Monday, 26 August 2013

X52-X54: Poole - Exeter

Not many bus routes can truly be described as epic, but First X52-X54 definitely can. They run the full length 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 when this was originally written, it was just one route throughout, but now it's been split into three. This page still covers the full route but has been updated to reflect the fact that it now has three route numbers.


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 M.

For a map of the route between Poole and Lyme Regis, see the Dorset County Bus Map.


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:

Things to do in Wareham include a meal at the town's top-rated restaurant, Steak-A-Saurus

 ...a short walk from the X54's stop on North Street in the town centre.


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.


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.


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:


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 X52 to Exeter and the X53 to Weymouth both stop at the coach station:

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


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


The Heritage Coast Centre is a definite highlight of Charmouth.

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 X52 stops here at The Square:

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


See a bus map of Axminster here.


Seaton is best known for its heritage tramway. The X52 stops at the foreground stop towards Bridport and where the bus is in this picture towards Exeter:

See the Seaton Bus Map here and an interactive map of all buses in Devon here.


At nearby Beer, the Quarry Caves and Pecorama are well worth seeing.


Devon's county town, Exeter is one of the oldest cities in Britain, having been inhabited since before the Romans. Be sure to visit the stunning cathedral, just a short walk from the bus station. Also worth seeing are the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and the medieval Underground Passages.

The X52 leaves from bay 14 at Exeter Bus Station:


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

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

...and back towards Poole:


From Poole Bus Station, major destinations and routes with More are Blandford X8, Ringwood X6, Bournemouth M1/M2, Sandbanks 52.

The X54 stops right outside 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, 31 to Bridport & Lyme Regis via 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 Bridport, you can connect for the following destinations and bus routes: 47 to Crewkerne and Yeovil (operated by First Mon-Sats and Damory on Sundays).

From Lyme Regis, you can connect with route X51/X53 to Axminster Railway Station, with direct trains between London Waterloo and Exeter.

At Seaton, connect with Axe Valley 885 to Axminster or Stagecoach 20 to Taunton via Honiton.

At Sidford, connect to Stagecoach 52A/52B to Sidmouth and the 52B the other way to Honiton,

Change at Newton Poppleford for Stagecoach 157 to Exmouth.

Exeter Bus Station has the following major destinations and routes to connect to: Newton Abbot 2 & 39, Plymouth X38, Honiton 4/4A, Axminster 4, Tiverton 1/1A & 55/55A/55B/155, Barnstaple 155, Bude 599 & X9, Paignton X46, Totnes X64. Devon County Council's interactive bus map (one of the best in the country) makes it easy to see which bus goes where in Devon and to find the timetables

Exeter Central railway station is a short walk from the bus station. Click for live departures, departure list, fares. More trains, including those towards Plymouth and Cornwall or up to Bristol and London Paddington, stop at St Davids, which is a bit further out. Catch a train there from Exeter Central or use Stagecoach route H from the city centre.


The cheapest ticket which is valid throughout route X52-X54 is the FirstDay West of England Plus at £10. It's also valid on all connecting services operated by First.

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


Parts of the X52-X54's route can be covered by other bus routes or even by train. Here's a summary of the routes and costs:

  • Poole-Wareham-Wool-Weymouth: South West Trains. Single £12.80, off-peak day return £13.10
  • Weymouth-Bridport-Lyme Regis: First 31. FirstDay Explorer valid
  • Seaton-Exeter: Stagecoach 9A. Stagecoach Explorer £7.50

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

1 comment:

  1. dose the x53 have toilets or dose it stop anywhere for a toilet break ?