Where and What to Hire
When hiring a car in Newcastle, there are a great many options to choose from, including many internationally known car rental companies. Car hire companies located in Newcastle Airport include Europecar, Budget, Avis, Hertz, and National Car. In the city centre, Enterprise is located in Gateshead, Arnold Clark and Practical Car in the Washington area of Sunderland, while Enterprise, National Car, Hertz and Budget can all be found near Newcastle Train Station. All types of vehicles are available for hire including small two-door city cars, larger family vehicles, sports, cars, limousines and vans.
Driving in Newcastle can be a little confusing, especially for the first time, given the number of pedestrianised areas and one-way streets. Newcastle is also a cycle-friendly city which means that there are often many cyclists on the roads to watch out for. This compact city is particularly busy during rush hour which is between 7.30am and 9am and from 4.30pm to 6.30pm.
There is plenty of parking in Newcastle. On-street parking is available and is metered between the hours of 8am and 6.30pm every day in the city centre, and 8am to 6.30pm Monday to Saturday in the outskirts. Payment is made by cash at the nearby ticket machines or via mobile phone. There are also 8 council multi-storey car parks and 48 above ground car parks which often work out to be more economical if parking for a whole day. There are also Park and Ride facilities available across Newcastle which offer free parking and low cost travel by bus into the city centre.
Where to Go and What to See
Whilst having a car in the city centre may not be necessary, hiring a car is great for exploring the surrounding area. Just a one hour drive north of Newcastle is the historic town of Alnwick with its famous converted train station book shop. There is a beautiful castle, used in the Harry Potter films, stunning gardens and some wonderful gift shops and cosy pubs to enjoy. History buffs should get themselves to Hadrian’s Wall which is located 1 hour by car directly west of Newcastle. This incredible Roman fortification built in AD122 sits in an area of stunning natural beauty with world class archaeology, rare wildlife and complete solitude. There are excellent walks in the area as well as museums, pony trekking, the brilliant ‘Go Ape’ outdoor zip line adventure park and numerous restaurants, cafes and tea rooms in which to enjoy some delicious local cuisine. Just 20 minutes east by car from Newcastle is something ideal for those looking for children’s entertainment; the Wet n’ Wild Waterpark in North Shields. Here, kids can enjoy flumes and rubber ring slides, a play island and cafe. Those happy to drive the 47 miles to Beadnell to the north of Newcastle will be rewarded with a breath-taking sandy beach where families can picnic and adrenalin junkies can get their kicks diving, sailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, waterskiing and surfing. There are also excellent mountain-biking routes and walking paths.