Somerset is an outstanding UK touring destination. With its coastal routes, rolling hills and rugged landscape, it offers a slice of England that is exciting and full of surprises. The region is packed with historic towns, attractive villages and naturally beautiful spots that visitors will want to spend time in, and hiring a car is a great way to reach them. There is local transport available, but to explore the county the way that it deserves via this method would take a lot of time and effort. It’s worth considering an upgrade to a larger car or SUV to enjoy the countryside and roads in greater comfort; this will also give you better visibility on smaller roads with high hedges, of which there are many in this rural location.
As in all parts of the UK, you drive on the left and overtake on the right, and car seats for children are mandatory. Most car hire companies will be able to provide a car seat as an added extra, so make sure when you’re choosing your car hire company that they can fulfill this. All other passengers must wear their seatbelt at all times.
Petrol stations tend to be clustered around the M5 motorway in Somerset. Outside these areas they are usually in larger towns. If heading into rural Somerset for the day, it's worth researching where the petrol stations are in that area, as they can be quite rare in some parts of the county.
While driving is a great activity, make sure that you get out in nature in Somerset as well. Your car can bring you to many incredible activities, such as coastal walks, crab fishing and hiking in Minehead. Alternatively, try the countryside and river walks of South Somerset with its beautiful villages, historic buildings and vibrant arts scene.
FAQs about hiring a car in Somerset
While public transport in the UK is good, the volume of places you might want to visit in Somerset is very large. Travelling by bus or train will eat into your time and keep you on the most popular routes only. If you really want to explore the region and discover your own version of Somerset at your own pace, then a hire car is ideal. Driving is also very well catered for with plenty of parking in and around tourist attractions. Somerset is also a great location for agri-tourism, and reaching attractions like working farms, country houses or Somerset orchards could be difficult without a car.
Road conditions in Somerset are generally very good. The main motorway cutting through the county from north-east to south-west is the M5. It links the midlands with the south-west of the UK and runs from West Bromwich to Exeter in Devon. This is the route to take if you want to get to parts of Somerset quickly but, of course, most people will want to travel on the more rural roads, closer to picturesque places. The B3135, for example, is considered by many to be one of the most enjoyable for tourists as it winds its way through Mendip Hills. These are a range of limestone hills that you’ll find south of Bristol and Bath, and they often top the lists of driving tourists. They have excellent hiking routes, the starting point for which is often best reached by car.
The minimum age to hire a car in the UK varies by company. For example, Enterprise requires drivers to be 25 years old and only drivers who are over the age of 30 can hire MPVs or four-wheel drives. Other companies, like Avis or Hertz, will charge a surcharge for anyone under the age of 25, and the minimum age is 23. You can hire a car on a UK or EU licence, but if your driving licence is written in a script other than Latin (such as Cyrillac or Arabic) then you will need an international driving permit also.
On average a car hire in Somerset costs $198 per day.
Compact (Ford Focus or similar) is the most frequently booked car hire type in Somerset.
In the past 72 hours, the cheapest car hires were found at Budget ($95/day), Enterprise ($110/day) and Hertz ($114/day).