The Plentiful Delights of the 515/515A Bus

Hi,

On Sunday now runs as 515 through Thames Ditton and NOT Hampton Court. Hmph.

Monday to Saturday the 515 bus, run by Abellio, wends its way hourly from Guildford to Kingston Upon Thames and vice versa, passing a lot of sightseeing attractions along the route. The downside is that it takes a few detours to commuter train stations, and takes 90 minutes to complete the whole journey. Wisley RHS gardens and Claremont Gardens are visited before the various rail orientated diversions, Wisley is a short walk from the A3 bus stop and Claremont has a bus stop by the entrance in both directions, ask the driver to notify you of the stops. Wisley is 30 minutes and Claremont 40 minutes from Guildford. Dependent on traffic (A3) and off peak travel, these times are approximate, of course. Check before travel of any traffic problems and bus timetable changes.

Surrey County Council has an excellent bus timetable section on their website;

http://new.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/buses-and-trains/bus-timetables/guildford,-godalming-and-haslemere-bus-timetables

Abellio offer a ‘Discovery Ticket’ for off-peak travel in Surrey, Sussex and East Hants, in conjunction with other operators, very handy if not living in Guildford or along the route;

http://www.abellio.co.uk/abellio-surrey/tickets-fares/fares-and-tickets/discovery-ticket/

Wisley;

https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisley/plan-your-visit/how-to-get-here

https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisleyWisley 1 Wisley 2 Wisley 3IMG_20150718_125718433 IMG_20150718_130049571 IMG_20150718_131132027Claremont owned by the National Trust, the large pictures above.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/claremont-landscape-garden/

As usual, I advise purchasing the National Trust annual membership. Great value for individuals, fantastic value for couples.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/membership/

Near Claremont is Painshill Park which is very near Cobham, find out when the grotto is open it has limited opening hours and is well worth the effort.

Painshill Grottohttp://www.painshill.co.uk/visit-painshill/getting-to-painshill/

http://www.painshill.co.uk/visit-painshill/

Painshill4Painshill2 On a Sunday only, the 515A bus stops near Hampton Court Palace. There are also river trips to Kingston and Richmond from here, the Turk launches website has more information. I don’t know why the 515 becomes 515A on a Sunday, seems a bit unnecessary to me. The journey is scheduled to take 45-55 minutes from Guildford, depending on time of travel. Use the link for Surrey bus timetables above.

http://www.turks.co.uk/

Turk2 Turk1Save money on admission to Hampton Court if you have a Tesco Clubcard, use Clubcard vouchers to save on admission. I know, there is no photo of the maze. Personally, I don’t see why people get so excited by a large hedge. The most famous hedge in England maybe, but still a hedge all the same.

http://www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace/

HC2 HC1 HC3 HC4If the places above have been visited, then I offer another architectural gem, Ham House. This is another National Trust managed property, annual membership available. (I know, don’t he go on and on about the National Trust, shut uuuuup!) This is another bus ride from Kingston Cromwell Road Bus Station on the 371 and ten minute walk to the house. Details from the Transport for London website. The Discovery Bus Ticket will NOT be valid for this journey.  Enter Cromwell Road, Kingston for departure point and Ham House for the destination.

https://tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey/

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ham-house/

IMG_20150628_123244662 IMG_20150628_122715642 IMG_20150628_132319494 IMG_20150628_124106243There are alternative routes from Kingston or Richmond, if you prefer to travel by rail.

Kingston;

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ham-house/things-to-see-and-do/view-page/item578227/

Richmond

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ham-house/visitor-information/article-1356404202525/

And a walk from Richmond to Hampton Court too.

http://www.thames-path.org.uk/thames_richmond_hampton_court.html

Travel tips.

It’s been so long since I did a ‘proper’ post, that I have forgotten what tips I passed on. At the risk of being called lazy and incompetent, (Guilty as charged, your honour) I shall steer my readers to the wonderful website of Martin Lewis and his ’50 oversea travel tips’ post,

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/travel-tips

And Another Thing…..  New readers will be unaware of this section (lucky you!). This is my chance to rant, rave and generally come across as a miserable old so and so. All true, probably.

My bus travel experience has been ‘interesting’ lately. From late bus arrivals of up to an hour, to a couple of busses that failed to show up. It has shown me how old and decrepit the bus service has been become. Not the fault of the drivers, who try so hard to provide a decent service, despite the limitations of the vehicles they drive. The laughable state of some the bus services have made me bloody annoyed, examples are; Rain leaking in the roof a double decker, the floor awash with water that eventually found the lower deck occupants as well. The rear suspension completely gone on another, so it felt like landing on an anvil with every bump. It certainly sounded like an anvil and my back is still not talking to me for it. The heating jammed on on a very hot day, a personal sauna was just what I needed, thanks Stagecoach. And to the people who open every window on a 10 degrees C day, you are mad. ”It’s fresh air innit?”, they say  No, it’s a mixture of unleaded, diesel and other pollutants, you are a bufoon if you think it’s healthy, I wish to shout back. It is my favourite target, the Governments fault, of course. Use public transport instead of a car they say. Then the funding is cut and the bus service gets worse, then the fares go up because less people use the bus. This then continues in a non stop vicious circle, until the bus service is proclaimed no longer viable. From people who don’t care, because they get a big car and superannuated pension funded by us mugs. Fund a proper integrated rail and bus service, get off your lazy Government backsides and lead by example and use it. I can recommend the ‘Victor Meldrew’ stress relief moaning post, marvellous.

In conclusion, the bus has it’s faults. But when it arrives and on time, it can be a convivial way of travelling to places that are not served by the rail network. As ever, research tickets and times before you travel. The bus service in Surrey can be really frustrating, but there is no alternative for those of us who don’t drive. And I refuse to pay sky high rail fares when I can travel for free. I would not be able to cope without my bus pass, so I for one am thankful  there is still a Surrey bus service and onwards beyond.

Thanks for reading,

Mark G

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