Brighton Car Hire

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Brighton’s closest Airport is Gatwick (LGW), which has everything you need for affordable and efficient car hire. A ford Focus or similar sized compact car can cost just over £11 a day for 3 days (less with immediate booking, paying the balance on collection). Meanwhile, a medium-sized car such as the Kia Optima costs just under £30 per day, or a Ford Transit Luton (Luxury-elite) can still be rented for under £45 per day!

Guide to Brighton

A bustling seaside town

Brighton is a seaside town on the South coast of England, in the county of East Sussex. It has long been a summer escape for the British traveller, and London is just 47 miles (76 km) away.

It has a population of just over 250,000.

It also has Britain’s most visited beach for overseas travellers and it’s easy to see why. Brighton Beach is well-known as a ‘traditional British’-type resort, with striped deckchairs and a long pebble beach which attract all types of sunbathers, swimmers and other pleasure-seekers.

Music, arts, and culture scene

Famed for its diverse communities, unusual shopping haunts, legendary music, arts, and culture scene, Brighton is also the unofficial LGBTQ+ capital of the UK, with huge Pride festivals in summer and winter.

Brighton Marine Palace and Pier (known as the Palace Pier, or Brighton Pier) is one of the city’s (and UK’s) most recognisable structures. It opened in 1899 and features restaurants, a funfair, and arcade halls. The West Pier was built in 1866 and is one of only two Grade I-listed piers in the UK. Unfortunately, it has been closed since 1975 and recent restoration initiatives haven’t come to fruition as yet.

Although Brighton is famed for its party scene, remember that the rolling lush South Downs National Park is just a short drive away if you fancy some space and serenity.

The city is infamous for its location in the Mods vs. Rockers battles of the 1960s, captured in the cult film Quadrophenia. Mods still bring their scooters to Brighton, and the rockers still parade on their motorbikes, although it’s a much smaller (and safer!) scene than in its 60’s heyday.

The oldest airport in the UK

While Brighton has its own airport – the oldest in the UK, built in 1910 – for commercial flights the closest airport is Gatwick Airport at 22 miles (40 km) away, because Brighton City Airport (or Shoreham Airport) is for instruction/small planes only. London City and Heathrow are both under 50 miles (75 km) away, so hiring a car at any of these air hubs and getting to Brighton couldn’t be easier.

In Brighton, as in the rest of the UK, driving is on the left. While the main trunk roads (those starting with ‘A’) observe the national speed limit of 60 mph (100 kph), it’s vital to note that the speed limit on most roads in the city is 20 mph (32 kph).

Things to do in Brighton

Brighton attractions and things to do

Brighton is well known for its small restaurants and independent cafes, so refreshing drinks and sumptuous cuisine are never far away.

There are 250 restaurants in Brighton, and enough coffee shops to satisfy the most enthusiastic bean aficionados and people watchers. The Lanes and North Laine are interesting shopping areas – the former handles fashion and jewellery, while the latter offers second-hand bargains, antiques, and record shops. You’ll never run out of things to see and do here – take a look at some more Bristol highlights:

  • Brighton is chock-full of culture hotspots, museums, and galleries (some of which are tiny), like the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery or the Theatre Royal, which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2007, and which regularly hosts London plays and shows. And don’t forget the Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton Toy and Model Museum, or Brighton Fishing Museum. Furthermore, the British Airways i360, the country's newest attraction, smoothly lifts visitors 162 metres (530 feet!) up in the air to enjoy breath-taking 360 degree views of Brighton and the surrounding countryside, coast, and towns. The i360 was officially named the Most Slender Tower by Guinness World Records in January 2016.
  • Possibly Brighton’s 2nd-most recognisable landmark, the Royal Pavilion, also known as the Brighton Pavilion, is one of the most spectacular and exotic buildings in the British Isles. Originally The Prince Regent’s pleasure palace, building began in 1787 and was completed (and transformed) by John Nash in the early 1800s. You don’t get much more Brighton bonkers than this – a must-see attraction.
  • Brighton caters capably for theatre lovers too – theatres include the Brighton Dome and associated Pavilion Theatre, Komedia (primarily a music and comedy venue, but also a theatre), the Old Market which was renovated and re-opened in 2010 and the Theatre Royal. The Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts is nearby too and is part of the University of Sussex campus. And there are also smaller theatres such as the Marlborough Theatre, the New Venture, and the Brighton Little Theatre. Finally, the city also has a new, purpose-built Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT ) which opened in May 2015 for the Brighton Festival.
  • The nightlife is Brighton is legendary! Brighton’s most famous club-land son, Fatboy Slim, regularly plays at festivals and clubs in the city to this day. You can catch emerging musicians at the appropriately named Latest Music Bar, enjoy a pint at novelist Graham Greene's favourite pub, the Cricketers, before carrying the party on into pounding beats at clubs like Funfair or the Coalition Brighton. Brighton is home to the most electronic music events in the UK and The Great Escape Festival is held every May, and is loud and wild enough to satisfy any party animal.
  • Live music has a rich history in Brighton, too. The Brighton Dome was the venue for the Eurovision Song Contest 1974, which was won by ABBA and catalysed their stratospheric career, but the Concorde2 and Brighton Centre are also worth checking out. While noted for its electronic music scene, Brighton is also associated with many other famous sons and daughters: Orbital, Nick Cave, Robert Smith, Dave Gilmour, Cate Blanchett, to name just a few.
  • There are several festivals in Brighton: The Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe is the 2nd-largest arts festival in the UK (after Edinburgh), which includes the Children’s Parade, live street performances, theatre and performance of all types across many city locations. Other festivals include The Great Escape, three nights of live music in venues across the city, the Soundwaves Festival in June showcases classical music in the 21st Century, and Brighton
  • Live each September is a week of free gigs to showcase local bands. Burning the Clocks is a Winter Solstice festival, Brighton Digital Festival explores digital culture and technology, and last but by no means least, the world-renowned Brighton Pride brings 450,000 visitors to the city.

Eating out in Brighton

Brighton is one of southern England’s foodie havens, with all tastes catered for. If your tummy’s rumbling, here are a few excellent eateries where you’ll be totally satisfied:

  • Vegetarians will be in heaven at places like Lydia, where lunch menus range from £4.70 - £9.30, and ordering is easy: simply choose your main dish, and then choose two side dishes, and finally, two toppings. Alternatively, food For Friends is a vegetarian restaurant that’s a hit with non-veggies too: a high-end restaurant serving food that’s designed for sharing with friends. Another veggie favourite is the mid-range Terre à Terre: the only requirements at this award-winning restaurant are that the food is plant-based and the dishes are global. And the desserts are luscious.
  • As you’d expect, seafood features heavily on any menu. Riddle & Finn’s at The Laines began as a champagne and oyster bar, and still sells these alongside classic seafood dishes at marble top tables. The Salt Room features stunning views of the West Pier for diners, and the restaurant won the 2017 Seafish UK Restaurant of the Year award. The chefs here specialise in cooking over coal – delicious.
  • Any British town/city will have many Indian restaurants – The Chili Pickle is a Brighton favourite. Many consider it to be Brighton’s best Indian restaurant, suitable for lunch or dinner. The creatively crafted menu is crammed with recipes you’re unlikely to have tried before. Their dishes are colourful, well-spiced and aromatic, while pricing is mid-range. The Curry Leaf Café is another Indian cuisine hotspot in Brighton: it is a South-Indian food street vendor with many branches (3 in Brighton alone).
  • Looking for something more exotic? Bincho Yakitori is hugely popular for its authentic Japanese casual dining experience. The yakitori (‘grilled bird’ in English) meat skewers are to die for, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try something like eel or octopus, or hot sweet sake - Japanese rice wine. The emphasis is on dishes for sharing – there are no main courses or starters as such.
  • Brighton is famous for steak restaurants too. If you’re feeling hungover after a legendary Brighton night out, head to Smokeys for big brunches in the American style (think volume!), with lots and lots of meat. Or come at dinner time when you can enjoy an endless variety of delectable barbecue dishes. This mid-ranged restaurant is a hit brunch spot, so check if you need to book first to avoid disappointment.
  • For a truly relaxed high-end dining experience (not that common) in an independent café-bistro, try Semolina. The focus is on a limited menu and options, thereby giving each dish the attention it deserves. The set lunch menu is a superb mid-priced way to sample their wares, before returning for dinner!

Transport to and from Brighton

Gatwick Airport (LGW)

The most common route to Brighton for international visitors is Gatwick Airport. You’ll find an extensive range of car hire options here, and often the best deals are can be found at the airport. Enjoy Car Hire partners with long-established, reliable car rental companies to bring you an affordable, hassle-free holiday motoring experience. With over 70 suppliers across 100 countries, you can be comfortable knowing you’re in good hands (wheels!). Enjoy Car Hire Trusted Partners include the best-known brands such as Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, Keddy and Sixt, alongside newer competitors like Green Motion or Easirent. At Gatwick Airport North Terminal you can choose from five hire car partners, and the most convenient way to book is online – we can arrange your LGW car rental in a couple of clicks.

Motorway access to Brighton

To get to Brighton from Gatwick, simply take the A23 southbound – easy peasy.

Brighton Train Station

Brighton has a train station connecting with London in the town centre. Find out more about Brighton Train Station car hire.

Top Tips when hiring a car in Brighton

• Research Car Hire Deals: Before booking, explore various car hire companies to find the best car hire deals in Brighton. Look for cheap car hire options without compromising on quality.

• Compare Car Hire Prices: Compare car hire prices from different car rental companies to get the most competitive rates. Don't forget to check for any additional fees or hidden charges.

• Choose Convenient Locations: Select car hire locations that are convenient for you. Opt for pick-up and drop-off points that are easily accessible, especially if you're planning to explore the city centre or specific landmarks.

• Consider City Centre Access: If you're staying or planning to spend time in the city centre, look for car hire companies with branches nearby. This can save you time and hassle when picking up or returning your rent car.

• Parking Options: Familiarise yourself with parking options in Brighton, including Regency Square Car Park and Churchill Square Shopping Centre. Knowing where to park can make exploring the city more convenient.

• Check Rental Requirements: Ensure you meet all the requirements set by the car hire company, including age restrictions, driver's license validity, and the need for an International Driving Permit if necessary.

• Book in Advance: Secure your hire car well in advance, especially during peak seasons or busy periods. Booking early not only ensures availability but also gives you a chance to snag the best car hire deals.

• Inspect the Vehicle: Before driving off, thoroughly inspect the hire cars for any pre-existing damage. Take photos or videos as evidence to avoid disputes when returning the vehicle.

• Know the Rental Terms: Familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions of the car hire agreement, including the rental period, fuel policy, and any insurance coverage.

• Return on Time: Be punctual when returning your hire car at the end of the rental period. Late returns may incur additional charges, so plan your trip accordingly.

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Brighton Car Hire FAQ’s

Most frequently asked questions about hiring a car in Brighton

Depending on your preferred company and model, car rental costs in Bristol vary. As a ball-park guide, a small car can typically be rented for £11 - £14 per day at the time of writing, going all the way from £54 - £90 per day for a large nine-seater Mercedes Vito minivan, or a premium car like Mercedez-Benz.
You can currently hire a small car like a Ford Focus (compact) in Brighton for as little as £11.25 per day.
Economy car hire in Brighton usually costs from around £ 11- £14 per day for compact cars like the Ford Focus. However, if you’re splitting the cost of car hire with others in your party, a larger car like a Volkswagen Passat (estate) costs £26 per day at time of writing, which could mean a very reasonable price per person. Shop around for the best deals, but car rental comparison websites like Enjoy Car Hire are tough to beat.
The minimum age for renting a car in the UK is 21 years old, although this can vary by company, so be sure to confirm. Furthermore, age limit restrictions can be stricter for vans, people carriers and luxury models.
Some car hire firms may apply additional charges for renting a car in Brighton – for example, for drivers between the ages of 21 and 25, or for those who require some sort of amended arrangements due to unique requirements. For example, excess-free packages are available from most major car hire companies (the excess is the initial payment the driver would make if in an accident, after which the insurance covers cost of repair, towing, road-side call-outs – but most packages have road-side assistance included, as well as Theft Protection and Collision Damage Waiver). All of the car hire firms available through Enjoy Car Hire are trusted and rated companies, so they should spell out any extra charges from the start. If no extra charges are mentioned but you’re still unsure and don’t want to discover down the line that they apply, be proactive and ask them to explain clearly as soon as possible, and take plenty of time to make sure that you fully understand all the fine print in your agreement.
Yes – usually it’s common to add extra drivers to the agreement, provided their license is valid and an additional daily fee is paid. This can vary by company so please check to confirm.
It is 9 miles and roughly a 30-40 minute drive depending on traffic.
Choosing the best car for getting around Brighton depends on your group size and travel plans – if you’re a solo traveller, a small car like a Vauxhall Corsa can be ideal for city centre parking and nipping around town, but if you plan taking a larger group off to explore the stunning East Sussex countryside surrounding the Brighton area, perhaps a seven-seater vehicle like a Seat Alhambra is preferable.
Third party liability insurance and collision damage waivers are included as standard in most car hire packages in Brighton, but if you’re unsure, confirm this with your car rental provider. In the unlikely event you have a serious accident in Brighton, please call 999 immediately for emergency services.
Like any city, parking in the centre of town can be expensive at peak times. However, there are several car parks in the Brighton area, so plan your outings around peak times – avoid morning and evening rush-hour traffic wherever possible and check local traffic news online frequently. The Regency Square car park is closest to the i360, while Madeira Drive and Marina Parade are on-street pay and display parking for the beachfront and pier.
Brighton can be very expensive to live in, but to travel it’s quite affordable. On average you’ll spend £81 per day visiting.
To explore and enjoy the seaside of the city freely, it’s a great idea to move around by car.
Brighton with its alternative vibe, its carefree air, and feeling the rays of the sun in front of to the sea with colourful huts behind you, makes a visit worthwhile.
The best months to visit Brighton are June, July, August and September because it’s warmer around that time.
It starts at £162 for a week, which is £23 per day.
The average price of a litre of fuel in Brighton can vary between £1.19 and £1.02.

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