Do you a car in Bristol?

Should you rent a car in Bristol UK > Bristol

Bristol Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Why should you rent a car in Bristol?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Bristol?

Bristol Car hire summary

Overall drive rating



Cheapest rate for one week




How much should I expect to pay in the peak season?





Free parking score

Total 128 - of which 58 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • A hire car will give you access to visit many more places in South West England. If you are flying in for a slightly longer break, then Bristol’s network of flight routes makes it the best arrival point for exploring Devon and Cornwall, as well as nearby Avon and Somerset.
  • Public transport to and from Bristol airport really isn’t that great — apart from the half hourly express bus service to Bristol city centre, and a link with Weston-super-Mare, very few other public transport options are available. To get anywhere else, you will need to connect via Bristol Temple Meads station, or Bristol bus station first. There is no direct coach link from Bristol airport to Bath.
  • Getting from Bristol airport to Cardiff by public transport is a nuisance, and there is no view to appreciate if you take the train through the Severn Tunnel. You can enjoy a much more dramatic view from either of the Severn Road Bridges. Note — if you are doing a driving tour into South Wales from Bristol, you can avoid paying the toll by driving out through Ross on Wye, and back over the Severn Bridges, as it is free to travel from Wales back into England — of course, we don’t recommend this diversion just to avoid the toll fee, but if you are heading in this direction anyway, this is the best way to go.
  • A car will make it much easier to enjoy nearby Cheddar Caves and Gorge and Wookey Hole Caves.

Why not? Visiting Bristol without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Bristol public transport quick facts

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Water travel score


Overall public transport score


Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)


  • Bristol was rated by Dorling Kindersley as one of the world’s top 10 city to visit in 2009 — so there is plenty to see in the city itself, without needing to venture out much further.
  • Bristol is a superb city to walk around, there is no need to even use buses to enjoy most of what the city has to offer.
  • Our top recommendation would be to walk out to Brunel’s Clifton suspension Bridge, and enjoy the stunning views this affords. Although you can drive across the bridge, you can appreciate it much more (and avoid the toll of course) by walking across.
  • Don’t forget to visit the Clifton Observatory and caves when visiting the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
  • Beautiful Bath is just a short hop from Bristol, and this is an easy and enjoyable train ride.
  • Better still, why not cycle between Bristol and Bath, and enjoy the first cycle route set up by Sustrans.

Further information:



Car rental in - Bristol Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Bristol?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.

Is it worth hiring a car in Bristol?

Based on value for money

Should you rent a car in Bristol?

Weighing up the above, if you are asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Who is travelling?

Is it worth renting a car in Bristol if I am a solo / budget traveller?

What about for 2 people travelling together?

For families?


Where are you staying?

Do you need a car in Bristol if we are staying in a central area?

What if we are staying on the edge of the city/resort?

Or in a rural area?


What is your attitude towards driving?

Should I hire a car in Bristol if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?



Final score:


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Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

So ultimately, where do you need to hire a car in Bristol? This isn’t just about saying you don’t need a car in Bristol city centre, but you should get one outside it – quite the opposite! One of the great driving experiences in the city would be to take your hire car across the Clifton Suspension Bridge (although you can of course just walk it). Outside the city, Brunel’s rail network also opens up some amazing pleaces to see both from the train and as destinations to reach. On top of this, the Bristol and Bath cycle path, combined with the Two Tunnels route and canal routes in Bath creates a genuinely world-class cycling network, a description we would apply to very few other places in the UK.

All of this adds up to making Bristol a very solid “no car” city in our books – but what do you think?

Would you hire a car in Bristol?

Have you driven in Bristol? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Bristol?
Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

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