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Sharing its name with one of England’s most successful rugby league sides, St. Helens in Lancashire is home to a number of historical attractions. It was founded as far back as the 14th century when it became the site of the chapel of the same name. Nowadays, the town’s chief historic site of interest is the impressive Windleshaw Chantry, constructed in the mid-15th century by Sir Thomas Gerard. Nearby attractions range from Merseyside’s biggest expanse of inland water, Carr Mill Dam, to the richly historic village of Newton-le-Willows. Those who fancy a flutter at the races should head for Haydock Park Racecourse. Both Liverpool and Manchester, with their superb shopping and cultural options, are reached in a few minutes’ drive by rental car.
Who to Book With
Options for car rental are available both in St Helens itself and at the neighbouring airports of Manchester and Liverpool where companies such as Europcar, Sixt, Budget, Avis and Hertz are all well represented. Pre-booking via the internet is recommended and travellers are advised to use our site when it comes to comparing car hire and obtaining the best deal.
Best Time to Go
Given its location on England’s west coast, St Helens is spared the extreme temperatures found in the east of the country. Winter temperatures thus average 9°C, while temperatures in the summer months average between 19°C and 22°C. In general, the summer months are dry with the exception of July.
Need to Know Essentials
When hiring a vehicle, you will need to present the following documents:
- An International Driving Permit or a DVLA driving licence
- A passport or another valid form of identification with a photograph
- The same credit card as the one used for the reservation
- A printed copy of the confirmed reservation
Read our FAQs for more information.
Its claim to being the ‘UK's most car-friendly town’ would seem to suggest there’s nowhere better in Britain to hire a car than St Helens. Situated at the heart of the North West’s motorway network, comprising the M6, the M62, the M57 and the M58, St Helens is extremely well communicated. Access to Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport (14 miles away) and Manchester Airport (28 miles away) by rental car is easy. The town’s position halfway between the two cities means they are both easily reached.
See our Guide to the UK for further info on driving here.
The majority of cultural and historical attractions, as well as opportunities for shopping in St Helens, are located within easy walking distance of the town centre. There is a tourist information office at the main bus station, only about 200 yards from St Helens Central Railway Station.
St Helens Central Railway Station, situated in the town centre, is on the Merseyrail City Line that runs bewteen Liverpool Lime Street and Wigan North Western. Depending on the number of stops made, trains take between 18 and 28 minutes to complete the journey. Other stations serving districts of St Helens on this line are Thatto Heath, Eccleston Park and Garswood. St Helens Junction is served by trains on the Liverpool to Manchester Line. Trains to Manchester take between 25 and 30 minutes.
Coach services include National Express as well as numerous local services serving Liverpool and Manchester. There are plenty of bus stops located around the town. Visitors are recommended to make use of the bus services during daylight hours as night-time travel can be less safe. Merseytravel offers three free services around the downtown zone in battery-driven vehicles.
St Helens is well provided with taxi ranks and mini-bus and cab companies. Taxis are metered and standard fares around town are in the range of £5 to £10. It’s best to negotiate fares for longer journeys in advance. Most of the city centre hotels can be reached on foot: however, if you are returning from a nightclub late at night, you are advised to pre-book a taxi. Avoid unlicensed minicabs.
Situated approximately halfway between Manchester and Liverpool, St Helens is an ideal hub from which to explore this area of North West England. Places of interest easily accessed by car include the major seaside resort town of Blackpool, historic Newton-le-Willows, Sankey Valley Country Park Visitor Centre, which is replete with cycle paths and footpaths, and Knowsley Safari Park in nearby Prescot.
Blackpool – One of the nation’s favourite seaside resorts, Blackpool is situated about 45 minutes’ drive from St Helens on the northwest coast. It is home to an amazing range of amusement parks, entertainment venues, galleries and museums, a zoo and fine beaches.
Newton-le-Willows – Just a 10 minute drive from St Helens by hire car, this ancient village was first mentioned in the Domesday Book in the 12th century. Owing to its historic railway station that was opened in 1830, Newton has been called the world’s first ‘railway town’. It is reputedly home to Britain’s most haunted pub, the Kirkfields Hotel.
Sankey Valley Country Park Visitor Centre – This seven mile-long park extends from Carr Mill Dam to Newton-le-Willows. It is home to a visitor centre and a nature reserve where it is possible to see up to 150 species of bird in addition to 22 mammal species, 22 butterfly species, 15 dragonfly and damselfly species, and a wide variety of other animals, plants and trees. There are lots of footpaths and cycle trails.
Knowsley Safari Park – A super day out for the family and easily reached by car from St Helens, Knowsley Safari Park features no less than 450 acres of parkland in which animals such as lions, tigers, zebras, rhinos, bison, ostriches and camels can be seen. Further attractions include an amusement park with over 20 rides, such as a miniature railway, a pirate ship and two roller coasters.