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Lancaster has long-been one of northwest England’s most pleasant mid-sized urban affairs; this charismatic university town is highlighted by medieval architecture and excellent food. In addition to visiting the enchanting Lancaster Castle, those who rent a car can take advantage of the easy access to some of England’s most revered outdoor wonders, including the tremendous scenery of Lake District National Park and a range of nice seaside settings.
Who to Book With
Visitors to the Lancaster area will find several major car hire companies with local or nearby outlets. Enterprise, National Car Rental and Alamo are situated in the industrial area just outside nearby Morecambe, around three miles from central Lancaster, whilst Avis and Budget operate in town, near Caton Road adjacent to the river. Consider booking in advance online to ensure you’re getting the best rates.
Best Time to go
Summer is the most popular time for a visit to Lancaster. However, the area also sees travel fluctuations according to university holidays. In general, car hire rates will likely be higher in the peak summer season as well as over Christmas, when students and their families book up rental cars for holiday visits.
Need to Know Essentials
Be sure to bring these items to the rental counter in Lancaster:
- A credit card in the primary driver’s name (used to book your vehicle)
- Your driving license
- A second form of photo ID
- Your reservation information
Despite Lancaster’s small size, driving here can become problematic because of the one-way road system in the city centre, which can cause significant congestion. Additionally, parking can also be a challenge on the town’s narrow streets, especially when school children are being pick up or dropped off. It’s generally better to walk or use public transport between central attractions.
Nonetheless, travellers are still recommended to opt for a hire car during a visit, as the region’s excellent national parks and gently rolling countryside are more than worth a day (or two) of exploring.
Lancaster offers a fairly efficient public transport network, and the city is well connected to other points in the UK via rail and coach services. If you’re headed beyond the Lancaster/Morecambe area for the day, a rental car can be immensely useful, providing great value for money in terms of convenience.
Lancaster’s rail station is situated on the West Coast Main Line, which offers frequent direct departures to Preston, Manchester and the Lake District, as well as to Scottish destinations. The facility is located on the west side of town on Station Road, just north of Westbourne Road. Check with National Rail for detailed schedules and ticketing information.
There are nearly a dozen taxi companies operating in the Lancaster/Morecambe area. They include A1 Taxis (Phone: 01524 848848), One A Cab (01524 840888) and Red Rose Cabs (01524 847700). Taxi patrons are advised to call well in advance to ensure timely service.
Visitors can take advantage of a comprehensive public bus network that connects the Lancaster and Morecambe area. Those heading to Lancaster University can get return service from the city centre for about £2. For Stagecoach bus service to points throughout Britain, head to the Lancaster bus station on Damside Street.
Lancaster visitors are strongly advised to venture outward to regional attractions, as the area offers plenty of stunning scenery, ranging from quaint sheep farms and villages to some of England’s most impressive peaks. See below for some of our recommendations.
Yorkshire Dales National Park - This is situated only around 40 miles to the east of central Lancaster and boasts a fantastic collection of highlands, limestone formations, waterfalls and walking trails. The scenic drive is very relaxed, and generally only takes about an hour at a leisurely pace.
Morecambe Promenade - Alternatively, make a short trip to this lovely seaside resort for a day of beach lounging, shopping and plenty of amusement opportunities. In the height of summer, be sure to get there early to ensure that parking won’t be a major hassle.
Lake District National Park - Immerse yourself in awe-inspiring peaks, well preserved forests, tremendous coastal views and, of course, a number of shimmering lakes. The drive there will generally take around an hour, depending on the route taken, and will also allow you to see the wonderful scenery of rural Lancashire and Cumbria.