Categories
United Kingdom

Aberdeen

Europe > United Kingdom > Aberdeen

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

The Granite city sits in a geographically remote corner of the UK, but once you get there, can you get around easily using public transport? Or is a hire car all but essential? What are the main Aberdeen car hire options? There are many reasons to rent a car in Aberdeen, but the city and its surroundings can also still be explored using local public transport options, even if your journey choices will be a lot less flexible.

Please note that Carornocar.com 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 Aberdeen car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Aberdeen 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 Aberdeen? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Aberdeen between the peak and the off peak season?

2/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:2/10

Balance: 9

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

Our advice hasn't changed since Carornocar.com first launched.

 

Why? Visiting Aberdeen using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Aberdeen ?


Reasons why you should hire a car in Aberdeen

  • Remoteness — although you will have no problem getting around the city itself, public transport routes starts to thin out massively once beyond the central city area.
  • Limited train routes — Aberdeen is right at the end of the East Coast route from London via Edinburgh. There are also regular Scotrail trains from Edinburgh on this route, together with frequent service to Glasgow via Perth and Sterling. The only other train service is a limited frequency (one train every two hours) route to Inverness. Even Inverness by comparison is a rail hub, with routes fanning out on each of the major compass points.
  • Backed into a corner – the simple reality is that Aberdeen sits in a corner, and only has one railway line running through it. Of course, the roads are also constrained by this geography, but you can at least drive in your own time. This is a key reason why Aberdeen car hire is strongly advised as the better option.
  • Limited attractions — there are relatively few points of interest in Aberdeen itself, whereas the surrounding countryside offers plenty of places to visit.
  • Scottish castles – including the famous Balmoral Castle. Without a car, these places are difficult to get to.

Why not? Visiting Aberdeen without a car

Why don't you need a car in Aberdeen ?


Visiting Aberdeen without a car

There are very few reasons not to hire a car for a visit to Aberdeen, unless you’re making a very brief stay in the city itself, and aren’t planning on venturing very far beyond city limits.

  • Balmoral by bus: Hardy public transport users can go by bus to Balmoral Castle, which is just next to the village of Crathie on the A93. Allow around 3 hours, up to 8 buses each way per day. You will have to change at least twice outside the summer season.
  • Orkney and Shetland — Aberdeen offers both onward flights and ferry services to the Orkney and Shetland Islands. You can take a hire car onto the ferry services, but is much cheaper to go as a foot passenger.
  • Scenic coastal rail route — the train route from Edinburgh up to Aberdeen has a number of particularly scenic stretches, especially as it hugs the coast for much of the route. Flying into Aberdeen and out through Edinburgh would be one way to enjoy this route, although the availability of flights there is generally much better than it is to Aberdeen anyway. Another option is just to pick return flights to Edinburgh and take the train in both directions. If you are flying in and out of Aberdeen, then this train route is still worth exploring at least down to Stonehaven, where it goes inland.
  • Start at Dyce: A very quick shuttle bus (or taxi) is available from Aberdeen Airport to nearby Dyce station, from where most trains heading south start. Dyce is also the best place to board trains heading to Inverness. This avoids going into Aberdeen city centre and back out again. However, your journey options are still limited to the route heading west to Inverness, and the coastal route heading south beyond Aberdeen.

[james]

Largely due to it’s geographical location, Aberdeen has some of the worst access by public transport of any major UK city. I think there’s far more to see in and around Inverness anyway, so I’ve only ever passed through Aberdeen a few times. You can still manage using trains and buses, but your options are much more limited.

[jamesend]

Ratings: How does Aberdeen compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Aberdeen? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Aberdeen, 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 Aberdeen? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Aberdeen (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 Aberdeen? 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 Aberdeen airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Aberdeen car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 7

2019 - 8

2021 - 9

Average score - 8

Notes:

 

So should you hire a car in Aberdeen? As Scottish cities go, when it comes to train networks, Aberdeen is certainly the weakest link, so to get to other places you would almost certainly end up needing to go by bus. This is not our view of travel enjoyment — buses should be there to supplement train journeys, not as a preferred method of transport in their own right. There are also no truly “world class” scenic railway routes heading out of Aberdeen, whereas there are out of Inverness or Glasgow, and to a lesser extent, Edinburgh.

For this reason, Aberdeen gets our strongest verdict of all Scottish cities that a car is necessary to get the best out of your trip.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Aberdeen ?

[ScenR city=”Aberdeen”]

Is it worth renting a car in Aberdeen just for part of my stay?

Not really – Aberdeen makes a great base for exploring the Highlands, but there are only limited points of interest within the city itself. Unless your plan is to get around the Highlands entirely by bus and train (in which case, make your connection at Dyce and don’t go into the city centre), then you really should hire a car in Aberdeen for the whole duration of your stay.

Is it worth renting a car in Aberdeen even for backpackers, students and other travellers who are on an extremely tight budget?

Probably not – based on price alone, you will get better value travelling by train and coach, especially if you book well in advance. It’s also easy enough to arrange coach or minibus tours of the Highlands or of the Isle of Skye from Inverness, and even if none of these options will give you the same flexibility as renting a car, they will almost certainly still be better value.

Should I hire a car in Aberdeen if I am planning on staying in the city / downtown?

Yes – even if you are staying right in the centre of Aberdeen, you will want to go out of the city, and in particular you want to go and visit the Cairngorms National Park. You really should hire a car for this.

Bear in mind that reaching places like, for example, Aviemore is usually going to mean going through Inverness and making a change, so it will be quicker to drive. Hotels right in the city centre are unlikely to provide free parking, but Aberdeen is sufficiently compact that you should be able to find a hotel with free parking around the edge of the city centre that is within easy walking distance, or short bus ride from the centre.

For example, the Village Hotel group are one chain who are known to provide free parking on all of their sites, and they have a location on the western side of the city. In total, about half of all hotels in Aberdeen will have free parking for guests.

I usually try to avoid driving if I can – so should I hire a car in Aberdeen?

No – we would rate Aberdeen is the most car focused major travel destination in the UK, but you will still find far more options for onward travel by bus and train then you will in many other places in Europe. If you are visiting Aberdeen from North America, then you will probably find that the choice of public transport (or transit) in Aberdeen is actually quite good, and you will also find a much wider range of onward connections via Inverness.

I am a train enthusiast – do I still need to hire a car in Aberdeen?

Absolutely not – you may well have already taken the train up to Aberdeen via Edinburgh, a route which takes you across the world famous Forth Bridge as well as the rebuilt Tay Bridge. Further to the west, you have a choice of three of the most spectacular train rides anywhere in the world; the most impressive one being the Kyle line from Inverness. Heading south from Inverness, you also have the Highland mainline which can take you back towards Perth, whereas the West Highland mainline can be joined at Fort William by taking a coach connection from Inverness. However, if you only plan to take one or two train trips, then you should still hire a car in Aberdeen, and then just use park-and-ride at local stations. Other than in the centres of Aberdeen or Inverness, you should be able to park for free at most stations in the Highlands and 0Aberdeenshire[1].

I am mainly interested in history and architecture and urban/cultural attractions – should I hire a car in Aberdeen?

Probably – Aberdeen is a wealthy city, and this means that it has an impressive range of cultural attractions relative to its size, but the real star here is still the scenery, so as per the general advice above, you’re probably will still want to rent a car. If you’ve tried looking up the bus schedules to get to Balmoral Castle (you will have to change twice, eventually back on to the same bus, due to shift restrictions), then you will agree that you really do need to get a car in Aberdeen if you want to see any castles other than those in the city centres!

How many people would we need in the car before a rental becomes better value than using transit?

If there are two or more of you travelling together, you are probably going to find that it’s worth hiring a car in Aberdeen. The only real exception would be for much younger travellers who may have difficulty obtaining a rental car package without paying a substantial supplement. Generally, for solo travellers, it is going to make more sense to travel around by scheduled bus, tour bus or train, but renting a car might still be more convenient.

We are senior citizens, should we rent a car in Aberdeen?

There are no particular reasons why senior citizens shouldn’t hire a car in Aberdeen, at least up until the age limits imposed by the rental companies, usually around 70 to 75.

However, UK residents who have a Senior Railcard will be able to get one third off all train travel, and this will apply in Scotland as it does in England and Wales, even though English concessionary bus passes are not valid here. Travelling by train from Aberdeen is also usually quite stress free – the lines in this part of Scotland are nothing like as busy as they are in the central belt, and reliability is usually quite good, but service patterns are often very irregular, especially if you want to travel over to Inverness and then try and find a connection from there.

Do I need a rental car if I am flying into Aberdeen airport but staying in another destination outside Aberdeen?

Probably, yes. Even if you are staying in another town which has a good bus service, or which is on the main railway line, you will then still be quite restricted in terms of where else you can visit from there.

If I’m planning on touring around, is this best done in a rental car?

Generally, yes – the Scottish Highlands and Islands are naturally very popular with touring motorists, but getting a rental car isn’t the only way of moving around. Travelling by train and bus, you can still see places like the spectacular done robing Castle further up the east coast, you can continue deep into sky by bus, and combine this with a train trip on the Kyle line if you want, and there are usually buses integrating at both ends of the island ferry routes.

The roads in the Highlands tend to be very winding, with many smaller roads often using passing places, and some drivers will find this quite stressful. If you travel around the Scottish islands by car ferry, you get to benefit from the “Road equivalent pricing” fair capping (see above), but many car rental companies will still require you to take out daily ferry insurance, and this can be an unwelcome extra expense.

Should we try to visit Aberdeen without a car because that’s better for the environment?

It’s difficult to make the environmental case for train travel on very rural Scottish routes, which often have very low passenger occupancy rates, so fuel consumption per person would be much higher than on busier routes further south.

It’s not unreasonable to point out that none of these Highland lines would be built today if a so-called “business case” had to be made based on current usage, yet the trunk routes between Aberdeen and Inverness and the Central Belt still have an important role to play in terms of providing an alternative to the heavily congested main highways (A9/A90). There are no electrified lines north of Falkirk, so all of the mainline trains you take will be using diesel.

Should I hire car in Aberdeen to start a road trip?

Absolutely – we’ve included a suggestion for a sample Scottish Road trip which could start in either Edinburgh or Glasgow and then taking in the West Coast and the Isle of Skye. This route would certainly pass through Inverness, and it would be easy enough to include Aberdeen in this loop. You may also find a better combination of flight and car hire deals in Aberdeen if you are making a comparison with Inverness. If you are planning on taking a road trip which includes more places to the south, then generally speaking, the best Scottish car rental deals are in Edinburgh or Glasgow. This is also where you will find a much wider choice of inward flight, including direct long haul flights from the USA and Canada. However, by starting your road trip from Aberdeen, you do at least have direct access to the Cairngorms.

Should I rent a car in Aberdeen and return it somewhere else?

Advice on One Way Rentals from Aberdeen

Maybe, especially if you have a driving route in mind which starts in Aberdeen and then ends up in another major Scottish city, in particular in Edinburgh or Glasgow. However, I would usually expect this to be cheaper if you do it the other way round, since the one-way fee is often determined on a mileage basis, whereas the actual rental fee is going to be more competitive further south. On the other hand, depending on your flight or train options, it might be worth hiring a car in Aberdeen and then dropping it off in Inverness. Any one-way rental fee could be better value than having a long drive back to where you started (but that is still only going to be about 2 hours, so not really long by North American standards!).

Should I rent an RV / camper / caravan in Aberdeen, instead of a car?

Yes, touring with a camper is very popular in the Scottish Highlands, especially with the recent promotion of the NC500 coastal touring route. Many visitors with campervans simply bring their own vehicles over from the Continent, but there are also several places which will provide campervan rentals in Aberdeen.

Fuel prices?

Needless to say, if you are visiting from North America, then you will find that fuel prices in the UK are significantly higher here, and you should also be warned that prices tend to rise further still as you head north or west from Inverness. However the cost of fuel should be balanced against the cost of staying in hotels or bed and breakfasts – something that can be extremely difficult during the July and August peak season. Remember as well that even roads classified as “A” roads (i.e. trunk roads) can still be single-track in some places, including on some recommended scenic drives (like the NC500). Always observe local etiquette and signs which advise any slower vehicle to pull over and allow faster drivers to pass. In some cases, the roads will not be suitable for a large camper van.

Should I hire a car from Aberdeen Airport, or from the city centre?

Generally, in the UK, you will get a better deal from on-airport car hire. This is because airports tend to have much bigger parking lots, as land is cheaper than in the city centre. You should not expect to pay an extra airport facility fee like you do at some airports in the USA.

If you do rent a car in the centre of Aberdeen, you do at least have the advantage that the major hotels, railway station and the port are all close to each other, so there are a few car hire options within this area. However, some rental offices are further out, and some may be at the airport, so make sure you specifically request “Aberdeen STATION”.

I’m moving to Aberdeen – do I need a car to live here?

Commuting in Aberdeen is very different to being a tourist. The city is compact enough that you can get to most places using a combination of bus and walking. This is not a very cycle friendly city, and you will need a car in Aberdeen if you need to commute to any of the major office locations around the edge of the city – this is an oil town after all!

[1] Technically the City of Aberdeen is separate to Aberdeenshire.

Categories
United Kingdom

Belfast

Europe > United Kingdom > Belfast

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

As with most European cities, the main attractions in Belfast itself are easy to walk to, so what about places to visit beyond the city?

Please note that Carornocar.com 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 Belfast car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Belfast is in car rental price band: 2/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Belfast? 

Yes. Very cheap car rental by global standards.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Belfast between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 5/10

Non car score:2/10

Balance: 8

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Belfast using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Belfast ?


Do you need a car in Belfast?

  • Giant’s Causeway — this is surely the most impressive natural feature on the Emerald Isle, and is only a short drive from Belfast.
    However, scheduled (from Belfast, Coleraine or Portrush) or guided bus trips are available, so there is no need to get a hire car just to visit Giant’s Causeway.
  • Inland — the railway routes in Northern Ireland generally stay close to the coast, so to go anywhere inland, especially to visit the various points of interest around Lough Neah, you will need a rental car, or you will have to rely on slow bus services.
  • Blue Stack mountains — head across into Co Donegal for some superb scenery on Ireland’s northwest coast.

Public transport limitations

  • Limited railway lines — look at any major city in England or central Scotland, and you will usually see a network of rail lines fanning out, including local and long-distance services. There are only four railway lines heading out of Belfast. Two of these only provide suburban connections to Larne and Bangor respectively. A regional service operates as far as Derry (Londonderry), whereas the Enterprise service continues down to Dublin Needless to say, you can head out of Belfast in any direction you want in a hire car. This network, branded as Translink, is not just short on routes, frequencies outside the Belfast area are also extremely poor. For example, trains to Derry depart roughly every two hours, considerably less often than might be expected on an equivalent inter-city service elsewhere in the UK.
  • Poor public transport — although Northern Ireland has seen a lot of investment in recent years, little of this has gone on to noticeable public transport infrastructure, although the Translink fleet itself has been upgraded. No new lines have been built, and unlike many comparable cities in central or northern England, there is no form of tram in Belfast. The city remains car dependent, and it has relatively few good routes to explore by bike.

GB Railcard note

  • No railcard discount – if you are visiting Belfast from any other part of the United Kingdom, and you already have a railcard of any kind, then this will not give you any discount on the railways in Northern Ireland, as they are a completely separate network.

Why not? Visiting Belfast without a car

Why don't you need a car in Belfast ?


  • Coastal trains — what Northern Ireland lacks in quantity is more than made up for in quality. The train hugs the coast in many areas, offering some excellent scenic views, especially between Coleraine and Derry, along Lough Foyle, and south of Newry most of the way to Dublin. My personal favourite is the train journey into Belfast from Larne Harbour.
  • Ramble by bus – you can take “Rambler” buses along designated scenic routes, giving you access to the Mourne Mountains to the south of Belfast, or the Sperrins to the west. A Rambler bus service also operates along the coastline near Giant’s Causeway. Other buses run directly in to scenic areas, such as the Davagh Forest country park.
  • Boat trips – from Ballycastle, you can take a boat to Rathlin Island, with its nature reserve. Further west and into the Republic of Ireland, you could take a boat from Burtonport to Arranmore Island. The outings themselves are car-free, however, although you can reach both ports by bus, it is still easier to get to these places in a hire car.

Beyond Belfast & Northern Ireland

  • Celtic cousins — instead of just visiting Northern Ireland, why not combine a trip to Belfast with a visit to Glasgow or Edinburgh? This is an easy rail trip, with plenty of flights available from throughout Europe at either end if you extend to the Scottish and Irish capitals. The train south of Ayr towards Stranraer is particularly scenic, and you also get to include a short ferry crossing on the Irish Sea. This now needs a bus link from Cairnryan harbour to Stranraer station.
  • Dublin and the Irish Republic. It’s very easy to continue into the Republic of Ireland by train or coach. If you are travelling by public transport, you can then head home from any airport without having to worry about one-way rental fees.
  • One-way car rental from the UK to Ireland is not usually possible.

Ratings: How does Belfast compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Belfast? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Belfast, 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 Belfast? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Belfast (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 Belfast? 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 Belfast airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Belfast car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 6

2019 - 7

2021 - 8

Average score - 7

Notes:

 

Conclusion — Do you need a car in Belfast? Despite some useful bus connections to supplement the handful of railway routes which are on offer, public transport options in and around Belfast are still relatively limited, and the best attractions in the region are landscapes rather than cities.

This makes our verdict lean heavily towards recommending getting a hire car.

Verdict — yes (strong)

Note — it is easy to pick up a hire car at either Belfast International or Belfast George Best city airport. If you don’t plan on getting a hire car, you’re better off flying into Belfast city airport, which is much closer to central Belfast. You can even take a short shuttle bus journey to nearby Sydenham station to start onward rail journeys within Northern Ireland. For getting to the city centre, it is quicker to take a taxi or shuttle bus. Belfast City airport has a wider network of domestic flights from the rest of the UK, whereas Belfast International has more flights from mainland Europe.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Belfast ?

Categories
United Kingdom

Birmingham

Europe > United Kingdom > Birmingham

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


Please note that Carornocar.com 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 Birmingham car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Birmingham 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 Birmingham? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Birmingham between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 7/10

Non car score:6/10

Balance: 4

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

Improved rail services and much improved developments around New Street station.

 


Why? Visiting Birmingham using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Birmingham ?



Why not? Visiting Birmingham without a car

Why don't you need a car in Birmingham ?



Ratings: How does Birmingham compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Birmingham? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Birmingham, 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 Birmingham? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Birmingham (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 Birmingham? 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 Birmingham airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Birmingham car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 6

2019 - 4

2021 - 4

Average score - 5

Notes:

 


Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Birmingham ?

Categories
United Kingdom

Bristol

Europe > United Kingdom > Bristol

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

Please note that Carornocar.com 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 Bristol car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Bristol 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 Bristol ? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Bristol between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 3/10

Non car score:7/10

Balance: 2

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Bristol using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Bristol ?


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 don't you need a car in Bristol ?


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Don’t forget to visit the Clifton Observatory and caves when visiting the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
  5. Beautiful Bath is just a short hop from Bristol, and this is an easy and enjoyable train ride.
  6. Better still, why not cycle between Bristol and Bath, and enjoy the first cycle route set up by Sustrans.

Ratings: How does Bristol compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Bristol ? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Bristol , 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 Bristol ? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Bristol (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 Bristol ? 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 Bristol airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Bristol car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 4

2019 - 4

2021 - 2

Average score - 3

Notes:

 

Further information:

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?

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Bristol ?

Categories
United Kingdom

Cambridge

Europe > United Kingdom > Cambridge

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

Please note that Carornocar.com 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.

Volatility:

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

 

 

 

 


Changelog

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

Notes:

 

Conclusion – Cambridge is an obvious place where a hire car really isn’t worth considering.

Verdict – no

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Cambridge ?

Categories
United Kingdom

Cardiff

Europe > United Kingdom > Cardiff

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

Please note that Carornocar.com 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 Cardiff car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Cardiff 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 Cardiff ? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Cardiff between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 5/10

Non car score:3/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Cardiff using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Cardiff ?


  • Flexibility – As with any other city, a hire car will give you the flexibility to explore beyond the built-up areas in your own time.
  • There are plenty of really superb scenic drives and walking opportunities which can be taken by heading into the valleys out of Cardiff.
  • Gower peninsular – in my opinion, the most attractive landscapes in southern Wales are around the spectacular Gower Peninsula which is just to the west of Swansea.
  • Although it is perfectly easy to cycle out to the Gower peninsula from Swansea, buses around this area are less regular. A car is certainly a much more versatile option.

Beyond Cardiff & South Wales

  • Welsh countryside – needless to say, beyond the valleys which are easy to reach from Cardiff is plenty of superb countryside.
  • For mid-wales, please see our Birmingham car hire advice page. For North Wales, we also have suggestions for public transport options from Liverpool.

Why not? Visiting Cardiff without a car

Why don't you need a car in Cardiff ?


  • Valley Railways — the southern Welsh valleys can also be explored by train using the famous Valley lines. These provide ample access for walking and cycling in these areas. However, they are all fingers branching out from the centre of Cardiff. They don’t have the ‘up and over’ flexibility that a hire car will give you, unless you take the train up one valley and back down another.
  • Swansea, Newport and Bristol. It is easy to add on a visit to the cities of Swansea, Newport or Bristol by train from Cardiff.
  • See our Bristol car hire advice for more details about visiting the south-west of England with or without a car.

Ratings: How does Cardiff compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Cardiff ? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Cardiff , 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 Cardiff ? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Cardiff (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 Cardiff ? 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 Cardiff airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Cardiff car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 3

2019 - 6

2021 - 6

Average score - 5

Notes:

 

There are numerous British cities where I think public transport provides a perfectly workable alternative to a hire car for getting around. Whilst the Welsh Valley railway lines might appeal to some, I really think it is much better to pick up a hire car so you have the flexibility to appreciate central Wales at its best.

    • Note for passengers taking flights to Cardiff: Although Cardiff airport does technically have a railway station in its name, services only operate once each hour. You still need to allow for transfer between the terminal building and the station platform.
    • You might find it just as easy to take a bus direct from the airport terminal into Cardiff city centre.
    • A much wider choice of flights is available into nearby Bristol Airport.
    • Cardiff is served by regular direct trains from London Paddington, with a typical journey time of around two hours.
Categories
United Kingdom

Edinburgh

Europe > United Kingdom > Edinburgh

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

Please note that Carornocar.com 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 Edinburgh car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Edinburgh 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 Edinburgh? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Edinburgh between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 9/10

Non car score:8/10

Balance: 3

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

Original suggestion to get a car based entirely on travelling around Scotland by road. Lower rating based on spending more time in city + travel by train. Improved rail services eg t/f Glasgow + new trams.

 

Why? Visiting Edinburgh using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Edinburgh ?


  • Urge to Explore: Once you have climbed to the top of either Calton Hill or Arthur’s Seat, however breathtaking the immediate view below, you will also have a strong urge to explore the neighouring country, and a car will give you the most freedom to do this.
  • The Falkirk Wheel is one of the most impressive engineering structures in Scotland, and the easiest way to get there is by car (although a bike would give you the freedom to explore the canal aswell).
  • Forth Bridges: A car will give you the freedom to head north across the spectacular Forth Road Bridge, which in turn gives you amazing views of the even more stunning Forth Rail Bridge.There is no longer any toll on the Forth Road Bridge.
  • Stirling: Head out to Stirling with its famous castle, and visit the nearby William Wallace monument, which is easier to get to by car.
  • Fife: Head into the ancient Kingdom of Fife, and on to St Andrews, the world famous home of golf.
  • Golf: A car is ideal for any of the numerous golf courses in and around Edinburgh.
  • Glasgow: Head across to Glasgow – the train will take you to the city centre, whereas a car will give you freedom to explore the many interesting destinations in the suburbs and beyond. See our Glasgow car hire guide for more details.
  • Rail network: Compared to Glasgow, where our verdict is no, the local and regional rail network heading out from Waverley station is nothing like as comprehensive, especially within suburban Edinburgh, where the public transport is dominated by buses.
  • Head North: Edinburgh is an ideal staging post for heading north and into the Scottish Highlands – especially as flights to Inverness tend to be a bit more expensive than flights to Edinburgh (when travelling within the UK), and Edinburgh Airport offers a much wider range of inward flights from mainland Europe aswell as flights from New York Newark in the USA. Flying into Edinburgh and then driving up also means you don’t miss out on the scenery.
  • Motorways: Picking up a hire car at Edinburgh Airport will give you easy access to the Scottish motorway network, and you will already be in an ideal position to reach most of the Central Belt, as the airport is to the west of the city. This makes arriving at Edinburgh Airport a much better bet than Glasgow Airport or Prestwick, for access to most of central Scotland, as both of these airports are to the west of Glasgow.
  • Small hotels: Even though the City Council has made driving difficult in central Edinburgh, there are many excellent small hotels and b&bs on the roads leading in and out of the city, particularly aroudn Murrayfield on the way in from the airport. These places tend to provide free onsite parking.
  • New Town: Although the historic old town is heavily restricted for access by car, Edinburgh’s world famous New Town has wide streets and is easier to drive around. Edinburgh has numerous other great districts, such as Morningside – spend all day going around by bus, or zip around by car?
  • Gardens: Don’t forget to visit the beautiful Royal Botanic gardens to the north of the city – but exploring around Edinburgh by car will take you to plenty of other green spaces.

Why not? Visiting Edinburgh without a car

Why don't you need a car in Edinburgh ?


  • Easy buses: Edinburgh is bus central – they might not be glamorous, but they will take you where you want to go. (If you have the right change – Ed)
  • Bus frequency: On the busiest arteries, buses can turn up as often as every 30 seconds – just like in central London.
  • Use your Inner Tube! Edinburgh has a unique ‘Inner Tube‘ cycleway mapping system, inspired by Harry Beck’s London tube maps. This is based on a network of off-road cycle routes which itself uses disused railway lines around the city.
  • Car? Daft! Because there is just so much to see and do in the centre of Edinburgh itself, and even more within easy range of a short bus ride – renting a car for a short stay would be daft!
  • Road v Rail: Most places which would make interesting road trips – Glasgow, Falkirk (for the Falkirk Wheel), Stirling (for Stirling Castle and the William Wallace Monument), Perth etc, can be easily accessed by fast and frequent train services.
  • Train + bus: Those places that aren’t directly on the rail network are usually easy to access by local bus services. For example, the William Wallace Monument is adjacent to Stirling University campus, so plenty of buses are available.
  • St Andrews: Even though St Andrews doesn’t have its own railway station, a shuttle bus is available from nearby Leuchars, or regular coach services are available from Edinburgh Bus Station.
  • Personal preference: Much as though I hate buses anyway, Edinburgh Bus Station is a particularly ugly gateway to such a spectacular city, so I always use trains through Waverley station when I can.
  • Arriving by train in Edinburgh by night, and climbing up the Waverley Steps (becoming Escalator-Ed) to look back at Edinburgh Castle is truly spectacular!
  • Forth Foot Bridge: There is a better way to appreciate the full glory of the Forth Bridges without a hire car – take the train to Dalmeny, which is right before the start of the Forth Rail Bridge. Climb down to the sea shore, appreciate the spectacular vista of the bridges from sea level, then climb up to the start of the Forth Road Bridge. You can then cross on foot, again enjoying great views of the Forth Rail Bridge. At the north side, head to North Queensferry station, and board a train to appreciate the Forth Rail Bridge.
  • Deep Sea World – is an easy excursion at the end of the Forth Rail Bridge – alight at North Queensferry (also an easy drive across the Forth Road Bridge).
  • East Coast Route: The train journey from Edinburgh to Berwick is particularly stunning (this is the final part of the route up from London Kings Cross).

Ratings: How does Edinburgh compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Edinburgh? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Edinburgh, 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 Edinburgh? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Edinburgh (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 Edinburgh? 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 Edinburgh airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Edinburgh car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 6

2019 - 4

2021 - 3

Average score - 4

Notes:

 

James says: Edinburgh is the city where I studied Architecture, so I know it well.

When should you hire a car in Edinburgh? Although you won’t want a car for a short weekend away, it will give you more freedom to get out and explore the numerous interesting destinations beyond Auld Reekie herself, reching places that aren’t so easy to get to by public transport. Therefore the verdict is a soft yes – a car is useful, but not essential.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Edinburgh ?

Categories
United Kingdom

Exeter

Europe > United Kingdom > Exeter

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

Please note that Carornocar.com 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 Exeter car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Exeter 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 Exeter? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Exeter between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:8/10

Balance: 3

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Exeter using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Exeter ?


  1. For the usual reasons of flexibility. Looking west, train services between Exeter and Plymouth are extremely good, just as they are between Exeter and London , where two routes are available, or between Exeter and Bristol. However, once you move away from these central arteries, public transport options are limited.
  2. There are numerous delightful villages in Devon and Cornwal, but travelling around these places by bus is slow and inconvenient.
  3. There are two large national parks close to Exeter — Exmoor and Dartmoor, and it is much easier to get around these areas with a car.
  4. Looking back up towards Bristol, a car is ideal for exploring places like Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole.
  5. The scenic rail routes in this part of the world are fine if you enjoy the journey as much is getting to the destination, but if you actually want to move at any pace, then you will need to drive. For example, the routes between Plymouth and Gunnislake and between Liskeard and Looe both have manually operated switchbacks which add to the journey time – rail buffs love it, but it slows the journey down.
  6. If you are driving as far as Land’s End, you will certainly be better off in a car, as the bus takes the best part of an hour to get here from Penzance.

Why not? Visiting Exeter without a car

Why don't you need a car in Exeter ?


  1. Devon and Cornwall have some of the most scenic train lines in the UK. The main line between Exeter and Plymouth, which hugs the coast for much of the route is a strong personal favourite — the area around Dawlish Warren is famous for having the waves crashing against the railway line in rough seas.
  2. Trains provide easy connections down to the English Riviera of Torbay, or through Plymouth and into Cornwall. Once in Cornwall, a huge selection of scenic branch lines is on offer, and these are a must for anyone, whether rail buff or not.
  3. This part of the country has a number of heritage railway lines, with the route down to Kingswear on the Dartmouth Steam Railway being particularly famous.
  4. Sometimes there are extra hidden costs of taking a car — for example arriving at the Eden project by bus, by bike or on foot will get you a discount, whereas honeypot tourist villages like Mevagissey charge a small fortune for parking.
  5. Devon and Cornwall are natural magnets for cyclists, with a small number of off road cycle paths also being available.
  6. The Camel Trail – this is arguably the most scenic cycle route in the UK, and since it follows the route of an oldrailway, it’s almost entirely off road. From Exeter, you can take a train to Bodmin Parkway, followed by a local bus to Bodmin, or other points on the route, where cycle hire facilities are widely available,
  7. A number of excellent value travel passes are available from First Great Western, who operate most of the trains in the Devon and Cornwall area, as well as a number of bus services. Tickets usually give and limited travel in Devon and all Cornwall for a fixed period of time, and are valid on all trains and buses, whether operated by First great Western or not. For example a day ranger covering anywhere in Devon costs just £10, whereas a ticket covering 4 days travel (in any 8) in Devon and Cornwall is £40.
  8. There are a number of large estuaries in Devon and Cornwall, with ferry services providing a crossing between the two sides. The majority of these ferries are for foot passengers only.
  9. The city of Exeter itself has plenty of bus services, and the centre is compact and walkable.
  10. The same can also be said of Plymouth, whose 1960s tree-lined Armada Way precinct development is surprisingly pleasant, considering when it was built.
  11. Most of the other towns in Devon and Cornwall are relatively small, so they are easy to walk around, although some coastal towns such as Penzance can sprawl for several miles along the seafront.
  12. The Scilly Isles are a popular excursion by sea or helicopter from Penzance, or by air from a number of different regional airports in the south-west. Passenger ferry services offer no facility to take cars to the Scilly Isles, nor are there any car rental facilities on the islands.

Ratings: How does Exeter compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Exeter? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Exeter, 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 Exeter? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Exeter (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 Exeter? 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 Exeter airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Exeter car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 4

2019 - 3

2021 - 3

Average score - 3

Notes:

 

Do you need a car in Exeter? Verdict: as with anywhere, a car can give a lot more flexibility, especially as there are many parts of the South West which are extremely rural. However, many of the most impressive destinations in Cornwall in particular are connected to the central spine of the London to Penzance Great Western Railway, and as so many of these routes are scenic, we think the best way to enjoy this part of the world is to do so by train.

VERDICT: NO

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Exeter ?

Categories
United Kingdom

Glasgow

Europe > United Kingdom > Glasgow

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

Please note that Carornocar.com 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 Glasgow car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Glasgow 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 Glasgow ? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Glasgow between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 8/10

Non car score:10/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Do you need a car in Glasgow? With its two airports (Glasgow International and Prestwick), Glasgow is the main gateway to Scotland for visitors arriving by air, and it is also Scotland’s most important rail centre. If you are arriving in Glasgow by rail, you can also pick up a hire car at Glasgow Central station. So is there any need to get a hire car when visiting the city and the vast range of scenic destinations which can be reached from here?

Why? Visiting Glasgow using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Glasgow ?


  • Glasgow is the gateway for western Scotland, including Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, and the Scottish Highlands and Islands. This region has a relatively sparse public transport links, so you will have much more flexibility in a hire car.
  • The greater Glasgow area has many interesting buildings to visit, including the Mackintosh Trail, and the stunning Burrell Collection in Pollok Park. A car will give you much more flexibility when travelling around these places.
  • Although Glasgow has a comprehensive public transport network, this is essentially aimed at suburban commuters — to reach some of the interesting destinations in greater Glasgow, you may have to go by bus.
  • Glasgow’s West End is well worth exploring, and  car will give you more flexibility than waiting for buses. The Kelvingrove Art Gallery is another must-see attraction.
  •  A car is ideal for exploring the historic Clyde river bank, including for visiting the Glasgow Science Centre and the Armadillo.
  • Glasgow may have an excellent suburban and regional rail network, but it is still disjointed. There is no rail link to Glasgow Airport, there are two stations which are only linked by shuttle bus, and the east-west lines alternate between serving Queen St and serving Glasgow Central, so you need to keep tab of the right times to end up where you want to be.
  • The Glasgow subway only operates in one loop, and does not connect directly with the main Glasgow Central Station (connect via St Enoch). The subway is extremely cramped, and impossible to use for anyone with any kind of mobility impairment.
  • Glasgow Central station car hire – you can hire a car from Enterprise in Oswald Street, which is directly adjacent to Glasgow Central station. Note there are no car rental facilities inside or directly adjacent to Glasgow Queen Street station.

Why not? Visiting Glasgow without a car

Why don't you need a car in Glasgow ?


  • Compared to nearby Edinburgh (see our Edinburgh car hire guide), Glasgow has a much more substantial network of suburban rail services, so it is much easier to get around the Glasgow region by train, without needing to bother with the hassles of a hire car. This network wasn’t just built for commuting – it was also developed to give Glaswegians access to coastal resorts and other scenic areas.
  • You can travel by train to Balloch, for Loch Lomond, where station is right next to the terminal for Loch Lomond pleasure cruisers.
  • Glasgow is the start of the West Highland Line to Oban and Mallaig – this is one of the most scenic railway journeys in Europe. The stretch across Rannoch Moor is utterly stunning, and is one of several stretches of this journey which can only be reached by train, as there are no roads nearby.
  • You can also take the train to destinations such as Wemyss Bay or Ardrossan to catch ferries to islands across the Firth of Clyde such as Arran and Bute.
  • The Falkirk wheel is an excellent excursion from either Glasgow or Edinburgh. It is best appreciated by bike — this will be a fantastic day trip along the Forth and Clyde Canal from Glasgow or the Union Canal from Edinburgh. However, you will naturally get there much quicker my car, even if this means skipping out some of the good bits along the canal.
  • Glasgow city centre has many superb buildings from its industrial heyday, and some interesting modern ones too. The best way to appreciate these by far is to be on foot.
  • Amongst the impressive Victorian heritage of Glasgow are its two great stations — Glasgow Central, which is undoubtedly the finest station in Scotland, and the smaller Glasgow Queen Street with its vaulted roof.
  • The main public transport hubs in Glasgow are directly adjacent to prominent city centre landmarks — when you exit from Glasgow Queen Street station, a vista of George Square and Glasgow City Chambers opens up on your left. Glasgow Central Station sits right on top of the Clyde riverbank, and takes you directly onto the main shopping streets.
  • A visit to Glasgow should include a trip to the People’s Palace. Trips like these are best done as a leisurely stroll, and you may want to take public transport back in the opposite direction – the same applies to Glasgow Science Centre and the Armadillo.
  • Glasgow is famous for its two legendary football clubs — Rangers who play at Ibrox and Celtic, who play at Parkhead (also known as Celtic Park). Both of these stadiums are within easy reach of the city centre by underground or bus. Trying to park at either these stadiums is an unnecessary nightmare.
  • No visit to Glasgow is complete without a journey on its legendary Clockwork Orange Underground system (known officially as the Glasgow Subway), only the third in the world when it opened, after London and Budapest. Just make sure that you haven’t been indulging in too much whisky or Tennants Super before venturing down the steep steps to its narrow platforms. However, the system does close at 11 pm, and as early as 6pm on Sundays, long before chucking out time!

Ratings: How does Glasgow compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Glasgow ? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Glasgow , 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 Glasgow ? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Glasgow (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 Glasgow ? 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 Glasgow airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Glasgow car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 3

2019 - 4

2021 - 6

Average score - 5

Notes:

 

James says: It is a tough call between suggesting a hire car in Edinburgh as a good idea, but not for Glasgow, and this will ultimately depend on your own preferences. Considering the intense rivalry between both cities, it would be impolite to give them both the same verdict. As a graduate of Edinburgh University, I know Glasgow extremely well and am happy to give any advice on the best places to see, and ways to get around, in either city.

So ultimately, do you need a car in Glasgow? For the city itself and anywhere within the “SPT” network, ie most places within around a one hour train ride from Glasgow, there’s really no need for a car at all, as public transport isn’t just excellent, it’s vastly superior to what you will find in any other UK city outside London. Unlike many other cities, the Glasgow suburban train network is also really good for getting to the coast, or to other scenic places like Loch Lomond – it’s much more than just a scattering of commuter shuttles. Once you start getting well outside the city, there’s no doubt that a rental car is going to be useful for some itineraries, but it’s still far from essential. If you only ever make one trip outside Glasgow (other than to Edinburgh), then make it a journey on the legendary West Coast Mainline.

VERDICT: NO

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Glasgow ?

Categories
United Kingdom

Inverness

Europe > United Kingdom > Inverness

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


Inverness may be capital of the Highlands, but is that status enough to make it a major public transport hub as well?

Please note that Carornocar.com 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 Inverness car hire advice, please use the comments form below.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Inverness 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 Inverness? 

Sometimes. Car rental is slightly cheaper than global averages.

Volatility:

Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Inverness between the peak and the off peak season?

5/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 6/10

Non car score:10/10

Balance: 6

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -

 

Why? Visiting Inverness using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Inverness ?



Why should you rent a car in Inverness?

  • Flexibility — for all the obvious reasons, a hire car will give you far more flexibility than go by train or bus will.
  • Timinghowever scenic the train lines out of Inverness may be, most services only operate a few times each day, so it is difficult to get off en route to take photos and then jump back on again.
  • Go West — a car will give much more flexibility for exploring the West of Scotland, especially if you head towards Ullapool and beyond, where there are no trains, and buses are extremely rare, except when operating in conjunction with ferry services.
  • Skye — although it is possible to explore the Isle of Skye using buses, they only operate on an infrequent basis. To make the best use of the fantastic scenery Skye has to offer, including the famous Cuillin Hills, a car is essential.
  • Eilean Donan Castle — again, this is somewhere that with good planning can be reached by coach or a combination of bus and train. The village of Dornie sits on the A87 about 10 miles east of Kyle of Lochalsh. Driving gives you the flexibility of following a similar route to the Kyle line through Glenn Carron (A890), and then returning along the A87 through Glen Shiel.

Why not? Visiting Inverness without a car

Why don't you need a car in Inverness ?


  • Loch Ness — if you drive there, you really will just see a large body of water. To capture the spirit of Scotland’s most famous monster, you’ll be much better off on a cruise or organised tour (and we don’t recommend guided tours very often). These can easily be arranged from the centre of Inverness.
  • The Kyle line. This line alone is a good enough reason not to hire a car for a visit to Inverness. Often rated as one of the most scenic rail lines in the world, together with the West Highland line out of Glasgow Queen Street, it really is one of Scotland’s must see railway routes.
  • Plockton. This lovely fishing village, originall set up as a planned community to help stem the flow of emmigration, has been immortalised in the Hamish Macbeth TV series, and is an ideal excursion on the Kyle line.
  • Compass covered — unlike nearby Aberdeen, which sits out on the corner of the rail network, train routes from Inverness head out in the direction of all the major compass points — north on the Far North Line towards Wick and Thurso, east towards Aberdeen, south on the Highland Line to Perth, continuing to Edinburgh and Glasgow, and west on the Kyle line to Kyle of Localsh. Out of these four major routes, at least three are scenic for a substantial length of their journey — the line to Aberdeen in our opinion is less impressive.
  • Bike it! If you drive on the A9, chances are that you will see many cyclists taking part in the gruelling John O’Groats to Land’s End cycling challenge. If this gives you inspiration, why not hire a bike in Inverness, and take one of the many scenic circuits which can be explored from the Highland capital — just make sure you take a good map to avoid getting caught out on a long dead-end road.
  • Great Glen Way – The Caledonian Canal to the head of Loch Ness is a good place to start your Inverness bike tour – but the more adventurous can continue all the way down to Fort William on the Great Glen Way – and it is even possible to book one way bike rental for this route!
  • Whisky tours — there are numerous distilleries within range of Inverness, and taking a coach tour of any of these locations means you don’t have to worry about sampling the product on the way.
  • Limited road routes — despite Inverness being remote relative to the rest of the UK, it still offers an excellent selection of rail routes, which roughly match the range of routes which are available by road. The main exception to this is the A82, which heads south west to Fort William, and beyond Glasgow, although scheduled coach services are available on this route. Therefore the relative advantage of having a car is much less than it might be at other locations. Is it worth the cost?
  • Combine train and bus – e.g. to Eilean Donan Castle, by tain, allow a good 3 hours, using the Kyle Line and a coach to Dornie. Alternatively, the direct coach journey from Inverness to Dornie takes just under 2 hours. Note – mixing one-way coach and railway journeys can be more expensive than making return trips by the same route, but if you book in advance you can get good deals, and you will see more this way.
  • The superb Dunrobin Castle even has its own station (Dunrobin), but the castle is only open during the summer months. It takes just over 2 hours to get there by train – or 90 minutes by bus, but the train is more scenic, especially as it heads inland up Dornoch Firth (the detour explaining the additional journey time).
  • Take the train up. Although recent years have seen huge improvements in the range of flights to Inverness, there is still a much wider choice of flights to either Edinburgh or Glasgow. Why not take the train in at least one direction, and enjoy the scenic Highland Line – the good stuff starts north of Perth, so it doesn’t matter whether you fly into Edinburgh or Glasgow. There is also one direct train each day from London King’s Cross to Inverness, the Highland Chieftan, taking around 8 hours.

Ratings: How does Inverness compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Inverness? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Inverness, 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 Inverness? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Inverness (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 Inverness? 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 Inverness airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No

 

 

 

 


Changelog

Has our advice for Inverness car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 4

2019 - 4

2021 - 6

Average score - 5

Notes:

 

So, should you rent a car in Inverness? Verdict — Inverness is one of those places where it is easy to automatically think a hire car is the best option, but there are plenty of reasons to think again.

The Kyle Line on its own is one of them, and because there are so many other options for enjoying this part of the world without needing a hire car, our recommendation is to try and do without one.

Summary

Do you or don't you need a car in Inverness ?