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Any trip to England is incomplete without the quintessential venture to Salisbury; this lovely countryside community boasts not only one of the UK’s most magnificent cathedrals, but also one of its most mysterious and treasured gems – Stonehenge. Getting to this captivating and timeless attraction, as well as to the nearby burial mounds and Iron Age settlement of Old Sarum, is a breeze with car hire, which also allows visitors to effortlessly cruise through the heart warming assortment of country villages and lush green hills.
Who to Book With
Visitors can find a very good array of car hire options in Salisbury. Several major internationally-recognised companies have outlets in town, including Enterprise, Thrifty, National Car Rental, Avis and Alamo. Several firms operate within walking distance of the Salisbury rail station in the industrial area off of Churchfields road, although Sixt’s office is located a bit farther out of town on Southampton Road. Booking online is often a cheaper and more convenient option, however.
Best Time to go
As with most destinations in the region, summer is by far the most popular time to visit Salisbury and Stonehenge. However, during this time, the pleasant weather also brings higher car rental rates and substantial crowding. If you prefer a bit of breathing room, look into the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn for lighter crowds and a dip in prices.
Need to Know Essentials
Upon arrival in Salisbury, provide the following documents for picking up your rental car:
- A valid driving license
- Your reservation number
- A credit card in the primary driver’s name
- A second form of official photo ID
Driving around the rural areas around Salisbury will be a breath of fresh air for those used to driving in London or Manchester, as the city is surrounded by gorgeous scenery. However, things can be a bit more hectic in town, as Salisbury’s longstanding function as a tourist centre and one of England’s major crossroads creates some surprisingly heavy traffic for a small city. During the peak summer months in the immediate area of Stonehenge, driving can be a little frustrating, as can the task of parking your car and crossing the road on foot.
Some parking is available in town, although the main city centre has been partially pedestrianised. During the summer, you’ll often find that it’s better to walk or use public transport (park and ride service). Be aware that parking and speed regulations are strictly enforced. Nonetheless, car rental is still recommended due to the region’s fantastic outlying point of interest – check below for recommended drives.
Getting around Salisbury with car hire is by far the most convenient option, as several of the region’s must-visit attractions - Old Wardour Castle, Stonehenge and Old Sarum – are set outside of town. However, a handful of other options are for travellers staying within the city.
Salisbury’s main rail station is located on South Western Road, just south of A36/Wilton road in the western part of town. Visitors can take advantage of several daily direct departures to London’s Waterloo Station and Exeter via low-cost Megatrain and Network Express trains; the journey takes about 1.5 hours. Additional direct services are on offer to Portsmouth, Cardiff and Bristol. Visit National Rail for schedules and ticketing information.
Visitors can easily acquire a metered taxi service at Salisbury’s primary taxi rank on New Canal Street, adjacent to the cinema. Other official ranks are situated at the rail station, as well as in Fisherton Street. Spire Travel also offers airport transfers.
Salisbury visitors can connect to London and several major destinations throughout the United Kingdom via the National Express coach service. In addition, Wilts & Dorset offers specialised service to regional Cathedral areas and to the Stonehenge bus station. For journeys within Salisbury, check with Salisbury Reds for information on the city’s fairly extensive network of local bus services. Likewise, click here for detailed information on park and ride services.
Car hire is a great way to see the sights, and from the comfort of your own vehicle. It also provides tourists with the freedom to explore the surroundings of Salisbury at their own leisurely pace. There are some magnificent drives into the countryside, offering beautiful scenery for all.
Old Sarum to Amesbury and Stonehenge - This drive is not to be missed. Begin your journey by cruising through the ancient fort and Roman village of Old Sarum before winding past lovely farmlands in time for a spot of lunch alongside the quaint cottages of Amesbury. After seeing the haunting Amesbury burial grounds, head to nearby Stonehenge for a glimpse of one of Britain’s most talked about historical mysteries.
Old Wardour Castle - This is well worth a visit for those with the advantage of a hire car. Here, you can enjoy a leisurely cruise along the A30 through relaxing countryside and the picturesque village of Fovant before arriving at the castle itself, a great location for a family picnic or a romantic lunch. Don’t forget to check out The Grotto, an 18th century manmade cave featuring hanging ferns, bizarre carvings and dripping water.
Longleat Safari Park - Finally, head to Longleat for terrific family fun alongside tigers, lions and gorillas at the Longleat Safari Park. The drive takes less than an hour and includes a short run through the lovely wooded area west of Warminster.