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Rental car outside London traveling to Glastonbury

Hello Fellow Travelers, My husband and I will be spending 2 days in London in May and then traveling to Glastonbury, Cotswolds, North Wales, Liverpool, and then flying out of MAN airport. Could someone help me with where would be convenient to pick up a car out of the city, London, as well as where to drop it off? We will be staying in Sale, about 10 min from the airport in Manchester the night before departure. Thank You!

Pick up at Heathrow, drop back at Manchester Airport. Heathrow will have the widest range of rental agencies & cars (remember to specify an automatic if that’s what you want) and is easily accessible from central London by public transport. It’s broadly in the right direction too.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you for your reply. This is definitely the obvious answer, but I guess I should have said that I would like to start my automobile journey on the left side from an easier vantage point. I was thinking we would train out of London towards Glastonbury and pick the car up someplace on the way. And I have heard that picking up and dropping off at airports adds mucho $$.

Posted by
588 posts

And I have heard that picking up and dropping off at airports adds mucho $$.

Have you actually calculated what the difference in cost is, once you have added in the price of taxis and everything else you will have to do to get to a different car hire office? I know that if I told my wife, after even a short flight, that we had to cart our bags somewhere else in order to save a few pounds, then I would no longer be married.

Also, there are things worth seeing in Glastonbury, like the Abbey and the Museum of Somerset Rural Life, but I am not `convinced that you will find them worth making a long detour to see. The town itself is pretty ordinary, apart ffrom some scruffy shops selling crystals and incense. If you want to go to that part of Somerset, nearby Wells is a lot more interesting.

Posted by
1875 posts

Glastonbury is a waste of time = in my opinion. The ruins of Tintern Abbey - just over the M48 Severn Bridge - in Wales, are better.

Why not take the train to Bath and check into a hotel before walking around Bath - you won’t need a car here. Wells is not on the railway but is linked to Bath by bus. To find buses use
To find trains use (Pre- book about 11 weeks ahead specific trains if making longer journeys).

If you are not going to Bath/Glastonbury - consider taking a train to Oxford- check into a hotel for 1 night and then hire a car to start touring the Cotswolds. From the northern Cotswolds - you could then head off west into Wales.

Posted by
8889 posts

the city of Wells is served by train

Sorry, no train to Wells, Somerset. They closed that line in the 1963. It is a long way from any railway and needs a car to get there.

I would also suggest either Bath or Oxford as places to visit then pick up a car. But both will have less choice of car hire companies than Heathrow.

Posted by
3898 posts

Another vote for picking it up at the airport. From there it is a very short drive to the M4 or M25 to M3 to begin you trip. Since they are interstates you’ll have plenty of time to adjust to driving on the left. Unlike one respondent, I found Glastonbury very interesting. The Tor and Abbey are worth a visit. The town is small, but I found the eclectic people one sees there to be very interesting. All said, it’s only worth a few hours stop. I do agree that the ruins of Tinturn Abbey are nicer than those at Glastonbury. Plenty to see in that part of the country and as happens with every trip, you can’t see everything you’d like to.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank You for all your input so far. We will probably train to Bristol and then rent a car from Enterprise. But they have many offices; Hartcliff Way Brislington, Chapel St. S. Bristol, St. George Bell Hill Rd, N. Bristol Wyck Beck Rd Henbury, Potishead, and Chipping Sobury. Does anyone know which is closest to the train station, Bristol Temple Meads? As far as Glastonbury: we got a sweet deal to stay in an Airbnb there so we are using it as our base for 3 nights to visit Bristol, Wells, Bath, and any other great places you may suggest. Thanx again for your help.

Posted by
4642 posts

Chapel St is the nearest Enterprise to BRI. But I personally wouldn't recommend going to the centre of Bristol just to drive out again. There is also an Enterprise office in Bridgwater.

Posted by
361 posts

I too loved Glastonbury- its a quaint little town- besides climbing the Tor which is amazing- there is also The Chalice Well and Gardens to see-take a small bottle to fill with the “healing water” but there is also a small gift shop that sells bottles to fill- as well as the Abbey and small town center. There is also a small laundromat if you need one- the townspeople are all friendly and nice- Wells is also fantastic- there is also a small cafeteria where you can get a drink, soup, sandwhich, as well as a great gift shop!
Happy Travels✨💫

Posted by
1217 posts

Another vote for picking it up at the airport. From there it is a very short drive to the M4 or M25 to M3 to begin you trip. Since they are interstates you’ll have plenty of time to adjust to driving on the left.

This. It's like two or three bog standard traffic circles between Heathrow rental car pick-up and getting on the M4 or M25, and it's nice to get into different side driving in a place where you just settle into the slow lane at the prevailing rate of speed and have to make relatively few driving decisions as you get used to the car and situation. And while airport rentals may have some extra taxes, there's also a ton of competition among the rental companies to drive costs down and the bigger location will have more vehicle options (likely far easier to find an automatic there if that's a concern) and be open longer and more convenient hours than a smaller rental outpost that may not even be open every day of the week.

Posted by
906 posts

I find Glastonbury something of a 'curate's egg'. The Tor, Abbey and surrounding countryside are all pretty good but the town is a bit of a bust unless you are looking for incense, crystals, 'hippie' style clothing and the like. I felt sorry for the guy who came into the tourist information office when we were there, who came in asking if there was anywhere where he could buy climbing equipment. The TI staff just looked at him blankly!

Nearby Wells is much more interesting - as mentioned it has a magnificent cathedral. If you've ever seen the Simon Pegg/Nick Frost film 'Hot Fuzz', that was filmed in and around Wells.

That said, Wells is close enough to to Glastonbury to spend half a day in both if needs be.

Have a great trip!


Posted by
4598 posts

Starting your left sided driving experience is going to be far easier from Heathrow than it is from Bristol. Pretty much straight on to the M4 to the Southwest giving you ample time to get used to the car and positioning without having to worry about single lane roads, junctions, navigation etc.

Plus Heathrow will have the greatest choice of vehicles and agencies than anywhere else.

There really is no benefit from picking up a car in Bristol vs Heathrow and despite how it might seem, far less nerve wracking from Heathrow, everything's well signposted and aimed at tourists, you won't get that at a rental agency in Bristol.

Posted by
722 posts

I agree. Heathrow is really about the easiest place to start driving. Many car rental places are along the perimeter road, which is not busy. We found the motorways to be easy, wide lanes. You will probably drift to the left until you get used to be oriented on the other side as a driver. You can get your lane position set on the motorway. Heathrow is the way to go.