Car Hire in Cardiff
This information is correct as of April 2015
Discover the Welsh capital and its surrounding countryside the hassle free way: by hiring a car. When you rent a car in Cardiff you can explore the city from the comfort of your own vehicle. You can head off and visit areas of natural beauty like the Brecon Beacons National Park, bustling cities like Newport, or even head across the Severn Bridge and spend the afternoon in England. With Skyscanner you can always get the best deal on car hire, by comparing prices across a range of brokers.
Where to hire a car in Cardiff
Most of the car hire companies in Cardiff are clustered around the south of the city, near the docks. There’s an Avis near Cardiff Central Station, perfect if you’re arriving by train. Hertz, Sixt, Thrifty, Days and National can all be found in the suburb of Grangetown, near the Bessemer Road Market. Car hire is also available at Cardiff Airport from brands including Avis, Hertz, National, and Tipoa Car Hire.
Driving in Cardiff
Generally speaking Cardiff is an easy and pleasant city to drive around.
Cycling is popular in Cardiff, with over 4% of residents choosing to commute by bicycle (compared to just 2% in London). Bicycles often share the road with other traffic, so it’s important to be careful. Always check your wing mirrors for cyclists coming up on your inside, and check blind-spots before turning left or pulling in.
There are currently no congestion charges in Cardiff city centre, although they have been proposed by the council on a number of occasions. Rush hour in Cardiff can be a bit of a nightmare, with traffic jams and tailbacks lasting up to half an hour. It’s best to avoid driving in the city centre between 7am-9:30am and 4:30-6:30pm, Monday to Friday.
Parking in Cardiff
There are three pay and display zones in Cardiff: City Centre, Butetown, and Cardiff Bay. In the City Centre and Butetown, parking charges apply every day of the week; with a reprieve on Christmas day and Easter Sunday. Charge periods are 8am-6pm from Monday to Saturday, and 10am until 5pm on Sundays. Parking is free outwith these hours. In Cardiff Bay parking charges apply from Monday to Sunday, 8am until 6pm. Again, parking is free on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.
There are also five pay and display car parks run by the city council (four in the City Centre, one in Cardiff Bay). NCP also operate ten multi-storey car parks in the city, so you should never struggle to find a parking space.
If you prefer not to drive in central Cardiff you can leave your car at one of four Park & Rides on the outskirts of the city.
Great day trips from Cardiff
Brecon Beacons National Park
If you get a bit bored of the hustle and bustle of Cardiff, head inland to the beautiful Brecon Beacons. It takes just over half an hour to reach the national park, and once there you can enjoy exploring some of the most breathtaking scenery in Britain. There are mountains, forests, waterfalls, caves and gorges to discover, and wild ponies still wander the moors. It’s the perfect spot for a day of hiking.
Half an hour south of Cardiff you’ll find the beach resort of Barry, made popular recently by the sitcom Gavin and Stacey. There’s an amusement park which is open all year round. There are 15 fun rides to choose from as well as plenty of sideshow entertainment. If the weather is nice, you can always relax on the golden sands of the beach.
Another half hour drive from Cardiff, this important archaeological site is home to Roman ruins: including an amphitheatre, a fortress, and one of the best preserved barracks in Europe. The site is also home to the National Roman Legion Museum, which is free to enter. Inside you’ll see lots of interesting Roman artefacts and reconstructions showing how the soldiers would have lived.