The New Forest Tour Bus commences its summer long programme on Saturday 27 June, with a choice of three routes each offering spectacular views of the landscape of the National Park. As with 2014, the Green Route – visiting Exbury Gardens up to eight times a day – will provide a link to Southampton via the Hythe Ferry.
"We’re delighted to welcome the New Forest Tour again" said Exbury’s Marketing Manager Vicky Scott. "Passengers can alight at Exbury from 10.05am, with more call-ins at 11.05am, 12.20pm, 1.20pm, 2.35pm, 3.35pm, 4.50pm and a last pick-up at 5.50pm.
"There’s lots going on this summer and the Gardens are a delightful spot to spend some relaxing, quality time. Exbury has an exciting Children’s Play Area and Steam Railway, and a full programme of exhibitions in the Five Arrows Gallery, not forgetting our shady pathways, hydrangeas, riverside walk, Exotic Garden and herbaceous borders all waiting to be discovered.
"The link to Hythe and Southampton proved very popular last year – tour users purchasing a ticket in Southampton at the Hythe Ferry Town Quay Office can experience a free return crossing on the Hythe Ferry and also enjoy a ride on the famous Pier Railway, which is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest operating Pier Railway in the world. At Exbury, visitors arriving on the Tour are offered a 20% discount on admission to the Gardens. They can then enjoy a steam railway journey through the Summer Lane Garden – meaning that with Ferry, Pier Railway, Open-Top Bus and Steam Train there is a great combination of transport types to be enjoyed on a day’s outing. You can also add the possibilities offered by bike hire in the New Forest Villages, trailer rides in Burley or the monorail and Vintage Bus at Beaulieu. In fact there is so much to see and do in the Forest that we’d recommend tour users consider the two-day or five-day ticket options available" commented Vicky.
The three routes – clearly marked Green, Red and Blue – encompass the majority of the New Forest. The Green Route – visiting Exbury and linking to Hythe and Southampton – covers the south east of the Forest, also stopping at the popular centres of Lymington, Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst and Beaulieu. The Red Route visits the more open and less visited north of the Forest, calling at Sandy Balls Holiday Centre at Godshill, Ashurst, Lyndhurst, Burley, Ringwood and Fordingbridge, whilst also visiting The New Forest Wildlife Park and Longdown Activity Farm. The Blue Route visits the New Forest coastal villages of Keyhaven, Milford-on-Sea, New Milton, Bashley and Lymington amongst others. A tour ticket allows visitors to hop on and hop off as many times as they wish and to transfer between routes. A variety of discounts are offered to ticket holders in addition to the 20% saving offered at Exbuy. Ticket holders can also present their tour ticket and receive discounts provided by businesses taking part in the Brand New Forest Scheme.
The Tour is a unique way to discover the National Park and find out about the culture and history of the area. On board, visitors can listen to a GPS activated audio commentary, bringing to life the many characters of the Forest – including Exbury’s own Head Gardener, John Anderson, who can be heard describing his top tips for enjoying Exbury and the wider Forest. "It’s great that Exbury welcomes the Tour" said John. "It’s an important contributor to the local economy and also reduces traffic by encouraging people out of their cars and on to the hop-on hop-off bus routes. We are supporting many green initiatives at Exbury. Whilst the New Forest Tour is environmentally friendly it is also great fun and offers wonderful value-for-money".
Vicky Scott, Marketing Manager at Exbury added "The Tour has listened to visitor comments from the previous year which has resulted in operating improvements. A range of flexible ticket options is now available including a single day ticket (adult £15, concession £12, children 5-15 £8, a two-day (two days from 5) ticket valid on all routes (adult £20, concession £15, children 5-15 £10), a five day ticket (5 days from out of 14) (adults £30, concession £23, children 5-15 £15) and group tickets for up to five people of £36 a day. People will also be able to upgrade their ticket on the bus".
The New Forest Tour is a partnership between Bluestar, Wilts and Dorset and the New Forest National Park Authority.
The tour runs from 27 June to 13 September. Book your tickets and view the timetable online atwww.thenewforesttour.info