To enjoy coastal scenery with your hire car in Dorset, take the B3157 Jurassic Coast Road Drive, which stretches for 18 miles along the World Heritage Jurassic Coast and produces some of the best coastal views. The whole coastal route continues for around 95 miles and is especially popular with motorcyclists and cyclists as well as drivers, so be mindful to take care on blind corners and bendy parts of the route. The speed limit on this route is 50 mph and 30 mph as you pass through smaller towns and villages.
Seatbelts are a mandatory requirement for all passengers travelling in vehicles in the United Kingdom, and you could receive a substantial fine if you or anyone else in the vehicle are found not wearing one. It is also illegal to use a mobile phone for any reason whilst driving. You can use a hands-free device, however, if you are using it for navigational purposes.
It is possible to connect by ferry with your car hire to Isle of Wight, which is an island located off the coast of Dorset. As it is still part of the United Kingdom, there wouldn’t be any restrictions on taking your vehicle over, as you would still be covered under your car hire agreement. If you plan to go to France or Channel Islands, however, you should check with your chosen provider for necessary steps to take.
Remember to check the refuelling policy for the return of your vehicle. Be aware that many petrol stations located in smaller towns and villages of Dorset will close around 20:00-21:00; although, you will be able to find 24-hour outlets along motorways and major roads around the larger cities of the region.
FAQs about hiring a car in Dorset
Dorset is a great region for hiring a vehicle, as you will be able to easily explore all the area has to offer, including scenic harbour towns, miles of unspoilt coastline and many areas of outstanding natural beauty. Located in the south-west of England, Dorset County is well connected to regional towns such as Weymouth and Christchurch and the nearest airport, located in Bournemouth. London airports are around a 3h drive away, meaning you could pick up your car hire directly from one of the airports to start your drive; this is easier than public transport options, especially if you have a lot of luggage. Visit Sandbanks Peninsula, popular with the rich and famous, or drive out to Monkey World in Wareham, if you are travelling with children, which will make an entertaining day out.
Taking a journey by car around Dorset is a much more relaxing experience than driving around other southern areas that circle London and its nearby counties, as you will experience less congestion and lighter traffic flows, making for a pleasant drive. You can follow the coast road, which runs for around 95 miles from Bournemouth along Jurassic Coast or east to Christchurch for spectacular coves and beaches. New Forest National Park is also within driving distance (around 1h along A31 or A35). Roads and motorways are toll free and well maintained, and speed limits range from 30 mph in built-up areas to 60 mph for the national speed limit to 70 mph for motorway speeds. You may find a smaller vehicle useful if you intend to do a lot of countryside driving, due to the numerous single-track lanes you will come across.
You should present your full UK driving licence to hire a car in Dorset and have suitable insurance. Overseas drivers may need an International Driving Permit alongside their original licence. You will also need to be a minimum age of 21 years to hire a car in the United Kingdom, and some companies may stipulate higher age restrictions (up to 25 years) or add an additional surcharge for drivers under this age. A valid credit card will be needed to complete your booking.
Intermediate (Hyundai Accent or similar) is the most frequently booked car hire type in Dorset.