Discovering the simple pleasures of a bus adventure to the countryside!

Discovering the simple pleasures of a bus adventure to the countryside!

There’s nothing quite like the freedom of exploring the South Downs National Park by bus, taking in the expansive breathtaking views as you breeze through beautiful rolling countryside.

You can also hop on and off the bus without having to worry about parking!

September 22 sees the return of International Car Free Day and Allison Thorpe, who leads access and recreation in the National Park, is sharing 10 of her favourite bus journeys that offer a great day-out in the South Downs.

Allison said: “The National Park is very well-served by some fantastic bus services and, combined with our excellent train links, it makes us one of the most accessible protected landscapes in the UK.

“A day-out in the countryside by bus can be a real family adventure and removes all the hassle of trying to find a parking space and paying for parking. We know the little ones always enjoy a ride on the bus too!

“If you do normally visit the National Park by car, why not try something different by leaving the motor at home and try one of the bus services? We’re really keen to raise awareness about all the sustainable travel options in the National Park because there’s so much on offer and people may not realise how easy and hassle-free a day-out on the bus can be. Apart from helping the environment, it’s also a different way of seeing the countryside and you may spot things you’d never noticed before.

“It’s also a great option if you’re looking to visit one of the National Park’s many wineries, breweries and real-ale pubs.

“Many of the routes mentioned in this list also offer great connections for the walkers amongst us. Are you doing the Serpent Trail or the South Downs Way? Why not use the buses to join the trail at the start of each leg and to make your way home at the end of the day?”

Here are 10 of Allison’s recommendations:

Route 1 from Worthing to Midhurst Did anyone mention picturesque views that warm the cockles of your heart? This journey has an endless supply! There are potential stop-offs at Stopham Vineyard and Winery, or if you’re a beer-lover, why not visit the Langham Brewery and Tap. The beauty of Cissbury Ring must be seen to be believed, while a visit to Petworth House combines stunning views with opulent art and history.

Route 12 from Brighton to Eastbourne Easily in the running for the most scenic bus route in the country, the Coaster takes in the world-famous Seven Sisters white chalk cliffs and the classic serpentine meanders of the river Cuckmere.

Bus 37 from Havant to Petersfield Breezing past the highest point on the South Downs chalk escarpment, Butser Hill, this is such a convenient route to get right into the heart of the National Park and one of its most historic towns. Enjoy the beauty of Petersfield Heath or why not visit the sparkling-new Petersfield Museum that’s had a multi-million pound transformation?

Route 38 from Petersfield to Alton via Selborne Travelling through some of the most densely wooded areas in Hampshire the 38 takes in Jane Austen’s village of Chawton and Gilbert White’s village of Selborne. If you’re on the double decker (Mon to Fri except bank holidays) it’s definitely worth heading upstairs and trying to bag the front seat.

Route 54 from Chichester to Petersfield A route for walkers and pub lovers, the 54 runs through a series of small villages and gives access to famous downland churches, Harting Down and the ancient yew trees at Kingley Vale.

Route 60 from Midhurst to Chichester Taking a romantic Tudor ruin, a medieval cathedral, great shops at Chichester, downland villages, and deep wooded valleys, the 60 has something for everyone. Stop off along the way to visit West Dean Gardens and the Weald and Downland Museum.

Route 67 from Winchester to Petersfield Weaving between the Hampshire hills through the Itchen and Meon valleys, the 67 is a route for lovers of wildlife and picturesque villages. The pristine chalk river Itchen is home to otter and wild trout and a program is currently underway to return water vole to the river Meon where they had been locally extinct.

Route 79 from Brighton to Ditchling Beacon Taking in Ditchling Beacon, one of the highest points in the National Park, the 79 gives 360 degree views out to sea in the south, across the weald to the north and along the high chalk ridge of the South Downs from west to east. This bus runs on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

Route 99 from Chichester to Petworth If the views around Petworth were good enough for Turner, they’re good enough for us! The 99 also offers a flexible service that will take in the iconic Halnaker windmill.

Route 125 from Lewes to Eastbourne via Alfriston Last but most definitely not least wind your way through the Cuckmere valley on the heels of the Bloomsbury set. One for culture lovers the 125 also stops at Glynde – home of the famous Glyndebourne Opera – before joining the same route of the 12 along the coast.

Stacey Churton, Marketing Manager from Stagecoach, said: “The bus is a fantastic way to get around the countryside, children love sitting on the top deck looking out over the National Park, it’s a great way to keep the family entertained from the moment you step outside.

“Catching the bus is a great way to keep fit and healthy too. Leaving the car at home means you can get those extra steps in on the way to the bus stop, and it helps the environment too – every full double deck bus can take up to 75 cars off the road.”

For more information and ideas on getting around the National Park visit