Tourists rush to abandoned UK village that only opens to public once a year

Staycationers are about to return to one of Britain's rare abandoned villages in open top red buses. You may never have heard that the UK has some small villages that are completely bereft of their residents, but it does.

In fact, the areas were once filled with Brits going about living their everyday lives. But, that all changed in the 1940s during wartime.

Imber in Wiltshire was emptied during the Second World War in 1943 and used to train Allied forces in preparation for D-Day. After the end of the war, the former locals were denied permission to return to the village on Salisbury Plain โ€“ and the British Army still train there to this day.

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Usually, that means that not only does nobody live in the village, but also that Brits can't just casually stroll up to them on a sunny weekend. You can't make your way to the village by car or on foot for most of the year.

But, once a year curious visitors are permitted to return โ€“ on an annual 'Imber Bus'. This year's bus will return on August 19 for one day, giving fascinated passengers and relatives of former residents the chance to explore the old, abandoned village.

The bus service began in 2009, picking up passengers in Warminster and running directly over military-owned roads to the site every fifteen minutes so history buffs can get their fill. Last year, around 2,000 people visited the village.

This year you can buy tickets for ยฃ10 per adult and ยฃ2 for children โ€“ so it's a fairly cheap day out for those looking to give their kids some history lessons through the school holidays. Funds from the visits are donated to support the village's abandoned church, St.Giles's Church, and the Royal British Legion so you're also paying towards a good cause.

Peter, Lord Hendy of Richmond Hill, and Imber in the County of Wiltshire, said: "For the fourteenth year we are welcoming passengers aboard one of the quirkiest bus services in the country โ€“ to see places they can't normally access from the luxury of buses old and new, at the bargain all-day fare of ยฃ10 adult and ยฃ2 child; all benefitting charity.

"Everyone's welcome; my colleagues and I are looking forward to seeing you on Saturday 19th August."

Imber isn't the only abandoned tourist attraction in the UK that was created during wartime. Gruinard Island sits 1km off the coast of Scotland near Laide and Ullapool and is totally uninhabited to this day. Itโ€™s visible from the mainland on a clear day, but holds a terrible past dating to World War II.

British military scientists began to test them on the island in 1942. This included the use of anthrax โ€“ a deadly bacterial infection which, when breathed in, eaten or absorbed through broken skin causes a range of devastating medical effects including huge sores.

The island was contaminated for a further 48 years before being declared safe and now some Brits can be taken on a short-lived tour. You can find out more about the dark history of the island on the tours.

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