Europe > United Kingdom > Cambridge
See: Why rent a car in Cambridge ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments
(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring)
Your key questions for any destination:
Do I need a car in Cambridge?
Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest.
That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than just yes or no answers!
- The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
- How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
- Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
- Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?
Is it worth hiring a car in Cambridge?
This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Cambridge car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.
How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Cambridge with other destinations locally and around the world.
This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.
Should I rent a car in Cambridge?
This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Cambridge, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.
Please note that Carornocar.com is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2022 (northern hemisphere) tourist season.
We do not intent to include detailed covid information, nor do we intend to suggest hiring a car, just because public transport might still have a mask requirement. Our advice will be based on the same criteria we've always used, ie whether or not you can get a better travel experience, or at least a better value one, by choosing not to hire a car.
Cambridge is in car rental price band: 4/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)
General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Cambridge?
Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.
Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Cambridge between the peak and the off peak season?
5/10 (0 = stable prices)
Driving score: 3/10
Non car score:8/10
(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)
General comment -
Cambridge is the UK’s cycling capital – at least in numerical terms. The city itself is compact and driving is a nightmare. So why would you want to hire a car there?
Why? Visiting Cambridge using a hire car
Why do you need a car in Cambridge ?
- Explore Cambridgeshire villages.
- Visit The Fens and the East Anglia coast line.
Why not? Visiting Cambridge without a car
Why don't you need a car in Cambridge ?
- There are very few reasons to visit Cambridge with a car – as outlined above!
- Cycling city – Cambridge is the UK’s cycling city, with more journeys made by bike (per capita) than any other. Around 30% of all journeys in Cambridge are made by bike, putting it on a par with the Dutch average.
- Easy cycle hire – starting at “Station Cycles“, which does exactly what the name suggests – hiring various different types of cycle directly outside the Cambridge station building.
- Pedestrian friendly – Cambridge is also an easy city to walk around, with all the major attractions within a short distance of each other.
- Take a punt – why not mess around on a boat on the Cam River?
- Take a train to Ely.
Ratings: How does Cambridge compare?
Is it worth hiring a car in Cambridge? TBC
This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Cambridge, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.
How does this compare if:
You are travelling:
Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc
Does car rental make sense on different budgets?
Do you need to hire a car in Cambridge? TBC
This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Cambridge (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".
Should you rent a car in Cambridge? TBC
This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good.
See global comparisons
Hiring | Driving | Parking
Trains | Buses | Local travel
Car hire basics:
Public transportation basics:
Regular bus services: YES
Coach (inter-city): YES
High Speed Rail:
Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):
As you start ....
Does Cambridge airport have a direct rail link?
(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No
Has our advice for Cambridge car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?
2017 - 1
2019 - 3
2021 - 1
Average score - 2
Conclusion – Cambridge is an obvious place where a hire car really isn’t worth considering.
Verdict – no
Do you or don't you need a car in Cambridge ?