glasgow, but I would jump off at 3.20pm to arrive in Glasgow by early evening. The passage south to Perth continues over high passes and through impressive mountain scenery. The final two hours in Glasgow pass through gentle countryside, giving you time to breathe before arriving just after 7pm.
The Frasers, via email

Saunton Sands in Devon

Saunton Sands in Devon


Devonian Delights

During the summer months the open top bus #21 from Croyde to Barnstaple takes you past thatched cottages along narrow roads to the cliff top with stunning views of Lundy Island. Stop at the art deco Saunton Sands Hotel en route for a cream tea overlooking a pristine sandy beach and sparkling water – truly stunning. In a small estate on the outskirts of Braunton, look for the Star Wars fan’s house where life-size stormtroopers greet the passing bus. Braunton has a wonderful selection of independent shops and the best fish and chips you’ll find anywhere in the country. Next stop is Chivenor, where you might spot a commando waiting for the bus – this is the home of the Royal Marines. Finally, Barnstaple is doing something right – on the high street there is a large butcher plus a farm shop, cafes and the excellent Barnstaple & North Devon Museum right on the Long Bridge over the River Taw.
Anne McLevy

Our village in Devon benefits from two buses per week; Tuesday morning at 10:11 a.m. arrival at the nearest town at 10:27 a.m. and return at 12:15 p.m.; and the 50-minute Friday bus leaving at 9.30am for Exeter and returning at 1.20pm. It’s not the views that make the Friday bus ride so special – despite it passing through idyllic countryside scenery – it’s the passengers. For passengers (mostly retirees) it’s the highlight of the week and the occasions I’ve used it, mine too. They all know each other by first name and pretty much everything about each other’s lives. If a regular is not at a stop along the way, a serious debate ensues as to why that might be, the driver easily persuaded to wait a bit in case “Old Jean” is late.

On my first trip, no sooner had I settled in than the woman in front turned around and asked me my name and why I was on the bus. When I told her that I was visiting my daughter who lived in the old hospital, she was very worried because the bus did not pass by.

“Yere, Stu,” she shouted to the driver. “Mary is visiting her daughter in the old hospital. You can go around that way, can’t you? »

“I think I can,” Stu replied obligingly and veered the bus off course four miles from its route in order to drop me off near the old hospital. I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty about the passengers patiently waiting along the road and now having to wait a week for the next bus to Exeter.

On another trip, an old man began waving from the window and urging his fellow travelers to do the same, which they all did. When I asked what it was I was told that there had once been a Roman military camp on top of the hill which they liked to politely recognize as they passed.

Sure, it’s not a cost-effective route, but it’s likely saving the NHS thousands of pounds by keeping its elderly passengers out of hospitals and care homes with depression and even dementia.
Mary Stephenson, by email

Mawddach Estuary

welsh wonder

Traws Cymru T3 service from Wrexham to Barmouth is a plus. The section through the Berwyns from Llangollen to Corwen is stunning but after Bala it becomes extraordinary and I defy anyone not to be blown away by the final section from Dolgellau to Barmouth – mountains, river, sea – so beautiful and dramatic.
Ms C, via thetimes.co.uk

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The Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster


London calling

Avoid the expensive open-top tour buses with their annoying commentary and instead take No 11 from outside Victoria Station. Sit upstairs in the front, hold on to the grab bar – it’s a bit of a rollercoaster. Almost immediately you scribble down Victoria Street: look to your right and you see Westminster Cathedral in all its Byzantine magnificence. Up there is Westminster Abbey, then Big Ben and now you are gliding around Parliament Square and trying to count the statues and identify who is who. Waltz around the corner of Whitehall, admire the Cenotaph and catch a glimpse of Downing Street. Just ahead is Trafalgar Square — don’t miss the fourth plinth; the National Gallery sits serenely behind with its treasures within. From there it’s along the Strand, with the Savoy Hotel, and past the Aldwych you approach the heart of London. Old and new are revealed as you glimpse nearly 1,000-year-old church archways alongside gleaming buildings like the Gherkin and Walkie-Talkie. Far too soon, you are at Liverpool Street station.
Catherine Harden, Regatta


Scarborough Tariff

My favorite bus route has to be the Beachcomber which operates along the waterfront in Scarborough. The contrast between the garish attractions of South Bay and the relative tranquility of North Bay – providing access to beautiful Peasholm Park, continuing onto Scalby Mills – means you see all that is great about the Yorkshire coast. Grab a pint in the Old Scalby Mills before riding around Alpamare Water Park, where you can board the Yorkshire Coastliner bus for Malton and York.
Ben Gilligan, via email

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