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Top tips for hiring a car in Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire County is often overshadowed by its famous university of Oxford, but the entire county is a great destination for a car hire trip. Oxfordshire is bordered by The Cotswolds, the North Wessex Downs area and The Chiltern Hills from its neighbouring counties, offering excellent day trip destinations among the rolling hills of England. There is plenty of local transport, and Oxford itself is very well geared up for tourism and tours; but to really get to know the entire region, a car will make all the difference. The roads are very satisfactory throughout, with the M40 motorway cutting through the east of the county and good quality major A-roads linking the rest of the region. Oxfordshire is landlocked, but the Thames River (perhaps the UK’s most famous body of water) flows through Oxfordshire on its way to London and beyond.
As with all of the UK, people in Oxfordshire drive on the right-hand side of the road and overtake on the left. Seat belts are mandatory, and young children must be in a child seat. Your car hire company can usually supply this as an added extra, but you should check that your preferred company can do so. Otherwise, you may have to bring your own, and that can be complicated.
Agri-tourism is strong in Oxfordshire, building on its already good name for food. Spend some time visiting open farms, booking into a farmstay, visiting an orchard, trying a village restaurant that serves only local produce or sampling the local ale. As you drive around the county, you’ll be surprised at just how much there is going on.
Most of the petrol stations are clustered around Oxford, the A34, the A44 and along the M4. If you are planning on driving into The Cotswolds or North Wessex Downs, then do check before you depart that there are petrol stations near your route.
FAQs about hiring a car in Oxfordshire
There are many small market towns and historic or archaeological destinations throughout Oxfordshire. The city of Oxford itself of course is full of history, but you will also want to visit places like Banbury, Whitney, Henley on Thames or Burford on the edge of The Cotswolds. Each of these destinations has wonderful cultural, artistic or natural attractions, but they will require a car to reach easily and in a way that suits your schedule. Places like Blenheim Palace, the UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the early 1700s, could certainly be a destination, as could Rousham House, a Jacobean home with beautiful gardens that you can visit. Other grand houses and rural villages dot the landscape, giving structure to a driving tour that would criss-cross the county.
Once outside the major towns, driving in Oxfordshire is predominantly simple and quiet. It will take you off the major A-roads and onto a series of minor roads that link the villages and townlands. The road surface is generally very well maintained; the pace of life tends to slow down here, and there’s an elegant rural atmosphere. Speed limits are the same as the rest of the UK: 30 mph in urban areas, 60 mph on single carriageway roads and 70 mph on dual carriageways and motorways. You should be alert for agricultural vehicles and the possibility of animals on the road in areas closer to The Cotswolds.
To hire a car in the UK, you will need to be at least 21 years old, and many car hire companies won’t allow it for anyone younger than 23. All drivers under 25 will be required to pay a daily surcharge, and some companies will extend this to cover older drivers too, usually from the age of 70 onwards.
On average a car hire in Oxfordshire costs $257 per day.
Intermediate (Toyota RAV4 or similar) is the most frequently booked car hire type in Oxfordshire.
In the past 72 hours, the cheapest car hires were found at Sixt ($94/day), Hertz ($119/day) and Enterprise ($123/day).