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Returning a car hire/car rental to Birmingham New Street VS. Airport?

During our honeymoon this spring, my fiance and I will be driving a rental car from Stow-on-the-Wold in the Cotswolds, returning it in Birmingham, then taking a train north to Glasgow (per advice from the wonderful people on this forum). I've seen there are two train stations in Birmingham: New Street more in the city center and the airport (International) on the eastern edge of the city. Both seem about the same distance from Stow-on-the-Wold on a map, but I was wondering if anyone has any opinions on which is easier to drive to, return a rental car, and get on the train? I initially thought New Street since it's further along on the train journey, but then I thought the airport may have more car rental locations (and possibly easier access from the car rental places to the train station) and might be easier to avoid the city center driving. Obviously, some may hinge on the company we want to rent from, but thought I'd check before renting or purchasing any train tickets. Thanks in advance!

Posted by
2 posts

HI there. I saw this post and thought i would reply as i live in Birmingham, and this is my first post here after lurking for a bit :)

So, in answer to your question, i personally would advise you to drop off at International if you can. There are road works all over Birmingham, and driving in the city centre isnt for the faint hearted (or for someone more used to driving on the other side of the road). I also have no idea if there is even a drop off near the station to be honest, while at International i am sure there would be as there is an Airport there, a conference centre and a shopping centre.

This does depend on what you want though. If you want to do some shopping, then New Street (also called Grand Central now as there is a brand new shopping centre above the station) would be a good place to go as it is slap bang in the centre, with all the shops a very very short distance away, including the Bull Ring https://www.bullring.co.uk/

So, for ease i would say International, for shopping i would say New Street

Posted by
1098 posts

Even if you want to do shopping after you drop off the car, I would recommend dropping off at the airport and taking the train to New Street. There is a baggage deposit at the New Street station where they will keep your luggage (for a fee) while you shop.

Posted by
56 posts

I am a local resident, and I would strongly advise you to drop the car at Birmingham International. This is next to an exit on the M42 motorway, has an easily-accessible place to drop off hire cars (at the airport next door), and is on a main railway line. New Street station would involve a miserable drive into the City centre, and is only ten minutes up the line from the International station.

Posted by
5457 posts

We recently did a four week drive tour of Wales and England in October. A car is great in exploring the Cotswolds. However, Stow-in-the-Wold is a small village. Not sure if they have a car rental office there?

I would avoid driving in a big city like Birmingham. We didn't even go into the city, but encountered very heavy traffic just going a few miles from the city. Consider a city like Warwick (great castle to visit) to turn in your car.

Also, I would not recommend Europcar, the Nav system on our car was not up to date and didn't include some of our hotels/B&Bs.

Posted by
27710 posts

Where are you planning on hiring a car in Stow-on-the-Wold? To my local knowledge there is no car hire there. There used to be a small independent in Bourton-on-the-Water but I'm fairly sure they are gone now. I know for a certainty that the main hire franchise (I think it was either Hertz or Avis) in Moreton-in-Marsh has closed.

If you get one from a large brand there will almost certainly be a branch at Birmingham Airport (used to be called Birmingham International Airport but they recently dropped the "International" even though many of the flights still are international and the rail station is still called Birmingham International.

As said above it is only a stone's throw from the M42 (mind all the speed cameras and variable speed cameras on both the M42 and A45) and easy to get to whereas the centre of Birmingham is exactly the complete opposite of easy to get to.

There may be an Enterprise but I don't remember car hire locations in Warwick.

Posted by
29 posts

Thanks so much everyone!! Seems to be a very strong/broad consensus to go to the airport location, since, sadly we're just using Birmingham as a connecting point to get the train to Glasgow. We'll definitely do that.

As far as renting the car, sorry for the confusion! We're actually renting it as we leave Oxford, then having it for our two days in the Cotswolds, then returning it on the way to the train to Glasgow. I figured I'd see what are the most convenient locations in Oxford and try to find a matching location near the train station we'll go to. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd definitely appreciate it :) I'd seen there was an Enterprise it looked like close-ish to our hotel and the city center, but haven't looked near the Birmingham Airport yet.

Posted by
724 posts

It looks like you have decided. We flew into Birmingham airport from Ireland and rented a car at the airport. As I remember, there were a lot of different rental companies in a parking lot beyond the terminal, easy walk. You drove a short distance and you were on your way. It looked like a very, very easy drop off spot.

Posted by
14 posts

Definitely the airport. I used to drive into new street for business 10 years ago on a regular basis and got lost fairly often! I am a Brit and used to driving in strange cities. Birmingham is a pain as it is very busy and whilst the main road in is easy from the south west it isn't fun when your near the center. Any time gained by possibly going to new street and getting a train will be lost by funding yourself lost!