Car rental Glasgow
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Why rent a car in Glasgow?
Glasgow is a great city to explore by car. The largest in Scotland, it’s a beautifully diverse city that has everything from historical architecture and impressive museums to fun, youthful neighborhoods and its own unique take on the British cuisine. The city is also wonderfully connected to other parts of the United Kingdom, whether you’d like to travel to nearby Edinburgh, go south to England, or explore the coastal areas Scotland .
Top ways to enter Glasgow
- Glasgow Airport. Also known as Glasgow-Paisley thanks to the nearby town in which it is located, Glasgow’s main airport is among the ten busiest in the UK as it serves around 10 million passengers every year. The airport is about 16 km (10 mi) from Glasgow’s city center.
- Glasgow Prestwick Airport. The other, much smaller, of the two airports serving the city, Glasgow Prestwick hosts only one airline, the low-cost carrier Ryanair. Nevertheless, it connects Glasgow to many different destinations in mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Poland, Malta, Portugal, and Italy.
- Edinburgh Airport. Serving nearly 15 million passengers annually, Edinburgh Airport is the largest in Scotland. It is only about 50 minutes drive from downtown Glasgow.
- By rail. If you’re arriving in Glasgow by train, you can conveniently pick up a rental car at Glasgow Central Railway Station or Glasgow Queen Street Railway Station.
Useful city facts
- Much like the rest of Britain, Glasgow has a cool oceanic climate with small temperature changes between seasons. Summer is the least humid part of the year, with an average temperature in July of 16 °C (60 °F), although it can get significantly warmer on individual days. The average temperature in December, the coldest month, is 4°C (39 °F). Snowfall in Glasgow is very rare and infrequent.
- The population of the Greater Glasgow Metropolitan area is around 1.6 million, meaning that nearly every third inhabitant of Scotland lives in or near the city.
- Although the main official language is English, Scots (a Germanic language closely related to English), Scottish Gaelic (a Celtic language), and Scottish Sign Language are also officially recognised in Glasgow.
Top destinations and activities
- Glasgow Green. One of the most beautiful urban parks in the entire UK, Glasgow Green is a place where you can easily spend a whole day, either having a picnic, meeting locals, or by observing some of the landmarks of the park such as Nelson’s Memorial, the People’s Palace with its Winter Gardens, or the Doultain Fountain, the largest terracotta fountain in the world.
- Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. Located in one of the most stunning buildings of the city, Kelvingrove has artworks by world-famous artists such as Van Gogh, Monnet, and Dalí, but also truly fascinating collections of wildlife, anthropology, and natural sciences.
- Riverside Museum. Also known as the Glasgow Museum of Transport, the Riverside Museum won the 2013 European Museum of the Year Award, and for a good reason. Famous exhibits include Tall Ship, a former cargo ship built in 1896, and a steam locomotive. The museum is located in the Glasgow Harbor area that’s been rapidly rebuilt over the last decade.
Traffic and parking tips
- The United Kingdom drives on the left-hand side of the road
- On-street parking is usually heavily restricted. Never park on a white, double yellow or double red line (stopping on motorways and along red lines is illegal).
- You are not allowed to use your mobile phone while driving, unless you use a hands-free system.
- Unless specifically indicated otherwise, the speed limits are 112 km/h (70 mph) on motorways, 112 km/h (70 mph) on dual carriageways, 96 km/h (60 mph) on single carriageways and 48km/h (30 mph) in residential areas and areas with street lightning.
- In Scotland, the legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for both experienced and novice drivers. In the rest of the UK, the legal alcohol limit is 0.08% for both experienced and novice drivers. Exceeding the limit can lead to large fines, a suspended license, or even imprisonment.
- The insurance and documentation of the car needs to be in it whenever you’re driving.
- If you’re the driver, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- The emergency numbers are 999 and 112.
Currently there is only a single toll road in the United Kingdom, the M6 toll. You also have to pay a toll for using a number of bridges and tunnels, as well as for entering the central areas of London and Durham (a city in North East England).
As an alternative to the M6 around Birmingham, the M6toll is a 43 km (27 mi) long portion of the road, also known as the Birmingham North Relief Road (BNRR), that relieves congestion on the M6 itself. There are toll gates where you can pay by either cash or credit card. As of March 2019, the price is £6.40 for using the toll road from Monday to Friday (from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.), £5.30 for using the toll road on Saturday or Sunday (from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.), and £4.10 for using the toll road at night time on any day (from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.). Find out more on the M6 Toll official website.
Find out more about toll roads in the United Kingdom on the European toll road website.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Stirling. Located roughly halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh, the small city of Stirling is most famous for its stunning hilltop castle and monument to William Wallace, a Scottish national hero. Stirling lies roughly on the border between the Scottish Lowlands and the Highlands, giving you the opportunity to explore both. The distance to Glasgow is just 45 km (28 mi).
- Isle of Arran. Often referred to as “Scotland in Miniature”, the Isle of Arran is a relaxing place just west of the Scottish mainland. It is best known for the Brodick Castle and Garden, but make sure to also see the Machrie Moor Standing Stones, drive around the little villages, or go into the mountains where you can sometimes spot golden eagles. Isle of Arran can only be reached by ferry. Some, although not all, ferry companies, carry passenger vehicles, and it is best to book a ticket in advance. Find out more about visiting Arran on the island’s official homepage.
- Houston. A proper Scottish village, Houston is just 40 minutes drive west of Glasgow, but unless you’re traveling with a friend who can also drive, you should consider making it a two day trip. The reason? It’s one of the most famous brewing communities in Scotland, and while it is a lovely place in its own right, it would be a shame to go there and not to sample some of the fine local produce.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car in Glasgow is the Fiat 500, although the VW Polo and the VW Golfo are also picked a lot by travelers. The most popular rental car types are mini, economy, and compact.
- Edinburgh. Just 74 km (46 mi) east of Glasgow and quite similar in size, Scotland’s capital is nevertheless a very different place when it comes to atmosphere. Famous for its castles, museums, and many festivals, it would be a shame to miss it if you’re going to Scotland.
- Scottish Highlands region. When many people think of Scotland, the first thing that’s on their mind is its wild nature, and in no other place can you experience in better than in the Scottish Highlands. Not only is the region beautiful, it’s also culturally unique. Go on a three hour drive to the regional capital, Inverness, and you can easily explore the rest from there.
- Newcastle. A large city in Northern England, Newcastle is a unique and lively place. It is famous for its many beautiful bridges crossing the Tyne River, the ancient Roman fort of Segedunum, and its close proximity to wildlife areas like the Northumberland National Park and the North York Moors National Park. Coming from Glasgow, it’s just a three hour drive south.
How can I save money on my rental car?
There are many ways to get a good car rental deal in Glasgow:
- Compare rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit during the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Glasgow is the cheapest in January when renting a car is a whole 70% cheaper than the yearly average.
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Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in Glasgow?
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What's the most popular month to rent a car in Glasgow?
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