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AlessandraZoe Mar 20th, 2019 03:41 PM

Seeking Devon/ Cornwall PlusBus Advice (We're Back. Again without a Car)
I have a zillion web links.
I have my Rail Passes.
Now I just need to have advice from experienced Rail Pass plus PlusBus users.

My husband and I are doing it again. We enjoyed our sojourn in Cornwall (see Cornwall Without a Car) last year so much that we lining up one week in Devon/Cornwall followed by equal time in Northern Ireland. And now that I know what we did NOT know last year, I will be having some questions, especially about the PlusBus system. Hence this query.

  • We are once again using a Senior South West Rail Pass, only the 8-consecutive days version. As I wrote last year, I felt I "failed" in a couple of places in my trip planning, namely on not knowing know how to make the best of llnking PlusBus passes with our rail passes. While we never felt our various bus costs were exorbitant, and while we twice bought all-day passes without any kind of rail pass linkage, I still thought I should have been more knowledgeable, especially since there's enough advertisement about linking the two. I swear every time I opened a local guide pamphlet, a PlusBus leaflet fell out.
  • So far, we're on a schedule for
    --three days in the Exeter, Devon area;
    --three days in the Falmouth, Cornwall area (Sea Shanty Festival, here we come!); and
    --two days in the Newquay area before we head to Belfast.
  • It's greatly possible we'll just use a FAL Mussel Visitor Pass during our time in Falmouth, so I'll first center on our time in Exeter and later on center on our time in Newquay.
PlusBus in Exeter?
--We'll probably get to Exeter in the early evening after landing at Heathrow, heading from Paddington in the afternoon and arriving via rail at Exeter St Davids. It's possible for us to get Bus 6 next door straight to our hotel, the Headweir Mill House. Or we can hoof it. I'm researching several restaurants near our hotel within five-10 minutes walking distance, so no other buses need to be involved unless we're on last legs. I'm thinking that we pay for the station to hotel bus and should not buy any kind of bus pass. Correct?

--The next day, we plan to tour the cathedral and the Royal Albert, plus try a Red Coats tour and explore the quay area. It's greatly possible we'd use some sort of transport, but I'm wondering if we'd use anything enough to make a pass worth it. Opinions?

--The third day, we're doing MY ancestors this time as opposed to last year's day with my husband's family. We're heading towards Honiton, a few other places near that--maybe even Broadhembury--Ottery St Mary, and perhaps Sidmouth.
I know I can take the train from Exeter St David's right to Honiton and literally walk to the church where my 2nd great grandmother and 2nd great grandfather were married.
After stopping at the nearby Lace Museum there, we will be taking various buses throughout the day from Honiton onwards, and I have no clue as to whether or not an Exeter or other PlusBus would be helpful. So here is where I need an experienced user to comment. An Exeter PlusBus is probably NOT going to work in the outskirts, right? Will any sort of pass help?
I'm going to save Newquay for later if that's OK. I figure this first stop is enough of a puzzle. It's perfectly fine if you all say, "Just skip it. No PlusBus for you!"


sofarsogood Mar 20th, 2019 11:52 PM

I think the combined train and Plus Bus ticket is more bother than it’s worth.


Most people buy tickets for local buses from the driver as and when needed (London excepted).

Devon County Council has details of buses in the county. Have a peruse through the network map to identify useful routes and timetables.

Then check with the bus operator, most likely Stagecoach for latest timetables.

Likewise, for Cornwall

AlessandraZoe Mar 21st, 2019 03:38 AM

Thanks for telling me you don't think it's worth the trouble, sofarsogood. That is helpful.

Again, the opinion and the experience is what I'm seeking. I had been feeling as though I missed some great fiscal opportunity last year that I just didn't see. As I explained in my post, we not only used bus services last year, we also bought all-day passes on a couple runs. I suspect we'll be doing the same this year at some point on the trip.

And again, while I thank you so much --and anyone else typing away right now--for taking the tedious time to post all the web links, unless it's a blog about a personal PlusBus experience, I don't need more web links. As I wrote in the very first sentence of this thread, "I have a zillion web links."

I already made a quite a spreadsheet* for point-to-point walking and rail/bus services and times last month using 2018 Summer Timetables, so that's done, and it can be updated once we arrive. Want to know what the walk is like from the Honiton Rail station to the former Independent Chapel (now the Honiton Evangelical Congregational Church)? 550m/ 0.4 miles/8 minutes. How far is it from there to the All Hallows Museum of Honiton (the Lace Museum)? 160m/ 0.1 mile/1 minute. Which bus company and bus number could I take to Ottery St Mary shortly after noon? Stagecoach South West Bus 4.

*My husband makes fun of me, but believe me, he'll be pulling out the spreadsheet on the road.

Again, thank you for chiming in on your opinion about its worth.

annhig Mar 27th, 2019 10:18 AM

Hi AlessandraZoe - do I see that you're coming to Falmouth for the Sea shanty Festival? [you do have your accommodation booked, don't you???]

Brilliant. You will love it. My son and the Shanty Group he sings with are regulars so I know it well.

Sadly I can't really help you with the bus pass dilemma but if there's anything else you want to know about Cornwall, just ask.

AlessandraZoe Mar 27th, 2019 02:05 PM

Oh Annhig, how kind of you! Your lovely offer reminds me that I should update my post...
We're not going to worry about any PlusBus stuff. My husband looked at my query and said, "Leave your efforts for where we find our next beer, not the price of our next bus".

Other updates:
  • Yep, Annhig, our accommodations are totally locked in. Again, there are SO many places I want to see in Cornwall, but my husband knows to just let me plan away, and then trims the schedule. He loves his 3-night stays, that's for sure.
  • I decided I really only had ONE problem day--our one day devoted to MY ancestry in the Honiton area. I've been working harder listing and plotting out all the churches of the baptisms, marriages, etc, on a little map around there. My husband took a look at it and said, "Easy. We're taking the train to Honiton, doing the first two easy visits on our feet, and then I'm calling a taxi." So that's done and dusted!
  • We'll leave it up to our feet and stamina if we go on to Sidmouth by bus from that area that day. It will be our third day on the ground, and that's when things tend to catch up with us.
Where research becomes such fun:
  • Jane Austen's novel Sense and Sensibility was set near Honiton area. I sure never knew that.
  • MC Beaton's Hannah Pym came to my attention because I was looking for literature based in Exeter. The first in the series was Emily Goes to Exeter. Within one week, I read the Hannah Pym entire series. They are like chocolates.
  • I never knew Charlotte M Yonge existed. Once a widely admired writer with books now buried in old attics because she became a little too fixed on religion and on accepting of male superiority even for Victorians, she nevertheless wrote a fictionalized description of the Devon lace industry that is regarded as rather accurate--The Clever Woman of the Family (1865). I don't know if I'm going to read her book, but I totally enjoyed this weblink
So I'm sorry if any of you were poised to help me, but I hope you will have as much fun as I have had doing some research on the area.

annhig Mar 28th, 2019 12:55 PM

Hi, AlessandraZoe, good idea not to stress too much about the bus pass - and by the looks of it you already know that there are boats in Falmouth to help you get around. My favourite excursion by boat is to get the ferry over to St Mawes and then the smaller ferry to Place, from where you can walk to the St Anthony's Head lighthouse, and back by the same route. An lovely alternative is again to get the ferry over to St Mawes, then walk to be beautiful St Just in Roseland church and back.

And if you are planning to go to Glendurgan [NT gardens on the Helford] I have an idea for a walk there too. or you may be intending to spend the whole 3 days at the Shanty Festival of course - you won't run out of Shanty groups to listen to!

[I have PM'd you].

PalenQ Mar 28th, 2019 03:15 PM

annhig - Is there much in Mousehole besides mouse holes?

annhig Mar 30th, 2019 11:25 AM

Pal - It's a very pretty little place with old fisherman's cottages set round the harbour and up the hillsides. It can get very busy in the summer season and over Christmas and New Year, but has a couple of exceptional restaurants and a nice pub that make the trip worthwhile.

AlessandraZoe Mar 31st, 2019 06:20 AM

Thanks Annhig. I think I shall start a new thread about Falmouth and the Sea Shanty Festival. I got seats months ago for the Main Concert on Saturday night for the Sea Shanty Festival, and thanks to our experience last year, I know we can roam if need be near the main stage near the Maritime Museum for most events. I truly appreciate how organized all the Falmouth folks are with guides and such.

We are staying at the OTHER end of town this time, The Greenbank, also booked months ago, so that we can do the ferries and buses from the Moor with ease. It was only when we took a bus from The Moor to Helford that we realized that we had really not explored the far end of town opposite St Mawes. And once I finished all my "Wycliffe" series books, I got ideas that we needed to do more in the area. Plus I feel as though I'm doing an homage to my deceased parents. They were musicians and they loved sailing. If I had their ashes, I'd strew them there (no, folks, I do not). As my husband says, any bar he visits is an homage to his father :)

My husband HATES ferries, but I can always set him on the task of a) doing our laundry up the hill at the Trelawny and b) doing Jacob's Ladder whilst I get to explore St Mawes if he proves to be resistant to a boat. I think I'll repeat this all in the next thread I post.

AlessandraZoe Mar 31st, 2019 06:48 AM

Pal--Mousehole is just darn cute. In the midst of all of Cornwall's influx of tourism is this tiny enchanting spot, a place that takes you back in time, that is totally NOT navigable by wheelchairs and just barely navigable by cars. And believe me, with another hip replacement in the offing, I felt both its pain and its charm. We ended up taking a bus there by whim, and we just climbed and climbed and climbed, ending up in delightful gardens and views. We had beer and ice cream waiting for us down below while we waited for our return bus. I loved watching the kiddies play in the water (totally algae-ridden at low tide) in the little harbour.

annhig Apr 1st, 2019 06:43 AM

oh the Greenbank - my favourite hotel in Falmouth. We had our 30th wedding anniversary do there and they threw in a night in an estuary view room with the deal. Lovely. It has a nice bar too as well as a lounge and dining room too. Strange you should mention ashes as we did just that with my husband Bill's ashes from the Town pier last year after one of our son's Shanty Group's sets. It was a beautiful evening and the water was completely still. It was surprisingly difficult!

I'm sure you'll find plenty to do and sending your DH up Jacob's Ladder would certainly keep him out of mischief for quite a long time. [and there's a nice pub at the top!]

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