York Car Hire
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York is a lovely place to visit and a superb base if you’re driving around Yorkshire, the north of England and further afield.
You won’t struggle to hire a car in York from a variety of reliable rental agencies and Enjoy Car Hire makes it easy to compare great deals.
If you’re spending a few days around this beautiful historical city, here are a few useful facts:
- Nestled in North Yorkshire, York is a walled city with roots in Roman and Viking history.
- The River Ouse winds through York on its way to the Humber Estuary.
- Founded by the Romans in 71AD and named Eboracum, it became the capital city of the province of Britannia Inferior.
- By the late 9th and 10th Centuries, it was capital of the south Northumbrian kingdom of Jorvik and was controlled by Norse warlord kings.
- York Minster is the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe and took 252 years to build, between 1120 and 1472.
- The total population of York Council area, which includes several nearby villages, is around 208,000.
- York Racecourse is one of Britain’s most famous and horse racing has been popular here since the Romans started holding races here in 208AD. If you fancy a flutter and seeing the sport of kings take place in all its live glory, York Races run from May to October each year.
- If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll be delighted to discover that York is known as the Chocolate City because it’s the home territory of iconic choc brands like Rowntree’s and Terry’s (both now owned by international corporations).
- Much of York’s ancient fortifications are structurally intact – it actually has the best preserved City Walls in England.
- Love shopping? People have been indulging in a spot of retail therapy York street The Shambles since at least 1086 and it’s traditional top-heavy wattle and daub buildings are a joy to behold.
- You should drive on the left in York, as is the case elsewhere in England and throughout the UK.
- UK speed limits for cars are 48km/h in built-up areas, 96 km/h on single carriageways, 112 km/h on dual carriageways and 112 km/h on motorways. Be careful as there are exceptions – in some areas near schools or houses, the limit can be as low as 32 km/h.
- York has many narrow, serpentine streets, so traffic can occasionally get rather congested. There are 15 public car parks in the city and a park and ride service which is rather convenient.
Guide to York
York is a city which charms visitors with a unique, alchemical mixture of culture, history and contemporary attractions.
From its ancient city walls to its chic cafes, cosy traditional pubs to cool contemporary restaurants and craft shops to charming independent boutiques, it weaves a captivating web around anyone who wanders through its winding streets and alleyways.
There are few places in the world where you can step out of a brand name chain store into dense cobbled streets that inspired Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, but York ticks all of these boxes brilliantly and a few more besides.
To get some perspective of York’s size, scenery and historical scope, one of the best things to do when you first arrive is to walk a section of the ancient city walls. Shimmy up the steps at spots like Bootham Bar and the cityscape unfolds before your eyes – you’ll see York Minster suspended in the skyline like a graceful Gothic ship, as lesser buildings and streets bob along below it.
Inside the city walls
The streets inside the City Walls are closed between 8am and 4pm, so its perfect for pedestrians who like getting up close and personal with amazing history. But if you prefer getting on your bike, you’ll feel perfectly at home here too – it’s a cycle-friendly city where most of the streets are flat and you can hire bicycles at York Railway Station.
And if you’re yearning for a browse around innovative independent shops, head straight to Bishopthorpe Road near the city centre. Known as Bishy Road to locals, it’s blessed by brilliant shops like pay and weigh eco pantry store The Bishy Weigh, DIY treasure trove Pextons Hardware, and luxe opticians Cameron Beaumont.
After you’ve maxed out your plastic at the shops you might need to slake your thirst – for a multicultural mash-up, head to House of the Trembling Madness at 48 Stonegate for quality Belgian beers served in a marvellous medieval building.
Bus tours & dungeons in a gothic city
But if you’re only in town for a short stay, it might be worth taking a hop-on, hop-off bus tour with live guided commentary and scheduled stops at hotspots like York Dungeon and Clifford’s Tower. This is the best way to see the best of the city in a limited time.
In the highly unlikely event that you’ll run out of things to do in York, remember that it’s also a great launchpad for exploring Yorkshire attractions close by. Hop in your car and you can soon be in historic Helmsley with its 900 year-old castle and enjoying spectacular views of the moors from nearby Hambleton Hills, or sipping tea with literary enthusiasts in Haworth in the heart of Bronte country.
Things to do in York
There are so many entertaining things to do in York that, rather than poring over websites to find suitable pursuits, your main problem will be managing to pack all of its top attractions into your itinerary.
However, here are a few highlights you shouldn’t miss:
- York Minster is a must – officially known as The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York, this 15th Century feat of engineering was the site of an important Roman basilica, once had its own private police force and features a world famous Rose Window designed by master glazier Robert Petty which contains beautiful alternating panels with Lancastrian and Tudor roses.
- York Castle Museum is another magnet for locals and visitors fascinated with history. Located at Eye of York, Tower Street, its showpiece installation is a street with authentic shop fronts that span the Georgian era to the 1950s. If you want an immersive experience that illuminates the ways city residents lived and worked over the generations, you’ll be in your element here.
- The last remnant of York Castle itself is Clifford’s Tower – it’s perched on a small hill above the city and if you climb to the top you’re rewarded by one of the most panoramic views possible. Built by William the Conqueror, it suffered a couple of catastrophic fires before rising like a phoenix from the flames when it was resurrected by Henry III in the 13th century.
- Jorvik Viking Centre is another popular York attraction which has to be experienced to be believed – it’s a faithful recreation of a 9th century Viking village, complete with realistic animatronic characters, sights, sounds and even smells!
- For many travellers, trains have a romance that’s missing from other modes of transport. And whether you’re a serious train spotter or simply like the elegance of rail travel, you’ll love the National Railway Museum. Legendary locomotives include the royal trains of King Edward VII and Queen Victoria, the iconic Mallard steam train and the sleek Shinkansen Japanese bullet train. Best of all, since it’s completely free to enter, you can save your cash for a relaxing lunch afterwards.
- If you leave York without sampling a traditional afternoon tea with fat rascal scones in the gorgeous, genteel setting of Betty’s Café Tea Rooms, you’ve definitely missed out.
- Do you find walking by waterways relaxing? Then you’ll love the Ouse – walking along the banks of York’s river will take you past iconic sights like Clifford Tower and the Millennium Bridge, so it’s the perfect pastime for active family groups. Alternatively, if you’re feeling romantic you might enjoy taking an early evening riverboat cruise with your significant other, and watching the sun set over the city while sipping on a glass of bubbly from the boat’s well-stocked bar.
- York Dungeon is another awesome attraction focused on the city’s history – suitable for older teens and adults, it brings the murky side of York to life through real-life actors in period garb portraying notorious criminals, hangmen and highwaymen. Fantastic fun but not for the faint hearted!
- If you’re a thrill seeker who isn’t freaked out enough by your trip to York Dungeon, perhaps you want to turn the fear factor up a notch by hopping on board the Ghost Bus? As you wheel your way round the city, a ghoulish conductor will regale you with the most horrifying tales from its history.
Eating out in York
If you’re yearning for something to tantalise your taste buds, York always serves up fabulous fare for foodies.
From fine dining restaurants rustling up haute cuisine to platefuls of tasty pub grub and street food stalls sizzling with mouth-watering multicultural dishes, there really is something to satisfy everyone.
Whether you’re a gourmet with refined tastes who wants a sit-down, slip-up meal or you simply want to fill your belly with something brilliant when you’re on the move, here’s a guide to York's most excellent eating emporiums.
- Fancy fresh food, classic cocktails and oodles of ambience? Then head to The Ivy at St Helen’s Square, York’s outpost of London’s favourite glitterati restaurant. The marvellous menu covers everything from crispy duck salad to line-caught swordfish with red pepper sauce and a signature shepherd’s pie that’s simply to die for. If you want to people watch in an establishment that’s high-end yet inclusive, you’ll love it here.
- Want the best of world cuisine brought to your plate and served with a terrific Yorkshire twist? In that case you’ll love Skosh, York’s fusion food mecca which specialises in small plate servings that are bit in terms of taste, inspired by cuisines from The Middle East, US and Japan. Located at 98 Mickelgate, Skosh has a Michelin Bib Gourmand inspector’s recommendation for good value – high praise indeed!
- For an amazing eating environment and an eclectic menu that includes everything from Yorkshire asparagus to edible flowers, try Rattle Owl at 104 Mickelgate. This grade II-listed building has been restored in ravishing fashion and boasts a beautiful glass ceiling and Roman road remains in the cellar.
Car hire and getting to and from York
There’s no airport in York, but Enjoy Car Hire can help you find car rental at Leeds-Bradford Airport (LBA), the closest air hub.
There are several reliable car hire operators to choose from at LBA near York – here’s some background information on their credentials, company histories and unique benefits:
- Easirent is a UK-owned car rental company which was founded in 1999. It’s gone from strength to strength since then and has outlets at most British airports. Focusing on great prices and a wide range of vehicles, it can offer you models like the Ford Focus or Toyota Aygo at Leeds-Bradford Airport.
- Alamo Rent A Car is a global car rental giant with a presence in practically every market. Its hallmarks are excellent customer care and innovative services. At LBA you can rent vehicles like the Vauxhall Corsa and Skoda Octavia from Alamo.
- Enterprise is the world’s largest car hire company, with 10,000 branches, 100,000 staff and 1.9 million vehicles. At LBA, you can hire quality cars like the Vauxhall Insignia and Ford Kuga from Enterprise.
Terms and conditions for each car hire company vary, but packages often include features like free cancellation up to 48 hours before the start of your rental period, third party liability, 24 hour assistance, collision damage waiver and theft protection.
York Station is a major hub in the north of England with connections to London, Leeds, Manchester, Scotland and the majority of the UK.
Top Tips when hiring a car in York
- The most popular York rental car is a Vauxhall Corsa or similar.
- The average price per day is £ 11.12 for a York hire car.
- The cheapest York car hire was £ 3.77 per day, with Keddy, it was booked 38 days in advance.
- 73% of our customers hired a car in York for less than £14 per day.
- 56% of Enjoy customers purchase excess protection so their excess is covered if they damage their car.
- On average York car hire customers save £488 by buying excess protection if they damage the car.
- The most popular car rental brands in York are Europcar, Alamo and Keddy.
- Customers save on average 24% when booking a York hire car online, 2 to 3 weeks in advance.
- Ford Kuga, Fita500, Skoda Octavia and Ford Focus are also popular.