“We haven't owned a car for several years and although we sometimes hire one when on holiday, we usually rely on public transport. On our annual trip to Venice, for example, a car is of no use, and on the Italian lakes the public boats are a delightful way to get around. Last October we were in Nice and within minutes of leaving the airport the bus is taking you along the stunning Promenade des Anglais.
We've completed more than 20 home exchanges and we have not had a car once. In Barcelona, although the apartment was not in the swanky city centre, it was only a few minutes’ walk from the metro and in an area where the shops, bars and restaurants were much cheaper. In Switzerland Bea and Kas had left us the timetable for the yellow post bus. The first time we went to catch it we arrived about seven minutes before it was due. The locals all turned up about a minute prior to its arrival. The next day we allowed five minutes and by the end of the first week we too were reaching the bus stop with seconds to spare!
Although we've swapped to cities such as Oxford, Chester and Dublin where it's obviously easier to rely on public transport, it's possible to stay in quite rural locations and manage without a car. We have just returned from an exchange to Bridport in Dorset, my most favourite of English counties. The journey from Dorchester South Station to Bridport is best done on the top deck of a double decker bus. There is a section of countryside just east of Bridport that always makes my heart lift (even though I must have made that journey at least 30 times) where the fields roll away in sweeping folds down to the sea.
Bridport itself is a handsome market town with a good choice of shops, pubs, bars and restaurants, as well as a cinema and an arts centre with a theatre. From Bridport it is a level 40 minute walk (or a ten minute bus journey), mainly across fields, to the sea at West Bay. During our week we also took the bus to Lyme Regis, perhaps my favourite of all seaside resorts, with its pretty beach, quaint promenade, stunning Cobb and amazing giant fossils. In the other direction we took the fantastic X53 bus route to Weymouth. It's possible to alight at Abbotsbury to visit the swannery or the sub tropical gardens, but the highlight of this journey is the view of Chesil Beach.
With just a little bit of planning it's possible to see a whole host of places without using a car so perhaps it’s time to look at home exchange offers on the Home Base Holidays website with a fresh perspective.” - Sandra Newnham, (view Sandra’s home swap offer in London).
Editor’s Note: browse current home exchange offers for homes in locations where public transport makes a car unnecessary:
From ‘Additional Options’ tick ‘Car not needed’ from the drop-down list. The search results will automatically update on the right of your screen.