Where and What to Hire
Cardiff has a good range of car hire providers, from Enterprise, Europecar, Avis, Budget and Hertz located at Cardiff Airport to many other branches in the city centre. Enterprise, Thrifty, Avis, Budget and National Car are all located in the very centre of the city, close to Central Station. Thrifty, Hertz, Sixt and G&J Rent a Car can all be found near Grangetown train station. U-Drive is located near the Cardiff Docks while National Car, Europecar and Enterprise all have branches in the Roath area. All types of cars are available for hire from two-door and four-door vehicles to limousines, motorcycles, people carriers and even campervans.
Driving in Cardiff city centre is not too challenging however it is best to keep an eye out for cyclists as biking becomes more and more popular in the city and since a bike hire scheme recently took off. There are also a number of one-way streets and pedestrianised areas in the very centre of Cardiff, around the shopping district. Roads are generally busiest during rush hour which is from 7.30am to 9am and from 4.30pm to 6pm.
There are numerous parking options in Cardiff including pay and display and multi-storey car parks all in the city centre. The St David’s Shopping Centre has 24 hour on-site parking with over 2000 spaces available while Cardiff Park & Ride services are located in the East, South and West of the city with additional services operating when major events are being held. Parking fees apply seven days a week (apart from Christmas Day and Easter Sunday) from 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 5pm on Sundays. Parking outside these hours is free. Short stay car parks are approximately £1.70 per hour or £3.60 for 5 hours while long stay car parks are the same for an hour but £5.20 for up to 10 hours.
Where to Go and What to See
While having a hire car is great for seeing the sights of Cardiff as there is plenty more to see in the surrounding area. The Vale of Galmorgan to the south west of Cardiff and only 30 minutes by car is a wonderful mix of seaside towns like Penarth and Barry with fortified houses and castles, lakes and country parks perfect for walking and cycling. 40 minutes west of Cardiff is the magical Glamorgan Heritage Coast. This is one of the most spectacular drives in Wales with views across the dazzling Bristol Channel. For wild outdoor fun, the Brecon Beacons National Park lies just over an hour north of Cardiff and offers everything from walking, hiking and cycling to star gazing, kayaking, fishing, orienteering, sailing, paragliding, wind-surfing and wildlife watching. This is a wonderful place for all the family while newly-weds can enjoy a romantic stay in a snug cottage next to a cosy pub complete with roaring fire. A fantastic thing to do with kids (some adults may like this too) is to visit the Doctor Who Experience – an interactive journey through space and time, located just in Cardiff Bay. For younger kids, a trip to Barry Island Pleasure Park, 7 miles from Cardiff or Warren Mill Farm just 8 miles from the city offer a choice of rollercoaster’s and rides and cute, cuddly farm animals. Alternatively, everyone loves a sandy beach and Whitmore Bay, just 8 miles from Cardiff is just one lovely example where the soft golden sands are ideal for little ones while the waves appeal to surfers, sea-kayakers and wind-surfers.