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The lively city of Bristol is the gateway to England’s beautiful southwest. With two universities in the city and a number of pretty parks, Bristol has it all in terms of nightlife, culture and great views. For shops drive out to Cabot Circus, a large shopping mall with restaurants and plenty of car parking. Or get a hire car in Bristol and head out to Chew Magna or the Wookey Hole caves, both about 30 minutes away by car, for pretty views and nice walking country.
Bristol Airport is just nine miles from the city centre and at 20 minutes, it is the quickest route in. There is also a train available, which takes 30-40 minutes to Bristol Parkway train station. There are a number of options for cheap car hire at Bristol Airport, all within walking distance from the terminal.
If you want to pick up your rental car in Bristol city centre then that is easily done. This is a fairly small city, which is easy to traverse. Many of the big hotels have car parks, and in some areas there is free parking available on the streets. In some areas such as the well-heeled Clifton village many of the roads have parking restrictions, so be sure to check the signage.
Rent a car at Bristol Airport through Avis, Budget, Europcar or Sixt - all have collection points within walking distance from the terminal. Enterprise, Hertz and National are also available.
Just east of Bristol is the historic city of Bath. Famed for its Georgian terraces, this city is often used as the stage for period television dramas. The Roman baths are a popular spot for visitors, and the rugby stadium is just on the edge of town. During your day in Bath drive out to the pretty village of Bradford-on-Avon, which is seven miles away on the B3108. Full of quaint streets and a gorgeous riverside, it is perfect for idle wandering.
An easy 50-minute drive north up the M5 motorway is the Cotswold town of Cheltenham. Famous for its annual jazz festival, Cheltenham has cultural depth as well as period charm. The Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum has a collection of works from the Arts and Crafts Movement as well as a number of special exhibits that change throughout the year.
You could also rent a car in Bristol and drive just over two hours (118 miles) to London. For iconic views of the Thames go to the Southbank, or try Primrose Hill for boutique shops and restaurants and a bit of celebrity spotting. For an extra 40 minutes on the journey take an easy detour on the A420 to Oxford. Wander round the hallowed university buildings or drive out to the outlet shopping mecca of Bicester Village.
Bristol has a number of motorways that skirt around it. The M4 goes directly into London, while the M5 takes you southwest to Devon or north to the Cotswolds.
Plan your trip by using the Expedia search tool to help you find bargain Bristol car hire, flight and hotel deals and research the best attractions and activities.
Take the kids to the fascinating At-Bristol science centre, which is sure to encourage their interest in science and technology or find out more about the days of steam travel on-board Brunel’s SS Great Britain. Also designed by Brunel is the Clifton Suspension Bridge, to the north of the city. Just don’t look down when you drive over it – it's a 100m drop down to the river below!
Just a short 45 minute drive from Bristol Airport is the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city of Bath. And it isn’t just about fine Georgian buildings, Mr Darcy and sampling spring water. Bath rugby ground, The Rec, is the setting for regular Premier League clashes, while the city itself is home to a mix of high street and boutique shops, as well as an annual Christmas Market. With plenty of car parks and park and ride options in Bristol and Bath, and with lots to explore in the surrounding countryside, car hire is a practical way to get around.