Preston Car Hire
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If you’re hiring a car in Preston, you’re about to hit the road in a pulsating city. Located on the north bank of the River Ribble and the administrative centre of Lancashire, Preston has a population of 141,000 and officially gained city status in 2002, becoming England’s 50th city during Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee year. With an ancient history that features Romans, Angles, Flemish weavers and a powerhouse role in the Industrial Revolution, and a contemporary culture that includes street theatre, live music and poetry in legendary venues like the Flag Market and the Harris, there’s always a brilliant buzz about the place. Preston is also the perfect launchpad for exploring the lovely Lancashire countryside by car and whichever time of the year you’re travelling there are always excellent deals available from Enjoy.
Prices for hiring a car in Preston start at just £21.01 (€23.57) per day for a mini-size car like a Fiat 500 if you book off-season, a compact car like a Vauxhall Astra costs £26.70 (€29.95) a day and a roomy intermediate car like a Skoda Octavia ̶ great for comfy country road trips ̶ is £28.70 (32.20) a day. Meanwhile, if you fancy something slightly more luxurious, a premium Mercedes C-Class Wagon is £58.14 (€65.22) a day. Enjoy works in partnership with reliable international providers like Europcar in Preston, so when you pick up your car of choice you can rest assured it’s in tip-top condition and that your car rental agreement contains all the components you’d expect.
Guide to Preston
With a diverse events calendar, top-notch shopping opportunities, fascinating history, gorgeous green spaces and a lively social scene spanning superb bars, cafes, restaurants and a host of unique alternative venues, any trip to Preston is packed with possibilities. A down to earth city with plenty to offer visitors of all tastes, you’ll always enjoy a warm welcome here.
Fancy exploring Preston on foot or by bike? The Guild Wheel is a 21-mile circular route that takes you all around the city and its environs, with highlights including beautiful nature reserves like the awesome 250 acre Brockholes, which has an iconic floating visitor village, ancient woodlands and all manner of hides and viewing points where you can see wildlife such as kestrel in their natural habitats. Meanwhile, in the city itself the sky-scraping spire of St Walburge’s Church is one of the most vertiginous in England and Preston Docks is a great spot to stroll around by the waterside, stop for a bite to eat and even hop on board a vintage steam train. The Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library is a must-see too and contains enough distractions to merit an entire day out. This majestic neoclassical building hosts two floors of fine art featuring masters like JW Turner and Samuel Palmer, the Discover Preston Gallery, which traces the city’s story from prehistoric to present times, and inspirational talks, tours and workshops on offer all year round.
Rest & Relaxation
Preston has a handful of parks which are serene sanctuaries from the hustle and bustle of city life, handily located a stone’s throw from the middle of this busy metropolis. Set against the backdrop of the River Ribble, Avenham Park is one of North West England’s finest formal Victoria parklands. Created by visionary designer Edward Milner in the 1860s, it boasts a stunning Japanese rock garden peppered with outstanding ornamental plants and wonderful water features. Alternatively, Winckley Square Gardens is a vibrant Georgian space a short hop from the high street that’s the perfect spot for a picnic beneath the trees or a romantic walk around the grounds stopping off at one of the chic cafes nearby to grab a bite to eat. These gardens are also floodlit for atmospheric stargazing strolls in the evening and host heritage walks and talks throughout the year.
Preston’s shopping experience is a honeytrap for visitors from across Lancashire and beyond, so if you’re looking for a spot of retail therapy, you’ll surely be satisfied. Preston’s Market Hall is a great place to start picking up bargains ̶ located under a glorious market canopy dating from 1875, you’ll find fab stalls selling everything from jewellery, handbags and wigs to the freshest local produce like meat, fish, cheese and vegetables. The high street hosts big names like Primark, Lush, Next, Clarks and Foot Locker, while Friargate is a haven for independent shops and boho boutiques offering everything from rare books and international food to comic books and body piercing, and Guild Hall Street is the place to head for vintage fashions and cool tattoos.
What to do in Preston?
Preston might be a reasonably small city, but there are plenty of dynamic distractions to keep you occupied during a busy break here. From the lovely listed buildings and proud wartime history of the Flag Market to the city’s plethora of pubs and bars, and from chic cafes serving classic afternoon tea to fab football at Preston North End and ballets, concerts and musicals at venues like Preston Playhouse Theatre, you’ll be a busy social butterfly in this delightful destination.
Arts and Culture
We’ve already sung the praises of the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, but Preston’s cultural cachet doesn’t stop there. For example, the PR1 Gallery in the University of Central Lancashire’s Victoria Building features fabulous exhibitions from students, staff and alumni in disciplines like fine art, ceramics, pottery, fashion, design and photography, entry is free and it’s always inspirational. Meanwhile, The Continental is another awesome arts and culture venue situated in a scenic spot by the banks of the River Ribble and it’s close to Avenham and Miller parks on the Guild Wheel route. Stop for delicious restaurant-standard food, craft beer and artisan cider any time of year ̶ the beer garden is a summer hotspot, while you can cosy up by the roaring fire inside at The Snug in chillier months. However, the best thing The Continental serves up is its selection of live music, film, literature, theatre, open-mic and creative writing clubs and events ̶ this is a special collaborative space that practically oozes creativity.
Fancy some enjoyable family activities that get your pulse racing? Level is an entertainment complex at Preston Guild Hall which comprises three floors of attractions including crazy golf, laser tag, karaoke, ten-pin bowling, darts and gaming rooms, a daredevil assault course and a kid’s soft play area. Alternatively, if you’re a gamer looking for the ultimate immersive experience, Preston is also home to The Multiverse ̶ Britain’s biggest virtual reality arena. This awe-inspiring attraction is split into three levels where you can fight androids, tackle zombies, race in a grand prix and visit all sorts of weird and wonderful alien worlds.
Thrifty partygoers will be glad to know that Preston is one of the cheapest cities in the UK to buy a beer, but the cut-price alcohol also comes with first-rate entertainment and ambience, which is an unbeatable combination on any great night out. Cool venues here include indie club Kuckoo, trendy basement bar Winedown, and renowned alternative nightclub The Warehouse, where you can dance the night away to great genres including pop, goth rock, hip-hop and much more. Alternatively, Evoque is a hip contemporary club with a slick interior filled with comfy booths and a high-tech sound and light system that ensures the dancefloor is packed and everyone looks glam and gorgeous. Honourable mentions also go to Adelphi and Roper Hall in the student area of the city centre, the Black Bull in Fulwood and trendy live music venue The Loft, where you can groove away until the wee small hours in great company.
Eating out in Preston
The great news for gourmets in Preston is that there are over 250 eateries here where you can munch your way around the world sampling traditional Lancashire fare, Great British dishes, Mexican meals, Chinese cuisine and much more. Here are a few lip-smacking recommendations:
If the sumptuous spices and colourful curries of the Indian subcontinent are your idea of culinary seventh heaven, you’ll be in your element at Silk Road Indian Restaurant in Preston’s Strand Road. When it comes to curry recommendations, the hot and spicy sambar with lentils and fresh lemon is legendary and the dhansak is a milder dish that still has a gentle spicy kick, complemented by a sweet and sour pineapple sauce, lentil base and splash of milk and cream. Dishes can be prepared with chicken, lamb, prawn and even veggie quorn, rice includes steamed, egg fried, and coconut infused varieties and the sweet peshwari naan is the ideal culinary counterbalance to a hot and spicy meal. Main courses range from around £8-£12.
Highly rated on Tripadvisor, Tang Restaurant has been serving authentic Chinese cuisine in Preston since 2008 and the dining experience is enhanced further by a fab touch-screen karaoke system that turns any meal into an entertaining event ̶ private party rooms can be booked for groups of all sizes if you’re planning a night out with friends, family or colleagues. As you’d expect, the choices are endless, but the satay beef with glass noodles hotpot is rather special and the tofu with green peppers and black bean sauce is a terrific vegetarian option, as are non-meat starters like salt and pepper aubergines and vegetarian crispy spring rolls. Starters at Tang are £5-6 and main courses are £10-14.
If you’re a fan of Caribbean food (particularly with a Jamaican slant!), don’t miss Coco’s Soul Food on Friargate. Favourites here include ‘proper’ yard food like goat curry, starters with a difference like chimichangas, amazing African chicken skewers and their renowned Caribbean chicken curry with tomato, coconut and a touch of honey. Main courses are available from £6-10.
Meanwhile, Turtle Bay is another Caribbean-style eatery where you can sample a bottomless brunch that comprises any roti, burger or brunch dish and two hours of unlimited mocktails, cocktails and Red Stripe beer, all for just £27 (available for patrons aged 18 and over only between 10am and 5pm every day, with last slot at 3pm).
Transport in Preston
The closest airport to Preston is Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LPL), which is 30.2 miles (48.6km) away, Manchester Airport (MAN) which is 32.9 miles (52.9km) and Leeds Bradford (LBA) which is 43.5 miles (70km) away. Enjoy partners with reliable car hire providers like Easirent, Alamo, Green Motion and Keddy at these air hubs and packages usually include components like third party liability, collision damage waiver, 24-hour assistance and theft protection. You can hire anything from a compact Ford Focus to a roomy Kia Optima or even a rugged Mitsubishi Outlander SUV and if you’re able to book ahead of time you can grab a great value deal.
Trains and buses
Train stations in the Preston vicinity include Lostock Hall, Bamber Bridge and Salwick, but Preston railway station is the main hub, it’s a major stop on the West Coast Main Line and connects the city with the rest of the Lancashire region and the wider UK.
The bus network in Preston is fairly extensive and the main operators are Stagecoach and Preston Bus. Meanwhile, Blackburn Bus Company connects Preston to Blackburn, Skipton and Clitheroe and longer distance routes are also operated by Stagecoach Express, Eurolines, Megabus and National Express.
You always drive on the left side of the road in Preston, as is the case everywhere in the UK. Speed limits are 70 mph (120 km/h) on motorways, 60 mph (100 km/h) for non-motorway main roads and 30 mph (50 km/h) or 20 mph (40 km/h) if you’re in busy city centre areas or close to buildings like schools.
Seatbelts must be worn at all times by the driver and passengers, drink driving is strictly prohibited and mobile phone use while driving is not allowed, unless the system is genuinely hands-free and doesn’t distract the driver.
There’s some stunning countryside around Preston and many interesting cities, towns and villages within striking distance, so it’s a great base for road trips. Here are a few road trips from Preston that you might like to add to your itinerary:
Drive south east from Preston along the M61 and, traffic permitting, you’ll reach Daisy Nook Country Park in less than an hour, which comprises 40 acres of verdant, varied terrain in the middle of the Medlock Valley. You’ll enjoy roaming in wildflower meadows, tree-bathing in wonderful woodlands, and strolling by the lake as you spot wildlife like squirrels, foxes, owls and woodpeckers. For a serene day trip where you can recharge your batteries, this great green space is hard to beat.
For a cool city trip from Preston, drive south along the M6 and south west along the M58 and you’ll be in Liverpool in around an hour. This bustling city on the banks of the Mersey is a cultural powerhouse which has a global footprint thanks to The Beatles and Liverpool FC, and there’s plenty to see and do, including the Beatles Story museum, Walker Art Gallery, and Liverpool Cathedral.
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