Cumbria is an excellent choice for a touring holiday by car. It has at its heart the Lake District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; it is considered to be one of the most beautiful parts of England and has inspired writers, painters and musicians for generations. While it’s a perfect walking destination too, getting to quieter parts of this huge park is much easier by car. This is particularly true if you are travelling with children. The county is mountainous overall, with many rural routes leading up into the hills that will require a car to access properly. Ultimately, the freedom to explore Cumbria at its best is done by car. A larger car, such as an SUV, would be better suited to the rural parts of Cumbria.
Driving in Cumbria follows the same rules as the rest of the UK. Children, as with all passengers, need to use seatbelts, and young children need to have a baby seat. It’s best to arrange to have one of these fitted by your car company as an added extra rather than bringing your own. Most companies can supply car seats but do check with your preferred supplier in advance. There will probably be an additional cost.
Cumbria borders Scotland but, as it’s the UK, you won’t have to worry about extra costs for crossing borders. All the same, insurance and car hire regulations will apply in Scotland as in England.
Petrol stations are largely clustered around the M6 motorway and then in a small number of locations within the Lake District. Make sure to research the area you will be touring in advance to make sure you have access to a petrol station, if need be.
FAQs about hiring a car in Cumbria
Car hire in Cumbria is very popular. It suits the type of tourist that enjoys the natural surroundings of the countryside. There is plenty of local transport and tours within the national park, but experiencing Cumbria is something best done under your own steam. You may want to stop and explore places at will, change your plans at short notice when you discover a new historical location or stay a bit longer at a museum or art gallery. Families have lots of options too, but getting everyone on and off buses and trains isn’t ideal. A car will allow you to visit the animal parks and aquariums in the morning and then head across the county to climb a hill or hit the beach in the afternoon. Cumbria is not a place to be hurried, so having your own car at your disposal is a wonderful choice.
There is only one motorway that runs through Cumbria - the M6. The rest of the county can be reached by a string of major A-roads and then a series of minor roads leading to more rural areas. The pace of life in Cumbria is leisurely and this is reflected in the driving style. While you should always remain alert for agricultural traffic and local drivers, the roads are good quality and relatively safe to travel. There are no toll roads in Cumbria.
Car hire companies vary in their approach to young drivers in the UK. Some restrict car hire to 23 years and older while some allow 21-year-olds to hire a car. All drivers under the age of 25 will pay a daily surcharge. This may also be applied to older drivers who are aged 70 or over, and this is determined by the company you choose to use. UK and EU driving licences are accepted throughout the region, but if your licence is written in a script other than Latin, then it is useful to also carry an international driving permit.
On average a car hire in Cumbria costs $205 per day.
Intermediate (Hyundai Accent or similar) is the most frequently booked car hire type in Cumbria.
In the past 72 hours, the cheapest car hires were found at Arnold Clark ($82/day), Avis ($94/day) and Enterprise ($103/day).