Skip navigation

Best British bus journeys

wide open roadForget about the hassles of driving or parking and enjoy a relaxing journey by bus this summer. Here is a selection of Britain’s finest bus routes.

The bus holiday has long been seen as the quintessential British holiday. Before foreign travel was accessible or affordable, the annual summer break was spent at a UK seaside resort, with whole families travelling by coach.

Now though, the public bus is often forgotten as a way of exploring yet there are plenty of buses travelling long distance between some of the most popular tourist towns in Britain.

“Rather than having to concentrate on the road you can sit back and enjoy the view,” says Laura Smith, PR manager at VisitEngland.

“It's better for the environment and your wallet than taking the car as there are no fuel costs or parking to worry about. It takes the stress out of travel and lets you make the most of your trip.”

Older and disabled people can even travel on some routes free of charge at certain times.

Here are a few of the most picturesque ways to see the country by bus.

South West England - Exeter to Poole X53

First Dorset Buses 0870 010 6022
Journey time: 4 hours 30 minutes each way
Fare: £7 explorer ticket

This epic route travels along The Jurassic Coast of Devon and Dorset, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – a precious landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so outstanding that it is in the nation's interest to safeguard them. The journey is best done in sections, stopping off to explore elegant Sidmouth, romantic Lyme Regis or quaint Abbotsbury en route. You could also walk a section of the South West Coast Path and pick up the bus at another stop. Bus driver Derek Norman has been travelling this route for seven years.“It's my favourite drive,” he says.“It goes through stunning countryside and stops at places other bus companies don't serve, such as the picturesque seaside village of Beer.”

Lake District- The Honister Rambler

Stagecoach Northwest 0871 200 2233
Journey time: 1 hour 35 minutes circular route
Fare: £6.50 explorer

This circular route takes you on a tour of the rugged and spectacular Borrowdale and Buttermere valleys which are two of the most stunning areas in the Lake District. It passes famous mountains including Castle Crag and Haystacks and has views of lakes such as Derwentwater. The award-winning Honister Slate Mine and Visitor Centre is a great place to pause and have refreshments, experience a mine tour, or just admire the dramatic scenery.

Scotland- Mallaig to Fort William

Sheil buses 01967 431272
Journey time: 1 hour and 40 minutes each way
Fare: £6.40 return

Beginning in Fort William, one of the most popular towns in the Scottish Highlands, this scenic journey passes lochs and mountains. You can also view the Glenfinnan viaduct , which featured in the second Harry Potter film when the Hogwart's Express train crossed over it. Your ticket will allow you to hop on and off the bus. Glenfinnan is an excellent place to stop as is Morar which is renowned for its beaches of silvery sand. Malliag itself is a bustling fishing port with plenty of good places to eat and drink. You could also extend your journey with a ferry trip over to the Isle of Skye.

North Wales- Llanwrst to Llanberis Sherpa S2

Padarn Bus 01286 870 880
Journey time: 1 hour and 35 minutes each way
Fare: £1 single fare

Setting off from the pretty market town of Llanwrst, the bus takes you to Betws-y-Coed, a beautiful location among woodland and riverbanks with a genteel Victorian atmosphere. From here the scenery becomes more dramatic as you travel along Pen-y-Pass and enjoy breathtaking views of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales. Llanberis is a great destination for railway enthusiasts as it has two narrow-gauge railways. There are plenty of gift shops to find a souvenir of your trip. And if you're feeling energetic the Llanberis Path is also the start of the easiest (and longest) route up Mount Snowdon.


Maria McCarthy

Maria McCarthy

Maria McCarthy is a motoring and lifestyle journalist and author of The Girls' Car Handbook and The Girls' Guide to Losing your L Plates published by Simon and Schuster. She's also a regular on BBC Breakfast news, and local and national radio, commenting on motoring matters. Her pet motoring hates are potholes and high fuel prices.

View more from Maria