Car Rental in Southampton
Cheapest Car Rental Rates
Most Popular Car Rental Deals
Why rent a car in Southampton?
Southampton is a great city to visit. Located on the southern coast of England, the historic maritime and trading center has reinvented itself as a place of art, culture, and museums. Travelers also love to explore the city’s long beautiful beaches and the protected nature areas that are just a short drive away.
Top ways to enter Southampton
- Southampton Airport: Built over an Old Roman villa, Southampton Airport has been open since the 1930s. Although the airport is served by only four airlines, it handled nearly two million travelers in 2018. Most of its traffic is provided by Flybe. The airport is just 8km (5 miles) northeast of the city center and can be reached in 15-20 minutes.
- Bournemouth Airport: Another small airport on the English coast, it served nearly 700,000 travelers in 2018. The airport is especially active during the summer months when it hosts flights to and from around 30 destinations in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Poland, and other European countries. Located 48km (30 miles) southwest of Southampton, Bournemouth Airport can be reached in about 45 minutes.
- London Heathrow Airport: Having served 80 million travelers in 2018 for the first time in its history, Heathrow Airport is the busiest not only in the UK but also in the rest of Europe. It is also the seventh busiest airport in the world. Served by tens of airlines, the airport hosts flights to and from all continents. Located just 98km (61 miles) northeast of Southampton, the airport can be reached in about one hour by car.
- London Gatwick Airport: The second-busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the ninth-busiest in all of Europe, London-Gatwick handled 46 million travelers in 2018. The airport is a hub for British Airways and Norwegian Air and a focus city for easyJet, TUI Airways, and Virgin Atlantic. The airport is 140km (87 miles) from Southampton and can be reached in about 90 minutes.
- Bristol Airport: Also known as Lulsgate Airport, it serves the large city of the same name in Southwest England. The airport handled nearly nine million travelers in 2018 and is served by around 15 airlines including low-cost carriers like Ryanair and easyJet. The airport is 180km (112 miles) from Southampton and can be reached in about 2 hours and 10 minutes.
- By sea: If arriving in Southampton by ferry, it is possible to pick up your rental car at the Southampton Cruise Terminal. Southampton has ferry connections with other destinations in the United Kingdom as well as in France, Spain, and the USA (although it is important to check the schedule in advance as the service is much more active during the spring and summer months).
- Southampton has an oceanic climate with mildly warm summers and cool winters. The average high temperature is 22°C (72°F) in July and August, the warmest months, and 8°C (47°F). Southampton has significant precipitation with an especial increase from October to January. Despite this, Southampton is often considered one of the warmest and sunniest cities in the United Kingdom.
- Inhabited since the Stone Age and later invaded by Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Normans, Southampton has for millennia been an important hub of seafaring, business, science, and exploration. Many ships that went to explore (and colonize) places in Africa and Asia set out from here; later, so did thousands of migrants and refugees traveling to the New World.
Top destinations and activities
- Bargate. A gatehouse dating back to the late 12th century, Bargate was a part of the original city walls constructed by Norman Vikings. Having withstood a number of attacks, Bargate has always remained one of the symbols of Southampton (and is now one of the most photographed buildings in the city). Nowadays, Bargate hosts a modern art gallery.
- SeaCity Museum. Opened in 2012 to mark the centenary of the Titanic (it set off to cross the Atlantic from Southampton), this museum tells the tragic story of the sunken ship and its connection to the city. But there are other exhibitions focusing on Southampton’s naval history with many interesting artifacts on display. A high-quality museum, it has become one of the must-visit places in Southampton.
- Medieval Merchant’s House. Built in the late 13th century by an affluent Southampton trader, the merchant’s house offers a look into what life in the city was like in medieval times. The building has been carefully restored back to its original form including its timber-framed front, different chambers, and even the undercroft, an underground cellar made for wine-keeping.
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 the limit can lead to large fines, a suspended license, or even imprisonment.
- Proof of insurance and 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).
As an alternative to the M6 around Birmingham, the M6toll is a 43km (27 miles) long portion of road, also known as the Birmingham North Relief Road (BNRR), which relieves congestion on the M6 itself. There are toll gates where you can pay by either cash or credit card. As of October 2019, the price is £6.70 for using the toll road from Monday to Friday (from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.), £5.60 for using the toll road on Saturday or Sunday (from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.), and £4.20 for using the toll road at night time on any day of the week (from 11 p.m. to 5 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
- Portsmouth. Often considered a rival of Southampton (especially when it comes to football), Portsmouth is nonetheless worth a visit. The city’s number one attraction is the impressive Southsea Castle, but travelers also like the historic dockyards, the seafront area, and the futuristic Spinnaker Tower. Located 37km (23 miles) west of Southampton, Portsmouth can be reached in about 35 minutes.
- New Forest National Park. One of the largest national parks in southern England, the New Forest is a major landmark of the region. Made up of heathlands, mixed forest areas, valley bogs, and hiking trails, the protected area is the perfect place for horse riding or simply spending a long day outdoors. The area is home to many types of birds, the European polecat, and even four species of deer. Located just a few kilometers east of Southampton, the borders of the New Forest can be reached in about ten minutes.
- Winchester. A cathedral city, Winchester is a history lover’s dream. From ancient Roman sites to Winchester Cathedral, the Winchester City Mill, and the Westgate Museum, the city has enough attractions and landmarks to be explored for days. Located 21km (13 miles) north of Southampton, Winchester can be reached in just 20 minutes.
- Parks and Gardens. There are several National Trust sites close to Southampton, sucha as Mottisfont Abbey, Hinton Ampner, and Winchester Watermill, as well as outstanding parks and gardens, such as Hillier Gardens and Furzey Gardens.
- Marwell Zoo. Located 7 miles (11 km) from Southampton Airport, Marwell Zoo is a 140-acre zoo in the beautiful countryside of Hampshire. It is home to over 1,200 animals from over 135 species, making it one of the largest zoos in the UK. One of the highlights of Marwell Zoo is its collection of big cats, including lions, tigers, and snow leopards. The zoo also has a range of primates, including gorillas, lemurs, and gibbons, as well as a range of other animals, such as giraffes, zebras, and meerkats. In addition to its animal exhibits, Marwell Zoo is home to various interactive exhibits and activities, including a tropical house, where visitors can see a range of exotic plants and animals, and an adventure playground, where children can climb and play.
Most popular cars
The most popular rental car in Southampton is the Ford Focus, although many travelers also go for the Vauxhall Corsa and the Toyota Aygo. The most popular rental car types are compact, economy, and standard.
- The Isle of Wight. A large island just off the coast, the Isle of Wight is one of the most popular holiday destinations in England, especially during the summer months. Thousands of tourists arrive every year to enjoy the island’s beaches, do watersports, or attend one of the many festivals that take place here. Thousands of dinosaur fossils have also been found on the Isle of Wight, many of which are on display in its museums. There are many ferries connecting the island with Southampton; many can carry a rental car, but you should look up each ferry company’s policy in advance; you should also ask your rental car provider if they permit it.
- Bournemouth. A calm resort town, Bournemouth is known across the UK for its high quality of life and relaxed pace. It is also one of the sunniest places in Britain. Art lovers will also find plenty to enjoy during the winter months like the Russell-Cotes Gallery and Museum and TheGallery art center. Located 53km (33 miles) west of Southampton, Bournemouth can be reached in about 50 minutes.
- London. One of the most famous cities in Europe (and, indeed, the world), London feels like a separate country. Home to a staggering amount of world-famous landmarks, the city is a melting pot of cultures, lifestyles, and cuisines. Everyone should visit it at least once. Located 120km (78 miles) northwest of Southampton, you can be in London in just 1 hour and 50 minutes.
- Salisbury. The charming cathedral city of Wiltshire is a lovely city located 40 km (25 mi) from Southampton Airport and can be reached in about 40 minutes. One of the main attractions of Salisbury is its stunning cathedral, which dates back to the 13th century and boasts a wealth of architectural features, including the tallest spire in England. Visitors can admire the cathedral's intricate stained glass windows, ornate carvings, and impressive organs. Salisbury is also home to a range of historic buildings and museums, including the Salisbury Museum, which houses a collection of artifacts and exhibits tracing the city's history and the surrounding area.
- Stonehenge. Britain’s iconic prehistoric monument is located in Wiltshire, north of Salisbury, and is one of the world’s most famous and mysterious landmarks. Stonehenge consists of a circle of standing stones, some weighing as much as 50 tons, arranged in a complex pattern. The monument has been the subject of much speculation and debate over the years, with many theories about its purpose and construction. Visitors to Stonehenge can take a tour of the site and learn about the history and significance of the monument. The visitor center includes exhibits, audio guides, and interactive displays that provide insight into the lives of the people who built Stonehenge and the surrounding area. The site is located 55 km (34 mi) from Southampton Airport.
- The South Downs is a beautiful range of hills in the south of England, stretching from Winchester in Hampshire to Eastbourne in East Sussex. The region offers a stunning natural landscape with rolling hills, chalk cliffs, and picturesque countryside views. Visitors can explore the area on foot or by bike, with various trails and routes available for all experience levels. One of the most popular attractions in the South Downs near Southampton Airport is Old Winchester Old, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. The top of the hill is the site of an Iron Age hill fort, which dates back over 2,000 years. Food and drink are also an essential part of the South Downs experience, with a range of pubs, cafes, and restaurants offering local produce and traditional dishes. Visitors can sample Sussex wine, cheese, and ale or try a traditional cream tea in one of the many tea rooms.
Car Rental Prices in Southampton
- Station wagons - from $108 per day
- Large cars - from $63 per day
- Medium cars - from $65 per day
- Vans - from $219 per day
- Premium cars - from $77 per day
- Small cars - from $63 per day
- SUVs - from $67 per day
Land a great rental car in Southampton by following these simple 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 Southampton is the cheapest in January when renting a car is about 72% cheaper than the yearly average. Start your year with a trip to the south of England!
Top 20 Cities near Southampton
Portsmouth Car Rentals from $128.15 per day26.4 km / 16.4 miles away
Basingstoke Car Rentals from $42.54 per day37.9 km / 23.5 miles away
Bournemouth Car Rentals from $58.60 per day39.0 km / 24.2 miles away
Poole Car Rentals from $155.57 per day49.6 km / 30.8 miles away
Reading Car Rentals from $41.97 per day62.7 km / 39.0 miles away
Swindon Car Rentals from $155.57 per day74.8 km / 46.5 miles away
Slough Car Rentals from $131.90 per day81.2 km / 50.5 miles away
Crawley Car Rentals from $39.71 per day84.3 km / 52.4 miles away
Gatwick Car Rentals from $29.79 per day84.5 km / 52.5 miles away
London Car Rentals from $24.06 per day85.6 km / 53.2 miles away
Brighton Car Rentals from $81.26 per day86.2 km / 53.6 miles away
Croydon Car Rentals from $55.22 per day98.9 km / 61.5 miles away
Wembley, London Car Rentals from $61.09 per day100.0 km / 62.1 miles away
Watford Car Rentals from $131.90 per day103.0 km / 64.0 miles away
Bristol Car Rentals from $38.69 per day106.1 km / 65.9 miles away
117.5 km / 73.0 miles away
Cheltenham Car Rentals from $63.49 per day117.8 km / 73.2 miles away
Taunton Car Rentals from $41.44 per day121.6 km / 75.6 miles away
Dartford Car Rentals from $115.59 per day121.7 km / 75.6 miles away
Luton Car Rentals from $34.17 per day123.6 km / 76.8 miles away
Top 20 Locations near Southampton
Southampton Airport Car Rentals from $76.87 per day
Bournemouth Airport Car Rentals from $58.60 per day39.0 km / 24.2 miles away
London Airport Gatwick Car Rentals from $29.79 per day84.5 km / 52.5 miles away
London Airport Heathrow Car Rentals from $24.06 per day85.6 km / 53.2 miles away
98.7 km / 61.3 miles away
London Fulham Car Rentals from $40.90 per day99.5 km / 61.8 miles away
Bristol Temple Meads Railway station Car Rentals from $77.72 per day101.8 km / 63.3 miles away
London Paddington Train Station Car Rentals from $34.94 per day103.5 km / 64.3 miles away
London Edgware Road Car Rentals from $32.26 per day104.0 km / 64.6 miles away
London Marylebone Train Station Car Rentals from $32.26 per day104.7 km / 65.1 miles away
Waterloo Train Station Car Rentals from $96.56 per day105.8 km / 65.7 miles away
Bristol Airport Car Rentals from $38.69 per day106.1 km / 65.9 miles away
London St Pancras Train Station Car Rentals from $70.61 per day107.3 km / 66.7 miles away
London Kings Cross Train Station Car Rentals from $70.61 per day107.7 km / 66.9 miles away
London Lewisham Car Rentals from $131.90 per day109.9 km / 68.3 miles away
London Stratford Train Station Car Rentals from $145.22 per day114.9 km / 71.4 miles away
London City Airport Car Rentals from $82.63 per day116.1 km / 72.1 miles away
London Ilford Car Rentals from $40.90 per day120.4 km / 74.8 miles away
Enfield Downtown Car Rentals from $131.90 per day120.8 km / 75.1 miles away
London Woodford Green Car Rentals from $153.75 per day121.7 km / 75.6 miles away
Map of Car Rental Locations
What is the cheapest month to rent a car in Southampton?
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 Southampton?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Southampton?
Car Rental Information
|Car rental locations||3|
|Popular suppliers||Alamo, SIXT, Enterprise, Europcar, Arnold Clark|
|Popular car categories||Medium cars, Small cars, SUVs, Vans|
|Lowest price||$63 per day|
Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|Alamo||Ford Focus||4||2||Medium cars|
|SIXT||VW Polo||5||1||Medium cars|
|Arnold Clark||Ford Fiesta||5||2||Small cars|
|Alamo||Vauxhall Corsa||3||1||Small cars|
|Alamo||Ford Focus||4||2||Medium cars|
|Alamo||Toyota Aygo||3||1||Small cars|
|SIXT||Fiat 500||2||1||Small cars|
|Hertz||Kia Ceed||5||2||Medium cars|
|Arnold Clark||Kia Ceed||5||2||Medium cars|
Our Customers' Reviews
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