Who doesn’t love Bristol? It gives you something new at every turn, beating marinas, riverside parks, grungy inns, and swish shopping centers. A quick drive will bring you to landscape heaven that includes the following:
- Avon Gorge
So why not rent a car and traverse the city’s brilliant surroundings?
Driving in Bristol
You’re probably not thinking of doing much driving in the city center. But if you do need one for a certain event, you’ll find it a mixed bag.
Bristol isn’t huge, but its center has an old, winding street system broken up by canals, rivers, parks, and pedestrianized zones. It can all get a bit frustrating when you drive away from the major roads, so bring along a satnav if you can.
The great news is that the major roads are actually not that hard to navigate. If you’re driving out of the city, you’ll have less trouble like when you reach the A420. That’s because it’s a clear turn east to get to the Cotswolds.
Bear in mind that traffic gets really bad on the motorways and A-roads during peak times. It’s always worth allocating some extra time for trips during the morning or afternoon rush hour, especially if you’re heading to the airport. The route can be profoundly affected by commuter traffic.
As you’d anticipate in a city center, Bristol’s car parks can be pricey and fill up immediately, particularly on weekends. Trinity Centre car park gives good rates for more prolonged stays. It’s also possible to locate on-street parking, but spaces in central areas regularly have a two-hour maximum stay.
For day trips into the city, seek one of the three parks and ride services, stationed in Long Ashton, Portway Road, and Bath Road.
If this is your first time driving in the United Kingdom, it is essential to comprehend the traffic rules, speed limit, toll fees, and other relevant information.
We have put together a quick guide to aid you to get used to British roads. Below are some fundamental driving tips you should learn before you start your road trip.
Rules and Regulations
- Keep in mind that driving on the left-hand side of the road is strongly imposed.
- Do not drive and block the middle lane if the inside lane is clear from vehicles.
- When nearing a roundabout, always give priority to traffic progressing from the right, unless otherwise indicated.
- Always obey all traffic signals and road signs.
- Give way to emergency services vehicles in a careful manner.
- The use of your hire car horn is not allowed in built-up sections from 23:30 to 07:00 hours every day.
- It’s illegal to speak on a mobile phone while driving in the UK. If you really need to make a call, look for a safe place and pull over first.
- You can be penalized up to £500 if you don’t use a seat belt when you are supposed to.
- The highest amount of alcohol permitted in the blood is 0.08 percent. There is a Penalty of up to £5,000 or $688.94, and/or 6 months imprisonment and 12 months removal of driving license if it is a first-time offense.
- The minimum driving age is 17.
Remember that this is only a summary. Make sure that you are knowledgeable of all these rules and regulations before you start your journey. For more complete information, review the Highway Code website before you drive.
Observe the Speed Limits
Speed limits do alter depending on the class of road and the vehicle you are driving. You must not surpass the maximum speed limit established for the road or your vehicle.
Wear Seat Belts
The UK law strongly affirms that you must wear a seat belt if one is provided unless you fit for a medical privilege and have the document to prove it. In addition to that, you must know how to correctly use a seat belt, child restraint, car seat, or booster seat. A suitable child restraint must be employed for children between 3 – 12 years old and under 135cms in height.
When you wish to drive in Britain, you must have either:
- A substantial competent driving license issued in a European Community/European Economic Area (EC/EEA).
- A valid, sufficient national license originated in your country.
- Provided that your full license or driving permit is valid, you may drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes and with up to 8 passenger seats, for up to 12 months from the date of arriving in the UK.
- A temporary (learner’s) driving license issued abroad is not valid for usage in the UK.
- You must secure a full license for a minimum of one year to drive a hire car. For rentals in Ireland, some companies like Avis require their clients to hold a valid driver’s license for 8 years, two of which must be at a full driver’s license restriction.
NOTE: Countries that are incorporated in the EC/EEA are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Republic of Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) has already executed paperless driving licenses. Be sure to fill up the required form at least a day before you pick up your rental car to receive a special code. You can contact DVLA at 0300 083 0013 for any concerns.
Parking in Britain is not particularly simple to follow. They have plenty of regulations and it can be difficult to know where you can park. Restricted parking areas are continuously monitored by authorities and penalties can be very expensive.
Red and Yellow Lines
Single and double yellow and red lines along the side of the road are applied to designate where you can and cannot park.
- Single yellow lines: There are limitations on parking at specific times. A driver may be allowed to pull over on a single yellow line to let a passenger in or out of the car, but the driver must not leave the vehicle. Keep an eye on the signs on the road to find out parking restriction periods.
- Double yellow lines: You are not allowed to park at any time.
- Single red lines: You are not allowed to park or STOP at certain times as stated on the nearby road signs.
- Double red lines: You are not allowed to park or STOP at any time.
Car parks are a great and frequently more reliable option to on-street parking, and there are numerous across Britain. Some are free, but most come with charges. Prices always differ depending on the area and time.
Car parks can be located in areas like railway stations, airports, supermarkets, or solely in an area where extra parking is required. For car parks servicing a specific company, you usually have to be a client to use them. For most car parks there’s a deadline on how long you can stay.
With most car parks, there will be a prices board on display at the entry which informs you how much it costs to park. The cost normally increments with every hour of your stay, and you will settle the amount on the way out. If you’re parking in an unfamiliar area, it’s best to locate a car park with security and make sure you never leave any important items on display in your car.
Pay and Display
Pay and display are where you purchase a ticket for a particular amount of parking time. Pay and display are applied for on-street parking, car parks, and wherever you see the pay and display sign.
Pay and display rates always depend on location and time and the machine will show you the cost of parking.
You must always clearly place your ticket on the dashboard, windscreen, or passenger window, then you must drive your car or pay for more time before your ticket runs out (the time is always printed legibly on your ticket).
On nearing a roundabout, drivers are urged to:
- Always use the mirror-signal-maneuver means at all stages
- Decide which exit you need to take as immediate as possible
- Give the proper signal at the right time so you don’t distract other road users
- Get into the exact lane
- Regulate your pace and position to the traffic conditions
- Remain conscious of the speed and position of the traffic around you.
If you are intending on driving your hire car through the streets of London, you will presumably enter the Congestion Zone Charge.
What is the congestion charge? This is an everyday charge to drive in central London between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday, excluding Public Holidays. It was created to reduce traffic and raise money to enhance transport in London.
There are no restrictions or toll booths to the area and you do not have to show any permits or passes. The zone is observed by CCTV cameras, which record all vehicle number plates and conclude whether the charge has been paid. They acknowledge both British and European number plates.
There are particular roads you can use to pass through central London without paying. These are presented by road markings and signs. To view a map of where the congestion charge functions and for more details, check the London Congestion Charge pages of the Transport for London website.
Alcohol and Road Safety
There are also severe driving penalties if you are caught above the limit. You could be jailed, banned from driving, and face an immense fine if found guilty. Please note that the exact penalty you get is up to the court and depends on your offense.
Thinking of driving from London to Paris? Driving the Eurotunnel if you are coming from Great Britain is one alternative to reach France. Please be advised that Eurotunnel’s car transporting service stretches via the Channel Tunnel from Folkestone to Calais/Coquelles.
Renting a Car in Bristol
Bristol Airport is approximately 13km (8 miles) from the heart of the city, and the drive takes about 25 minutes. If you’re flying in, hiring a car from the airport is a good choice. There are many rental companies stationed on-site, which includes popular brands such as Europcar, Budget, Enterprise, and Avis.
The airport has just one terminal, and most of its national hire car offices are positioned just outside the arrivals hall. Others are a bit further away, including Enterprise, whose post is a five-minute stroll along North Side Road, and local firm Green Motion Car Rental, which grants a free shuttle service to its pick-up point.
Car rental companies that can be found at Bristol Airport include:
Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a continuous American breakthrough story. Their guiding principles and simple beginning revolve around personal honesty and integrity.
They believe in empowering their communities one neighborhood at a time, serving their customers as if they were their family, and rewarding hard work. These circumstances are as true today as they were when they were founded in 1957.
Today, their massive network denotes Enterprise is the biggest transportation solutions, provider. They offer car and truck rentals, as well as car-sharing and car trades. They are situated with over 8,000 locations worldwide.
They take an active role in sustainability, not only because it’s smart for their business, but because they also believe in making the world a better place for future generations. Because of their size, they are in a bizarre position to promote innovation, advance research, and test market-driven solutions.
Established on the outskirts of one of England’s greatest cities, Bristol Airport draws visitors from all over the world enthusiastic to experience this pulsing part of the UK.
Only eight miles from the heart of Bristol and well-connected to other larger cities via the M4 and M5 highways, and London, Bristol Airport is an excellent place to commence your British adventure.
When you arrive at the airport, you can locate Hertz on the north side of the terminal. You can organize and pre-select your vehicle or manage your rental when you arrive. There are absolutely no hidden extras to pay, and you can choose whether to pay in advance or on collection.
When you have settled your rental car, drive the A38 from the first roundabout and you’ll be on your way to the heart of the city. They also have pick-up spots in the heart of Bristol if that’s more convenient.
Touch down at Bristol Airport and run straight in a hire car to traverse the West Country. You’ll locate the Avis car rental at Bristol Airport right in the arrival hall.
Once you are set, it’s time to begin exploring all that Bristol has to offer. If you’re organizing a short trip, be sure to drive in this lively city with its classical yet innovative feel, food and music scene, art collectives, lovely houses, and independent cafes.
If you’re in Bristol for longer, why not drive your rental car on a day trip to one of the nearby shores or discover the neighboring areas such as Bath and the Cotswolds.
If you intend to drive through Bristol and need a hire car to get around, SIXT offers competitive rates, extensive miles, and friendly customer service.
Choose from a fleet of luxury vehicles to satisfy your needs, including superior saloons, sports cars, and minivans. Traveling to Bristol for a city break? A compact car is an excellent choice. Preparing for a longer trip? A spacious 4×4 has lots of legroom.
For your hassle-free holiday, you can also book some extras from SIXT Bristol Airport car hire which includes a Sat Nav for easy navigation, added drivers, and child seats. Hire a car with SIXT and get the most of your stay in Bristol.
Only a short distance from the terminal, SIXT Bristol Airport car hire is a state-of-the-art facility with a roomy reception area and assigned pick-up and drop-off points.
Once you arrive at Bristol Airport (BRS), you can take the airport shuttle from bus stop 3 to get you to the Car Hire Centre. This service runs every 20 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Make a reservation on your SIXT hire car at the orange SIXT counter. From the airport, the city of Bristol is less than 10 miles away so you can immediately reach your next destination. When returning your car, you can park in a marked SIXT bay and leave your key in the drop safe.
Established in 1974, Alamo offers low rental charges and a pleasant, hassle-free customer experience at the greatest sought-after travel goals all over the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Rim.
Alamo began the industry’s initial real-time Internet booking engine and online check-in system. Today, their site makes vacation planning more manageable by implementing great rates as well as travel tools to determine the weather, driving directions, and fun travel ventures.
Alamo never quits looking for ways to improve cleanliness and safety. They pledge to go above and beyond their already uncompromising cleaning protocols, including stern sanitizing procedures to protect the health and safety of their clients.
Fast service, new cars, and low prices are components of their everyday offer. Whether you are renting a car for business or pleasure, or you just need a car or van for easy exploration of Bristol, Europcar has the most desirable hire car at Bristol Airport for you.
Europcar is also looking forward to serving its clients at its car hire branch: Bristol Airport. Remember to always carry your driving license with you, a valid credit card, and extra proof of identity (such as a passport if you are renting abroad).
Europcar’s Green Programme: At Europcar, they know the environmental repercussions of car hire. That’s why they have wholeheartedly adopted a sustainable development program and are pleased to be the first car hire firm at Bristol Airport with verified commitments.
Travel Bristol and the rolling hills and settlements of the Cotswolds and Gloucestershire in a Budget hire car.
You can easily rent a car from Budget when you land at Bristol Airport, they are conveniently stationed in the terminal building.
Bristol Airport is the entrance to this historic city found in southwest England. The airport is just 9 miles from the heart of Bristol and all the history, culture, and nightlife it grants visitors.
With a Budget hire car, you can traverse the city and the open paths of England’s West Country.
Whether your interest is in architectural designs, arts, and culture, or the best dance clubs nearby, you will surely find something to suit you in Bristol.
On your arrival at Bristol Airport, you can ride a shuttle at Bus stop 3, which will carry you to the Car Rental Village. The shuttle is a shared bus with the Silver Zone Parking and will be marked for Car rental and Silver Zone parking.
As you reach the Car rental Village, enter the building, and Alamo, Enterprise, National is just in front of you on your left side. Each of their vehicles is fully cleaned between each rental and supported with the Complete Clean Pledge.
This includes washing, vacuuming, overall wipe down, and sanitizing with a disinfectant that adheres to the leading health authority requirements, with special attention to more than 20-plus high-touch points which incorporates:
- Key/key fob
- Steering wheel
- Steering column
- Seat belts
- Center console
- Door interiors
- Door pockets
- Interior door handles
- Exterior door handles
- Seat pockets/seat surfaces
- Spots between seats and consoles
- Spots between seats and door jambs
- Instrument panel
- Accessory panel/touchscreen
- Rearview mirror/side mirrors
- Visors/visor mirrors
- Gear Stick/gear shift
- Trunk release
- Among any other high-touch areas
They also have measures in place to instantly isolate and quarantine any vehicle if required.
Green Motion Bristol airport is very easy to locate. Upon your arrival at the airport, exit the terminal building and turn right instantly. After 300 yards, walk straight over the first roundabout and in the same direction as the main airport roundabout. Turn left.
The office is located 100 yards of the right inside Forge Motel, which is roughly 5 minutes walk.
Book with ease in Bristol and relax knowing that they take care of their customers. They believe in providing their customers with all the details whether good or bad. They are also committed to equipping you with the best overall car rental experience.
Deciding to book with Green Motion Car Rental in Bristol guarantees the most suitable way to meet your car rental requirements. Receiving your car with Green Motion is fast and easy! Smooth pick-up and drop-off method.
Why go to Green Motion Car Rental in Bristol?
- Value for Money, based on their customer evaluations for Green Motion Car Rental in Bristol.
- At Green Motion Car Rental in Bristol, renters can pick from a variety of rental vehicles.
- Green Motion, gives great service, wider choice, and almost always lower prices in Bristol.
Recommended Day Trips from Bristol
Bristol City Center
Driving time: 21 minutes
There are some remarkable tourist attractions in Bristol city center. The cathedral is an exceptional place to start, where you can digest both architectural and religious past.
Formerly a Norman abbey, its Gothic embellishments were supplemented during major rebuilding in the 19th century and the cathedral was finally built in 1888.
Constructed in 1590, Bristol’s Red Lodge Museum is another major historical charm in the city., with its multiple and varied applications over the centuries. The first floor has rooms that have been protected from the 16th century.
For those touring Bristol with a family, various attractions may amuse children. Bristol Zoo Gardens fits children with a chance to learn about the resident animals, and We The Curious. On the Harbourside extends over 250 hands-on science and art shows and the UK’s first 3D planetarium.
You can take a drive out to the Clifton Suspension Bridge for the panoramic views. The Visitor Centre at Leigh Woods has tours, shows, and children’s activities.
Driving time: 45 minutes
If you were struck by Avon Gorge back in Bristol, Cheddar will roll you over.
It covers both high and deep, with viewpoints atop towering limestone cliffs, and displays caves crammed with striking rock formations. Find out about Britain’s oldest entirely unimpaired skeleton, found here in 1903 and thought to be over 9000 years old.
You can also do some of the adventure activities like caving, climbing, and free-falls, which you can schedule in advance. No cheese jokes, by the way; if they resisted it, so can you.
Driving time: 50 minutes
Luxurious, historic Bath is an excellent counterpoint to Bristol’s more exciting pleasures, both as a day trip or the second portion of a twin-center city break.
Some sites can beat it for Georgian architecture – just gaze at the honey-colored townhouses beside the Royal Crescent. You’ll also find some excellent independent shopping right in the heart of town, particularly throughout Walcot Street.
To unwind, stroll along the lovely Avon Canal or hit the famous thermal spa.
Driving time: One hour 15 minutes
This is probably the single most excellent reason to rent a car when you visit Bristol. Even a quick drive around the Cotswolds will get you tripping across picture-perfect villages, furnished with stone cottages and traditional saloons.
Highlights incorporate the Prince of Wales’s Highgrove Estate (which you can travel if you’re up for an established attraction) and Bourton-on-the-Water, where the refined River Windrush works as a natural centerpiece to a clump of antique shops, delis, and tearooms.
What age do I need to be to rent a vehicle in Bristol?
The minimum age limit for renting a car in Bristol varies by car hire company. In the UK, most car rental companies require you to be at least 21, though several companies will not rent to those under 25. To view what your options are, input your age on an online search and comparison tool of the company website.
What do I need to rent a vehicle in Bristol?
What you need to bring with you varies depending on which company you rent a car from. You’ll always require your driving license (which should be valid for at least a year) and a valid credit card with your name on it.
An extra form of ID, as well as a DVLA license‘ check code’, may also be required.
Do I need a car rental excess insurance in Bristol?
Though you’re not obligated to have car hire excess insurance, it’s usually a great idea to do so. Otherwise, you could end up spending a large sum of money out of your pocket in the case of an accident.
While you can receive car rental excess insurance from your rental provider, that’s normally the priciest option. Purchasing around for a third-party excess insurance provider before you travel can give savings.
Can I rent a car with my debit card in Bristol?
Though a credit card is normally required, some car hire companies will let you use a debit card, provided you have adequate money in your account to meet the full cost. Some companies may require a large deposit when applying for a debit card, so check with your provider beforehand.
Which rental companies are available at Bristol Airport?
There are nine car hire companies stationed at Bristol Airport’s car rental center: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, National, Sixt, and Green-Motion.
Is it cheaper to rent a car at the airport or off-site in Bristol?
The larger car rental companies at Bristol Airport frequently offer good deals, particularly if you book in advance. Car rental companies outside the airport or in Bristol city center typically offer the cheapest rates.
Can you rent a car in Bristol and drop it off in another city?
Several major car rental companies offer one-way rentals, which indicates that you can pick up your car in Bristol and drop it off in another city. Sometimes there’s a charge for this, so check the rental terms thoroughly.
Can you rent a car on the same day in Bristol?
Yes. The major car rental companies have friendly front desk officers in Bristol Airport where you can rent a car when you arrive. However, it’s still best to book in advance to avoid paying a higher charge, particularly during bustling periods.
Can I hire a vehicle at 21 years of age in Bristol?
Yes, young drivers can rent a car in Bristol, though some companies may only allow rentals to drivers aged 25 and over, so check around. Some car rental companies will require proof that you’ve secured a driving license for a minimum of 12 months and may attach an extra fee to your bill.
Bristol Airport, originally called Bristol Lulsgate Airport or Bristol International Airport, is an airport situated at Lulsgate Bottom, North Somerset, England. It has more than 7-million passenger capacity and provides flights to over 117 destinations annually.
As you arrive at Bristol Airport, exit the arrivals hall and walk as you proceed to bus stop 3. The bus carries its passengers to and from the Car Rental Village every 10 minutes. The Bus is a shared bus with the Silver Zone Parking and will be marked for car rental and Silver Zone parking.
On your arrival at the Car Rental Village, enter the building and you’ll easily locate Alamo, Enterprise, and National in front of you to the left.
The airport is easy to get to from the center of Bristol City via taking M5 to get to A4 that is connected to A38 where the airport is located, and how much simpler it will be with your very own rented car.
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