By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in Newquay?

Do you need a car in Newquay > Should you rent a car in Newquay UK > Newquay ( NQY ) Do you need a car in Newquay? Is it worth hiring a car in Newquay? Should you rent a car in Newquay?

Newquay Car hire summary

Overall drive rating

Based on a weighted score across all cost and quality factors. [Full notes - drive rating]


  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Newquay but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
  • Cost factors include - price of car hire (peak and off peak season), car hire extras, fuel, tolls and parking costs.
  • Quality factors include - scenic drives, road quality and upkeep, general safety and congestion levels.
  • A complete index of all 10 factors will be uploaded shortly.

Cheapest rate for one week

Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]



  • This is the very lowest price we could find for a one week car rental period in Newquay during the quiet season.
  • You will almost always end up paying more than this figure, but any extra costs or supplementary charges are usually determined by the renter, so we cannot easily compare like with like.
  • In many cases, rental companies will offer a cheap rental and then expect you to take out expensive insurance waivers. There are always ways to avoid this!

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

Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]



  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "why not" section for more suggestions.
  • For most featured destinations, the peak season will be during the summer, typically July and August for northern hemisphere destinations. However, peak demand might occur at different times, for example in some ski resorts or winter sun destinations etc.

Free parking score

Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking. Total 97 - of which 54 have free parking. [full notes - parking]



  • Free hotel parking is very useful to have when you are hiring a car, and it's always worth checking ahead beforehand.
  • If free hotel parking is not available, you might want to consider renting a car for a single day, rather than for your whole trip.
  • The availability (or lack of) free hotel parking can be a really important factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Newquay, as it can be a significant extra daily cost which you won't usually be paying at home!
  • Parking costs play a very major part in our consideration of whether or not it's worth hiring a car in each destination.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

Newquay public transport quick facts

Train score

Higher scores go to the systems which don't just take you to the most amazing places, but also to the ones which are easy to use, fast, reliable and frequent. A good train system on its own is usually enough to determine that you don't need to hire a car in many destinations.


  • [full notes trains]
  • Trains include all kinds of urban rail system from trams up to metro and suburban networks.
  • Trains also include mountain railways and cable cars.
  • Generally, places with a good rail network will automatically mean that you don't "need" to hire a car, but you can still might find that on balance you are better off by having one.

Water travel score

This is a general rating for all types of water travel, including scheduled ferries, sea / rivers cruises and excursions in Newquay


  • [full notes - water score]
  • The water score looks at means of transport on water - it does not consider water based activities like surfing or kayaking.

Overall public transport score

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel, and also including ferries and other boat services, where they are part of the public transport network.


  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Newquay good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?
  • Even if public transport is cheap and reliable, you might still feel that you should hire a car in Newquay because it will still give you more flexibility to reach out-of-the-way places, especially in rural areas.

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Newquay. It includes factors such as the quality of the street environment, and whether you are likely to feel safe walking or cycling, together with the availability of bicycle hire and the ease of linking walking or cycling routes with public transport.


  • [full notes - active score] walking (city) | hiking | cycling (city /  country).
  • A high active travel score means that you might not need a car in Newquay, because you can see everything you need to see using a combination of your own two feet and the public transport system.

Car rental in - Newquay Need v worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Newquay", "is it worth hiring a car in Newquay", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme. Here we break each one down according to the criteria we use for each question. This is a weighted score based on the values above. These are explained further in the text which follows - [#why] [#whynot]. Do you need a car in Newquay?

Do you need a car in Newquay?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city. For the lowest "need" score, the destination should have a combination of excellent all-round public transport, great opportunities for walking and cycling, together with poor value car hire or generally poor quality roads. 
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "do I need a car in  Newquay " will swing towards a strong no, because you can do absolutely fine without one).
Is it worth hiring a car in Newquay?

Is it worth hiring a car in Newquay?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares? This question mainly looks at issues of cost and practicality.
  • In destinations where both public transport and car hire options are excellent, the verdict for "is it worth hiring a car in  Newquay" will swing towards whichever option offers the lowest overall cost for a group of 2-4 people travelling together.
Should you rent a car in Newquay?

Should you rent a car in Newquay?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?
  • The final "carometer" swing is much more opinion based, and it takes into account which options will give you the truly best travel experience (n our humble opinion of course). Where a destination offers an excellent score with or without a car, the swing will go towards whichever option we feel gives the most truly unforgettable experience.
  • Ultimately, it's your choice whether or not you rent a car here. We're trying to give you something that's sufficiently far enough away from a "maybe" to help you make that choice. Ultimately, people only come to us because they are uncertain, but we don't really know what each person's preferences are. Whether we say you should or you shouldn't rent a car in  Newquay, you might also want to look up some of our other cities to see how  Newquay compares with other destinations in  UK or  Europe.
  • By using public transport, walking or hiring a bicycle, you can avoid having to worry about parking charges altogether! See our "why not" section for more suggestions.

What does everyone else do?

Do most people hire a car in Newquay?

This is based on our observations of (a) car rental facilities and (b) what we think most people will do here. It's not an exact figure, just an estimate of how likely people are to get hold of a rental car here.
  • his is based on the percentage of people "in the market" who we think are likely to hire a car. This includes anyone arriving on holiday here who would usually hire a car on their travels, so it doesn't include people who don't usually drive (or don't drive), people staying with friends etc.


Visitors per year (million)

  • Cities with more visitors are more likely to have more complex airport car rental arrangements, and generally they will also have better public transport, but this is not always the case, especially in North America.


  • [full notes - do as everyone else does?]
  • You may wish to go with the flow, or you might prefer to avoid doing the most popular or obvious option. This will vary according to the range of choice available. This tends to be much higher in destinations which are closer to the middle of the car or no car scale.

Who is travelling?

Your group size and travel budget has a major impact on whether or not getting a rental car is good value compared to using public transport as your main means of getting around. Ultimately, these are all "worth" questions:

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

Generally, hiring a car is not good value for solo travellers for multiple reasons, especially as most of the costs of renting apply to the car, not the occupants. With public transport, the reverse is usually true! However, there are always some places where you will need a car, simply because they are almost impossible to reach using public transport.

Is it worth renting a car in Newquay for 2 people travelling together?

A rental car can be good value for couples or for friends travelling together, but since most cars come with at least four seats, it's often still better value to use public transport. However, if you prefer to keep yourselves to yourselves, then you might still want to rent.

Is it worth renting a car in Newquay for families?

Families of groups of 3-4 people travelling together will always get the best value from a rental car. However, you may also be burdened with extra costs for car seat hire, and you well also prefer to use local trains and buses, if they are quicker than getting stuck in heavy traffic.

Where are you staying?

The place you are staying, together with the sort of places you want to see, will have a large impact on whether or not you "need" to rent a car:

Do you need a car in Newquay if we are staying in the city centre / main resort area?

Most large towns or purpose built holiday resorts will have some kind of public transport, whereas parking provision will vary greatly from one place to the next. 

Do you need a car in Newquay if we are staying on the edge of the urban area?

Typically you may be staying in an apartment or hmall house on the edge of a resort or urban area. These places usually have some level of public transport, but not as much as city / resort centres.

Do you need a car in Newquay if we are staying in a rural area?

Rural proprties might include larger villas or apartments, but they can still be within a short walk of a bus stop or local railway station, and the opportunities for hiking and cycling might also be substantial, depending on the destination.

What is your attitude towards driving?

We can give you suggestions based on whatever we consider to be a "typical" visitor to Newquay, but ultimately your decision is also going to be influenced by whether or not you ususally prefer to hire a car in the first place.

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

This is especially the case when there is only one main driver in the group, and it's based on the attitude of the driver rather than their passengers! The main driver may also simply prefer to use public transport, or they may prefer to take scenic train journeys where available.

Should we rent a car in Newquay if we are easy either way?

This is more aimed at the typical visitor who isn't that bothered about how they get around, as long as it is the most convenient / best value option.

Should I rent a car in Newquay if I prefer to drive?

For people who usually prefer the freedom and flexibility of having a hire car. Is it still best to rent a car in Newquay, or are there good reasons not to?

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.

Do you need a car in Newquay? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in Newquay?", this often breaks down to two key questions:
  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in Newquay? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?
Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in Newquay as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in Newquay?
Why? Why not? Ratings Comments

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?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip? 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?

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.


Newquay car advice verdict – strong yes!


Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.


What is our final score for Newquay on the Carornocar scale?

Remember, this isn't so much a rating of the road network, or a score for what we think of the buses or trains, but it's simply a scale showing the swing between whether or not we think a rental car is a good idea here.


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}? Do you need a car in Newquay? For some or all of the time? Tell us what you think using the comments section below:

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