Does Dorset boast the UK’s prettiest bus route – a bus route with sea, sand and some of the most beautiful landscape you will find anywhere in the British Isles? To help answer the question, we were invited onboard the all-new open-top Purbeck Breezer to sample the delights of our local area from on-high. The Breezers are part of a new £2.4m investment by local bus operator morebus designed to raise the standards for visitors and locals alike.
We were joined on our special Route 50 bus service by others from local businesses, morebus management and our celebratory driver for the day: Wave 105’s DJ Rick Jackson.
It was a muggy early summers day when we started our journey at the bus stop just before the sandbanks chain-ferry. Humidity was high and the morning sea mist which had been clinging to the coast line for most of the morning was just dissipating as the heat of the sun started to break through. There, gleaming by the side of the harbour with it’s shiny new livery, was one of the new bespoke purpose-built buses designed specifically for this and their other Purbeck Breezer Routes.
morebus’ requirements for this bus were quite specific and meant that the usual bus manufacturers were unable to build them. In the end the company turned to an Egyptian company who were able to build in every detail that morebus needed. It’s the extras that you and I don’t see that make these buses a little different: From the top-rated Euro engine offering reduced emissions, through to a special hydraulic lifting system that helps the buses get on and off the chain ferry without grounding themselves. Thought has also gone into the colour scheme with the bus livery boasting a combination of nature’s most vivid blues and greens to reflect the colour of the local area.
The route 50 journeys from Bournemouth through to Swanage via the chain ferry which is where arguably the beauty of this outstanding coastline comes into its own. Sat enjoying the breeze on the upper deck meant we could not only appreciate the view better, but also smell the view too! The coastal air around you almost gives another dimension to the bus journey.
As the bus leaves the ferry and starts its drive along the natural beauty of Studland and Shell bay, to our left the golden sands stretch into the distance where the sand-dunes and protected heathlands start, whereas to our right we were treated to the uninterrupted view of the magnificent Poole Harbour.
Delicious Purbeck Ice Cream was then served by our morebus ‘hostess’, though I am assured not every journey gets to enjoy this delightful treat. There are plans to surprise passengers on random routes and days throughout the summer though so readers venturing onto the buses might want to keep their eyes pealed! The wild heathland that surrounded us soon begins to transform into a pretty tree-lined route with Rhododendron bushes just beginning to bloom. As we start to climb upwards, Old Harry comes into view and then like a series of paintings in an art gallery this view itself then transforms into the sweeping green fields of the Purbecks.
It’s not long before we arrive in the seaside town of Swanage, a small town tucked in the bay between the Studland nature reserve which we have just travelled though, and the Durlston National Nature reserve which again can be easily reached via the morebus Purbeck Breezer.
Swanage has retained many of its old charms and is often the starting or ending point for many local walks and cycle rides. A walk through the town will almost certainly lead you to a quaint little tea room with many little gift shops to browse on the way. Also in Swanage you will find the Swanage Railway which takes travellers back in time with mostly steam, but occasionally diesel locomotives making the journey from Swanage to Norden.
For us though it’s a quick turnaround as we begin our trip back to Poole, and then back to work. We discussed on our way back how lucky we are to have all this beauty so close to the hustle and bustle of the Bournemouth conurbation. For me I have not been to Swanage in years so it bought back happy memories. For Jason, the IMS Group Director, who travelled with me, it was the first time in ages he’d been on an open-top bus but it was definitely a trip he will be making with his young family in the summer.
We travelled the route 50 Purbeck Breezer by morebus who also offer other routes across the Purbecks, these include:
- Route 30 Swanage to Dorchester via Lulworth Cover and Wareham
- Route 40 Poole, Wareham and Swanage
- Route 50 Bournemouth, Sandbanks, Studland and Swanage
- Route 60 Poole, Lilliput, Canford Cliffs and Sandbanks