THE New Forest’s popular open-top bus tours are returning to service from Saturday.
The New Forest Tour, operated by Morebus and Bluestar in partnership with the national park authority, offers three circular routes taking in the highlights of the area so visitors can to leave their cars at home.
In line with government policy, passengers must wear face coverings unless they are medically exempt, and seating has been rearranged for social distancing. Drivers will be shielded behind protective screens with stringent cleaning routines in place.
In previous years the attraction has accommodated around 40,000 passengers, and demand is expected to be high this year.
NPA chief executive Alison Barnes said: “The tour brings in an estimated £500,000 to the visitor economy and promotes local attractions and businesses, which is much needed in the area at present.
“At this time it is crucial we support local businesses and that we are mindful of our impact on the unique and internationally important New Forest by asking people to plan their visit in advance and adhere to the New Forest Code.
“This way we can support Forest communities and help protect and conserve the precious landscape for generations to come.”
Tour tickets also act as Go New Forest Cards which can save visitors money on local attractions and businesses. The buses are adapted to accommodate up to four bicycles and wheelchairs, and dogs are welcome on board.
Morebus and Bluestar managing director Andrew Wickham said: “With this wonderful corner of the UK now emerging from lockdown, we are excited to be offering an incredible panoramic perspective of the New Forest’s many gems.”
All three routes – green, red and blue – will run to their normal timetables, with some minor exceptions. The green route will also travel via Applemore Tesco to allow for connections with Southampton’s Bluestar 8 and 9 bus services.
Tickets are available at www.thenewforesttour.info or from the driver.