Three new bus routes announced to support rural tourism

Press Release: 20/07/2015

Bus Routes

Hampshire County Council in partnership with the South Downs National Park has developed three new rural bus routes to support tourism in the South Downs National Park this summer.

The three routes were created in consultation with Winchester City Council, East Hampshire District Council and the East Hampshire Railway Partnership and will ferry visitors from Winchester and Petersfield to tourist attractions including Winchester Science Centre, Marwell Zoo, Hinton Ampner, Jane Austen’s House Museum and a string of rural pubs en route.

The South Downs Rambler service links Winchester Railway Station and the Broadway to Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium, Cheesefoot Head, Old Winchester Hill, Hinton Ampner House and Petersfield Railway Station until 31 August.

The Weekender service, which also runs throughout July and August, runs on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays and loops from Petersfield, Liss and Alton railway stations to Uppark House, Gilbert White’s Museum and Jane Austen’s House Museum.

An additional ‘M3’ Stagecoach service from the centre of Winchester to Winchester Science Centre and Marwell Zoo, also funded by the Hampshire County Council, will run on Wednesdays throughout the holidays and on Saturdays until 26 September – travellers who pay the fare will receive a 10% discount on entry to the zoo.

Allison Thorpe, Strategy Lead for Access and Recreation at the South Downs National Park, said:

The South Downs has so much to offer – glorious landscapes, wildlife and history. But if you’re focusing on traffic to get to the attractions you’ll miss the spectacular views. Last year we had a good response to additional weekend services – even receiving thank you letters from residents previously cut off without public transport for one day every week. This year we’re going to be encouraging more visitors and tourists to get on board with leaving their cars behind.

It’s really important that people keep using the buses because, in the longer-term, both bus companies and community bus groups can only run services that are profitable.”

Cllr James Byrnes, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for the Local Economy and Tourism, added:

Winchester City Council’s five-year Destination Management Plan for the area cites a request to create more frequent public transport links to rural areas and the South Downs National Park and the Visit Winchester team have committed to addressing this in the action plan.

We were delighted to be approached by the South Downs team and, working together with colleagues in East Hampshire, we’ve influenced the routes in order to support our tourism businesses and offer visitors to the city centre a sustainable transport option that is also a relaxing way to see the beautiful countryside on our doorstep. This is a good example of organisations working in partnership to make thing happen and make a difference to businesses, locals and visitors at a key time for tourism.

The extended services have been made possible thanks to Two National Parks LSTF, a project to improve public transport for residents and visitors to the South Downs National Park and New Forest National Park.

Download the routes from or call
Winchester Tourist Information Centre for more information, opening hours: May to September
Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm., Sundays and Bank Holidays 11am to 4pm
01962 840 500.