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A well-balanced affair of history, culture and top-notch shopping, Derby is among the most dynamic destinations in the East Midlands. Here, visitors will find a nice array of museums, lovely riverside spaces and a dominating cathedral highlighting the city centre. Moreover, Derby is well connected to the whole of the Britain via excellent rail links and the presence of the adjacent East Midlands Airport. Visitors can enhance a trip here with car hire and enjoy exploring regional outdoor favourites, such as the splendid Peak District National Park.
Who to Book With
Derby visitors can choose from a decent array of local rental operations. Within the city centre, look for National Car Rental, Alamo and Enterprise near the Amoco service station on Beckett Street, whilst Avis and Hertz lay little just south of town. Alternatively, Europcar operates from the passenger terminal at East Midlands Airport, about 15 miles east of Derby in Castle Donington. Advance online booking is highly recommended, especially during mid to late summer and over the Christmas holiday.
Best time to go
Derby welcomes the majority of its visitors during the pleasant summer months and popular UK bank holidays. Car hire rates usually fluctuate accordingly, so sooner is better than later for booking if you've already got your plans set.
Need to Know Essentials
Bring the following documents with you to the rental counter in Derby;
- A booking confirmation printout
- A valid driving license
- A second piece of picture ID
- The credit card used to make the booking
Derby’s road network includes a large number of dual carriageways and motorways, allowing for smooth transitions through much of the area. However, the city centre is particularly dense, even by British standards. This can make traffic intense at times and parking may seem non-existent. Additionally, many central roads are winding one-way affairs, so proceed with caution. However, the city centre is not to be missed; we recommend using the outlying park-and-ride facilities and then walking between central attractions.
Looking beyond the centre, outlying attractions, such as excellent golf courses, heart-warming countryside and terrific outdoor hotspots, make car rental highly attractive to Derby visitors.
See the ‘Explore’ section for recommended drives here, and check out our UK guide for more insight on driving here.
Derby’s location in central Britain, as well as its proximity to the nearby East Midlands Airport, makes it a very accessible destination. Moreover, public transport is well developed and convenient for local trips, whilst car hire patrons can easily access the park-and-ride facilities and the M1 motorway, which runs north to south about 10 miles east of the city centre.
Derby’s primary rail station is located just south of the A6 (Pride Parkway/Station Approach) on Station Terrace Road. Here, visitors can board direct East Midlands Trains to a wide array of major destinations, including London, Cardiff, Newcastle, Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham. Head to the National Rail website to find a comprehensive journey planner and booking information. Due to Derby’s compact size, there is no local train network.
Derby taxi patrons can make use of a private car service (requiring advanced booking), as well as licensed Hackney Carriages, which are available from taxi ranks and can be flagged down on the street. Ranks can be found at most major transit points, including the main rail and bus stations and East Midlands Airport.
Local bus services in Derby are fairly extensive, with some buses running 24 hours a day. Most routes are operated by Arriva; riders can book tickets and check schedules on the official Arriva website. Alternatively, onward commuter services to outlying destinations are available via Trent Barton. Derby’s main bus station is situated in Morledge, just west of A601 in the centre of town. From here, visitors can connect to a comprehensive range of destinations throughout Britain via National Express.
Once you’ve had your fill of cathedrals, shopping and the like, there is no shortage of great daytrip opportunities and points of interest in rural Derbyshire and beyond. Below are just a few recommendations to get you started.
Peak District National Park - This is perhaps the best place in the region for outdoor activities. Here, visitors can enjoy some of England’s best hiking, mountain biking and climbing amid stunning green hills, lakes, pastures and wooded areas. Depending on where you choose to go, the drive will take the better part of an hour and will feature plenty of great countryside scenery along the way.
Matlock Bath - A spa village situated in one of the region’s most stunning locations. The area also features an excellent array historical sites and attractions, ranging from theme parks to elaborate gardens and nurseries.
Carsington Water - Alternatively, enjoy the short 30-minute ride up to Carsington Water during the height of summer for a refreshing day of water sports. Whether it be kayaking, sailing, windsurfing or an exciting powerboat cruise, you’ll find something here to suit your fancy.