Ride These Vintage London Buses Over Salisbury Plain This August

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Ride These Vintage London Buses Over Salisbury Plain This August
You wait ages for one vintage Routemaster, and then 25 turn up at once . Image: Peter Hendy

What's that coming over the hill — is it a Routemaster, is it a Routemaster?

No — actually it's over 25 Routemasters. This is Imberbus — the annual parade of London buses from Warminster to Chitterne — via Salisbury Plain and a collection of bucolic villages, including Imber (hence the event's esoteric name).

Ohh, a green one. Image: Shutterstock

This uncanny sight comes with a backstory to match. Residents of the small village of Imber in Wiltshire were turfed out of their village by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in 1943 so the land could be used for military exercises. They were promised their village back at the end of the war. That never happened.

You may spot the odd modern Routemaster too. Image: Imberbus

Fast forward to a tipsy conversation in a Bath pub in 2009, a bit of schmoozing with the MoD's top brass, and the concept of Imberbus was born... Imber may not have any residents, but by heck, it was going to have a (once-annually) bus service.

You ain't seen nothing quite like Imberbus before. Image: Imberbus

It's grown into something of a cult event, some bus fanatics even coming from overseas.

In the pretty village of Chitterne. Image: Imberbus

How do you take part? All you need to do is get to Wiltshire on 17 August. The first buses run from Warminster at 9.45am, and the first buses in the other direction run from 11.04am. Buses then run throughout the day until late afternoon. There are various landmarks, events and refreshments to get stuck into along the way.

A shorter service runs on the Sunday (18 August) between Warminster and Imber only.

London's urban sprawl is getting ridiculous... Image: Imberbus

Day tickets for Imberbus are £10 (children ride for just £1 on top of this). This gives you unlimited rides (allowing you to try different buses, and stop off in various villages along the way). There's no need to book ahead. Get all the information you need on the Imberbus website.

Battle bus! Image: Imberbus

In the last couple of years, the event raised £22,000 for the Imber Church fund and the Royal British Legion. Which is almost as cool as the spectacle of a line of vintage buses roaring through a military training ground.

Last Updated 05 August 2019