Long weekend trips on public transport

Discussion in 'Places & Planning' started by oreocereus, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. oreocereus

    oreocereus Section Hiker

    There was some intent mid-way through this thread from some users to document trips they'd taken on public transport to walking areas. But the thread is a mess of off-topic arguing (important debate, but makes the whole thing long and cluttered regardless).

    So, mostly out of a desire to create a list of options for myself (which i figure will be useful for others) I wanted to make a thread dedicated to public transport options. Many of us don't own/have access to cars or planes, or choose not to use them for a host of reasons. Let's not debate that or talk about ryanair flights to Norway on here. This is for train and bus trips please.

    So, without further ado, I'll keep an index here or potential rail and bus stops that are reasonably accessible to good walking country. I've compiled some from my own experiences and from that aforementioned thread. I've put more info on the areas I have actual experience with.

    Resources/General tips

    -Trainline - though I've been told sometimes prices can be inflated - I haven't got my head around it yet.
    -Hitchwiki - mostly only useful for big cities - but in those cases super useful for figuring out how to get out. It's particularly useful on the fly if a driver is going to a big city between you and your destination, so you don't get stuck in the centre.
    -Manin61 is apparently good for train trip planning
    -Apparently you can save money on tickets by buying all the stages individually (if you can be arsed), even though you would be on the same train. E.g. you put in your trip on trainline, click on the "calling points" button and then buy tickets for each stop I think?
    -Booking in advance generally saves money, but I've also purchased next day tickets for Exeter and London cheaper than they were initially available for a month in advance. Prices fluctuate, and while they generally trend upward, it's always worth checking (that's the idea of this index - if you have a holiday on short notice, or want to be flexible with weather, you can search from trips of this index without needing to lock yourself into a trip months in advance).


    -Ivybridge (train)
    -Exeter St David's (train), bus to Okehampton from right outside and walk up past the camp straight onto the moor.

    Lakes District
    -Windmere (train) then bus to Langdale, Coniston or Keswick
    -Lancaster (train) then bus to Ambleside
    -Lancaster (train) then Ravenglass for Eskdale (train)
    -Penrith then bus to Keswick

    Peaks District
    -Edale (train)
    -Hathersage (train)

    -North Allerton (train), bus to Hawes in Wensleydale - suggested walking of 2 days along the Pennine Way to Malham cove where one can hitch back to Settle train station.

    South West Coastal Path
    Apparently lots of areas are well connected by bus/train (haven't looked into it).
    -London>Penzance sleeper service is sometimes very reasonable and makes good use of time
    -Weymouth or Upley (train) then walk to Haven Point (2 days) which leaves you not too far from Wareham Station (walkable), Poole and Bournemouth (busses available, Bournemouth walkable along seafront).

    New Forest
    Brockenhurst (train), plenty of bus connections/campsites from there to do a loop through the New Forest

    It's useful to know that a week of travel on Arriva busses is only £17.50
    Betws (train) - supposedly busses to pen y pass (et al) from there
    Bangor (train) - supposedly busses to pen y pass (et al) from there
    Aber (train or bus) - for north carneddau

    Brecon's Beacons
    There are some busses between villages if you wish to start elsewhere than the two main points i've suggested, and hitching between them is easy.

    -Train to Cardiff, bus to Merthyr Tydfil (bus is about a fiver). Once in Merthyr you can wander along the resevoir into the hills, but it's equally easy to hitch if you want to skip a bit of road walking (first car stopped for us). Getting back to cardiff is a super easy hitch, but of course the bus is cheap. I think it's only another £2 to get a return bus ticket to/from Merthyr.
    -Newport (train), bus to Brecon. Not much of a walk up from the town.

    Pembrokeshire coastal path
    -Haverford West (train)

    -The 404 Fishguard-St David's Service runs along most of the path.

    Offas Dyke
    Bodfari and Llangollen are well connected by bus/train.

    -The Cal Mac ferries are apparently very affordable.
    -Aviemore (train) - The sleeper can work out well (it's cheaper if you book a seat and can tolerate sitting for that long), and has the advantage of being direct, time efficient and stopping near useful shops.
    -Blair Athol

    -Iverness is well connected apparently.

    There are not-too-expensive trains to France if you book at the right time. If you have time, I've taken a bus to Paris for a tenner with Flixbus before.

    Jura - Cheap busses from Paris if you have the time.

    Nice - There are several busses that go several hours up into the Mercantour alps. Gorgeous hiking, bus was 1 euro when i used it over summer.

    Pau - Probably the easiest train station to get to for the Pyrenees. Busses up to Gavarnie (or elsewhere) weren't more than 2 euros from memory. You might have to go via Lourdes.

    Grenoble or Chambery - Bus up to Briancon to hike along the GR5, or Modane to get directly into La Vanoise. Alternatively just walk straight up out of Grenoble for less frequented mountains. Grenoble isn't a popular tourist city, but it's beautifully situated, and within 3 hours of leaving my friends inner-city apartment on foot, we'd climbed about 1000m and had views to Mont Blanc.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
    Walkertg, Mox, Gadget and 6 others like this.
  2. Henry

    Henry Ultralighter

    I’m going up to the Lakes next thursday;

    Central Lakes

    Train Havant to Penrith via London (£85:()
    Bus Penrith to Keswick (£5)
    Then I might get the Keswick to Seatoller bus, but from April 5th all the summer timetable routes open, including the circular Keswick bus through the Honister pass.
    OneBeardedWalker and oreocereus like this.
  3. Jon jons

    Jon jons Ultralighter

    £17.50 buys you a week's travel on arriva wales buses. All areas of North Wales coastal path accessible and you can dip your toes into snowdonia if you plan it well. There's WiFi and tables with USB chargers on most double deckers now.
    FOX160, Taz38 and oreocereus like this.
  4. Fair Weather Camper

    Fair Weather Camper Thru Hiker

    Could make a weekend in the Yorkshire Dales (starting mid-day Friday from London)

    From Kings Cross to Northallerton, then regular and cheap buses run from just outside train station to Hawes in Wensleydale - its a nice two day stretch along Pennine Way from there to Malham Cove from whence it would be a short easy hitch to Settle train station - you could be back in town by Sunday evening.

    Some of that is out-lined in this trip-report There's a scenic Welsh section of Offas Dyke later on - Bodfari to Llangollen also very doable by train / bus.

    Lots of opportunities in Peak District for jumping off The Manchester to Sheffield line and making up a circuit.

    And yes Pau is a great start, and end point for the mid sections of the Pyrenees - the public transport is joined up there - as you know - such that the trip is almost becoming routine now - although i still insist on the top deck of the train - the very best views :)

    Don't get me started on Scotland, cos that's all much too exciting - especially once you factor in the cheap Cal Mac ferry fares to the islands - very reasonable as a foot passenger + bike if desired - although the rail fares to Scotland itself are criminal prices right now - even with railcards - hoping (and praying) for a last minute price drop.

    Oh And Pembrokeshire coast path is very nice too, Haverford West by train, then a bus to the coast.:thumbsup:

    Been mentioned many times before but Man in Seat 61 is great for planning rail trips..

    fascinating factoid - its called that because any seat no. after 61 is on the top deck !!

    Rome to Rio is Ok if you bung in no flying - but i wouldn't trust their bus info - they'll sometimes claim there isn't one - when there jolly well is ...

    ps Hitching on back roads in Scotshire is easy - well usually - but particularly for one as young and perky as y'self :angelic:
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
  5. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    In reverse - getting to the continent from Scotland without flying is long, grueling and expensive. :(.
    Just getting to London is - bus for many hours or a train so expensive you could have flown to Alps/Pyrenees several times over for the same £'s …..

    Transport within Scotland is much easer as long as you don't want to get somewhere miles up a "not going anywhere in particular" road :whistling:. In which case it is a good idea to check the map to see if approaching from another angle is better prospect.

    I won't suggest any particular routes as there are too many.

    (My Bus pass is in the post :D).
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
    Fair Weather Camper likes this.
  6. Daymoth

    Daymoth Ultralighter

    Im taking a lot of notes and getting excited.

    The South West Coastal Path has plenty of trains an buses, I do long days out in summer ( first train in the morning and then late train at night)
  7. Balagan

    Balagan Thru Hiker

    Since you mention cheap transport to Paris, from there you can head East to the Jura (it's not just the Alps and the Pyrenees in France) for not a lot of money (add another tenner). But it's either cheap and slow or fast and expensive so that's probably for a very extended weekend if coming over from the wrong side of the Channel.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
    oreocereus likes this.
  8. Baldy

    Baldy Thru Hiker

    If you're travelling from the south to the lakes, a train to Lancaster then bus to Ambleside is often much cheaper than a ticket to Windermere.
    Alternatively, train to Lancaster then train to Ravenglass for Eskdale.
    Walkertg, snow and Henry like this.
  9. snow

    snow Trail Blazer

    For the Lakes, the best option IMO is the train to Windermere, from where you can get a bus to many places. Some good ones: langdale (change in Ambleside), Coniston (same I think), towards Keswick (and walk back along the Helvellyn ridge). You can also get off the train at Staveley and walk a (long) version of the Kentmere round. Obviously you can also get a taxi if you are in a group, or get pretty much anywhere if you have time to spend waiting for that third connecting bus!

    Other option is the train to Penrith and bus to Keswick (and then walk or another bus), but the connection for the bus is not good (at least on the early trains) so it takes longer. There is also a bus via Patterdale but again the timings don’t work out very well.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
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  10. benp1

    benp1 Trail Blazer

    Lakes - London to Oxenholme and then changing onto the Windermere line works pretty well. I did it a couple of weekends ago with my mountain bike. Train to Staveley from London Euston, need a bike booking on the virgin train but not on the local line. I live a 45 minute ride from Euston so it's easy enough for me to do. If you were getting the bus I'd get it from Windermere as the traffic from Staveley into Windermere is often bad.

    I'd like to do the Aviemore sleeper service one day but it's so expensive...
  11. Henry

    Henry Ultralighter

    Penrith trains arrive at 27 minutes past the hour.
    Buses Penrith to Keswick are hourly and leave at 21 minutes past the hour.

    Ahhh the joined up network!:banhappy:
    edh likes this.
  12. HillBelly

    HillBelly Ultralighter

    Or a cunning arrangement with the local town council to make you 'stop a while' and discover the delights :snaphappy: of Penrith town centre... or stock up at Home Bargains/Aldi//Morrisons/Booths - all within a stones throw of each other. Must need a lot of feeding in Penrith.
    oreocereus likes this.
  13. HillBelly

    HillBelly Ultralighter

    I have public transport to thank for obsessing about pack size. Busy buses and heavy packs don't mix well... voila lightweight convert! Back in the day when I was near Chesterfield, my overnight pack was designed to be slim enough to slip in the overhead racks on the train too. Park at the station (once I'd given up on the bus idea) and away.
    Jon jons likes this.
  14. Baldy

    Baldy Thru Hiker

    If you're alright with a seat for 12 hours or so the sleeper is about £80 return.
    The advantages are the perfect time of arrival, it's direct and Tescos is open just over the road.
    oreocereus likes this.
  15. Taz38

    Taz38 Thru Hiker

    I use the trainline app a lot when travelling, as long as you book the day before and hop from city to city instead of booking the whole journey, its fairly cheap.
  16. Taz38

    Taz38 Thru Hiker

    Try travelling with a dog...two packs, a nervous dog, trying to make the connections, people everywhere...BUT most people love dogs and in the end it wasn't much of a problem (the luggage/wheelchair/bike carriage are great if they're not in use). I'm paranoid about someone running off with my bag so want to sit close by. My pack is not small enough to fit overhead.
  17. stormin'

    stormin' Section Hiker

    Advanced train tickets can be 75% cheaper than split ticketing and with a railcard can be even cheaper.
  18. stormin'

    stormin' Section Hiker

    A couple of zip ties through the luggage rack or round a pole and through your shoulder strap or fixed webbing of your pack, don't forget to cut it off before disembarking though!
    Fred Wanderer, Henry and Jon jons like this.
  19. Henry

    Henry Ultralighter

    Now that is a great idea.
  20. Baldy

    Baldy Thru Hiker

    Until he pulls out a knife on a train..
  21. HillBelly

    HillBelly Ultralighter

    I know what you mean, I used to hate it. I've had a pack on my lap before. Always a relief when I could give it a seat next to me :thumbsup:
  22. Bopdude

    Bopdude Section Hiker

    Wow, just priced it up for this weekend, leave Friday return Monday morning £50 return seat only, bargain though imho.
    oreocereus likes this.
  23. Henry

    Henry Ultralighter

    If anyone pulls a knife they can have my bag anyway!!
  24. Jamess

    Jamess Ultralighter

    Back on topic...

    For NW Scotland, Inverness is the hub from which all public transport starts - but services are infrequent - twice a week on some routes. That said, if you are a solo hiker, it is easy to grab a local bus out of Inverness and hitch to your destination.

    I discovered that one day when I turned up at the bus station without a ticket to be told that
    the Ullapool bus leaving in half an hour was full. I caught a local bus out of town and hitched and completed the 70 mile journey from Inverness before the national express coach.

    Shiny new cars tend to be hire cars full of tourists who won't stop but older cars driven by locals will stop as often as not, particularly in wilder areas. The drivers tend to have interesting lives too, so I've learned plenty about salmon farming, being a shepherd etc from the passenger seat.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2019
    oreocereus, tom and Taz38 like this.
  25. cathyjc

    cathyjc Thru Hiker

    I agree with the hitching bit. :thumbsup:

    But hearing the Ullapool bus can be "full" …. That's one I must remember and book in advance. Thanks.

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