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See: Why hire a car in Cambridge ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

Please note that is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2021 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. It is expected that some social distancing rules will still apply. For additional Cambridge car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

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

Balance: 1

(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

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

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 ?

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