If you fancy spending an exceptionally surreal day taking trips through a military firing range in some old buses, prepare to reserve a date in August.

ImberBus is a standard London bus route that runs on just one day a year and through the sealed-off military lands at Salisbury Plain, past burnt-out tanks and military bases to an abandoned medieval church in the middle of a military training village.

Which is pretty interesting when you think about it.

The buses also ride all over the place, through deep valleys and up steep hills in a landscape untouched by modern farmers and occasionally smashed to smithereens by the military testing their new artillery shells.

But mostly, it’s the fleet of old buses rumbling along rough roads to places with strange names, a bus stop, and often very little else. Tea and coffee are served in the old church, and the pubs and small cafes around the edges of the military lands will open up for the buses that ply the wider area.

Imber Bus will return on Saturday 17th August 2024 when around 25 old and new Routemaster buses (plus a few guest vehicles) will operate from Warminster to Imber and other points on Salisbury Plain.

The buses will leave from just outside Warminster railway station roughly every 15 minutes throughout the day, heading to Imber, then splitting off to the four corners of the firing range. If you want to plan an itinerary or have a specific place you want to visit, the full timetable will be published on the ImberBus website closer to the date.

There’s a standard all-day rover fare (price to be confirmed, was £10 in the past), which gets you unlimited travel on all routes for the whole day. You don’t book in advance, as you pay on the day (cash preferred).

The fares go to charity, and in 2023, they raised a record £38,000 for local organisations, including the desolate church.

If you’ve never been to ImberBus, it’s one of the most delightful days out you will ever have.

Getting to ImberBus

If using public transport, the best way is to catch a train from Waterloo station to Warminster via Salisbury, and the buses will regularly depart from outside Warminster station.

However, as you’ll need to change trains at Salisbury station, rather than buying a return from London to Warminster, it’s usually cheaper to buy a return to Salisbury and a separate return from Salisbury to Warminster, as splitting the tickets saves money.

Also, if you add on a Network Railcard, that saves a third off the fare on the London to Salisbury leg, so it’s even cheaper.


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