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Renting a car in Liverpool...driving through Wales - suggestions?

So forgive me if these questions have been asked already - I'll be in Liverpool and thinking about renting a car and driving from there through Wales and stopping en route towards London - want to hit Bath, Stonehenge, after Wales, and stop at places along the way and feel like driving might be a better option to see all of those spots than public transit - is it easy to rent a car and deal with that? I am actually comfortable driving on the other side of the road. and comfortable with city driving as well (I live in Washington, D.C.) I'm debating more about logistics in renting, dropping off, timing. I have 2-3 days open before headed to London, but am flexible. This is my first trip to Scotland/Wales so I'd like to maximize taking advantage of the smaller cities and exploring! What have you guys found that is best? I'm staying in other cities in Scotland and training the whole way. Now, granted they are bigger cities so it's easier to use public transit. Any suggestions welcome! Thanks!

Posted by
1350 posts

We picked up a rental car on leaving of Liverpool. The location was Lime St Station but the depot was difficult to find. Turned out to be in a random corner of a parking garage. Once we found it everything was fine.

Where are you arriving from when you go to Liverpool? If like us its a flight to Manchester, there's a train straight from the airport to Liverpool.

Posted by
5 posts

Oh, good to know, OK! I am going to be staying in the city centre area the night before and plan on picking up the next morning/afternoon, I think.

Posted by
1890 posts

Rather than rent a car in Liverpool, I would take a local train to Chester (pay on the day for a one way ticket). Now, you could stay overnight in Chester or then rent a car and head off into Wales - you should allow at least 2 hours to have a look at Chester.

You say that you only have 2 to 3 days before heading to London and that you also want to hit Bath & Stonehenge after Wales. To be honest, this is well nigh impossible - well, apart from direct driving from place to place. You could skip renting a car and take a direct train from Chester down the line that more or less follows the Wales English border to Newport - where you change for another train that will take you to Bath. However, having reached Newport, you are then only 15 minutes from Cardiff - so, might as well head for Cardiff for a night or 2 but 3 would be ideal but you just don't have the time. (Trains take around 3 hours 10 minutes for the Chester to Cardiff run and about 1 hour fro Cardiff to Bath or 2 hours for Cardiff to London Paddington). If in Cardiff, it will take you half a day to visit St.Fagans Castle & Museum - about 6 miles west of city centre (Easyway Bus 32A). You could also visit (by local train) Caerphilly Castle - which is 7 miles north of the city centre. In the centre of the city you have Cardiff Castle & 1 mile south - Cardiff Bay (not a beach). Castell Coch on the northern edge of the city is also worth seeing.

If renting a car in Chester - you could head south of the A483 and A5 towards Shrewsbury and then the A49 to Hereford. Stokesay Castle and Ludlow are well worth a detour just off the A49. If you reach Monmouth - take A466 down the Wye Valley and see the ruins of Tintern Abbey. You will eventually reach the Severn Bridge and on to southern England. However, doing this route, although interesting, is missing out most of Wales. If you wish to drive from Chester into Wales - I would suggest taking A494 to Ruthin and on to Bala. When you reach Dolgellau - take A470 going south-east. You can now follow the scenic A470 all the way down through the middle of Wales to Cardiff. (If you wish to skip Cardiff - take A479 from the village of Lyswen to Crickhowell and then A40 to Raglan (Castle) and then A449 southward to M4 for Severn Bridge). If doing this option, I would suggest an overnight in the Brecon or Crickhowell area - though it would still be viable to reach Cardiff but Bath would be pushing it.
Map of rail system >
Trains = (pre-book any longer journeys to get lower fares).

Look at the road routes on Google Maps - zoom down and pull in yellow man to see what the roads are like:>,-3.2570144,9z/data=!5m1!1e1

Parking in city centre hotels can be limited or non existent & public parking expensive. Make sure that any hotel has easy free parking if using a car.

Posted by
40 posts

I've been to the UK and Scotland twice. I'm going back in a couple months and this time including Wales and Liverpool. Was going to do a round trip train from London, but decided a rental would be more convenient and actually cheaper than train fare for three people.

You didn't say how you were getting to the UK. If flying, most of the major airport's will have car rental and it's easy to do. Unlike the US, doing a one way rental isn't a huge hit in the pocket book.

I'm going from Liverpool to Colwyn Bay to Cardiff then back to London. You can get in Bath and Stonehenge, but like the others have said, 1 or 2 days is a real stretch. Even with the HOHO (hop on hop off) in Bath that's a half day tour. Stonehenge is at least a half day one; especially, if there are a lot of people there at the same time.

Good luck.

I will add a separate suggestion if you decide to drive. Take your own or include a GPS in your rental. It's no fun to try to navigate with a map and drive even if you are comfortable on the opposite side of the road. And round-abouts are bad enough without trying to figure out which exit to use.