Great things to see fromCoastliner busesYorkshire

From steam railways to rollercoasters, food festivals to forests, there really is something for everyone on the epic Coastliner bus journeys from Leeds and York to the seaside. The buses pass through York’s ancient walls and arrive eventually at the colourful beach huts of Whitby or Scarborough. In between, are pretty market towns, the rolling Yorkshire Wolds or dramatic moorland landscapes. The North York Moors National Park, which the bus crosses, has hundreds of square miles of heather and 26 miles of coast - no wonder the Coastliner 840 was recently voted Britain’s most scenic bus ride. Sit upstairs if you can for the best views.

  1. 5. Eden Camp

    Meanwhile, the 840 Coastliner (Britain’s most scenic route!) leaves Malton every couple of hours, heading over the moors towards Whitby. Just outside town, it stops by Eden Camp, which recreates wartime sights and sounds (and even smells) in a village of genuine Nissan huts, where Italian and German prisoners of war lived in the 1940s.

    • For history lovers, these atmospheric collections are unmissable: from grimmer memories of the Nazi threat and the terrors of the Blitz to the jollier sounds of the music hall or digging for victory in a wartime garden, there is lots to see at Eden Camp.
    • £1 off entry for visitors arriving by bus (ask the driver for a Transdev Treats voucher) and the Coastliner stops just outside!
  1. 6. Flamingo Land

    A very different kind of entertainment is on hand down the road in Kirby Misperton, where the bus makes a special detour. Flamingo Land, Yorkshire’s Theme Park, has a zoo in the huge grounds as well as scary rides and play areas. You can see the rollercoaster rising out of the trees as the bus approaches and the emus and alpacas in the field next to the bus stop.

    • There are experiences here to impress all ages: sea lion encounters and tractor rides, the sheer terror of the Cliffhanger or the splashy fun of the Lost River Ride.
    • Coastliner passengers get 15% off entry with a voucher from the driver and Flamingo Land is open daily from 10am to 5pm.
  1. 7. North York Moors Railway

    Soon afterwards, the bus stops in Pickering, where you can visit ruined Pickering Castle, just ten minutes’ stroll up Castlegate from where the bus stops. Do pop in, on the way, to the Peter and Paul church, with its fabulous medieval wall paintings.

    • Pickering is also one end of the North York Moors steam railway, which the bus route crosses again further on at Goathland station (see 9 below) and now runs all the way to Whitby (see 10). With thanks to Charlotte Graham and John Hunt for the photos.
    • Puffing its way across miles of dramatic moorland, the NYMR has year-round special events and is understandably popular with film and TV companies. Get 20% off with a voucher from the driver.
    • Pickering’s retro vibe continues in the nearby Beck Isle local history museum with its reconstructed Victorian shops.
  1. 8. Dalby Forest

    Five minutes later, the bus reaches stream-side Thornton-le-Dale, voted Yorkshire’s prettiest village back in the 1920s, when the “le” was added to the name to attract tourists. It still looks absolutely charming with its thatched cottages, vintage car museum and chocolate shop.

    • A lovely (if muddy) five-mile walk leads towards nearby Dalby Forest; along the way, the colours are spectacular in autumn and, in spring, there are banks of April bluebells and wood anemones by the becks that run through the woods, with occasional sprays of blossom overhead.
    • From Dalby Forest visitor centre, a country walk with great views back over the forest leads up through more woods to the Fox and Rabbit inn on the main road, where you can pick up bus 840 again.
  1. 9. The Hole of Horcum and Goathland

    The 840 bus drives on through its wildest section near the spectacular Hole of Horcum, where another, very different five-mile walk around the edge of the hole takes in craggy ravines and Bronze Age barrows.

    • The Hole of Horcum is a huge water-eroded hollow in the moors, where a giant seems to have scooped a 400-foot-deep cauldron, more than half a mile wide, out of the landscape. One of many local legends says this is exactly what happened: Wade the sea-giant was arguing with his wife, the story says, and grabbed a mighty fistful of earth to throw at her.
    • Fans of ITV’s Hearbeat will recognise the little village of Goathland, where the bus detours through grazing roadside sheep, after winding through the moors. Aidensfield Garage, with its blue wooden doors, looks very similar to its onscreen version. The familiar shops opposite sell all sort of Yorkshire goodies, from locally-brewed ale to ice cream. 
    • Goathland station also became Hogsmeade for the film of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001); Harry Potter, in JK Rowling’s books, arrives at an old-fashioned station on the steam-drawn Hogwarts Express. You can get on the North York Moors railway here too; it will be puffing through again from late March on its journey between Pickering and Whitby.
  1. 10. Whitby

    At the end of its epic route, the 840 bus arrives in the colourful seaside town of Whitby. The dramatic view of the jagged clifftop abbey inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The town’s creepy connections and abundance of the black gemstone jet have made it a magnet for goths: shops and streets are full of eyeliner, frilly cuffs and velvet. Late April sees the first of two annual Whitby Goth Weekends.

    • As nostalgic wafts of frying filter through the seaside beach huts, work up an appetite for the town’s famous fish and chips with a climb to the headland or a breezy boat trip round the harbour.
    • An old swing bridge over the River Esk links the two sides of town. Cross over and head up the 199 steps to the church and abbey at the top. Don’t rush past 11th-centry St Mary’s church in your rush to reach the abbey without at least a glance inside at the 18th-century box pews and galleries. Outside, look out for the tall sandstone Celtic cross in the corner of the churchyard, put there in 1898 in honour of the local Anglo-Saxon poet, Caedmon.
    • Whitby Abbey next door was the venue for a crucial synod in 664AD to set the date for Easter celebrations. The abbey’s elegant new £1.6 million visitor centre opened last April and explores various aspects of its history. Don’t miss the pond behind the abbey – perfect for atmospheric photos!
    • The abbey offers Coastliner passengers 10% off with a voucher and there’s 20% off at Whitby museum.
    • Taking the bus back to York across the moors at sunset has a particular romance.  The views are still breath-taking and the miles of heather turn golden in the evening light.

Look out for the Good Journey Mark – where car-free visitors are welcome and enjoy a discount

Visit car-free in 2020!