If you fancy spending an exceptionally surreal day taking trips through a military firing range in some old buses, then get ready to reserve a date in August.
ImberBus is a standard London bus route that happens to run on just one day a year and through the middle of the normally sealed-off 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 that is untouched by modern farmers and only occasionally smashed by the military testing their new artillery shells.
But mostly, it’s the fleet of old buses rumbling along rough roads to places that have strange names and 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.
Imberbus 2023 will be held on Saturday 19th August 2023 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.
Note, only the buses are allowed in – no one else is allowed in on this special car-free open day.
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, you pay on the day (cash preferred).
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, rather than buying a return from London to Warminster, it’s usually cheaper to buy a return to Salisbury and a 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.