England Car Hire
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Considering an English staycation? There’s never been a better time to rediscover the unique history, cosmopolitan culture and sublime scenery of this gorgeous, green and pleasant land. From the proud industrial heritage of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the north east to the rolling hills and dales of Yorkshire, and the urban attractions of London and the home counties to the bucolic beauty of Devon and Cornwall, you really are spoiled for choice.
Although it's small in comparison with nations like the USA and some of its major European neighbours, it’s the largest of the constituent nations of the United Kingdom and packs plenty of varied attractions into its varied terrain. Boasting almost 2800 miles of coastline (peppered with brilliant beaches and seaside resorts), multiple Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and National Parks, England's legendary landmarks stretch from the Angel of the North to Stonehenge and the White Cliffs of Dover.
The country’s superb scenery is complemented by its charming towns and cities and there’s a delightful destination for everyone. For instance, Brighton is an iconic seaside resort with a classic pier packed with amusements and elegant Victorian homes and gardens, while Cornwall’s St Ives is a picture-postcard former fishing village with an amazing bohemian vibe. Alternatively, Manchester is a cultural giant which rivals London in terms of its global sporting and cultural footprint, university city Cambridge has awesome architecture and the serene River Cam, and walled city York has its commanding minster cathedral and some of the best tea rooms in the country.
A great country to explore by car, England’s reasonably robust road network makes travelling between towns and cities and exploring diverse countryside a joy. Hiring a car in England is simple with https://www.enjoytravel.com/en and if you book ahead of time, you can grab an early bird bargain from top UK and international car hire partners. For instance, a mini-sized car like a Fiat 500 costs around £16 a day, a compact car like a Seat Leon costs around £18 a day and an SUV like a Honda CR-V costs £23 a day. With Enjoy Travel, every corner of England is your oyster!
Guide to England
Named after the Germanic Angles who settled there during the 5th and 6th centuries, England’s various kingdoms unified by the 10th century and from the 14th century onwards, this relatively diminutive country has had a disproportionate influence on world affairs in every sphere from language to religion and the law. Its population of 56 million is by far the largest of any of the UK nations and is mainly gathered around London and the South East, Yorkshire, the Midlands, the North East and North West. This nation’s already rich history and folklore was further enhanced in the 20th century by immigrants from the Caribbean, India, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe and around the world, who have added endless new dimensions to everything from cuisine to music and culture and contributed to beloved institutions such as the NHS. Many English towns and cities are also cultural capitals – creating clothing, visual art, literature and music which is exported all around the world. A nation of colour and contrasts, where cutting-edge scientists work in medieval buildings and folk musicians jam with electronic dance artists, England is an ever-evolving, magnificent mash-up.
History & Culture
England’s history of immigration actually stretches back much further than the 19th and 20th centuries – it’s early evolution into a sophisticated society is thanks to innovations brought by incomers from all across Europe. The oldest human bones discovered in England date from half a million years ago, but the Beaker Culture introduced food and drink vessels, constructed Neolithic monuments, and introduced bronze and iron smelting for tools and weapons back in 2500BC, while society developed along tribal lines under the Celts who arrived from central Europe during the Iron Age. The Romans invaded and conquered much of ancient Britain in 43AD and brought their legal system, roads, architecture, and sewers with them, with the Anglo-Saxons, Normans and French all contributing to everything from court life and chivalry to cuisine and language. From the Union of Parliaments in 1707, England ceased to be a sovereign nation as it formed the United Kingdom with Scotland, with the final incarnation of the UK including Wales and Northern Ireland. So at least in constitutional terms, the British nation actually isn’t much older than the US, which was established in 1776.
Many of England’s cities are famous the world over and well worth basing yourself in or visiting during your at home holiday. Capital London needs no introduction but if you’ve never been before (or haven’t visited in years), there’s so much to do and see that it almost feels like a nation in itself. Tourist traps like Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament are worth a visit (if only to capture iconic selfies) but there are also amazing art galleries, magnificent museums, and captivating cultural attractions in trendy areas like Brixton. Alternatively, culture vultures are also attracted to Bristol, a hip, arty metropolis in the south west which is famous for live music and graffiti (it’s home to bands like Massive Attack and artists like Banksy). For something a little different, Leeds offers legendary hospitality, a first-rate music scene and brilliant bars and restaurants – this northern powerhouse effortlessly blends its industrial past with its cool contemporary ambience.
Things to do in England
England has bucketloads of iconic landmarks and (depending on your staycation location and duration) you can easily drive to most of them. If you’re in striking distance of Wiltshire and have an interest in prehistory, a visit to the Stonehenge UNESCO World Heritage site is a must – you can marvel at the massive, mysterious stones which have stood here since 2500BC. Alternatively, if you’re based on the south coast, the romantic White Cliffs of Dover have become synonymous with faith and hope since they welcomed home British military heroes returning home from both World Wars. The Blackpool Tower, meanwhile, is another famous landmark that you can’t miss if you’re spending some time in this legendary Lancashire seaside town – this 158m high stiletto spike is based on the Eiffel Tower, contains a famous ballroom, and offers panoramic coastal views. And if you’re spending most of your time in London, you’re spoiled for choice in terms of landmarks. But the fairytale turrets of Tower Bridge take some beating and there’s even a delightfully dizzying glass floor on the walkway at the top. For something a little different, don’t miss the Eden project in Cornwall – its distinctive geodesic biodomes have become world-famous since the site opened in 2001 and the jaw-dropping Rainforest Biome is the world’s biggest indoor rainforest.
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
England has 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), each one of them has its characteristic charms and they’re spread across the length and breadth of the nation, so the chances are that wherever you’re staying, there’s one within striking distance. Arnside & Silverdale AONB is small (in comparison with most others), but perfectly formed. Its 75 square kilometres is packed with awesome ancient woodlands, romantic meadows, wetlands teeming with wildlife and stunning coastal views. Morecombe Bay’s shifting sands and mudflats are a haven for waterbirds and wildfowl, and the landscape also bears testament to traditional crafts like drystone walling. Alternatively, the verdant Cotswolds AONB stretches from the rolling meadows of the upper Thames to elevated territory above Evesham Vale and the Severn Valley. When it comes to dramatic coastal scenery, Cornwall AONB definitely exceeds expectations – its 958 square kilometres includes the renowned Lizard Peninsula and Land’s End, the vertiginous cliffs north of Boscastle stand strong against the onslaught of Atlantic breakers and the sweeping landscape of Bodmin Moor is peppered with gorgeous granite outcrops, unusual rivers and unique stone tors. For seaside delights in the north of England, Northumberland AONB covers a picturesque coastal stretch from Amble to Berwick-upon-Tweed. It’s home to lovely limestone rocks and views that extend as far as the eye can see. The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is a highlight here and Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh Castles sit perched imperiously on dramatic headlands.
If you’re prepared to park your car up for a couple of days in order to safely let your hair down, England offers some of the most eclectic nights out anywhere in Europe. If you like hustle, bustle and bars and clubs to suit partygoers of all tastes, Newcastle is the perfect pick. The ambience is excellent, and you’ll find a warm, welcoming, and sometimes wild atmosphere in bars and restaurants like The Gate, the Diamond Strip, Bigg Market and Quayside. Manchester is another northern magnet for revellers and its student population and proud musical heritage means there’s always something cool to see and hear. Oxford Road, Spinningfields and Canal Street have a plethora of hip cafes and bars, but the creative Northern Quarter is also a must-see, with hotspots including the Abel Heywood bar and boutique hotel, Black Dog Ballroom, El Capo and Pen & Pencil. Just a short drive from Manchester, Liverpool also offers a night out you’ll never forget – if you’re a Beatles fan you’ll adore The Cavern at Mathew Street, Albert Docks is full of chic cocktail bars and LEVEL nightclub is the city’s biggest, with three floors of music in genres that any visitor can throw some shapes to. Alternatively, a London soiree is probably England’s most expensive evening, but since its by far the nation’s largest and most multicultural city, there are bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants satisfying every possible niche. As well as city centre venues, try trendy up and coming areas like Brixton, Camden, Hackney and Shoreditch for funky clubs and exotic eateries.
Shopping & Eating in England
Creative & craft gifts
If you like to spend your pennies (or pounds) on one of a kind gifts, you’ll find lots of independent retailers in England that fit the bill. For instance, Manchester’s Form Lifestyle Store sells wonderful wooden trees carved lovingly by Forge Creative, London’s Momosan Shop is an Aladdin’s cave for creative brands – don’t miss the outstanding glass ornaments from Jochen Holz. Meanwhile, if you’re taking that Cotswolds road trip, New Brewery Arts in Cirencester is a must-visit, with its unique textiles, ceramics, jewellery, and homeware. Last but not least, The Biscuit Factory offers up an array of tasty treats including divine jewellery from Kirsty Adams and sublime pottery from Laura Hancock.
If you’re a fan of English heritage brands, you can make a beeline for several great locations across England to quench your thirst for retail therapy. For starters, rugged fashion brand Barbour has become inextricable from the Great British outdoors, and you can bag a bargain on their iconic wax jackets and more at its official factory outlet in South Shields. Alternatively, Burberry blends classic English styling with a dash of haute couture, and you’ll find this world-famous brand in top-notch city department stores as well as outlets like Bicester Village, Cheshire Oaks, and Chatham Place in the capital’s Hackney. If you’ve got your eye on some exquisite jewellery meanwhile, head to Asprey in London’s New Bond Street, which has sold captivating creations to patrons (including Queen Victoria) since 1781.
Classic English cuisine
For sheer choice, London is probably the best place to sample sumptuous English cuisine. Plum + Spilt Milk in the Great Northern Hotel, King’s Cross, boasts a brilliant gin & tonic menu, perfectly cooked steak, and chips and to die for desserts like cinnamon fried brioche with plums and ice cream. If that doesn’t tantalize your taste buds, try an elegant evening at Wiltons, one of London’s longest standing eateries where you can dine on lobster thermidor, delightful game dishes and bread and butter pudding – all washed down with a few glasses of bubbly. For an intimate evening, Kitty Fisher’s is a great choice – its retro decor, comfy nooks and crannies and candlelit ambience is ideal for an after dark liaison, and it’s perfectly complemented by heartwarming dishes like Welsh rarebit, cod with courgette, lamb rump and chocolate mousse with brown butter ice cream.
England is served by several high-profile airports with great domestic and international connections – if it’s convenient, you can pick up your Enjoy Travel hire car from any of them. London Heathrow is the busiest, followed by London Gatwick and London Stanstead. Then there’s Manchester, London Luton, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow and Belfast International.
As you’ll be aware, England has a widespread and reasonably reliable public transport network with various modes available across towns, cities, and regions. Passenger rail routes radiate from London all the way to Newcastle and beyond, most areas have good bus networks, and several cities have underground rail systems and/or trams.
Since you’re a British driver, tips like travelling on the left hand-side of the road, not drinking and driving and observing the speed limit are no-brainers, but if you’re hitting the road in London, you should be aware that the congestion charge applies 7 days a week between 7am and 10pm. Unless you’ve got city centre accommodation in England, it’s often easier to use a Park & Ride facility than paying through the nose for parking. You’ll find these conveniently locates on the outskirts of almost every town and city – from Bedford, Cambridge and Canterbury to Plymouth, Preston, and Stockport.
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