Mam Tor

Five public transport-accessible destinations in National Parks

Travelling by public transport is a great way to explore our National Parks. It offers greater flexibility, helps reduce congestion in busy spots and is better for the landscapes and our environment. Most places and activities can be reached without a car, from hill walking in our upland Parks to water sports and sight-seeing on the South coast. Here are five suggestions to get you started: 

For cultural heritage

Blaenavon World Heritage Site, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park

Blaenavon World Heritage Site is an industrial landscape of important mining and ironwork heritage, much of which sits within Bannau Brycheiniog. Blaenavon town is accessible via a regular bus service from Newport, which is served by regular trains from across Wales, Manchester and the south of England. Sights in the heritage site include museums, the Blaenavon Heritage Railway and the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal. 

For hiking

Mam Tor, Peak District National Park

For a rewarding walk straight off the bus, Mam Tor in the Peak District National Park is a good option. With year-round bus services to Castleton from Sheffield, you can be taking in the sweeping valley views from the summit in as little as 1 ½ hours from leaving the city. Longer circular routes offer more challenging hikes that take in more of the surrounding agricultural landscape. The views from the summit include the impressive winding Winnats Pass whilst Castleton village itself offers an array or heritage and nature attractions. 

On the water

Oulton Broad, The Broads

Accessible by both bus and train from Norwich, Oulton Broad often called ‘The Gateway to the Broads’ is a popular destination for a range of activities. As well as opportunities for boating and an array of water sports, Lowescroft offers access to the nearby Carlton and Oulton Marshes for wildlife spotting. An ideal habitat for wintering wildfowl and nesting birds including marsh harrier, the reserve is also home to many insects such as the rare fen raft spider and dragonflies- 28 species of which have been recorded there. 

Much of the rest of The Broads can be accessed via Norwich, which is a regular train journey away from London or Peterborough. 

See the coast

Eastbourne, South Downs National Park

Eastbourne is a coastal town at the end of the South Downs Way. A short train or bus ride from London, the town is a traditional seaside destination that benefits from access to a variety of costal and seafront walks, nearby forests and Seven Sisters Country Park. 

The South Downs Way can also be walked from Eastbourne, or in sections using the South Downs Rambler bus route that follows the route from Petersfield to Winchester during the summer season.  

Train to trail

Haydon bridge, Northumberland National Park

Close to more popular destinations in Northumberland National Park like Haltwhistle and Hexham, Haydon Bridge sits at the start of many trails within the Park and the nearby North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It can be reached via regular trains from Newcastle and Carlisle. Trails that start in Haydon Bridge include ‘Isaac Holden’s Tea Trail’ around the North Pennines, the long but relatively flat Haydon Bridge to Hexham route, and shorter walks to nature and heritage sites in and around the town including Housesteads Roman Fort.