Car Hire in Bristol
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Bristol has well and truly recovered from its post-industrial decline. These days, culture is its trade. It specialises in the cutting-edge, the designer and the world-class, with a lingering sense of the raw. It’s also well placed for exploring Bath and the rural delights of the Cotswolds and Gloucestershire.
Car hire designed to suit you
It couldn’t be easier to arrange your car hire for your West Country adventure. With this much ground to cover, why not choose to add satellite navigation to your booking? Sit back and enjoy the drive. Which part of Bristol would you like to start your drive from?
Bristol was once a great maritime city. You won’t have to try too hard to imagine it as such as you step aboard Brunel’s ss Great Britain. The world's first great ocean liner is docked in the harbourside and today serves as an award-winning visitor attraction. Explore the ship then dress up in period costume to have your photograph taken.
The entire harbourside underwent regeneration in the 1990s. Today, the former warehouses are home to modern bars, restaurants, hotels and shops. You can also visit the interactive At-Bristol science centre, the Watershed art house film and cultural centre, and the Spike Island contemporary art and design space.
The city’s most iconic attraction is another of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s creations, the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It was designed in the early 19th century but still stands up to the thousands of commuters that cross it every day. This splendid structure spanning the Avon gorge looks its best on sunny days and at sunset.
The Old City, with its cobbled streets and historic architecture, is the mediaeval heart. There’s the old Corn Exchange and original 'nails' on Corn Street – used by merchants of old when closing a sale. Bristol is also something of a cultural retreat. There’s the Art Quarter around the medieval Christmas Steps with its unique shops, art galleries, studios and creative outlets. St Nicholas Market is the site of the world's first Slow Food market and a regular farmers' market. The Old Vic theatre is renowned for its world-class productions and creative performances. Finish off your day with a drink or dinner in the Llandoger Trow, one of the city’s oldest pubs dating back to 1664.
Graffiti artist Banksy's work was born of the underground scene here. You can spot some of his classic pieces as you wander through the city. You’ll see the Grim Reaper on the side of the Thekla boat moored in the harbour and the ‘mild, mild west’ piece in Stokes Croft.
Explore the surrounding West Country with Avis car hire
Less than half an hour by car is the World Heritage City of Bath. The Roman Baths are the main attraction. Visit the preserved ruins of this magnificent temple and bathing complex that was built around Britain’s only hot springs. The mineral waters are not just for the Romans however. You can now take a dip yourself in the Thermae Bath Spa, with its naturally warm Minerva Bath, steam rooms and open-air rooftop pool. For the full experience, take afternoon tea afterwards in the magnificent 18th-century Pump Room.
With Avis car rental, you are all set for exploring the Cotswolds. Visitors from all over the world are drawn to the quintessential Englishness of the honey-coloured, sleepy limestone villages and gentle hillsides. It would make sense to start with the wool town of Painswick, the Queen of the Cotswolds. Admire the beautiful old buildings lining its quaint and narrow streets. Other must-sees include Castle Combe, Burford and Lacock.
You can also visit Cheddar Gorge in the Mendip Hills of Somerset. As well as being Britain’s biggest gorge, there are dramatic cliffs rising up 450 ft and stunning stalactite caverns. There is even a caving and rock climbing activity centre for the more adventurous. The nearby village of Cheddar is of course the original home of the ever-popular Cheddar cheese. The real thing used to be stored and matured in the limestone caves.
For some more rural splendour, head north to Gloucestershire. Here you can visit England’s oldest inhabited castle, Berkeley Castle. It was in these cells and dungeons that Edward II was notoriously imprisoned and murdered. You can enjoy the terraced Elizabethan Gardens with a lily pond and – in the summer – the tropical Butterfly House. The current heir, Charles Berkeley, is sometimes on hand to show you around himself.