The Kingsbridge Vintage Bus Days are held on the third Saturday in September.  Since the first event in 2008, TV&GWOT has welcomed visitors to travel authentic coastal and country routes by vintage bus through the beautiful and undulating South Hams.

The events are based at Kingsbridge Bus Station on the Quay at the head of the estuary.  This is right next to the farmers’ market at the hub of this vibrant town. 

The network of services has expanded as the event has grown over the years and routes around the South Hams now go as far as Kingston, West of the River Avon, North to South Brent (over narrow bridges taken by school buses), North East to Totnes (connecting with the mainline railway), South East to Start Point and South to East Prawle.  Other stunning locations include Salcombe, Hope Cove, the former Loddiswell Station, Slapton, South Pool, East Portlemouth, Thurlestone and more. Many of the rural routes are narrow and there is a particular focus on 7’6” wide vehicles which operated by necessity in the area. 

In 2022, 37 buses and coaches operated over 23 service routes and coach excursions ran to Blackpool Sands.  Over 6,100 passenger journeys were made in the course of the day (almost reaching pre-pandemic record levels) and there were 129 accompanying dog journeys.

In 2020, under COVID restrictions, the 13th Kingsbridge event was a socially distanced trip by FLF to Dartmouth with a cab’s eye view captured on film (see below). The traditional format for the vintage bus day with free passenger rides returned in 2021 but was smaller scale to ensure social distancing was achieved. The event celebrated the 60+1 year anniversary of the diminutive Bristol SU marque, so well suited to the South Hams terrain and was captured on film for those unable to attend (see below).

If this whets your appetite for the 2023 event scheduled for 16 September, further details can be found here.


Programmes are produced by TV&GWOT for each event.  Beyond a record of the vehicles in service and the routes for the running day, these programmes include newly researched articles on aspects of the local transport scene over the years, lavishly illustrated with old photographs and ephemera from the Trust’s Collection. 

Themes addressed in the pages of Kingsbridge Vintage Bus Day programmes to date are listed below:

2023 60 Years since the Brent-Kingsbridge Branch Line Closed The history of the Brent branch and ‘farewell special’ are described.  The line and rail-replacement bus service route are illustrated as re-created in the course of the vintage bus day.
  The History of Kingsbridge Bus Station The evolution of the Kingsbridge Quay and bus station is explained with photographs from across the decades adding further information to TV&GWOT’s permanent displays in the bus station, courtesy of the Town Council.
  Tally Ho! Coaches – Celebrating 100 years since its first steps It all began with the acquisition of a motor vehicle by Jimmy Clark, a small farm holder and rabbit trapper in 1923…..  The chronology shows the remarkable evolution to Tally Ho’s local services and international coaching holidays today.
2022 Anniversaries and Celebrations A focus on significant anniversaries including 90 years since the grand opening of Victoria Coach Station, the national hub for coaches bringing holiday makers to Devon ever since.
  Tally Ho! – The Bristol Years 1977-2006 A brief history of Tally Ho’s origins and the eclectic fleet of nearly 400 buses and coaches operated between 1960 and 2022 sets the scene for scrutiny of the 60 Bristol-manufactured vehicles.  The story is told across 23 pages using photographs from the archive.
2021 Short and Sweet: Bristol SUs in the West Country

An authoritative account of the manufacture of SUs 60 years on from their introduction detailing the nuances of different bus and coach variants and illustrating their significance in the West Country.

A companion article in To and fro’ 026 ‘Short & Sweet 2: Bristol SUs in the Thames Valley’ is available to Trust Supporters continuing the Diamond Jubilee celebration.
  An introduction to the new No. 164 bus service: Totnes-Kingsbridge-Salcombe With a new integrated transport operation introduced by Tally Ho Coaches with GWR and Devon County Council support in 2021, this account illustrates the trials and tribulations for previous services connecting the towns and villages across the South Hams’ terrain with mainline rail services. Illustrations from the origins in 1904, through the formation of the NOTC a century (+1 year) ago and on to the present day, reveal the changing local bus scene.
  Behind the scenes in TV&GWOT’s bus preservation A series of before and after illustrations of restored vehicles in the TV&GWOT Collection with accompany description of the range of work carried out.  Thames Valley LL 556 and the Final Push appeal is featured


2019 Centenaries and Major Anniversaries in Bus Travel

Marking 110 years of GWR Road Motors service Kingsbridge-Salcombe, along with the Kingsbridge-Dartmouth service centenary, and ‘National’ anniversaries in 1909, 1919, 1929 and 1969, all in the context of Kingsbridge 800 and other local anniversaries (23 pages).


Ferry Connections

Buses connecting to the (17) passenger and/or vehicle ferry services across the river estuaries from the Dart to the Tamar (23 pages).


South Hams Road Passenger Transport – The transition from horse power to the motor bus

The story of the faltering development of passenger transport services as recorded in contemporary newspapers 1904 to 1919 (17 pages).


Stagecoach Services in the South Hams

The early days of public transport in the South Hams when horse-drawn ‘stagecoaches’ linked Kingsbridge to the rest of the country (7 pages).

Coaching in South Devon by ‘Tim’

An article from 1892 illustrated by TVG&WOT describing a ‘coach-drive’ in Devonshire (6 pages).

The Great Blizzard of ’91

An 1891 account of the blizzard and consequences for travel on TV&GWOT’s running day routes (2 pages).


Fifty Years of Coach Tours in and around the South Hams

Coach tours from the 1920s to 1980s illustrated with photographs and tour leaflets (10 pages).

Tally Ho Coaches – the first 90 years

From origins as part-time rabbit carrier to prestige holiday travel – the Tally Ho story 1925-2015 (3 pages).

Tailpiece - All Change in South Devon

The transition to Stagecoach operations after 20 years of First in South Devon (2 pages).


Kingsbridge Quay and Bus Station

Images of bus fleets on the quay in the 1930s through to the modern bus station today (7 pages).

Railway Connections

Bus connections at Kingsbridge station until the Brent line closed in 1963 (3 pages).


Great Western Railway Connections

GWR Road Motors network development around Kingsbridge and other West Country rail hubs (4 pages).

35 Years of Kingsbridge Community Bus Services

Development of the Coleridge Community Bus Service and its fleet (5 pages).


A Guide to Today’s Routes and their Evolution

The development of the services, the vehicles operated and the sights to enjoy – updates, further routes and new illustrations (14 pages).


A Guide to Today’s Routes and their Evolution

The development of the services, the vehicles operated and the sights to enjoy (11 pages).


50 Years of the Bristol SU – Their halcyon days in Kingsbridge

How the Bristol SU dominated the Kingsbridge bus scene in the 1960s through to the WN depot closure in 1971 (6 pages).

What a Guy – 1927 GWR Guy FBB No. 1268 emerges from a 10-year restoration

The tale of the operation, survival and TV&GWOT’s restoration of this GWR Road Motor (4 pages).


A Brief History of Motor Bus Services in the Kingsbridge Area

Marking the centenary of the GWR Road Motors’ Kingsbridge-Salcombe service, illustrating the changing bus scene to the present day (9 pages).

Return of a Local Vehicle – Bristol H 137 (FJ8967)

The history of 1933 Bristol H 137, a South Devon based vehicle all its life, coinciding with its running day debut following TV&GWOT’s restoration (4 pages).


While stocks remain, past event programmes are available to purchase at discounted prices.

  TV&GWOT’s Blog also has an account of the 201420152016 and 2017 Kingsbridge events  

The Gallery below shows examples of the vehicles and scenery to be enjoyed at Kingsbridge:

Buses from across the decades take part in the running day. © Colin Billington Bristol SU buses and coaches are particularly well suited to the South Hams and appear frequently. © Colin Billington Plenty of capacity on double-deck routes. © Graham / Plymothian Transit
In 2021, 60 years of the SU were celebrated with a rolling display outside the former WN depot. © David Sheppard The new Tally Ho service linking GWR rail in Totnes with rural and coastal towns Kingsbridge and Salcombe © Colin Billington History rolls on so newly restored 1994 Merc. 811D (WN No. 357) was a welcome new entrant in 2021 on the new 164 service in Totnes. © Luke Farley
FJ8967 (137) in Kingsbridge Bus Station. © Colin Billington 286KTA (1234) at Soar. © Colin Billington NAE3 (2467) rests at South Pool. © Len Wright
FTT704 (353) traversing the spectacular Slapton causeway. © Allan MacFarlane JUO983 (1218) climbs up through Kingsbridge en route to California Cross and Modbury. FJ8967 (137) at Inner Hope. © Colin Billington
DOD518 (333) a Kingsbridge stalwart makes its annual pilgrimage through South Pool. © Allan MacFarlane LTA772 (1613) is convincing as the service bus in Modbury. © Allan MacFarlane 468FTT (1969) stops at Torcross for passengers to disembark and take photos. © Tim Stubbs
Excursion to Dartmouth – one for organisers and volunteers to savour. © Ken Jones The 2017 Dartmoor tour was very much a 7’6” vehicle event. © Colin Billington Hospitality for travellers at Loddiswell Station. © Richard Curzon

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