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The lively market town of Yeovil is one of the highlights of Somerset. Travellers who want to experience a typical mid-size English city without any of the tourism distraction will find Yeovil an ideal choice. This town of 40,000 also makes a nice base for excursions around the southern Somerset region, just 130 miles from London and 40 miles from Bristol. A rental car in Yeovil opens up the countryside to a wealth of day-tripping possibility.
Who to Book With
There are four international car hire firms, such as National and Hertz, along with a couple of local outfits like ABC Rentals In Yeovil. These are best booked online for price comparison reasons. Their offices are scattered around the edges of town in business parks and estates. Online booking is possible for all of the major companies and most of the local outfits.
Best Time to Go
Summer is when Yeovil fills up with visitors, resulting in higher rental and room rates. The Somerset countryside is best experienced between April and October, and you can expect weekends to be particularly busy.
Need to Know Essentials
In order to collect your rental car, be sure to bring the following:
- A valid UK driving license or International Driving Permit
- A second form of ID
- The booking credit card
- A printed confirmation slip
Yeovil presents little difficulty for drivers, even in the heart of town. Traffic congestion is barely noticeable compared to in larger cities in the UK, and parking along the downtown streets is usually available. Private car parks are another option if no street side space can be found, with daily rates averaging around £4 and short-term rates around £1.60 for two hours.
The ideal way to move around Yeovil is by car, but there are several taxi companies happy to oblige a traveller in need of transport. Yeovil has no public transportation system, so visitors are strongly advised to rent a car if they want to properly enjoy this town and the surrounding region. The centre can be covered on foot, but many of the visitor attractions remain in the countryside.
One of Yeovil’s most interesting pieces of trivia is that it is located on two major UK rail lines, although they don’t connect. As such, little Yeovil is home to two train stations: Yeovil Junction and Yeovil Pen Mill. National Rail operates both lines, ensuring very good rail connection to Yeovil from the rest of the region. Both stations are within a stone’s throw of each other to the south of the downtown area. FirstGroup provides free connecting bus transport from the both train stations to the centre of Yeovil as part of their ticketing program.
Because there is no public bus system in Yeovil, there are several taxi companies here that do a brisk trade. Radio Cabs is one of the more established companies in town. Most operate on pre-determined fixed fees, similar to London minicabs.
The only bus service in Yeovil is operated by South West Coaches, which runs a route linking the suburban areas with the town centre and major employment sites. The bus isn’t particularly useful for visitors, as it is entirely geared towards residents travelling between home and work.
Although there is little sightseeing opportunity within Yeovil itself, the town is a good base for exploring the southern end of Somerset. There are some wonderful country drives in every direction and a handful of worthy historic attractions within easy striking distance, such as Sherborne Castle and Glastonbury. Having a rental car really opens up this part of England.
Sherborne Castle - Built by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1594, this is a beautiful estate open to public enjoyment. The gardens are particularly magnificent, and both the grounds and castle can be visited daily during the summer months.
Kingston Maurward Gardens - A neat blend of petting zoo and expansive estate gardens in Dorchester that makes for a wonderful day out, especially if you have kids. It is open most the year and has a reasonable family entrance fee.
Glastonbury - This is a magical place full of legends, ruined abbeys and an endless parade of sublime English countryside. There’s a definite new-age feel to the place, while the Tor of Glastonbury is an ancient and mystical landmark visible from miles around.