Jersey

Is it worth hiring a car in Jersey?

Should you rent a car in Jersey UK > Jersey

Jersey Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Why should you rent a car in Jersey?

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 Jersey?

Jersey Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

50%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€175

 #213/300

 

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

 

 €150

87/300

 

Free parking score

Total 84 - of which 48 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

57%

#99/300

 

  • Beaches — Jersey has many absolutely superb beaches, with Plemont being a personal favourite.
  • Although buses are available and you would have no problem getting to the beach, do you really want to be hanging around waiting for a bus at the end of a long day?
  • Bus services are much more geared towards shuttling people in an out of the capital St Helier, and even though the island is small, they just aren’t that good getting around the beaches.

Why not? Visiting Jersey without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Jersey public transport quick facts

Train score

 

10%

Water travel score

00%

Overall public transport score

40%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

40%

  • There are many islands which look like mere specks on the map, but which can be deceptively large for the first-time visitor. Jersey is not one of them. You could walk across the island in an afternoon and local buses are also widely available.
  • Footpaths — Jersey has a great network of coastal and interior foot paths which can enable you to see parts of the island that a car cannot reach.
  • Fort Regent.
  • Neighbouring islands — instead of forking out for a hire car, why not take a trip to one of the other Channel Islands? Guernsey and Alderney can easily be reached by air or sea, whereas the much smaller island of Sark can only be reached by boat. You although most Channel Islands ferry services will take cars, they will charge you much more for the privilege. Why bother?
  • Boat trips from St Helier.

Ratings

Car rental in - Jersey Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Jersey?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Jersey?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Jersey?

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 Jersey 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 Jersey 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 Jersey if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

5

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Jersey is delightfully compact, but the a hire car is still useful to explore its beaches and landscapes at your own pace.

Would you hire a car in Jersey?

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

Leeds

Do you need a car in Leeds?

Should you rent a car in Leeds UK > Leeds

[coming]

[top num=”152″]
  • To follow (pending re-write)

Why should you rent a car in Leeds?

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 Leeds?

Leeds Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

20%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€70

 #46/300

 

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

 

 €80

9/300

 

Free parking score

Total 107 - of which 40 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

37%

#169/300

 
  • To follow (pending re-write)

[whynot city=”Leeds”]

  • To follow (pending re-write)

Do you need a car in Leeds? Probably not.

Ratings

Car rental in - Leeds Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Leeds?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Leeds?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Leeds?

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 Leeds 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 Leeds 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 Leeds if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

5

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Leeds?

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

Liverpool

Do you need a car in Liverpool?

Should you rent a car in Liverpool UK > Liverpool

Liverpool Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

[coming]

  • To follow (pending re-write)

Why should you rent a car in Liverpool?

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 Liverpool?

Liverpool Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

30%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€60

 #45/300

 

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

 

 €60

3/300

 

Free parking score

Total 208 - of which 92 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

44%

#146/300

 
  • To follow (pending re-write)

Why not? Visiting Liverpool without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Liverpool public transport quick facts

Train score

 

30%

Water travel score

20%

Overall public transport score

50%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

40%

  • To follow (pending re-write)

Ratings

Car rental in - Liverpool Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Liverpool?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Liverpool?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Liverpool?

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 Liverpool 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 Liverpool 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 Liverpool if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

7

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Do you need a car in Liverpool? – Yes (mainly for North Wales)

Would you hire a car in Liverpool?

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

London

Do you need a car in London?

Should you rent a car in London UK > London

Traffic moving like treacle, extortionate parking, and the congestion charge – why might a visitor to London even consider getting a rental car?

London Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

London car hire advice: Well if you are only ever staying within the central London zone one (note that these areas are defined by London public transport zones), then it should be pretty obvious that a car is going to be no practical use whatsoever.

However, many visitors from further afield might budget two weeks or more for a stay in the London area, and this might well include a reasonable amount of travel outside the London area, all this time outside the M25 zone, an area defined by London’s orbital motorway.

Why get a hire car when there are still plenty of trains available for heading out of London? This will naturally depend on the sort of places you want to see, and the advice here is aimed more at this sort of longer stay than at the weekend or short city break where a hire car is al but completely unnecessary.

Why should you rent a car in London?

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 London?

London Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

60%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€80

 #71/300

 

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

 

 €140

78/300

 

Free parking score

Total 2442 - of which 233 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

10%

#281/300

 
  • Start of the UK road trip.
  • Expensive train fares, including morning peak fares to get OUT of London.

Going clockwise around:

  • Norfolk and the fens.
  • Kent – the garden of England.
  • Sussex – the Downs and Brighton (Brighton alone is easy enough).
  • Stonehenge and Downton Abbey (they might be contrasts but they are relatively close).
  • The New Forest – see Bournemouth/Southampton, but also easy to do by train and hire bikes locally.
  • Further afield – Devon and Cornwall.
  • The Cotswolds.
  • Shakespeare country.
[whynot2 num=”156″]
  • London transport icons – the tube, London taxis, London stations, London buses, Boris bikes.
  • Museums and art galleries.
  • Concerts and shows.
  • Congestion charge – hire cars are not exempt – see TfL.
  • Parking costs.
  • Airport connections – despite having so many airports, they are all easily connected to central London by rail.
  • Other UK cities by train – plan ahead for the best fares and be prepared to take an indirect routing.
  • Travel from London by coach, such as with Megabus or National Express.

Ratings

Car rental in - London Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in London?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in London?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in London?

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 London 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 London 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 London if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

2

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

London is such a rich and diverse city that you will never run out of things to explore even just within Zone 1, let alone within the area enclosed by the M25 orbital motorway. Yet there are also many places to see within an easy day trip from London. For a few of these, a car is going to be more useful than relying on multiple train and bus connections, but in the main, this isn’t really the case.

The only reason why car hire in London might trump the train is the cost, especially for a group trip, but this can also be avoided by planning carefully around the peak fare restrictions, or using coaches some of the time.

A hire car is useful in places, but no more – the car or no car verdict for London is a firm no.

 

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

Absolutely!

If you are coming to London for the first time, then there’s no doubt that you will want to spend a number of days visiting all of the famous sites which are in central London, an area that’s also often simply defined as tube zone one. There are also plenty of places that you might want to visit which are outside central London, but which are still within the Greater London area, and which are very easy to reach using public transport.

 

It’s highly unlikely that you’d want to come and visit the London area and not spend some time visiting places which are easily reached using local buses and trains. This would be even less likely if this is your first time visiting London, and this is what our #car or #nocar guides are primarily about.

 

However, the more time you have to spend here, the more likely you are to want to visit other locations outside London, and for this you may decide that it’s worth looking at renting a car.

 

This doesn’t mean that you need to rent a car in London, or anywhere else in southern England, because many of the places that you might want to visit are also still very easy to reach using public transport. In some cases, you might be happy with public transport in London, but you might want to rent a car for usage elsewhere in England (or Wales and Scotland).

 

For example, one popular itinerary for two weeks in the UK is to spend maybe 4 or 5 nights in London, and then to take the train up to Edinburgh and spend a weekend there, before hiring a car to explore the Scottish Highlands. If this is the sort of thing in mind, then you can simply hire a car at Edinburgh airport*, and return it there and fly home when you are done.

 

Car hire in London is generally good value, and the UK can actually be exceptionally good value during the summer season, when there isn’t the same kind of demand spike that you might expect in the south of France or on the Spanish costas. However, our experience has shown that the cheapest car hire in the UK tends to be in northern English cities like Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle or Manchester. It would be very easy to head to any of these destinations by train, to see everything that the city has to offer, and then to hire a car locally from there.

 

If you do feel that it’s still worth hiring a car in London for some of your stay, then you would be much better off finding a hotel around the edge of the city, where it’s much more likely that you will have free parking included. Ideally, try to find a hotel that is close to the M25 motorway, but also one that close to a railway station with fast access to central London.

 

Good places to look would include:

 

Edge of London (within M25)

 

  • Watford (fast access to London Euston), Harrow, Wembley^
  • Walthamstow
  • Stratford
  • West Ham, Barking or Upminster.
  • Lewisham (New Cross v Catford).
  • Redhill, Sutton, Croydon.
  • Ealing.

 

^Wembley has seen a huge increase in the number of hotels since the opening of the newly revamped Wembley stadium. Prices rise sharply when there is an event on at either the stadium or the adjacent arena, but then become very reasonable at other times. Parking is also usually not a problem when there are no events on. You also have a choice of three stations for fast access not just to London, but throughout the Chilterns and the south and West Midlands.

 

Near London (outside M25)

 

  • Milton Keynes*
  • Stevenage*
  • Basildon*
  • Crawley
  • Ebbsfleet or Ashford
  • Slough*
  • Reading
  • High Wycombe
  • Didcot, Bedford, Luton

 

*These places are new towns where you can often find very good value hotels with free parking and easy access to central London by non stop (or very limited stop) fast train. However, they will only usually have a fairly limited choice of car hire options, so your best bet will usually be to pick up a rental car when you arrive at the airport, and then to drive it direct to your hotel and keep it there during your stay. Even if you end up having a couple of days when you don’t use your car, this will probably still be much better value than hiring a car in the town, or in the London area.


 

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

Yes, because the UK rail network can be so expensive for visitors to use, you might well find that it is cheaper to hire a car to get to certain places, especially if there are 3 or 4 of you travelling together so you can fill the car.

Almost all of your motoring costs are going to be the same, regardless of how many people are travelling, whereas public transport fares will almost always be charged on an individual basis. At best, if there are 3 or more of you travelling together, you may get a 1/3 discount with some rail companies. Petrol in the UK is relatively expensive compared to most other European countries, but the overall cost of travelling by car can actually be quite reasonable, because you will rarely have to pay for road tolls, and in most places there are relatively few parking restrictions.

However, if you are mainly looking for a way to get to other major UK cities outside London, then this will usually be far cheaper by bus, rather than train. Coach services in and out of London usually use Victoria coach station, with some services, such as the Oxford tube, running as often as every 10 minutes. Most coach services will also offer free Wi-Fi and other conveniences, but generally they are very slow compared to the train, because of the amount of time it takes to get between central London and the motorway network.

Rover and ranger rail passes in southeast England

 

 

Do I need a car in London if I am planning on staying downtown?

Absolutely not! The closer you get to central London, the better the public transport gets, and the harder you’ll find it to park. There really is no reason to want to drive into the congestion zone, unless you really do need to have a car for some very specific reason.

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

No, absolutely not – public transport in London is very good by global standards, whereas London’s roads are amongst the most congested in Europe.

The two major downsides of using public transport in the London area are the cost and the inconvenience of having to use so many different railway stations to get to different places, since there is no central station in London.

If you are wanting to visit several different destinations on day trips from London, then it’s best to stay near a tube station that is well connected to all of the major London stations. If you can’t actually stay around one of the major termini (there are tons of hotels around Paddington or around Victoria or King’s Cross), then tube stations like Baker Street, Earls Court or Stratford International are exceptionally well connected to most of the major stations.

The best way to reduce the cost of train travel to other cities outside London is simply to wait until a little bit later in the morning and take an off-peak train. Cheaper train fares are usually available after around 10 AM. Sometimes your best bet will to buy a cheap day return ticket (sometimes labelled off-peak), or in some cases it will be better to book in advance ticket. These are usually a better option for places which are slightly further away, such as Bristol or Birmingham.

 

 

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

 

Actually, you just might!

London has so much to offer for people who are interested in engineering heritage, and the tube, the taxis, the red buses and the rail termini themselves are all a huge part of everything London has to offer.

 

There are also a huge number of film, literary and musical connections related to London stations, from Paddington (Bear) through to Sherlock Holmes and Baker Street and then more recently to Harry Potter at King’s Cross.

 

The one thing you won’t find within the London area is a heritage steam railway. This is hardly surprising, because very few of the railway lines around the capital have ever been closed off, and the few that have been have generally been turned into greenways.

 

The U.K.’s longest heritage railway is the Severn Valley line, which starts from Kidderminster in Worcestershire. You can easily make a day trip of this, and you can get direct trains to the start of the line from London Marylebone. You can sometimes take a faster connection by taking Virgin Trains to Birmingham and then changing there.

 

There are also some truly amazing heritage railway experiences in West Wales. For these, you’ll need to take a fast train to Birmingham International first, and then change for regional services there. However, in some of these cases, you might find that getting to these heritage railways by train can actually be quite slow. If you want to leave London early in the morning on a weekday, it can be very expensive.

 

In this kind of situation, and if you also want to experience some of the amazing countryside that you’ll find around the places where these railways are operating, then you might, and we would stress you might just want to consider hiring a car beforehand.

 

For more information on heritage railways, please see a few more suggestions on our car hire advice pages for Birmingham (Severn Valley and West Wales), Liverpool (North Wales) and Leeds (Settle and Carlisle, North Yorks Moors line).

http://www.heritage-railways.com/map.php

I usually like driving if I can – so should i hire a car in London?

In London, no; elsewhere – yes.

Why you shouldn’t hire a car in central London

It doesn’t matter how much you like driving, it’s really not worth hiring a car for visiting anywhere in the Greater London area. Even though you’ll see that there is still plenty of traffic in London, and there are still a lot of people who will still drive in the city, even with the congestion charge, it’s much more likely that locals will still continue to drive when they’ve already got a car and probably at least somewhere at home to park it.

Hiring a car and driving it in central London just means endless hassle – it’s a hassle to pick it up, it’s a hassle to drive it, and then it’s a hassle to park it. London has some of the worst congestion levels in Europe, and this congestion typically extends right out to and beyond the M25 motorway, often colloquially known as Europe’s largest car park!

Why it’s still worth driving outside London

Once you start looking outside London or outside the area enclosed within the M25 motorway, then the rest of south-east England is by no means any kind of driving nirvana, but there are still some great places to go for a spin.

 

Popular places to visit within range of a day trip from London include the Cotswolds region to the north-west or the South Downs National Park to the south. However, the U.K.’s best driving roads are some way beyond London. If you want to experience the Lake District or any of the other national parks in northern England, then you might well be much better off taking a fast train out to somewhere like Oxenholme or Carlisle and then hiring a car there. You might want to visit cities like Liverpool or Manchester first, and then to pop out to any of the airports in northern England and hire a car there. This is where you’ll generally find the cheapest UK car hire deals.

You may also find that for the ultimate driving experience in the UK, you actually want to head up to the Highlands of Scotland, in which case your best bet would be to fly up to Inverness.

 

See also our respective city guides for Edinburgh and Glasgow for a few more ideas about driving in Scotland.

 

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

No, not at all – even if you are interested in visiting architectural and cultural places of interest which are in suburban London, for example Kew Gardens or Kenwood House, then in nearly all cases, your find they’ll be much quicker to visit these places by tube.

 

I am mainly interested in landscapes rather than cities. Do I need a car in London?

Possibly, but this will depend on how far away from London you are looking to travel. The nearest major National Park to London is the South Downs, an area where it canbe useful to have a car, but you can still manage without one.

 

If you want to go hiking along any of the coastlines around London, and especially if you want to walk in areas around the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head, which is between the town of Seaford and Eastbourne, or if you want to walk around the White Cliffs of Dover, then these locations are actually very accessible by train. However, you may simply prefer the convenience of having a car to go here, especially as you will also have a much wider choice of places to go hiking.

 

If you are interested in landscapes which are much further from London, but which can still be reached within the range of an extended day trip from the capital, then having a hire car is probably going to be very useful. In particular, your find that it’s much easier to appreciate any of the Welsh landscapes or anywhere around western England or the south-west if you have a hire car, and it’s also generally the best bet for visiting the Peak District National Park.

 

However, in virtually all cases, you’ll still find that you will be able to find some decent hiking routes if you visit these places by train, for example if you take a fast train to Derby and then a local train on the Derwent Valley line towards Matlock, there are plenty of hiking opportunities from there.

 

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

2 – if you are in a situation where you are comparing hiring a car in London with heading out of the city by train, and in particular if you want to leave London reasonably early in the morning, then you might well find that even with just 2 people in the car, it could still be much better value than going by train.

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

Generally, the roads in the UK are very safe by international standards, and recent statistics have shown that the UK is 2nd only to Sweden in terms of overall road fatalities per kilometre travelled. However, this seemingly admirable safety record does not extend to pedestrians or cyclists, who get a very raw deal when compared to Scandinavia or the Netherlands.

 

Irrespective of safety, we would just generally advise anyone to avoid driving in London if they possibly can, simply because of the high levels of traffic and because of the costs and hassles of paying the congestion charge and for parking.

 

However, when it comes to driving in the “home counties” outside central London, driving here is similar to driving anywhere else in the UK. Compared to many other continental European countries, it’s probably fair to say that you won’t have the same problems with aggressive tailgating, but driving here is generally more aggressive then you might expect in North America.

 

Rental cars in the UK will have manual transmission by default, but you should still have no problem finding an automatic car. These are usually slightly higher performance models, so you can end up paying much more than you would for a simple economy rental.

 

Generally, roadside services and facilities in the UK are extremely good.

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

Possibly, but this will really depend not just on where you are staying, but also on which London airport you are flying into.

 

With 6 different London airports each having their own different public transport access, it’s very difficult to generalise about whether or not you need a car if you are flying into London but then actually staying in another destination.

(Going around clockwise from Cambridge)

Cambridge – this city has a very high standard of public transport and it’s also the U.K.’s leading cycling city, and it’s a pain to drive here. You’ll find decent direct coach services to Stansted, Luton and Heathrow airports, otherwise look at train connections for other airports or arrival points.

Brighton – the main resort area is actually very densely developed, and it’s also a quick one hour train ride from central London. Your best option here is to fly into Gatwick airport, which is halfway between London and Brighton, but there is little need to hire a car, and you’ll find that parking and congestion are comparible with suburban London.

Bournemouth/Southampton/Isle of Wight – a hire car can be very useful in the rural areas around the Solent region, but to appreciate the New Forest National Park, it’s actually better to hire a bicycle or to go hiking there. It’s very easy to get to many locations by train or bus, especially via Ringwood/Brockenhurst? Slow train connections to the south coast are available direct from Gatwick airport, whereas you can usually join trains from Waterloo with a bus connection from Heathrow to Woking.

Bristol/Bath – there is a huge amount to see in the cities by staying on foot, using local public transport or using some of the truly world-class cycling routes which are available from Bath. It’s also a very fast train link from Paddington, which is where you’ll also find the Heathrow airport express.

Cotswold region – generally, this is quite a rural part of England, so a hire car is extremely useful, but just bear in mind that everyone else thinks the same way in summer!

Oxford – as with Cambridge, there’s no point at all in hiring a car for staying in the city, but it’s useful if you also want to visit the Cotswolds. The Oxford tube express coach service also has regular fast and frequent direct links between Oxford and Heathrow airport, with many services also continuing to Gatwick airport.

Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick Castle, Coventry and the Heart of England – all of the major point of interests can be reached by train, but public transport isn’t so good if you are trying to get between places. For example, Stratford-upon-Avon to Coventry is a very disjointed train connection typically taking an hour and 1/2, whereas the drive can be done in just over half an hour. A hire car is also extremely useful if you want to combine a visit to the Heart of England with the Cotswolds – especially with Stratford-upon-Avon being right on the edge of the Cotswolds. The standard of bus and train links to the West Midlands from London airports is really quite variable – see map below.

Nottingham/Derby/Leicester and the East Midlands – generally, public transport here is reasonable within the cities, but it’s quite poor in rural areas. For most of the Peak District National Park, you are going to be better off with a hire car, but the Derwent Valley line via Derby can be an extremely useful alternative.

 

 

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

 

Possibly, but this will depend a great deal on which places you have i mind to visit.  Touring around some parts the UK by train will be good value if you can get a rover ticket, but these are rarely good value in south-east England, since the trains are usually very busy with commuters.

 

Although the UK rail network is heavily centred around London, cities like Brighton, Bristol, Exeter, Birmingham or Nottingham also have a good range of regional links which don’t involve going through London.

 

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

 

Absolutely – although it might not be the first thing on many people’s minds, London is actually a very good place from which to start a road trip around the UK. Generally, car hire in London isn’t bad value, especially if you hire a car at an airport location, rather than in central London.

 

Even though fuel prices in the UK are high by global standards, you will probably still find that you can do a road trip lasting a whole week, but without actually ever actually being more than a hundred miles or so from London. You’ll find that this is especially the case if you drive west towards Devon and Cornwall, or if you want to drive around the highly scenic but also very historic Cotswolds region.

 

 

I’m on a cruise ship which is docked at Southampton/Tilbury docks. I have one day to spend here – should I hire a car?

 

Almost certainly not – if you only have a very limited amount of time here, you might as well spend it by enjoying what you can in central London, so a hire car would be pointless. The train link from Tilbury to London Fenchurch is slow, but it’s still quicker than driving! you may simply prefer to take a coach tour.

 

Southampton docks are very close to the city centre and the main railway station, which has fast links to London. Neither Tilbury nor Southampton docks make for a good place to rent a car, as there just isn’t enough regular demand, but both have plenty of options nearby.

 

 

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

 

Possibly, but you might find that the one-way rental fee is expensive, relative to the actual distance you want to go. For example, let’s say that you are looking at whether it’s worth hiring a car in London but then dropping it off in Birmingham. If the one-way rental fee is £75, then you’ll probably find that it would be cheaper just to return it back to London and then to continue onwards to Birmingham by coach or train.

 

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

Yes! This might not be an option that many people would consider, especially given the fuel prices in the UK, but the extra costs of motoring associated with a camper can sometimes be offset by not having to worry about accommodation. However, this is really going to depend on where you have in mind to visit. If your idea of seeing the best of England includes visiting scenic locations like the Cotswolds or some of the attractions of Devon and Cornwall, then you might not be too worried about having a camper when you’re driving on the motorway, but you might seriously regret it once you have start driving around narrow country lanes.

Would you hire a car in London?

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

Manchester

Is it worth hiring a car in Manchester?

Should you rent a car in Manchester UK > Manchester

Manchester Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

[coming]

James says - a few trip notes:


I’ve visited Manchetser many times, both on business and for leisure trips, often to see concerts. Manchester is a truly amazing city, with so much to offer. Although you really don’t need to think about hiring a car just for visiting the city, it can be useful for venturing further afield.


Why should you rent a car in Manchester?

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 Manchester?

Manchester Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

60%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€60

 #80/300

 

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

 

 €55

1/300

 

Free parking score

Total 229 - of which 103 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

45%

#143/300

 
  • Coming soon.

Why not? Visiting Manchester without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Manchester public transport quick facts

Train score

 

40%

Water travel score

30%

Overall public transport score

60%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

90%

  • Coming soon.

Is it worth hiring a car in Manchester? No!

Ratings

Car rental in - Manchester Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Manchester?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Manchester?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Manchester?

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 Manchester 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 Manchester 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 Manchester if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

4

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Manchester?

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

 

Newcastle upon Tyne

Do I need a car in Newcastle?

Should you rent a car in Newcastle upon Tyne UK > Newcastle upon Tyne

Newcastle upon Tyne Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Why should you rent a car in Newcastle upon Tyne?

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 Newcastle upon Tyne?

Newcastle upon Tyne Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

40%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€80

 #67/300

 

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

 

 €80

10/300

 

Free parking score

Total 184 - of which 102 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

55%

#105/300

 
  • Hadrian’s Wall — Newcastle is a good place to start exploring the Roman ruins of Hadrian’s Wall, taking in the superb Northumbrian and Cumbrian landscape on the way.
  • Kielder Water — the Kielder Water reservoir and the forests which surround it provide numerous opportunities for outdoor pursuits.
  • Cumbria and the Lake District — although it is somewhat to the east, Newcastle is still the main airport serving the Lake District region. Having a hire car is definitely an advantage for visiting this region, as you can drive direct to wherever you want to get to. In contrast, to reach Lake Windermere by train from Newcastle airport, you have to change three times — firstly at Newcastle Central, then at Carlisle, and then again at Oxenholme.
  • Lindisfarne (Holy Island) — you can also head north up the Northumbrian coast, taking in Alnwick Castle and the famous Lindisfarne, also known as Holy Island. Make sure you plan any trip to this beauty spot around the tides, otherwise you risk being cut off! The whole coastline heading towards Berwick and beyond is absolutely msuperb – you can pass through it on the train (see below), but you will need to have your own transport to do it justice.

Why not? Visiting Newcastle upon Tyne without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Newcastle upon Tyne public transport quick facts

Train score

 

50%

Water travel score

100%

Overall public transport score

60%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

40%

  • Vibrant city centre — Newcastle was an immensely wealthy city during the Victorian era, and this is when the superb Grainger town was developed. Centred around the Monument, this is formal Victorian urban planning at its best.
  • Dockside — Newcastle’s River Tyne frontage has undergone an amazing revamp in recent years, and now features a number of upmarket bars, restaurants and hotels, in addition to the vast Sage arts complex on the other side of the river in Gateshead.
    This is where you will also find the Baltic Mills Gallery. It is now even easier to get around this part of the city without a car, as there is a regular free electric shuttle bus would runs down there every 10 minutes from the city centre.
    You can also cross the River Tyne using the dramatic new eye shaped Millennium Bridge, which lifts up in order to allow passing ships to travel underneath.
  • Durham — Durham Cathedral isn’t just one of the finest in England, it also perches  atop an incredibly dramatic cliff in a horseshoe bend above the River Wear. By far and away the best way of doing Durham Cathedral justice is to approach from the railway station.
  • Newcastle races — to spend a day at the races at Newcastle, you can drive there, but you can just as easily travel out using the Metro. A free shuttle bus is provided.
  • Tyne & Wear Metro — the Tyne & Wear region is easy to get around, thanks in part to the Tyne & Wear Metro, but also due to the huge network of buses which supplements it.
    You can connect directly between Newcastle airport, Newcastle city centre and Newcastle central railway station using the Metro, which also continues onwards to Sunderland.
    Note that the Metro does not actually serve the Gateshead Metrocentre — for this, you will need to take a local train or bus.
  • Alnwick and Berwick — whilst it is perfectly possible to visit Alnwick and Berwick by car, bear in mind that these two locations are just as easy to visit by train as well. Alight at Almouth for Alnwick Castle, also known to many as Hogwarts, but used in numerous other film and TV productions, including the original Blackadder.
    The border town of Berwick has swapped between England and Scotland on many occasions, and is steeped in history, not to mention its superb coastal views.
  • Train to Edinburgh — whilst Edinburgh itself needs little introduction, the train between Newcastle and Edinburgh, and in particular the coastal stretches around Berwick, offers what must surely be the most scenic mainline rail journey anywhere in the UK.

Conclusion — Do you need a car in Newcastle? For driving into Northumbria, or further west towards Cumbria and the Lake District, a car is clearly a good idea, but there is also more than enough to appreciate in and around Newcastle itself, without needing to get one.

Verdict — no

Ratings

Car rental in - Newcastle upon Tyne Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Newcastle upon Tyne?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Newcastle upon Tyne?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Newcastle upon Tyne?

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 Newcastle upon Tyne 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 Newcastle upon Tyne 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 Newcastle upon Tyne if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

4

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Newcastle upon Tyne?

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

Newquay

Do you need a car in Newquay?

Should you rent a car in Newquay UK > Newquay

Many British visitors to Cornwall will come here using their own cars, and Cornwall is also very easy to get to by train, courtesy of Brunel’s famous Great Western route, the main trunk spine of which runs fast from London Paddington to Exeter, from where it crawls around the coast and then deeper inland into Cornwall before finally making it to Penzance around 5 hours after departure.

Newquay Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Connections from the rest of the UK are also available, with the cross-country route from Birmingham heading through Bristol before joining the main line at Taunton.

However, in terms of rail service, the town Newquay sits right at the end of a branch line from Plymouth, and direct trains from London tend to only operate a few times each day, and only during the summer season.

Why not bring your own car?

This means that if you are arriving in Newquay without your own car, you may be almost as likely to arrive into Newquay airport as you are to arrive by train.

This Newquay car hire advice is broadly based on that assumption, especially since UK domestic visitors who want to explore this area by car will usually come here in their own car in the first place.

Newquay’s airport is situated in the former RAF base at St Mawgans, which is around 8 miles away from the town centre of Newquay.

The Atlantic coaster bus service provides a direct hourly peak time link from Padstow to the town of Newquay via the airport.

Why should you rent a car in Newquay?

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 Newquay?

Newquay Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

70%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€80

 #70/300

 

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

 

 €105

37/300

 

Free parking score

Total 97 - of which 54 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

56%

#102/300

 

Why do you need to rent a car in Newquay?

  • Getting a hire car opens up the rest of Cornwall in a way that local public transport can’t.
  • Beyond Newquay, there are no end of great attractions to see, including the stunning coastline and gentle country lanes in the interior.
  • A car is also going really useful for visiting places like the lost Gardens of Helligan, and in all honesty, it’s still the most practical option for visiting the Eden Project, even if they will give you a discount if you can show your train or bus ticket! Again, as per above, these locations can be visited by a combination of bus and train (via St Austell), but this is so much easier to do from cities like Plymouth.
  • If you think this is an easy place to get around without a car, just try tapping in “Newquay to Land’s End” by public transport and then doing the same journey by car – we won’t give the answer here just so you can try doing it
[whynot2 num=”197″]
  • Public transport around Newquay is still “adequate”, even if it isn’t all that great! Regular buses run in most directions, complementing the rail services which terminate here.
  • If you are more interested in getting around Devon and Cornwall using public transport, then we would strongly recommend staying in a city that is on the Great Western trunk line – anywhere between Plymouth and Truro will give you the most flexibility.
  • Camel Trail – celebrated as one of the best cycling routes in the UK, the Camel Trail runs along a former railway path beside the estuary of the River Camel. Providing a link between Wadebridge and Padstow, you can reach either by bus from Newquay, and then hire bikes there.

Naturally, Newquay might be way out on a limb if your perspective is arriving here by train, but if you are flying in, then getting a hire car opens up the rest of Cornwall in a way that local public transport can’t. If you are more interested in getting around Devon and Cornwall using public transport, then we would strongly recommend staying in the city that is a key junction on the great Western main line, with both Exeter and Plymouth being the obvious places here, these two cities being locations where we don’t recommend getting a hire car.

Do you need to rent a car in Newquay for longer trips?

Generally, we wouldn’t advise renting a car in Newquay for a longer trip. Most people flying here are coming from elsewhere within the UK. If you want to stay for longer, then you will bring your own car. The only regular international flights, other than from the Republic of Ireland (aslo easy to reach via ferry), are from Germany. You would probably get a better value choice of flights and car hire deals if you started in Bristol instead.

If you are travelling out here from London by train, and you don’t have the option of bringing your own car, then a longer rental period might make sense.

Verdict

Newquay car advice verdict – strong yes!

Ratings

Car rental in - Newquay Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Newquay?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Newquay?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Newquay?

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 Newquay 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 Newquay 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 Newquay if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

9

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Newquay?

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

Nottingham

Should you hire a car in Nottingham?

Should you rent a car in Nottingham UK > Nottingham

When it comes to airports, cities can usually be divided into two camps — the simple ones which only have one airport and those that are served by two or more airports. East Midlands airport on the other hand is a completely different breed as it is an airport which serves three different cities — Nottingham, Derby and Leicester. Although for several years the airport did market itself as Nottingham East Midlands, this naturally drew deep resentment from Leicester and Derby, and eventually it reverted back to its original name.

Nottingham Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Our East Midlands airport car hire advice looks at driving and public transport alternatives in each of these three cities, as well as at how easy it is to get between them and to reach other places of interest in the East Midlands region.

Naturally, there is some overlap with nearby Birmingham, especially as many people take flights to East Midlands as an alternative for reaching Birmingham and other Midlands cities.

Why should you rent a car in Nottingham?

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 Nottingham?

Nottingham Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

20%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€80

 #83/300

 

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

 

 €80

13/300

 

Free parking score

Total 83 - of which 52 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

63%

#84/300

 
  1. Multi-city tour — Nottingham, Derby and Leicester all have their own places of interest, but neither of them has enough of a tourist draw to warrant spending a whole holiday in one place. Instead, you will at the very least want to travel between the cities, and more likely you will want to venture out into some of the very scenic countryside areas which surround them. Naturally, having a hire car is going to make this a great deal easier.
  2. Limited rail network — just compare the vast network of regional and suburban railway lines around Birmingham with a small number of lines radiating out from Nottingham, Derby or Leicester, and you will see that the train is only useful for core trunk routes, and that if you want to visit any of the scenic rural areas, you will probably have to rely on buses.
  3. Token tram — Nottingham does at least have sparkling new tram line, but that is all it is — one line with a split at the top, and the whole thing serves little purpose for visiting tourist sites.
  4. No airport rail link — again, unlike Birmingham, there is no easy rail link between East Midlands airport and any of the cities it claims to serve. Worse still, just 4 miles away from East Midlands airport is the East Midlands Parkway railway station, which claims to serve the airport, but no longer has any fixed bus connection to it. There is also no taxi service based at East Midlands Parkway, so don’t head back that way on your return to the airport, unless you book an onward taxi well in advance.
  5. Peak District — the real scenic gem of the East Midlands area is the Peak District National Park, which is one of the most popular in England, as it is so close to Derby, Sheffield, Manchester and Birmingham. Although there are actually numerous ways to appreciate the Peak District without having a car (see below), a hire car will still give you all the usual flexibility.
  6. Chatsworth is one of the finest stately homes anywhere in England, and is world famous not just the architecture of the house itself but also the stunning landscape setting it sits within and it’s curious mix of gardens and greenhouses. A hire car will give you much more flexibility, although you can reach Chatsworth by bus from either Sheffield or Matlock.
  7. Belvoir Castle is another gem to the east of Nottingham, but this time, trying to get there by anything other than car is nigh on impossible, as buses must be booked ahead in advance – thus defeating the whole point of letting someone else do the driving.
  8. Alton Towers — no visit to this part of the world is complete without spending a day at the Alton Towers theme park. As with other major attractions, you can get there by bus, you will have a lot more flexibility if you go by car, even if the car will just sit all day in the car park.
  9. Robin Hood – for all things Robin Hood, apart from the centre of Nottingham itself, you will need a car to drive around at your own pace. Naturally, Mr Hood, being a man of the people, would be driving a small compact model, and he would, of course, be trying to get you to use the airport named after him!

Why not? Visiting Nottingham without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Nottingham public transport quick facts

Train score

 

50%

Water travel score

30%

Overall public transport score

80%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

30%

  1. Easy city connections — you will have no problem travelling between Nottingham, Derby and Leicester as there is a triangular network of trains running between them, with at least two trains each hour in any direction. It should take no more than half an hour to travel between any of the cities, and trains from Leicester to either Derby or Nottingham are generally of a good standard as they have originated in London.
  2. Pedestrian friendly city centres — Nottingham in particular has an extensive network of pedestrianised streets, arcades and indoor shopping centres (but avoid Broadmarsh like the plague!), and Leicester and Derby also have pedestrianised streets. Within these central cores, which also include many of the key visitor attractions, it is far easier to get around on foot than by any other means. You could easily get in out of the city centres by bus or train, and even if you do have a hire car, it is often easier to leave it in one of the edge of city park-and-ride car parks.
  3. Peak District at its peak — as mentioned above, a hire car will give you plenty of flexibility in the Peak District, but to appreciate this area at his best, you will want to leave the car behind and explore some of the following activity options:
  4. Tissington and High Peak Trails — these two former railway lines have been converted into a traffic free cycleway network which branches in a Y-shape from Buxton to Ashbourne and Cromford (near Matlock). With their sweeping embankments and plant rich cuttings, these two trails are amongst the very best in the UK, and really are a must-do for any visitor. Although you can walk these trails, you will see far more if you go out by bike.
    There are a number of places from where you can hire a bike, including Parsley Hay and Middleton Top, which are both on the trails.
    However, note that these hire centres are some way from any railway stations, so you might be better off looking for bike hire in Matlock or Derby (see below). Note that the ride up from Cromford to Middleton top is extremely steep, but it is well worth the reward!
  5. Heights of Abraham and Derwent Valley line — any fan of railway and cable technology will love the delightfully scenic Heights of Abraham, and the single track Derwent Valley railway line which you will use to get there. Trains run hourly north from Derby to Matlock.
    Alight one stop before at Matlock Bath to the Heights of Abraham. Naturally, kids will be more interested in the experiences at the top, but there is no doubt plenty here for kids young and old to appreciate. You can also enjoy walking on the Cromford Canal which runs parallel to this route.
  6. Melton Mowbray — foodies will love a visit to the quaint market town of Melton Mowbray, famous for its pork pies and stilton cheese. You can easily reach Melton Mowbray by train from either Leicester or Nottingham.
  7. National Space Centre, Leicester — this is another attraction which is going to appeal to big and small kids. This is easy to get to from the centre of Leicester by bus – and even easier on a bike, if you can get hold of one!
  8. Greenways (cycling) — the East Midlands has several high-quality and traffic free cycling routes, with each of the three major cities having one particularly good one.
    In Leicester, you can take the former route to the Great Central railway south to get out the city, and from here you can easily explore a number of attractive villages. Nottingham has the “Big Track”, which is a 10 mile circuit taking in both the River Trent and the adjacent canal. This circuit loops around Beeston, and you can also continue further up the River Trent as far as Trentlock.
    From Derby, you can head out to Worthington using the Derby canal path, or you can also head north out of the city towards the Peak District (see above).

Conclusion:

Considering that East Midlands airport serves three very different cities, the natural instinct is to think towards getting a hire car to travel around and between them. However, with a little bit of planning, it is clear that there is plenty to see and do without needing one, and that there are also a number of very high quality attractions involving other forms of transport, especially the bike. For these reasons, we think you can get by without a hire car, especially if you are interested in going around on two wheels instead of four.

Verdict: no

Notes:

  • For bike hire in and around the Peak District, try Peak Tours, who also will deliver bikes to nearby cities.

Ratings

Car rental in - Nottingham Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Nottingham?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Nottingham?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Nottingham?

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 Nottingham 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 Nottingham 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 Nottingham if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

4

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

 

Would you hire a car in Nottingham?

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

 

Oxford

Do you need a car in Oxford?

Should you rent a car in Oxford UK > Oxford

Most people know that the city of dreaming spires is also one of the U.K.’s least accessible cities to motorists in private cars, whilst also being second only to Cambridge when it comes to the volume of cyclists. Yet Oxford is also home to Inspector Morse and his legendary red Jaguar, and even if the city itself is not very car friendly, there is plenty of great driving country beyond its boundaries.

Oxford Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Most people visiting the city will either arrive by train or coach, and be considering picking up a car from the city centre, or they will travel up from one of the London’s airports.

Why should you rent a car in Oxford?

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 Oxford?

Oxford Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

80%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€85

 #104/300

 

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

 

 €85

15/300

 

Free parking score

Total 94 - of which 61 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

65%

#71/300

 
  • Cotswolds — arguably home to the finest villages in England, the Cotswolds is one of the most visited scenic areas in the UK, and is easily accessed by car to the west of Oxford. Try and avoid summer weekends, when many villages become too overcrowded and parking is impossible. The smaller villages are just as delightful as their more famous larger cousins! As with anywhere, a car is going to give you far more flexibility to explore the Cotswolds at your own pace. Although local bus services do exist (see below), they need careful planning, and they aren’t much use for providing connections to the many houses, gardens, and other attractions within the Cotswolds area.
  • Blenheim Palace — the world-famous Blenheim Palace sits on the edge of the Cotswolds near the village of Woodstock, to the north-west of Oxford.
  • Morse Country – a hire car is ideal for visiting the many haunts frequented by Morse in his various murder investigations in and around Oxford.
  • Bicester Village — shopaholics will want to head for Bicester Village, just beyond junction 9 of the M40. This massive outlet shopping park is adjacent to Bicester Town railway station, which is served by trains from Oxford. However, if you are travelling out from London, you will arrive at Bicester North Station, from where a shuttle bus is available to get to Bicester Village. If you are laid down with heavy shopping, it always tends to be much easier to load up the boot of a car.
  • Milton Keynes — for a complete contrast to the dreaming spires of Oxford, visit the spotlessly efficient new town of Milton Keynes, home to a virtually infinite number of roundabouts and the longest shopping centre in the UK.
  • Chiltern Hills — the scenic beauty around Oxford is by no means restricted to venturing west. Drive for just 20 minutes to the south-east of Oxford, and you will hit the Chiltern Hills, home to many stunningly beautiful villages, which don’t have quite the same tourist hordes at the Cotswolds.
  • Stratford-upon-Avon and Shakespeare country — although the town of Stratford upon Avon itself has a railway station, it is much more cumbersome to get there by train than it should be, as the more direct route has long since closed.
    Instead, you’ll need to change in Banbury or Royal Leamington Spa, only to loop back on yourself to end up in Stratford. With a hire car, you can explore many of the wonderful Warwickshire lanes on your way.
    Even Warwick Castle, with its limited parking is still a quick sprint up the M40, rather than an indirect train journey, although if you like walking, you can go along the banks of either the River Avon or the Grand Union Canal to reach Warwick directly from Leamington station.
  • Vale of the White Horse — head south from Oxford on the A34, and just beyond Abingdon you will find the start of the Vale of White Horse, which contains numerous examples of these huge equine carvings. This trail will take you south of Swindon and up to the start of Salisbury Plain.
  • Downton Abbey — just south of Newbury is Highclere Castle, made famous by the multiple award-winning period drama Downton Abbey.
  • Stonehenge — just to the north of Salisbury, on the southern edge of the Salisbury Plain is the World Heritage site of Stonehenge.
  • Poor airport access – unless you are flying into Heathrow or Birmingham (see below), Oxford is not that well connected to London’s vast array of airports. It may well be easier to drive here, and then to use the hire car for the rest of your trip.

[whynot city=”Oxford”]

  • City of Oxford — needless to say, as already mentioned above, there is no point in hiring a car just to drive up to the city of Oxford, as, much to the disgust of Oxfordshire motormouth Jeremy Clarkson, the city is largely designed to keep the private car out, and parking is notoriously expensive.
    Many people visiting the city use the park and ride facilities instead, and Oxford has no less than five of these, covering all the main access roads.
    There is little point in getting a hire car just to end up taking a bus into the city centre –you might as well arrive by train or coach, as the rail and bus stations are much more central.
  • Cycling city — needless to say, Oxford is one of the best places in the UK in which to ride a bike. If you can brave it past the ring of tarmac that surrounds the city, then a good bike will give you almost as much flexibility as a hire car will, and during those hot summer weekends, it can access those parts of the Cotswolds that cars sometimes cannot reach.
  • Blenheim Palace by bus — Blenheim Palace is one of those attractions where you will either want to spend several hours inside marvelling at the historic grandeur of the building itself, or you will want to go walking around the Capability Brown – designed landscape. In either case, you would just have to pay through the nose again for parking, so why bother? Plenty of local bus services are available to and from the village of Woodstock, which is adjacent to the palace entrance.
  • Cotswolds by train and bus — you can head deep into the Cotswolds by train, heading out of Oxford towards Evesham and Worcester. Alternatively, take the train down to Didcot, from where connections are available through the South West Cotswolds to Stroud and then Gloucester. Plenty of bus routes are available to reach other towns and villages in the Cotswolds. Although a hire car will give you more flexibility, during the busy summer months, Cotswolds villages like Burton on the Water, Broadway, Snowshill or Stow on the Wold can be absolutely overrun by cars trying to park, so you might find it isn’t worth the hassle.
  • Swindon — Swindon might not be everybody’s idea of a must see town, but if you have an interest in industrial history, this was the site of the Great Western Railway’s main engineering centre, and it was also a pioneering example of Victorian paternalistic town planning. Naturally, Swindon is best visited by train, but you would need to change at Didcot to get here.
  • Airport Access – the Oxford tube offers a very regular coach service to and from Heathrow Airport. Coaches are also available direct to Luton Airport. Another option is to look for flights to Birmingham, and to take the train direct to Oxford from there (hourly, approx. 1 hour journey). However, other London airports are not so easy to get to from Oxford.

Conclusion — of course, there is no need to get a hire car just to visit Oxford itself, but that was obvious from the start. To explore outside the city, a hire car really is the best option to get the most of this region, as so many places which are worth visiting are well outside the reach of scheduled bus and train services.

Verdict – yes

Ratings

Car rental in - Oxford Need v worth & should!

Do you need a car in Oxford?

Based on comparison with transit, walking and cycling.
 

Is it worth hiring a car in Oxford?

Based on value for money
 

Should you rent a car in Oxford?

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 Oxford 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 Oxford 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 Oxford if I prefer not to drive?

If I am easy either way?

If I prefer to drive?


 

Verdict

Final score:

6

Go back up to:
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments
 

Would you hire a car in Oxford?

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

Sheffield

Should you rent a car in Sheffield?

Should you rent a car in Sheffield UK > Sheffield

[coming]

Sheffield Introduction

Why? Why not? Ratings

Sheffield is perhaps more famous for the steel from which cars are built rather than being a particularly good or bad place to drive, but it also claims to be the only city in the UK which has a national park within its boundaries, and there is certainly plenty of great scenery nearby.

So if you are using Sheffield as a base from which to explore South Yorkshire and beyond, is it best to get a hire car, or can you get around using public transport and your own two feet?

Note that this Sheffield car hire guide considers locations which are immediately adjacent to Sheffield, and takes the assumption you either flying into Doncaster Sheffield Robin Hood airport (DSA), or arriving into Sheffield by train. Please also see our Manchester and Leeds car hire guides, or for destinations further south, please see our East Midlands airport car hire guide.

Why should you rent a car in Sheffield?

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 Sheffield?

Sheffield Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

30%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€95

 #95/300

 

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

 

 €95

23/300

 

Free parking score

Total 89 - of which 59 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

66%

#66/300

 
  1. Peak District national park
  2. Yorkshire Dales national park
  3. Humberside
  4. Lincoln
  5. Meadowhall

Why not? Visiting Sheffield without a car

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

Sheffield public transport quick facts

Train score

 

70%

Water travel score

00%

Overall public transport score

60%

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

(walking + cycling)

90%

  1. Peak District cycling trails
  2. Supertram and Don Valley
  3. Meadowhall by public transport
  4. Rail connections – Derby, Nottingham, Leeds, Manchester
  5. Peak District by train
  6. Huddersfield
  7. Magna park

Why should you rent a car in Sheffield?

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 Sheffield?

Sheffield Car hire summary


Overall drive rating

30%

 

Cheapest rate for one week

€95

 #95/300

 

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

 

 €95

23/300

 

Free parking score

Total 89 - of which 59 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

66%

#66/300

 

The rail network around Sheffield might not be as comprehensive as Leeds, but trains and trams can still take you to most of the urban attractions which are nearby, and the train is also a great way to get into the Peak District without having to worry about being start in slow-moving traffic and trying to find somewhere to park.

Should you rent a car in Sheffield? No!

Would you hire a car in Sheffield?

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