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Top 5 beauty spots accessible by bus

Roger FrenchAs well as writing us a blog about his travels, bus adventurer Roger French has shared his favourite UK beauty spots that can be reached by bus.

1. Yorkshire Dales, especially Hawes

HawesHawes is a truly delightful village in the north of the Yorkshire Dales. Bus connections from the south (Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford, Ilkley, Skipton and Grassington) are now very limited with only a summer Sunday shuttle bus from Buckden continuing to Hawes. However, the ride is certainly worth it for the stunning scenery.

The main bus link to Hawes runs east to west linking Northallerton and Leyburn (from the east) and Garsdale (from the west) and the best ride of all is on the Tuesday-only Wensleydale Vintage Tour Bus 127 which uses 1950s vintage single deck buses on a route from Ripon also serving the preserved Wensleydale Railway and Aysgarth Falls. After a two-hour stop in Hawes the bus continues to Garsdale to connect with the Carlisle to Settle railway before returning to Hawes and Ripon. A fantastic day out.

2. The Lake District - Kirkstone Pass and Grasmere to Keswick

Lake DistrictI'm cheating here as I've combined two of the best bus routes in the Lake District into second place in my Top 5. 

During the summer, Stagecoach extend their wonderful 508 Penrith to Glenridding and Patterdale bus route to climb to the summit of the Kirkstone Pass before continuing down to Bowness and Windermere.  Running on summer weekends and daily during the school late spring and summer holidays the route provides spectacular views on the journey over Kirkstone Pass which are simply breathtaking. 

Similarly spectacular is the famous 555 bus route which runs all the way from Lancaster to Keswick via Kendal. Best part of the route is north of Kendal particularly the section beyond Ambleside to Grasmere and Keswick. Flood damage to the main road has disrupted the service during winter 2015/16 but Stagecoach have done their best to maintain links with a connecting shuttle minibus operating over a temporary road pending the road reopening.

3. Loch Lomond and Glencoe Mountain

Loch LomondCitylink route 915/916 looks just like any other coach route, doubling up as a local bus through rural Scotland, from its timetable leaflet. But hidden within the 60 place names listed in the timetable on its six-hour, 200-mile journey from Glasgow via Fort William to Kyle of Lochalsh and Portree on the Isle of Skye are two of Scotland's finest beauty spots - Loch Lomond and Glencoe.

The high floor coaches with panoramic windows used on this route are ideal to enjoy the wonderful views that keep on coming. This coach route really does rival the more famous West Highland rail line which it parallels for much of the journey. Two morning journeys leave Glasgow with an afternoon and early evening option too.

Definitely the best coach route in Scotland and well worth the ride.

4. Pembrokeshire and St David's

PembrokeshireSt David's is the UK's smallest city and entails a long journey by bus to reach it, but it's definitely most worth every mile of it. There are regular buses from Haverfordwest but much more fun is to use one of the brilliant coastal minibus routes supported by Pembrokeshire Council and the National Park. As well as route numbers these have delightful names such as the 400 Puffin Shuttle (St Davids to Marloes); the 403 Celtic Coaster, the 404 Stumble Shuttle (Fishguard to St Davids) and the 405 Poppet Rocket (Cardigan and Newport to Fishguard).  

I travelled on the Poppet Rocket from Cardigan to Fishguard connecting to the Stumble Shuttle to St Davids and finished the day with a ride from St Davids to Haverfordwest. It was so good I'm planning a return visit this year.

5. Derbyshire Peak District

Peak DistrictThere are some great bus routes which criss-cross the delightful Derbyshire Peak District. Whether you're starting in Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby, Leek or Manchester the bus journey to Buxton, Bakewell and Matlock as well as national treasures such as Chatsworth House is a wonderful experience. I'm torn between picking out one of three of these routes as the ultimate best: it would be between the High Peak operated transpeak branded route which links Derby, Matlock, Buxton and Manchester; the T M Travel operated 218 from Sheffield to Bakewell via Chatsworth House or the High Peak operated 61 from Buxton to Glossop.

Tell you what, if you really want a brilliant day with fantastic Derbyshire views, work out an itinerary including parts of all three routes!

Hawes image courtesy of Peer Lawther via Flickr.