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Established by the Romans in 50 CE, Leicester is one of the oldest cities in the UK. However, despite its lengthy existence, it has now developed into one of the most cosmopolitan urban areas in the country. Tourists can explore some tremendous sites that range in styles and age, such as the Leicester Cathedral, the Leicester War Memorial, Jewry Wall, the National Space Centre and the dynamic city centre. With car hire, you can also reach the many landmarks of Leicestershire, as well as those of the surrounding East Midlands region.
Who to Book With
The most popular companies offering car rental in Leicester are some of the world’s most recognisable car suppliers, such as Enterprise, Thrifty, National, Alamo and Practical. All of these companies provide excellent services for customers, including online booking facilities.
Best Time to go
Visiting Leicester is best done during the months of June, July and August, when the climate brings mild weather to the city. This makes it easy for tourists to drive around the city and the surrounding area, and also provides more daylight hours for sightseeing. The winter months, which are cool and dark, are less crowded, however, and prices for rentals and hotels tend to fall during this period. Even though snow fall is not overly common, it can occur, so motorists need to use caution when driving in winter.
Need to Know Essentials
Visitors need to show numerous important documents to rent a car in Leicester:
- Driving license
- Secondary identification proving address
- Credit card used at time of reservation
- Proof of booking confirmation
It is possible to drive through the city centre of Leicester, although motorists will likely experience some traffic congestion, especially during peak hours. Recently, bus lanes were added to the streets of the city, which has helped reduce the number of cars on the roads. Heavy fines are handed out to those caught driving in bus lanes, so make sure you avoid this. There are thousands of inner-city parking spots in Leicester, although most aren’t free. Multi-level parking garages and some street-side parking can be found throughout the entire city.
Even though the city centre can be very easily navigated on foot, Leicester is home to a moderately-extensive public transportation network. Buses are by far the most important public transport service in the city. The local council has gone to great lengths to improve this service in Leicester, incorporating ticketing systems and bus-only lanes throughout the city. Taxis are also available, but there is no inner-city train network in Leicester. If you need to reach destinations outside the city, car rental is considered to be a better option than buses.
Taxis are more expensive than buses, but still provide a convenient service for customers. Black cabs can be found along the streets and at taxi ranks, but they are more expensive than the private hire taxis that operate in Leicester. Plenty of reliable taxi companies offer cheap services when booked over the phone. Swift Fox Cabs and ABC Taxis are among the more renowned cab companies in Leicester.
First Leicester is the main bus company providing routes across the city. However, Arriva also provides a popular service, offering access to many areas outside the heart of Leicester. Haymarket Station and St Margaret’s Station are the main bus hubs in the city. First Leicester has routes that begin from many spots throughout the city, whereas all Arriva services generally originate from St Margaret’s Station. Be aware that buses in Leicester are not always punctual, despite the best efforts of the local council to improve this issue.
Leicester is home to an abundance of breathtaking sites. However, tourists should certainly take advantage of car rental services and explore the fascinating attractions outside the city. Dozens of daytrip opportunities await, including trips to some spectacular sites like Rutland Water and Sherwood Forest, which are less than two hours from the heart of Leicester.
Sherwood Forest - The legendary area that is believed to have once housed Robin Hood and his band of thieves, is less than 40 miles from Leicester. Tourists should head to the main village in the forest, Edwinstowe, to discover sites like the Major Oak, St Mary’s Church and Sherwood Forest Visitors’ Centre.
Rutland Water - This is only 20 miles to the east of Leicester. This large reservoir is where locals go to enjoy a day of fishing or water sports such as sailing, jet-skiing and kayaking. Visiting on weekdays is recommended, as the lake does tend to get crowded during summer holidays and on weekends.
Belvoir Castle - This is one of the most beautiful manors in the UK. Located in the Rutland region of Leicestershire, it currently stands as the home for the 11th Duke and Duchess of Rutland. The castle is built in Norman style, and with its stunningly-landscaped gardens, it is the ideal setting for a family picnic.