Car rental Manchester
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Why rent a car in Manchester?
Over the past couple of decades, Manchester has become a fascinating travel destination. It takes great pride in its industrial past, but nowadays also hosts impressive science centers and museums, world class football, and, of course, many fine examples of British pub culture. Getting a rental car is your best bet to see it all, as well as to travel to many and other interesting nearby cities (and Manchester’s rivals!) such as Liverpool, Leeds, or Birmingham.
Top ways to enter Manchester
- Manchester Airport. Located just southwest of Manchester, with its three passenger terminals and more than 28 million travelers served annually it is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom outside London. It serves countless air routes toEurope, as well as Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas.
- Liverpool Airport. Liverpool John Lennon Airport, named after one of the city’s most famous inhabitants, mainly serves flights by low-cost carriers, often making it a cheaper alternative to Manchester. The airport is just an hour’s drive southwest of Manchester.
- Leeds Bradford Airport. Another airport favored by low-cost carriers, Leeds-Bradford is about 74 km (46 mi) northeast of Manchester, primarily serving two large cities in the West Yorkshire Region.
- East Midlands Airport. Serving the wider UK region of the same name, East Midlands Airport serves the large cities of Leicester, Derby, and Nottingham, and is about two hours drive from Manchester.
- By rail: If you arrive in Manchester by train, you can conveniently pick up your rental car at the Manchester Victoria Railway Station or Piccadilly Railway Station.
Useful city facts
Manchester has a temperate oceanic climate. The average temperature is 16.6 °C (62 °F) in July and 4.5 °C (40 °F) in December and January. February is the driest month and October the most humid, but generally precipitation is quite evenly spread-out.
Although Manchester is in the center of the large and densely populated Greater Manchester Built-up Area that has a population of 3.2 million people, three picturesque nature areas are near the city: the West Pennine Moors, the South Pennines, and the Peak District National Park.
Top destinations and activities
- Castlefield. Despite its very central location, Castlefield is one of the most tranquil areas of Manchester. Originally founded as a Roman settlement, it now houses the Science and Industry Museum and the Liverpool Road railway station, the first passenger railway station in the world. Even walking along one of the area’s many canals will most likely let you find an event that’s being held or, at least, a great local pub.
- Chetham’s Library. One of Europe’s oldest libraries, Chetham’s Library is located in a 15th century building right next to Millennium Square. It’s just as beautiful from inside as it is from outside. Besides its truly impressive book selection you’ll also find a great collection of painted portraits.
- Going to a football match. For many years, Manchester United Football Club was one of the strongest and most glamorous football teams in the UK, while Manchester City was your typical gritty underdog, supported by most of the working class folks of the city. Things have changed, though. With the foreign funding that City has received during the last decade, both teams are challenging for titles at home and in Europe while remaining fierce rivals. Regardless of which powerhouse you prefer, seeing a match at either Old Trafford or the City of Manchester Stadium is a great spectacle and a way to learn something about Manchester and its inhabitants.
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 next to 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 England and Wales, the legal alcohol limit is 0.08% for both experienced and novice drivers. Do keep in mind, however, that in Scotland the legal alcohol limit is 0.05% 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
- Peak District. Just 30 km (20 mi) from Manchester, Peak District National Park is considered by many British people to be one of the most beautiful wildlife areas in the country. Go on a long hike, explore the hills and caves in them, try to spot a red deer or a short-eared owl, and in the end, reward yourself with a fine meal in one of the nearby spa towns or villages.
- Little Moreton Hall. A 16th century manor in the nearby region of Cheshire, Little Moreton Hall is sometimes called a gingerbread house. Its hall and fireplaces inside are just as pretty as the gardens outside. The manor is open to visitors from April to December. The nearby village of Congleton is also a nice place to explore and is just 35 km (22 mi) from Manchester.
- The Lake District. England’s largest nature reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to natural attractions like Scafell Pike, the highest mountain of England, and Wast Water, its deepest lake. Some of the wildlife species living in the reserve include wild fell pony, buzzard, peregrine, and even carnivorous plants. Also known simply as the Lakes, the area is about an hour’s drive north of Manchester.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most popular rental car type in Manchester is an economy, although many travelers also pick compact and intermediate cars. The most popular rental cars are the Ford Fiesta 3d, the Ford Focus 3d, and the VW Golf.
- Liverpool. Home of the Beatles and a skyline that can challenge London, Liverpool is as famous for its maritime history as it is for its stunning and diverse architecture and a football rivalry of its own. The city is just 55 km (34 mi) west of Manchester.
- Leeds. Leeds is the largest city of Yorkshire. Although primarily an industrial center, the city also boasts many great museums, theaters, and art galleries, as well as some of the best restaurants and cafeterias in the UK. A number of green areas, like the Yorkshire Moors and the Yorkshire Dales, are also nearby. Leeds is about an hour-and-fifteen minutes’ drive northeast of Manchester.
- Chester. A market town with a historic reputation, Chester is best known for its Roman heritage. Some landmarks from those ancient times include the Roman Gardens, one of the largest wooden amphitheaters in the world, and the Roman walls that enclose the city. The city also boasts many green areas, interesting museums, and great spas. From Chester, you can go on to explore the nature of beautiful, sparsely populated North Wales located nearby. Chester is slightly more than an hour’s drive southwest of Manchester.
How can I save money on my rental car?
These are some of the things you can do to get a good car rental deal in Manchester:
- 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 Manchester is the cheapest in January when renting a car is about 57% cheaper than the yearly average.
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What's the most popular month to rent a car in Manchester?
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