By Parkdean Resorts on 04/07/2023
From the countryside to the coast, the UK is home to areas of stunning scenic views. With its value for money and access to off-the-beaten-path locations, there is no better way to experience the stunning sights of the UK than from a comfortable seat of a bus. With searches for ‘scenic bus’ up 25% over the last 12 months, people across Britain are wanting to see plentiful views of the nation by riding the bus, especially in summer, with the ‘coastal bus schedule’ searches also up 30% in the last 12 months.
Bus journeys are a really cost-effective way to explore the UK’s unspoilt beauty, and with many now offering coastal routes, it’s a trip that can easily be factored into beach days. Travelling this way can provide nostalgic family fun, and lets you explore quaint village towns, seaside shops and rugged cliff tops all tucked away from the hustle and bustle.
With this in mind, we at Parkdean Resorts have looked into the most scenic bus routes, including coastal, countryside and city routes in the UK. Using unique eye-tracking software, we asked 150 people to watch videos from 30 popular UK bus journeys. We then tracked how long people looked at each route and monitored when they couldn’t take their eyes off the screen, to see what the most scenic bus journeys are in the UK to ride this summer.
If you’re really wanting to make the most of the great British weather, you can also turn your bus journey into a beach holiday by the coast to take in more of the views, whilst soaking up the sun!
The UK’s top 10 most scenic bus journeys
|Rank||Route||Operator||Location||Type||Gaze Count||Fixation Count|
|1||Bowness to Grasmere Centre||599||Lake District||Countryside||1,250||116|
|2||Yarmouth to Ryde||Island Coaster||Isle of Wight||Coastal||1,189||109|
|3||Ashbourne to Buxton||442||Peak District||Coastal||1,189||109|
|4||Glasgow to Fort William||Citylink Bus||Scotland||Countryside||1,145||105|
|5||Lancaster to Keswick||555||Lake District||Countryside||1,148||105|
|6||King's Lynn to Fakenham||Coastliner 36||Norfolk||Coastal||1,118||103|
|7||Leeds & York to Whitby||840 Coastliner||Whitby||Coastal||1,064||98|
|8||Leeds to Ripon||36||North Yorkshire||Countryside||1,034||95|
|9||Eastbourne to Brighton||12A||Brighton||Coastal||1,034||95|
|10||Axminster to Weymouth||X53||Dorset||Coastal||1,004||92|
1. 599 - Bowness to Grasmere Centre, Lake District
The Lake District bus ride, (route 599) which takes you from Bowness to Grasmere centre, came out on top in our eye-tracking study, with a massive 1,250 gaze count and 116 fixation count. On this bus journey, you can expect to see scenic lake views on an open-top double-decker bus, passing through sights such as the Ambleside pier and Grasmere and River Rothay with stunning views of the lakes and mountains. The full bus journey is 109 minutes and if you want to explore the journey from start to finish, the tourist route day ride ticket is only £9, so it won't break the bank! You can also explore holiday parks in the Lake District if you're wanting to stay for longer than a day to explore all the Lake District has to offer!
2. Island Coaster Yarmouth to Ryde, Isle of Wight
The UK seems to love a coastal bus journey, with the Island Coaster, from Yarmouth to Ryde, ranking second in our study. The average price to ride this bus is only £5 with the full bus journey lasting 172 minutes. Data from our eye-tracking software showed that the UK gazed at this bus journey 1,189 times and had a fixation count of 109, proving to have eye-catching views through the duration of this coastal route, so why not make a trip to the Isle of Wight? This bus journey takes you through one of the most picturesque beaches in West Wight, Freshwater Bay. With stunning views that can’t be missed, this route also passes through the landmark attraction, Alum Bay.
3. 442 Ashbourne to Buxton, Peak District
Ranking third in our study using eye tracking software, was the 442 bus journey from Ashbourne to Buxton. Travelling through various villages and fields across the Peak District, including the village of Hartington, this bus route totals 80 minutes - giving riders plenty of time to take in the breathtaking views of the countryside. Our study showed that this bus journey had a gaze count of 1,153 and a fixation count of 106, showing that the countryside views are not to be missed. The 442 route is also dog-friendly, so you can take your pooch on a long walk around Buxton when you arrive.
4. Citylink Bus Glasgow to Fort William, Scotland
Another countryside bus route ranked in the top 5 in our study was the Citylink bus, going from Glasgow to Fort William. Ranking as the fourth most eye-catching route and offering views of the rugged Scottish countryside, it’s easy to see why it scored a 105 fixation count and a 1,145 gaze count. This bus journey is more on the pricey end of the scale, setting Brits back an average of £25, however, the full bus route is 191 minutes, so you can sit back and relax while taking in all the countryside has to offer, including great views of Glencoe Mountain, which you will pass on this bus route! You could also look at holidays in Scotland if you wanted to extend your stay after taking in the gorgeous views on this route.
5. 555 Lancaster to Keswick, Lake District
Rounding off the top five in our eye-tracking study, was the bus route 555 from Lancaster to Keswick in the Lake District. Brits gazed at this scenic bus route 1,148 times, proving the countryside is definitely a favourite when it comes to views! On this bus route to Keswick, you’ll pass through the Carnforth, Pine Lake so be sure to get your camera ready to snap a picture of the water. You’ll also pass through the sights of the Rydal Church and Milnthorope which is a stunning village capturing some gorgeous greenery for any nature lovers. The average ticket price for a ride on this bus will only set you back £2, so it’s definitely worth a ride this summer to explore the stunning sights of Keswick.
The best UK bus routes for those that love road trips
|Rank||Route||Operator||Location||Type||Ticket price (1 adult average)||Journey duration (full bus route) in minutes|
|1||Berwick-upon-Tweed to Newcastle||X18||Northumberland||Coastal||£8.50||232|
|2||Leeds & York to Whitby||840 Coastliner||Whitby||Coastal||£8||205|
|3||Glasgow to Fort William||Citylink Bus||Scotland||Countryside||£25||191|
|4||Lancaster to Keswick||555||Lake District||Countryside||£2||180|
|5||Glasgow to Oban||976||Scotland||Coastal||£12.80||140|
There’s nothing better than a long bus ride, so you can just sit back, relax and take in the amazing views, not to mention a stress-free journey compared to driving yourself! So here at Parkdean Resorts, we’ve also looked into the longest bus journeys in the UK for anyone who loves a long drive and scenic views.
Northumberland, Whitby and Scotland routes rank as the top 3 for road trip lovers!
Taking the top spot for the longest bus journey was the X18 which goes from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Newcastle. This bus journey passes through Belford, Bamburgh and Seahouses to name a few, with views of cobbles, castles, beaches and boats - this route takes around 232 minutes. So if you love long drives and scenic views of the coast, this bus journey is a must! You can even find a holiday park in Northumberland, so that after the long drive you can enjoy all the Northumberland coast has to offer, from catching the summer rays to long beach walks, you won't be disappointed.
Another coastal bus journey also ranked in the top three, with a duration time of 205 minutes. This was the 840 Coastliner which takes you from Leeds & York to Whitby via Pickering over the North York Moors. The scenery between Whitby and Malton is spectacular on this bus route, with unrivalled views all the way through, particularly after leaving Pickering. The average ticket price is only £8 for this bus route, all depending on where you get on and off, but it definitely won't break the bank if you fancy a scenic trip to Whitby to soak up the summer sunshine.
Rounding off the top 3 longest bus journeys in our study was the Glasgow to Fort Willams route, with a full bus duration of 191 minutes, perfect for anyone who loves a long drive with stunning views of the countryside, in particular Glencoe Mountain. With loads of holiday parks in Scotland to choose from, this trip is a must - with scenic views from the bus ride and a relaxing holiday to make the long drive worthwhile!
The 5 best coastal bus routes
|Rank||Route||Operator||Location||Gaze Count||Fixation Count|
|1||Ryde to Yarmouth||Island Coaster||Isle of Wight||1,189||109|
|2||King's Lynn to Wells||Coastliner 36||Norfolk||1,118||103|
|3||North York Moors to Whitby||840 Coastliner||Yorkshire||1,064||98|
|4||Eastbourne to Brighton||12A||Brighton||1,034||95|
|5||Axminster to Weymouth||Jurassic Coaster, X53||Dorset||1,004||92|
1. Island Coaster, Ryde, Isle of Wight
Featuring miles of stunning coastal scenes, The Island Coaster from Ryde to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight takes the top spot for the most eye-catching coastal bus route. According to the study, the gaze count is a huge 1,189 with a score of 109 on fixation counts - the highest score in the study from routes next to the sea, showing that people really couldn’t take their eyes off the water.
The Island Coaster takes passengers on an east-to-west coastline tour, offering breathtaking scenes as far as the eye can see. Travel from Ryde through to the most eastern part of the island, Bembridge and then down to Sandown. Journey through Ventnor, Whitwell and Chale before cruising to Alum Bay, which is known for its beautiful beach, and is only a stone’s throw away from Thorness Bay Holiday Park. We recommend taking a spot on the top deck and following the coastline from start to finish to really soak up the views.
2. Coastliner 36 King's Lynn to Wells, Norfolk
Next on the list and closely behind the Island Coaster is Norfolk’s Coastliner 36, scoring 1,189 on gaze and 109 on fixation counts. The route runs from King’s Lynn to Wells, offering exceptional views of the North Norfolk coast. The average ticket price for the full journey is £7.10 but the duration is over 2 hours, which is plenty of time to take in the views and explore everything coastal Norfolk has to offer. If you want to make the most of your time with a holiday in Norfolk, Heacham Bay Holiday Park is a great family-friendly option.
3. 840 Coastliner, Whitby, Yorkshire
Ranked in third place on the coastal bus journeys list is Whitby’s 840 Coastliner - this route also came second in our best bus journeys for road trip lovers - taking passengers on a stunning tour of Leeds, medieval market town, York and eventually docking at Whitby. The entire 3-and-a-half-hour journey costs around £8 and you’ll get to see unmatched sights like the Yorkshire Moors and East Yorkshire’s stunning coast. If you’re looking to make the most of the rural Yorkshire sea air, Cayton Bay is the perfect base for further exploration.
4. 12A, Eastbourne, Brighton
Venturing to the bohemian city of Brighton just got more scenic, with the 12A serving up breathtaking coastal views and stunning snippets of the picturesque town of Eastbourne. Coming in fourth place on the coastal routes, the 12A clocked up a healthy gaze count of 1,034 and a fixation count of 95. The average ticket price to soak up these beautiful scenes is £2.80 so it definitely won’t break the bank. If you plan on staying in the area, our holiday park at Camber Sands is one of the best parks for family adventures.
5. Jurassic Coaster, X53, Weymouth, Dorset
Last but not least in the best coastal bus journey list, is the X53 Jurassic Coaster from Axminster to Weymouth. This route gives you the best of both worlds - panoramic views of Dorset’s rolling countryside and snippets of its beautiful beaches from the open top. The gaze count on this journey was really close to the Eastbourne route at 1,004 with the fixation count being 92 - it’s clear to see this journey stuck in people’s minds. If you’re looking to explore the delights of the area, Sandford Holiday Park is nestled in Dorset’s woodland, perfect to teach the kids all about nature.
Are you ready to explore the unspoilt sights of the UK?
With our research showing that the UK loves the scenic and laidback views that come with travelling on buses, the country just became a more accessible family-friendly option. The most scenic location in the study, the Lake District, is home to some of the most stunning countryside the UK has to offer - a trip to one of our holiday parks here is the perfect place to explore every nook of the region.
We used eye-tracking software, Realeye, to compile the data. The study was sent out to 150 UK respondents in May 2023, where we asked them to watch 30 videos of popular UK bus journeys. The software tracked the total number of times respondents looked at the screen and recorded average times people looked for each location. It then looked at any points during the videos where the respondent's eyes were fixed on the screen. We then ranked each location based on respondents’ input to achieve the top 10 most scenic bus routes in the UK.