Z-Wilts & Dorset Centenary

With just a few days to go before the Wilts & Dorset Centenary bus event in Salisbury on Sunday 14th June, here is the final update on what is promising to be an event well worth attending.

PosterThe event celebrates 100 years of Motor Bus operation in the City and the main feature will be a vintage bus running day of grand proportions, with approximately 50 buses and coaches of various ages providing free rides on 20 authentic bus routes around Salisbury and out to the surrounding towns and villages. Many of the vehicles will be similar (if not identical) to those that operated in Salisbury during the past 70 years and with up to 24 departures an hour an hour between 1000 and 1700, there should be plenty of opportunity to ride on the vehicles that interest you – click here to see a list of vehicles that will be in use.

The event will be centred on the Market Square in Salisbury which is in the middle of the City Centre. However this is not big enough to accommodate all of the 70 vehicles that are attending, so as some of you may not have visited Salisbury before, here is a guide on where to find everything and a map so that you can get your bearings:


The Market Place is in the middle of the above map and this is where you will find the static exhibits, including a display of many of the different types of vehicle in the present Go-South Coast fleet.

Birthday-bookNext to it on the right is the Guildhall Square, where there will be refreshments available plus numerous activities to keep the children amused. Trade and bus memorabilia stands will be located inside the Guildhall building itself, along with the stall selling the new book “A Century of Service” which charts the history of the company from its formation in 1915, to its recent re-incarnation as “Salisbury Reds” and contains many photographs not previously seen in print.

However main feature of the event will be the opportunity to ride on the free bus services. These will depart from two locations in the City Centre – stops L & M on Blue Boar Row (opposite the Market Place) and bus stops R & S which are behind the Market Place on the curiously named “New Canal” (the bus stops are marked with the blue “teardrop” symbols on the above map).

ProgrammeIf you want to know the times and routes of the buses or find out a little about their history, then you are recommended to buy a copy of the event programme from the Salisbury Reds stall in the Guildhall Square, or from one of the roving programme sellers. You can also buy these in advance from the Salisbury Reds Travel Centre on New Canal in the City Centre. Remember that all profits made by Salisbury Reds from the event are being donated to company’s charity of the year – the Stars Appeal.

When not in use, most of the vehicles that are operating the free services will be parked in or near the Coach Station that is on Millstream Approach towards the top of Castle Street (5 minutes walk north from bus stop H). This is next to the northern end of the main Central Car Park so if that is where you intend to park your car. you may want to call in to the coach park on your way to the Market Place – click here to see a map of the suggested walking route.

NOTE – the Coach Station is very close to the Salisbury Reds bus depot at the top of Castle Street. However the bus depot will NOT be open to the public so please do not try to go inside.


Because there is a one way system around the city centre, there is no single place where you can see every bus service, However most vehicles will have to pass through the junction of Castle Street, Minster Street and Blue Boar Row at some point, so the area opposite bus stop L may well be the best place to stand to see all the comings and goings.

IMG_6788On Sundays, ordinary bus services depart from bus stops A, B & C on Endless Street, bus stops M, N & O on Blue Boar Row and bus stops S & T on New Canal. This includes service R1 on which the company intends to use the two Scania double deckers that it has repainted into traditional liveries. One carries the red and silver colour scheme that was carried by buses in the 1930s, whilst the other is in 1940s red and cream and both are fitted internally with original moquette style seating and storyboards highlighting the company’s history.

Also look out for a line up of Wilts & Dorset buses through the ages, planned for 4pm in the Coach Station.


Light refreshments will be available in the Guildhall Square but if you fancy something more substantial, the Market Square is surrounded by various coffee shops and eateries, and there are others on the adjoining streets. There is also a Tesco store next to bus stop K on Castle Street and a branch of Sainsburys behind it (next to Central Car Park).


By special Feeder Bus – Free feeder bus services will operate to the event from Bristol, Bath, Basingstoke, Newbury, Stockbridge, Fareham, Blandford and Warminster – click here for details of times and booking details.

By ordinary bus and coach services – On Sundays the following bus and coach services operate to Salisbury from neighbouring towns (click on the route number to see the timetable):

By Train – Trains run to Salisbury station from London, Basingstoke, Andover, Portsmouth, Southampton, Bath, Bristol, South Wales, West Wiltshire, Exeter, Yeovil and Gillingham (in Dorset). On 14th June a special free shuttle service will run from Salisbury Station to the Market Place, departing at 0955, 1025, 1040, 1055, 1125, 1140, 1155, 1225 and 1240, and returning from the City Centre at regular intervals between 1455 and 1715.

By Car – If you are planning on travelling to Salisbury by car, parking is reasonably priced on Sundays in the main Central car park, which is easily accessible off the A36 (Churchill Way) – click here for a map or put SP1 3SL into your sat nav! The walking route from there to the Market Place can be found here.

However, as there is also a special “Magna Carta” event on at the Cathedral on the same day, Central car park could get a little busy during the afternoon, so you may prefer to park for free at the “Beehive” Park & Ride site on the A345 Amesbury Road, from where one of the free bus services will be running every 15 minutes from 0935 to 1720 (click here for location). Please note that the electronic signs as you approach the Beehive Park & Ride site may suggest that the car park is closed – don’t worry, the gates will be open and we will still pick you up if you park there !

If you are bringing a bus to Salisbury and have not told the organisers that you are coming, please email them straight away at wdcentenary2015@gmail.com because with so many vehicles participating, there is now no space for any vehicles that turn up unannounced.

We hope you will be able to join in this special event and if you need any further information about it, please feel free to send an email to wdcentenary2015@gmail.com . Please also keep an eye on the official Wilts & Dorset Centenary Facebook page as that will be the bus company’s main method of communicating information about the event beforehand.

Centenary banner