Edinburgh Car Hire

Find the best deals in Edinburgh

With a massive choice from the biggest brands, Enjoy the best way to find the best prices for car hire in Edinburgh.

  • Huge choice of cars to suit every budget
  • Save up to 70% compared to buying on the day
  • 10 years experience in car hire

Essential Tips for Car Hire in Edinburgh

Scotland’s vibrant capital is known for its Georgian architecture, medieval castles, bookshops, and festivals such as Fringe Festival and Hogmanay. While public transport is the main way of getting around the city, car hire is also popular for tourists. Hiring a car can enable you to see more places around the city in instances where public transport can’t be relied upon. There are also numerous road trip possibilities from Edinburgh, making Edinburgh and its airport a hub for car hire. Some essential tips for hiring a car in Edinburgh include:

  • Hire from Airports: With a wide selection of car hire suppliers, hiring a car from Edinburgh Airport can help you find better deals on car hire than from the city centre.
  • Book in Advance: Booking in advance is the golden rule for most bookings, including car hire. Advance booking is the best way to ensure you secure the vehicle of your dreams, especially in peak tourist seasons of June-August and December-January.

Whether you’re visiting Edinburgh for business or pleasure, Enjoy Travel offers an extensive range of vehicles to suit your needs and preferences. When you’re looking for reliable, convenient and trustworthy car hire in Scotland, choose Enjoy Travel.

Budget Car Hire in Edinburgh

Edinburgh skyline
Edinburgh Victoria Street

Exploring Edinburgh by car is arguably the best way to see and truly appreciate everything the city has to offer. Edinburgh’s surrounding countryside and resident ‘mountain’ Arthur’s Seat allows for some of the most picturesque views you’ve ever seen, which you can seamlessly explore with the right vehicle.

Ross Fountain Edinburgh
Dean Village Edinburgh

Exploring Edinburgh by car is arguably the best way to see and truly appreciate everything the city has to offer. Edinburgh’s surrounding countryside and resident ‘mountain’ Arthur’s Seat allows for some of the most picturesque views you’ve ever seen, which you can seamlessly explore with the right vehicle.

Securing the Best Deals

During peak tourist seasons, car hire can be expensive and more in demand. Peak seasons include August and December/January, thanks to Edinburgh’s annual Fringe Festival and Hogmanay celebrations. Because of this, try to book your vehicle around 1-2 months before you need it.

Understanding Edinburgh’s Driving Regulations

Driving around Edinburgh is generally easy, with signposted roads, excellent road links and easy-to-navigate routes. However, as some Scottish driving rules might be different from England or the rest of the UK, here are some of the main things to consider and know before you drive in Edinburgh:

  • You need a valid full driving licence issued in a European Community/European Economic area (EC/EEA)
  • You need a valid, full national licence issued in your country
  • A provisional (learner's) driving licence issued abroad is not valid for use in the UK
  • You must have held a full licence for a minimum of 1 year to drive a hire car.
  • You must be 21 years old or above to hire a car, though some rental companies may require the age to be 25.

Rules of the Road for Renters

  • Always drive on the left-hand side of the road
  • When approaching a roundabout, give priority to traffic approaching from the right, unless otherwise indicated
  • All vehicles must give way to emergency services vehicles in a safe way
  • You can be fined up to £500 if you don't wear a seatbelt
  • The maximum amount of alcohol allowed in the blood is 0.08%. There is a penalty of up to £5,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment and 12 months withdrawal of driving licence if it is a first-time offence

Parking in Edinburgh: A Guide

Edinburgh enjoys widespread parking, with many streets offering on-street parking between certain hours of the day, usually listed on street signage. In most of Edinburgh’s main inner city suburbs and areas, such as Royal Mile, Old Town and West End, you can also find multi-storey car parks or undercover parking. These types of car parks are sometimes the top choice for people who want a little more security for their vehicles.

Parking in non-designated zones or some residential streets can incur fines of up to £150, so bear this in mind before you park. If you do receive a parking ticket, it usually must be paid within 14 days of receiving it.

Finding Convenient Parking in Edinburgh

Free parking is available in areas that don’t have controlled parking zones, which are more common in the city centre and main streets. Many locals park their cars at supermarket car parks or in areas outside of the centre. Edinburgh has several Park & Ride facilities mainly located outside of the main downtown areas. People can enjoy free parking and a cheap bus or tram ride into the centre from one of the many Park & Ride car parks.

National Gallery Edinburgh
Leith Edinburgh

Top Attractions in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is rife with attractions, from its medieval castles to its entertainment venues and Old Town. Some attractions are seasonal or annual, such as the Fringe Festival and Hogmanay (New Year), which attract hundreds of tourists each year.

Discovering the City’s Highlights

Some of the city’s best attractions include:

  • Arthur’s Seat: The site of an ancient volcano that is now a popular hiking spot and natural attraction, giving visitors 360° views of the city below.
  • Edinburgh Castle: Dominating the Edinburgh skyline, this medieval castle is the talk of the town, and the place that most tourists flock to upon their visit to the city.
  • Whisky Experience: The story of the Scottish national drink, told through exhibits, talks, whisky tasting and demonstrations.

Transport Options in Edinburgh

Edinburgh has many low-cost and efficient transport options, from buses to trams. The transport that’s right for you depends on the places you want to reach and how much you want to spend. Public transport is great for places where parking is difficult or unavailable, or if you want to avoid long traffic queues. The main modes of transport in Edinburgh include:

Buses: An Extensive Network Across the City

Buses are by far the most common mode of transport across the city. Bus fares can range from £2-£5 for adults, and around £1-£3 for children, depending on the type of ticket you buy. Payments include cash or contactless card payments, and routes include most Edinburgh suburbs.

Trams: Scenic Routes and Historic Charm

Another convenient transport option in Edinburgh includes trams. Tram lines run across the city, with most routes including Edinburgh Airport and surrounding suburbs, as well as the city centre. Tram tickets are around £2 for adults and £1 for child tickets. Payment options include ticket machines at the tram stop, where you can pay contactless or with cash, as well as in advance on the website.

Best Day Trips from Edinburgh

Dunfermline A historic city, with many cultural attractions and parks that are ideal for walking. Dunfermline also hosts numerous entertainment venues, such as the Alhambra Theatre and Vintage Bus Museum.

Distance from Edinburgh: 18.2 miles

Kirkcaldy A small town north of Edinburgh, but with many things to see and do, including parks, historical monuments, castles, a beach and natural attractions like Wemyss Caves.

Distance from Edinburgh: 31.5 miles

Falkirk Although a small town, Falkirk holds numerous interesting attractions, the most notable being the Kelpies monument. The Kelpies is based on a creature from Scottish folklore, and consists of two giant horse heads protruding from the ground– truly a magnificent sight. Falkirk also hosts castles, parks and various entertainment venues.

Distance from Edinburgh: 26.3 miles

Planning your Adventure

Ensure that you have an itinerary or plan in place for when you visit Edinburgh. Knowing what you’re going to do and see can make the trip even more memorable and more convenient, as you won’t be stuck wondering where to go first. Also, ensure that you familiarise yourself with the roads or any public transport routes if you’re going to be taking the bus or tram.

Optimal Driving Times in Edinburgh

Avoid driving on certain dates like Fringe Festival and Hogmanay when roads are likely to be closed or traffic will be excessive. Edinburgh’s peak travel times include rush hour, which is usually 7-9am and 4-6pm on weekdays.

Weighing the Benefits of Car Hire in Edinburgh

While public transport in Edinburgh is abundant, driving is by far the most convenient way to access areas that are a little more off the beaten path or that aren’t served by public transport routes.

Advantages of Personal Mobility

Having a car means you can avoid public transport delays, overcrowding and timings, and can travel according to your own schedule. Public transport timings may not align with your itinerary, which is when having a car comes in handy.

Potential Drawbacks of Hiring a Car

The potential cons of hiring a car in Edinburgh include traffic, especially in the inner city, and unfamiliar roads. You may also struggle to find a place to park if you don’t know the city well.

Variety of Rental Vehicles in Edinburgh

The range of vehicles on offer from Enjoy Travel includes small, economy cars like Fiat, Peugeot and Ford, SUVs and large cars like Tesla, BMW X2, minivans and Mercedes Benz, and luxury cars like BMW 3-series and Mercedes, among many others. You can find cars from some of the most well-known and trusted suppliers in Europe.

Choosing the Right Vehicle for Your Needs

Depending on your personal circumstances, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect car for you. Business travellers may opt for a luxury car, families will enjoy the extra room in SUVs or minivans, and solo travellers or couples will usually opt for economy cars.

Partnering with Edinburgh’s Premier Car Hire Providers

The car hire providers you can rent within Edinburgh include Alamo, Enterprise, Europcar, Sixt, National, Avis and Drivalia. These are common and popular UK car hire companies that are well-trusted and relied upon by many car renters.

Selecting a Reputable Company

Read reviews of car hire companies before renting, to ensure that the services and cars offered by the company align with your personal expectations and circumstances.

Got a Question? Chat with our UK support team

Online chat help is open 08:30am to 17:00 weekdays. Email: [email protected]


FAQs about car hire in Edinburgh

Most frequently asked questions about hiring a car in Edinburgh

Depending on your selected company and model, car rental costs in Edinburgh vary as they do everywhere. As a general guide, a small to medium car can typically be rented for £10-16 per day at the time of writing, going all the way to £100 per day for a large nine-seater Mercedes Vito minivan.
The cost of car hire in Edinburgh depends on various factors such as duration, rental company, and time of year. On average, expect to pay between £33 to £50 per day during peak seasons and £15 to £30 per day during less busy periods. Costs also vary depending on the type of vehicle you select, with luxury cars being on the pricier side.
You can secure affordable car hire deals in Edinburgh when booking in advance and taking into consideration the time of year and type of vehicle. Budget-friendly options during less touristy seasons can start from around £20 per day for a small economy car, with discounts and promotions reducing the costs even further.
The cost of hiring an economy car in Edinburgh depends on factors such as time of year, location, and rental company. On average, daily rates can range from £20 to £50; however, these prices fluctuate during peak tourist seasons and festivals. It is advisable to book in advance to secure cheaper deals as well as ensure availability.
The minimum age to hire a car in Scotland as a whole depends on the rental company. Most will require the driver to be at least 21 years old with at least one year's driving experience. However, some companies will require the driver to be at least 25 years old. Drivers under the age of 25 may encounter a young driver surcharge, which will increase the overall cost.
It is common in Edinburgh to be charged additional costs beyond the base rental fee. Some of these may include young driver fees for those under the age of 25, or airport surcharges if you are picking up and dropping the vehicle off at the airport. Fuel policies vary, and you could be charged if the car is not returned with a full tank. It's also important to be aware of excess mileage, late return fees, and penalties for breaching rental terms.
Most car rental companies in Edinburgh allow additional drivers to be added to the agreement for a fee which varies. Typically, the additional drivers would need to meet the age and license requirements for the rental company. Adding additional drivers to the agreement is an excellent way of exploring the city and further without having to do all of the traveling yourself. Sharing the responsibility allows you to take breaks and enjoy your trip even further.
If you're involved in an accident while driving a rental car in Edinburgh, the priority is ensuring safety. Contact local authorities immediately to report the incident. Exchange details with the other party involved and gather witness information if possible. Notify the car rental company promptly and follow their specific instructions. Most rental cars come with insurance, but be aware of your coverage limits and any deductibles.
Those looking to save the pennies and bag the best deal possible should book at least three months in advance. You'll have far more choices to browse through during your search, and it ensures availability.
You can hire a 7-seater minibus in Edinburgh – the city is brimming with a diverse range of vehicles and rental companies. These vehicles are more suited for larger groups and families looking to explore together. Some of the rental options include popular models such as Ford Galaxy, Volkswagen Touran, or similar. The prices will depend on rental duration, location, and season.
When looking for an affordable vehicle to hire in Edinburgh, it's best to go for cars that typically fall under the economy or compact category. Models such as Fiat Panda, Fiat 500, or similar smaller vehicles from different brands are often cost-efficient options. Prices will vary among rental companies, and it's important to take location, time of year, and rental duration into consideration.

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