|New Forest Tour Bus in action|
The successful New Forest Tour has run for several years in the south and east of the Forest, taking in Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst, Beaulieu and Exbury.
A record 18,000 people climbed aboard the hop-on hop-off buses last year and now, following demand from customers, businesses and communities in the north and west of the Forest, an additional route will start this summer.
People taking the new circular tour route can visit Ringwood, Fordingbridge, Sandy Balls Holiday Centre, Ashurst, Lyndhurst and Burley.
The fascinating commentary along the way includes a history of the village of Burley – famed for its witches, natural history at Liberty’s Raptor and Reptile Centre, smuggling stories from the Ringwood area, World War II links, and asks: ‘Who fired the fatal arrow that killed King William II?’.
The new route has been made possible by a partnership between the New Forest National Park Authority, Wilts and Dorset and Sandy Balls Holiday Centre.
Chris Gregory, the National Park’s Transport and Tourism Officer, said: ‘This is a spectacular area of the National Park and from the open top deck you will get a view of the Forest like no other.
‘Using the tour to get around the National Park makes so much sense. You see more than you could in a car, and fewer cars in the National Park is better for everyone's enjoyment of this magical place.’
Brett Turner, Operations Director of Sandy Balls Holiday Centre, said: ‘We’re really pleased to be a part of this new route, which is a great new attraction for visitors and will be a real boost to businesses in the north and east of the Forest.’
Leon Wellman, Brand Manager at Wilts and Dorset, said: ‘The growth of the existing route has given us confidence to expand. We look forward to a successful season.’
The north/west route runs for six weeks from 23 July to 4 September, while the established south/east route has a longer season from 25 June to 18 September.
Also new for 2011 is a partnership between the New Forest Tour and the innovative ‘Brand New Forest’ campaign, backing local business. The popular Brand New Forest card will be included with every ticket transaction, giving New Forest Tour customers access to the full range of offers available at businesses along the route, including places to eat and drink, shops, and attractions.
For 2011 a range of flexible ticket options are being introduced to encourage customers to get more out of the New Forest Tour. These include a new two-day ticket which will be valid on both routes (Adult £12).
For more information on the New Forest Tour, including timetable, route map and advance ticket sales, please visit www.thenewforesttour.info
Recommended Reading: New Forest (Landmark Visitor Guide)