Open Top Bus Sightseeing Tour Devon and Dorset
Living in a touristy part of the country, I feel that the best policy is to embrace the summer season and everything it has to offer. Yes at times it’s crazy busy and sometimes takes more than five minutes to pull out onto the A35! However I know how lucky I am to live in East Devon and remain determined not to take it for granted.
So on a rather dreary July afternoon I took my visiting sister-in-law, niece, nephew and our dog (pooches welcome) to gain a new viewpoint on East Devon and West Dorset on the Jurassic Mule vintage bus open top sightseeing tour.
We choose to start our trip in Seaton and make it an outing to Lyme Regis – a great way to enjoy Lyme without the worry of parking. We were welcomed by the driver and the trip was aboard Frankie the bus.
The children were very excited and had never been on an open top bus before so of course we headed straight upstairs for the best views.
Off we trundled along Seaton seafront.
Our Journey on Frankie the Bus
Frankie is one of the small fleet of vintage buses being used on this route by Mendip Mule. The journey was sedate. Along the estuary at Axmouth and up over the hill towards Rousden with a stop at the Town Mill Bakery (a tempting diversion, maybe next time)!
At this point I was beginning to wish I hadn’t so optimistically left my jacket in the car – the sea mist was swirling all around and the temperature had dropped 5 degrees!
Before the kids could fuss to much we descended out of the mist into Lyme Regis where the bus dropped off outside the supermarkets. We stayed on board but the children headed downstairs while is I snapped this great view of Broad Street.
Fabulous Sea Views
Off we set towards Charmouth and there were more lovely views across the bay. When another bus passed us I felt the need to hold my breath as we negotiated the narrow streets round the Guildhall and the Tourist Information Centre in Lyme Regis. The route then took us through Charmouth where we had a short stop at Newlands Holiday Park before heading back again.
Beach time and Chips!
There was the hope of some blue sky and it certainly was warmer. The timetable gave us two hours in Lyme Regis before the last bus back. We set off for some beach time which the kids were desperate for.
We also enjoyed a visit to see the Life Boat and gave the dog a chance to have a much needed run on Monmouth Beach. Back to the main beach for chips and a play in the sand before heading back to the bus. Perfect timing.
The mist had cleared and we had some lovely views on the way back to Seaton. The children enjoyed seeing the cows and “sheeps” in the field from their high viewpoint on top deck.
The bus also goes to Beer. As it’s a hop on / hop off service if you start early you could really make a lovely day of it exploring the towns car free. In Seaton the bus stop is right by Seaton Jurassic and the Tramway which are both great places to visit. Or walk up to new play park or even Seaton Wetlands.
We cheerily said farewell to our David our driver and Frankie the bus. What a great afternoon out. If you are visiting the area, live here or have people staying then I can really recommend the Jurassic Mule as a lovely way to get around and see the coast from a different view point.
Check out their website for timetable information and prices. The buses run from the end of May to the end of September.
If you are in any doubt about the services running due to the weather then keep an eye on the Mendip Mule Facebook page for information. Also being old buses they are prone to having the odd poorly day so services may be rescheduled. You can also hire these fabulous buses for private hire for special occasions.
Well done to Derek and his team for persevering with this service and keeping these great buses on the road.
If you want to avoid the parking in Lyme Regis this is a great option. Take a look at my guide to What’s on in Lyme Regis and East Devon over the summer to see what events you can go to. There will also be some special services so look out for those.
Disclaimer – we were given complimentary tickets for this trip. All views are my own and are a true reflection of our experience.