Once a year, a fleet of old London buses are allowed into military lands to take trips to an empty village where no one lives. It is of course, therefore hugely popular.
This is the bus route through the middle of the Salisbury Plain to the abandoned village of Imber – the ImberBus.
After the hell year we’ve all had, this will be the perfect tonic to shake off the cobwebs and get out into the countryside.
There are only a few days each year on which the road to Imber is open to the public and so this year the Imberbus service will operate on: Saturday 21st August 2021.
You can look at it as a chance to ride on buses to an abandoned village, but that is almost to belittle the totality of the day out – riding through an empty landscape where trees have replaced tower blocks, where burnt-out tanks are more common than taxis, where a church in the middle of nowhere will serve you a cup of tea.
It’s a surreal experience.
There will be around 20 London Transport Routemaster buses (including a few new ones) providing a bus service from Warminster Station to Imber and onward to other isolated locations on the Salisbury Plain with some of the weirdest bus stop names you will ever see.
This year is also slightly different, as the military usually let private motor vehicles drive around as well, but this year, only buses will be allowed into Salisbury Plain.
You could say that it’ll be the first to have a car-free day in a place where no-one lives.
(was going to happen last year, but well, you know what happened and everything was cancelled)
As the buses will be operating an ordinary bus service, there is no need for passengers to book in advance – just turn up and pay the conductor on the bus.
To get there, if going by train from London, depart from from Waterloo to Warminster via Salisbury. As a tip splitting the ticket at Salisbury is often a lot cheaper than buying a direct ticket. If you prefer, then a couple of years back, UK Railtours ran a special from London, so keep an eye out to see if they repeat that this year.