Wednesday, 28 August 2013

599: Bowness - Grasmere


They don't come much more scenic than this: an open-top bus ride through the heart of the Lake District, England's most beautiful corner. This is no ordinary Stagecoach route. Discover the 599...


Click here to discover other bus routes in the North West.

Bowness


Bowness on Lake Windermere, England's largest, is an easily accessible delight. Things to do include a cruise on the lake, from the pier where the 599 termintates. If you'd rather not venture out onto the water, how about Blackwell Arts & Craft House?


Or if visiting with the kids, you could do worse than take them to the World of Beatrix Potter.


The 599 leaves from this stop at the pier:


Windermere

Windermere the town is a short distance away from Windermere the lake. It was originally called Birthwaite until the railway arrived and the station took the name of the lake in order to entice tourists in. Soon after, the town followed suit.

If arriving by train, this is your gateway to the Lake District. As pretty as the town is, there's so much more to see, so don't hang about here. The 599 stops right outside the railway station, next to the Booths supermarket.


The railway station entrance, bus stop and supermarket entrance are round the back of Booths. I can't think of a classier supermarket to wait behind.

Ambleside


After riding alongside the lake for a bit, the 599 brings us to the beautiful village of Ambleside. While here, why not stop for a pint at the Golden Rule, one of the best pubs in the village? You've not got to drive back, after all.

If you fancy a stroll up to a waterfall, head for nearby Stock Ghyll Force. Ambleside is of course a great base for longer walks, many books of which are available.

The 599 stops here, on Kelsick Road, by the library in both directions:


Rydal


Rydal is a tiny village, but not too tiny for poet William Wordsworth, who lived here at Rydal Mount, which you can visit. It's just a short walk up the private road from this bus stop on the main road, at Rydal Church:


This is the southbound stop. Northbound buses stop at the lay-by opposite.

Grasmere


A bit further on, the 599 terminates at Grasmere, another great starting point for a hike. Here you'll find St Oswald's Church, in the churchyard of which you can find the tomb of William and Mary Wordsworth. Another of his homes, Dove Cottage, is nearby, as is the Grasmere & Wordsworth Museum.

The 599 runs to and from this stop, on Broadgate in the village centre:


Times

See the full timetable on Stagecoach's website here.

Here are the live scheduled departure boards for the stops towards Grasmere:



...and back towards Bowness:



Connections

Map of the 599 and connecting routes. Not to scale. All routes on this map are operated by Stagecoach and are valid for travel with a North West Explorer ticket.

See a map of all Stagecoach routes in the Lake District here.
For all routes of all operators in the whole of Cumbria, look here.
Timetables for all buses in Cumbria can be found here.

From Bowness, connect with Stagecoach 6 to Barrow-in-Furness.

At Windermere railway station, there is a regular rail service to Oxenholme Lake District on the West Coast Main Line, plus a few through trains per day to Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport. Click for timetable, live departures, departure list, fares.

Also from Windermere station, you can connect to Stagecoach 555 towards Lancaster via Kendal. At weekends, you can also catch Stagecoach 508 to Penrith via Glenridding and Ullswater.

Change at Ambleside for Stagecoach 505 to Coniston or 516 to Dungeon Ghyll in Langdale.

From Grasmere, you can continue north to Keswick on Stagecoach 555.

Fares

The whole of routes 505, 516 and 599 are covered by Stagecoach's Central Lakes Dayrider at £7.00

A family ticket is valid for up to 2 adults and 3 children. A group ticket is valid for up to 5 people travelling together.

The Explorer ticket at £10.30 is valid over a wider area: on all Stagecoach buses in Cumbria and Lancashire, plus routes stretching to Bolton, Wigan, Liverpool, Dumfries and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

If arriving at Windermere by train, you can buy a Windermere Plusbus with your train ticket. It is only valid for travel along the 599 route, although you can use other services like the 555 to make the journey, as long as you don't travel beyond where the 599 goes. It costs £7.00 for an adult, but Railcard discounts are available.

Alternatives

Between Windermere and Grasmere, the 555 runs all year round to the same route as the 599, but not with open top buses.

Between Windermere and Ambleside, you also have routes 505 and 516.

All bus routes mentioned on this page are operated by Stagecoach.


All of the information in this post is correct at the time of writing, but please check the relevant links before travelling.

Monday, 26 August 2013

X53/X54: Poole - Weymouth - Axminster

UPDATED 25th November 2019


Not many bus routes can truly be described as epic, but First X53-X54 definitely can. They run along most of the Jurassic Coast. Few bus routes have as much to offer as this. There is so much to see, so let's get cracking! Click here to discover other bus routes across the South West. Please note that it used to be just one route throughout, but now it's been split into two and no longer runs west of Axminster (it used to run to Exeter).


Poole

Our starting point is the junior partner in the Bournemouth/Poole conurbation. There's lots to do in Poole, including a visit to Compton Acres, beautiful gardens a short ride on More 60 away.

Or right in the heart of the town is Poole Museum. Back at the bus station, the X54 departs from stand E.



Poole Tourism
Poole Railway Station
Dolphin Shopping Centre


Wareham

Wareham is the birthplace of David Mellor and appropriately situated on the River Piddle. The X54 in both directions stops on this roundabout right next to the railway station:

The X54 stops on North Street in the town centre:


Visit Wareham


Binnegar

This tiny hamlet is another access point for the Hardy Way (see above). Use the stops at Middlefield eastbound and westbound.


Wool


Just outside Wool is Monkey World, which you could easily spend a whole day looking round. The X54 stops at Wool railway station from where you are a 1.5 mile taxi ride from the park.

This stop at Wool station is served by the X54 in both directions.

Visit Wool
Long Distance Footpath: The Hardy Way


Lulworth Cove

The X54 stops in the entrance to the main car park, just a short walk from the cove itself...

Long Distance Footpath: The Hardy Way
Long Distance Footpath: South West Coast Path

Just a bit further, at Durdle Door, the X54 stops at the park entrance:

Visit Durdle Door

Owermoigne

This village is another access point for the Hardy Way footpath. Use the Kit Lane stop towards Poole and the Gallows Hill stop towards Weymouth.

Poxwell

The same goes for Poxwell. Use the stop at Poxwell Cottages towards Poole and Poxwell Manor towards Weymouth.


Osmington

This village gives access to two long distance footpaths: The South Dorset Ridgeway and the South West Coast Path. Use the eastbound and westbound stops at Chapel Lane.


Preston

Use the eastbound and westbound stops at The Spice Ship for the Hardy Way.


Weymouth

Host of sailing events at the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, beautiful Weymouth is probably the most charming seaside resort that is within day trip distance of London.

Dorset v Spain: It's a tough call.

Weymouth's attractions include not one but two beaches, plus Nothe Fort which used to guard Weymouth's harbour and Sandworld, an exhibition of amazingly created sand sculptures. If staying the night in Weymouth, then I can highly recommend The George Hotel, a converted Victorian vicarage run by a very friendly and helpful mother and son.


Most buses in Weymouth stop at one of the stops surrounding the King's Statue on the waterfront. To travel westbound on the X53, use stop K6, or stop K5 to go eastbound on the X54.

Love Weymouth
Visit Weymouth
Long Distance Footpath: South West Coast Path
Long Distance Footpath: The Hardy Way


Portesham

This village gives access to the Hardy Way. Use the Kings Arms westbound and eastbound.


Abbotsbury


Abbotsbury is known for its Subtropical Gardens and Swannery. Here's where the X53 stops, a short walk from the attractions by the Ilchester Arms:


Long Distance Footpath: The Hardy Way
Long Distance Footpath: South West Coast Path
Long Distance Footpath: The Macmillan Way


Burton Bradstock

The main stop for eastbound buses is The Anchor Inn and for westbound buses The Three Horseshoes.

National Trust Burton Bradstock
Long Distance Footpath: The Hardy Way
Long Distance Footpath: South West Coast Path


Bridport


Best known for rope and nets (as in goal or tennis nets), Bridport is worth stopping off at to see Palmers, the UK's only thatched brewery. The X53 to Weymouth stops at the coach station:


The X53 also passes through nearby West Bay, where you can find Sladers Yard art gallery.


Visit Bridport
Long Distance Footpath: The Hardy Way
Long Distance Footpath: Monarch's Way


Chideock

Visit Chideock


Morecombelake

In this small village, the bus stops outside Moores Biscuit Bakery, home of the Dorset Knob.


Charmouth

The Heritage Coast Centre is a definite highlight of Charmouth. Buses stop at St Andrew's Church eastbound and westbound.


Long Distance Footpath: South West Coast Path
Long Distance Footpath: Monarch's Way


Lyme Regis



Legendary Lyme Regis is the fossil capital of the UK. The Lyme Regis Museum will tell you all about the local area. Don't miss Town Mill, a working water mill brimming with history and great food.


The westbound X53 stops here at The Square:


Eastbound buses stop just up the hill outside the Co-op:


Welcome to Lyme Regis
Visit Lyme Regis
Long Distance Footpath: South West Coast Path
Long Distance Footpath: Wessex Ridgeway
Long Distance Footpath: Liberty Trail
Long Distance Footpath: East Devon Way


Uplyme

Another access point for the East Devon Way is here. Use the bus stops at the Talbot Arms for buses towards Axminster or Weymouth.


Axminster

The X53 starts from the forecourt of Axminster Railway Station:

Visit Axminster




Times

You can find the full timetable for the X53/X54 at the following locations:


Here are the links to the live scheduled departure lists for major stops heading towards Axminster:



...and back towards Poole:



Connections

From Poole Bus Station, major destinations and routes with More are Blandford X8, Bournemouth M1/M2, Sandbanks 60.

The X54 stops near Poole Railway Station, which is on the main line to Bournemouth, Southampton, Basingstoke and London Waterloo. Click for live departures, departure list, fares.

Wareham Railway Station is also served by the X54. Click for live departures, departure list, fares.
Change here also for the More 40 bus to Corfe Castle and Swanage.

Change at Wool Railway Station for trains: live departures, departure list, fares.

At Weymouth, King's Statue, you can catch the following connecting buses operated by First: 10 to Dorchester, 1 to Portland.

Nearby, Weymouth Railway Station has direct trains back to Poole and on to Southampton and London Waterloo plus heading north to Bath and Bristol. Click for live departures, departure list, fares.

From Lyme Regis, you can connect with Stagecoach 9A to Seaton & Exeter

Axminster Railway Station has direct trains between London Waterloo and Exeter. Click for live departuresdeparture listfares. It also has buses on Stagecoach 4 to Honiton & Exeter and First 30 to Taunton.


Fares

The cheapest ticket which is valid throughout route X53/X54 is the FirstDay Jurassic Coaster at £12. It's also valid on all connecting services operated by First.

If connecting to or from buses operated by More/Damory or Stagecoach, check their websites for ticket details.

Alternatives

Parts of the X53/X54's route can be covered by other bus routes or even by train. Here's a summary of the routes and costs:



All of the information in this post is correct at the time of writing, but please check the relevant links before travelling.