Car Rental in Cardiff
Cheapest Car Rental Rates
Most Popular Car Rental Deals
Why rent a car in Cardiff?
Cardiff is a great place to visit. For centuries it was known primarily as an industrial city, but the city has made great strides in art, innovation, and science over the last few decades. Travelers love Cardiff’s great museums, interesting architecture, and the Millenium Center, a state-of-the-art cultural center. After exploring Cardiff, you can explore the nature of Wales, drive to great nearby English cities like Bristol and Exeter, or travel all the way to London.
One-Way Car Rentals in Cardiff
The most popular one-way rental options for pick up in Cardiff and drop off in another city include:
- From Cardiff to London - 58 offers from $35.61 per day
- From Cardiff to Aberdeen - 45 offers from $40.13 per day
Top ways to enter Cardiff
- Cardiff Airport: Known in Welsh as Maes Awyr Caerdydd, Cardiff Airport handled over 1.5 million travelers in 2018. The airport is served by eight different airlines, including some charter and low-cost companies. Located 19 km (12 mi) southeast of the city center, Cardiff Airport takes about 25 minutes to reach.
- Bristol Airport: The busiest in Southwest England, Bristol Airport handled 8.7 million travelers in 2018. The airport is a large hub for the low-cost carrier easyJet and is also served by around 15 other airlines. Located 79 km (49 mi) east of Cardiff on the other side of the Bristol Channel, Bristol Airport can be reached in about one hour.
- Exeter Airport: Serving the city of the same name in the region of Devon, this small airport handled about 900,000 travelers in 2018. The airport is served by five different airlines, including low-cost carrier Ryanair. Located 174 km (108 mi) south of Cardiff, Exeter Airport takes about 1 hour and 50 minutes to reach by car.
- Birmingham Airport: Serving the UK’s second city, Birmingham Airport handled 12.4 million travelers in 2018. The airport has flights by more than 20 different airlines, including low-cost companies like Ryanair, Wizz Air, and Eurowings. Located 195 km (121 mi) north of Cardiff, Birmingham Airport can be reached in just over two hours.
- London Heathrow Airport: The busiest not only in the UK, but all of Europe, Heathrow Airport handled 80 million travelers in 2018. The main hub of British Airways and served by tens of other airlines, the airport offers flights to and from all parts of the world. Located 219 km (136 mi) east of Cardiff, Heathrow Airport can be reached in about 2 hours and 30 minutes.
- Like in much of the rest of the United Kingdom, Cardiff has a maritime climate with high precipitation, mild summers, cool winters, and little temperature differences between the seasons. The average high temperature is 22°C (71°F) in July, the warmest month, and 8°C (47°F) in January, the coolest. It is especially rainy from October to January; April is the driest month.
- Located on Cardiff Bay, Cardiff is known for its beautiful waterfront. Developed over the last couple of decades, the waterfront is home to some of the city’s most impressive buildings and also has a large number of restaurants, shops, and galleries. If you’re looking for something more active, during the warm months of the year it is also possible to take a boat ride.
- Wales is home to two official tongues, English and Welsh. A Celtic language, Welsh is only distantly related to English. The primary language used in Cardiff is English which is known by everyone, but Welsh is also thriving, and Cardiff has many centers dedicated to the Welsh language and culture. In some rural towns and villages, Welsh even outnumbers English in terms of the number of native speakers.
Top destinations and activities
- Cardiff Castle. Built in the 11th century on the location of a much older Roman fortress, Cardiff Castle is one of the most visited places in the city. Renovated a number of times over the centuries, the palace has acquired a distinctly Victorian look. Nowadays, it is the home of Firing Line: Museum of the Welsh Soldier. The surrounding Castle Quarter area is also very much worth exploring.
- Wales Millenium Center. Built in the 2000s, the Millenium Center is one of the most impressive cultural complexes not only in Wales but in all of the United Kingdom. The center is home to two impressive theaters (the Donald Gordon and Weston Studio Theaters), as well as concert halls, literature spaces, exhibition galleries, and restaurants. Needless to say, different performances and events take place in the Millenium Center every week.
- National Museum. Huge and impressive, the Cardiff National Museum covers tens of diverse topics. There are fossils of mammoths and dinosaurs that used to inhabit the area, exhibitions dedicated to the ancient and medieval inhabitants of Wales, artworks by Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh, and much more. Better yet, entrance to the museum is free, so it is a must-visit place on any trip to Cardiff.
- Norwegian Church. While it doesn’t exactly date back to the Viking days in Britain as the name might suggest – it was built in 1868 – this quaint Lutheran house of prayer is one of the most interesting attractions of the Welsh capital. Created by the city’s community of Norwegian sailors, nowadays it welcomes close to 200,000 visitors every year and doubles as an Arts Center. One of Cardiff’s most famous sons, the children’s author Roald Dahl (of Fantastic Mister Fox and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) was Welsh-Norwegian, and the art center has a room dedicated to his life.
- Animal Wall. Part of the aforementioned Castle Quarter, the Animal Wall took 50 years to finish until they were done in the 1930s, but have been one of the city’s most famous landmarks ever since. The wall is made up of 15 animal sculptures depicting exotic species like a hyena, a baboon, an anteater, and a pair of lions, as well as more familiar ones like a beaver and a vulture. The Animal Wall is at the southern end of Bute Park, one of the most popular green areas in Cardiff.
- Mermaid Quay. The large bayfront area in the southern part of Cardiff is another beloved place to visit by locals and tourists alike. Open since 1999, it is a great spot to enjoy a meal at a waterside restaurant, visit landmarks like the Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum or Cardiff Waterfront Museum, or simply go boat-watching.
Traffic and parking
- The United Kingdom drives on the left-hand side of the road.
- On-street parking is usually heavily restricted. Never park on a white, double yellow or double red line (stopping on motorways and next to red lines is illegal).
- You are not allowed to use your mobile phone while driving unless you use a hands-free system.
- Unless specifically indicated otherwise, the speed limits are 112km/h (70mph) on motorways, 112km/h (70mph) on dual carriageways, 96km/h (60mph) on single carriageways and 48km/h (30mph) in residential areas and areas with street lighting.
- In England and Wales, the legal alcohol limit is 0.08% for both experienced and novice drivers. Do keep in mind, however, that in Scotland the legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for both experienced and novice drivers. Exceeding these limits can lead to large fines, a suspended license, or even imprisonment.
- Proof of insurance and the registration of the car need to be in it whenever you’re driving.
- When driving, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- The emergency numbers are 999 and 112.
Currently, there is only a single toll road in the United Kingdom, the M6 toll. You also have to pay a toll for using a number of bridges and tunnels as well as for entering the central areas of London and Durham (a city in North East England).
An alternative to the M6 around Birmingham, the M6toll is a 43km (27 miles) long portion of the road, also known as the Birmingham North Relief Road (BNRR), that relieves congestion on the M6 itself. There are toll gates where you can pay by either cash or credit card. As of March 2019, the price is £6.40 for using the toll road from Monday to Friday (from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.), £5.30 for using the toll road on Saturday or Sunday (from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.), and £4.10 for using the toll road at night time on any day (from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.). Find out more on the M6 Toll official website.
Find out more about toll roads in the United Kingdom on the European toll road website.
Ideas for day trips
- Penarth. Historically distinct, but now considered a suburb of Cardiff, Penarth is a quaint coastal town. Visitors love to explore its old pier, visit the medieval village of Cosmetown, marvel at art at the Turner House Gallery, or simply enjoy a long and leisurely walk along the beach. Located just 8.3 km (5.2 mi) south of Cardiff, Penarth can be reached in about 15 minutes.
- Brecon Beacons National Park. A large and protected area, the national park is made up of the Brecon Beacons mountain range and surrounding forests, waterfalls, and highland lakes. A truly beautiful and calm place, it has many walking paths and climbing trails that visitors can explore. If you’re lucky, you might even get to spot a Welsh pony, a wildlife species that inhabit the park. Located about 48 km (30 mi) north of Cardiff, Brecon Beacons takes one hour to reach.
- Bristol. Sometimes considered a rival of Cardiff, the large English city of Bristol is a great place to explore. The city is the home of iconic 1990s musicians like Massive Attack and the street artist Banksy whose graffitis can still be observed on walls across Bristol. More conventional (and equally interesting) attractions include the We The Curious science museum, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, and the Clifton Downs green space with its adjacent observatory. Located 44 km (27 mi) east of Cardiff, Bristol can be reached within one hour.
Most popular cars
The most popular rental car in Cardiff is the Fiat 500, followed by the Toyota Aygo and the Vauxhall Corsa. The most popular rental car types are economy, mini, and standard.
- Swansea. The second city of Wales is significantly smaller than the capital, but that doesn’t mean it has nothing for a traveler to enjoy. Highlights of Swansea include the Swansea and Oystermouth Castles, Mumbles Pier, the National Waterfront Museum, and Swansea Bus Museum. Swansea is part of the Gower Peninsula, an area that has many beautiful beaches and tranquil nature. Located 66 km (41 mi) west of Cardiff, Swansea takes about one hour to reach.
- Cornwall. A large peninsula and historic region in Southwestern England, Cornwall is something of a hidden gem among British tourist destinations. The legendary birthplace of King Arthur is home to ancient castles, unique local culture, and long, remote beaches. Truro, the largest (and only) city in Cornwall is 318 km (198 mi) from Cardiff and can be reached in just over three hours; you can explore the rest of the region from there.
- Snowdonia. A large and remote nature area surrounding Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, Snowdonia is a place of stunning landscapes and wilderness. Known in Welsh as Eryri which means ‘Abode of the Eagles’, it is home to the different raptors, as well as feral goats, otters, and polecats. The area has many high altitude walking paths and in addition to a couple of small villages. Located 178 km (111 mi) northwest of Cardiff, Snowdonia takes 2 hours and 40 minutes to reach.
Car Rental Prices in Cardiff
- Medium cars - from $70 per day
- Premium cars - from $222 per day
- Small cars - from $50 per day
- SUVs - from $62 per day
Rent a great rental car in Cardiff by following these tips:
- Compare the rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit during the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Cardiff is the cheapest in May when renting a car is about 79% cheaper than the yearly average.
Top 20 Cities near Cardiff
Bristol Car Rentals from $17.77 per day43.8 km / 27.2 miles away
Taunton Car Rentals from $31.00 per day46.3 km / 28.8 miles away
Swansea Car Rentals from $69.82 per day48.6 km / 30.2 miles away
Exeter Car Rentals from $169.14 per day73.8 km / 45.9 miles away
Cheltenham Car Rentals from $31.07 per day103.6 km / 64.4 miles away
Swindon Car Rentals from $155.84 per day111.3 km / 69.2 miles away
Worcester Car Rentals from $126.24 per day116.6 km / 72.5 miles away
Poole Car Rentals from $169.14 per day120.1 km / 74.6 miles away
Bournemouth Car Rentals from $53.42 per day125.3 km / 77.9 miles away
Plymouth Car Rentals from $32.50 per day127.6 km / 79.3 miles away
Southampton Car Rentals from $38.61 per day147.2 km / 91.5 miles away
Wolverhampton Car Rentals from $133.64 per day155.6 km / 96.7 miles away
Basingstoke Car Rentals from $129.94 per day156.5 km / 97.2 miles away
Newquay Car Rentals from $60.51 per day157.2 km / 97.7 miles away
Birmingham Car Rentals from $27.49 per day160.6 km / 99.8 miles away
Reading Car Rentals from $43.55 per day166.2 km / 103.3 miles away
Coventry Car Rentals from $122.52 per day167.4 km / 104.0 miles away
Portsmouth Car Rentals from $89.67 per day172.3 km / 107.1 miles away
Truro Car Rentals from $197.81 per day174.5 km / 108.4 miles away
Tamworth Car Rentals from $126.24 per day176.0 km / 109.4 miles away
Top 20 Locations near Cardiff
Cardiff Airport Car Rentals from $82.14 per day
Bristol Airport Car Rentals from $17.77 per day43.8 km / 27.2 miles away
Bristol Temple Meads Railway station Car Rentals from $133.64 per day53.2 km / 33.1 miles away
Exeter Airport Car Rentals from $169.14 per day73.8 km / 45.9 miles away
Bournemouth Airport Car Rentals from $53.42 per day125.3 km / 77.9 miles away
Southampton Airport Car Rentals from $57.73 per day147.2 km / 91.5 miles away
Newquay Airport Car Rentals from $60.51 per day157.2 km / 97.7 miles away
Birmingham Airport Car Rentals from $27.49 per day160.6 km / 99.8 miles away
London Heathrow Airport Car Rentals from $15.79 per day200.0 km / 124.3 miles away
Downtown Car Rentals from $43.55 per day209.7 km / 130.3 miles away
East Midlands Airport Car Rentals from $42.55 per day210.6 km / 130.9 miles away
Luton Airport Car Rentals from $15.33 per day212.1 km / 131.8 miles away
Liverpool Airport Car Rentals from $19.42 per day217.9 km / 135.4 miles away
London Fulham Car Rentals from $78.59 per day217.9 km / 135.4 miles away
London Paddington Train Station Car Rentals from $30.92 per day219.8 km / 136.6 miles away
London Edgware Road Car Rentals from $30.92 per day220.2 km / 136.8 miles away
London Marylebone Train Station Car Rentals from $30.92 per day220.8 km / 137.2 miles away
London Airport Gatwick Car Rentals from $17.29 per day221.1 km / 137.4 miles away
London St Pancras Train Station Car Rentals from $48.15 per day223.4 km / 138.8 miles away
London Kings Cross Train Station Car Rentals from $58.48 per day223.8 km / 139.1 miles away
Map of Car Rental Locations
What is the cheapest month to rent a car in Cardiff?
This information can help you identify the low season. But these are only average numbers. How much your car rental will cost will depend on the type of vehicle you rent, how long you’ll rent it for, and how far ahead you book. Simply enter your dates in the form at the top of the page to see the exact prices.
What’s the usual rental length in Cardiff?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Cardiff?
Car Rental Information
|Car rental locations||3|
|Popular suppliers||Hertz, Alamo, Enterprise, Avis, National|
|Popular car categories||Small cars, Medium cars, Vans, Premium cars|
|Lowest price||$50 per day|
Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|Hertz||Ford Fiesta||5||1||Small cars|
|Alamo||Toyota Aygo||3||1||Small cars|
|Alamo||Ford Focus||4||2||Medium cars|
|Alamo||Ford Focus||4||2||Medium cars|
|Hertz||Kia Ceed||5||2||Medium cars|
|Alamo||Vauxhall Corsa||3||1||Small cars|
|Enterprise||Ford Focus||5||2||Medium cars|
|Enterprise||Mercedes Benz A Class||5||2||Medium cars|