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Key facts for hiring a car in Bristol

  • Car hire locations

    There are pick up locations all over central Bristol, and over 11 suppliers to choose from.

  • Useful knowledge

    If you plan on visiting during the Balloon Fiesta (usually in August), book cars and hotels well in advance.

  • When to visit

    Year round

  • Local time

    GMT

  • Currency

    Pound Sterling (£, GBP)

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Hire a car in Bristol

Bristol is surrounded by historic sites, rolling countryside, beaches and architecture.

Bristol is a well-positioned city for visiting other parts of England and Wales, and has many lovely attractions in its own right.

There's so much to see and do – whether you want to visit the world's first steam-powered passenger liner or immerse yourself in a cosy indoor farmers' market – there really is something for everyone.

Local knowledge

Things to remember

High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes
There are some car sharing (HOV) lanes in Bristol, so make sure you only use these if there are enough people in the car, or you risk a fine.

Box Junctions
Look out for box junctions, yellow grids which you cannot drive onto unless you can clear them (i.e. no stopping). This is because cars will then block other junctions or emergency vehicle exits. Fines are handed out for using these incorrectly.

Park & Ride
There are four park and ride options around the outskirts of the city: Portway, Long Ashton, Brislington and Lyde Green. If you don't fancy driving in the centre, this is a handy alternative.

Parking
You'll find a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in the city centre where restrictions will apply. Read signs carefully. There are also on street pay and display spots, multi storey car parks and some free parking (if you can find it)! Often, evening parking is free.

Free days out

Treasure Island Trail
A harbourside adventure which explores the city's connection with the famous book by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Bristol Harbourside
A great day out. Head to the Harbourside for restaurants, markets, museums and galleries.

Homemade Banksy walking tour
Find some of his original pieces scattered across the city. Legendary wall art such as the Grim Reaper and Masked Gorilla hide in plain sight on the streets of Bristol.

Wander Clifton Village
Perfect for getting away from the city noise, this splendid suburb is packed full of free activities. Take a walk and appreciate the Victorian and Georgian architecture, have a picnic in one of the green spaces or soak in views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Family Fun
Head to Windmill Hill City Farm for a free outing which kids will enjoy. A small farm with gardens, play area and a cafe.

An away day

Take to Wales

The Severn Bridge marks the beginning of an iconic journey into Welsh territory. It's not long until you're surrounded by greenery and hills, and some of the quaintest villages in the UK.

Rhossili Bay – good for beaches
The beach at Rhossili Bay on the Gower Peninsula has officially been crowned the best beach in Europe, and it's a mere two-hour drive from Bristol. This sweeping sandy bay backs onto a patchwork of green clifftops and was also given the title of tenth-best beach in the world.

Crickhowell – good for village vibes
Set between the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons, Crickhowell is the perfect countryside stop off. Sweet (no pun intended) chocolate and book shops, pub grub and antique fairs are all to be expected here. Usk is another lovely village to pass through if you are heading into South Wales.

Tenby – good for photographs
Encircled by a medieval stone wall, Tenby holds historic importance. There are literally hundreds of listed buildings here. The town traces the edge of a triangular coast, while its crumbling castle and fort sit out to sea on a pointed peninsula. Rows of colourful houses are stacked neatly along a small cliff which fringes Tenby's pleasant beach.

Where to road trip

Cardiff

1 hour west
The capital of Wales sits just over the River Severn. Interesting architecture, new and old, dominates the city.

The Cotswolds

45 minutes northeast
Area of National Outstanding Beauty, filled with rolling hills and thatched roofs. Perfect hiking territory.

Weston Super Mare

45 minutes southwest
English seaside resort with pier, pony rides and plenty of entertainment for all ages.

Bath

40 minutes southeast
Famous town founded on hot springs, with Roman baths and Georgian architecture.

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Car hire locations near Bristol