Car Hire in Manchester
This information is correct as of April 2015
Get more out of your trip to Manchester with your very own hire car. Whether you want to fill your boot with bags of shopping after a day at the Trafford Centre, drive through town admiring the city’s impressive sights, or head out into the beautiful English countryside, having a hire car gives you the freedom to explore Manchester on your own terms.
Where to hire a car in Manchester
There’s a cluster of car hire companies near Manchester Piccadilly train station, with big brands like Hertz, Enterprise, and Sixt all within walking distance. Avis Prestige has a branch at the station, and specialise in luxury vehicles. Other car hire companies can be found around Manchester Oxford Road train station and Manchester Victoria.
Car hire is available at Manchester Airport from eight leading brands. It’s also easy to fly into Liverpool John Lennon Airport, less than an hour’s drive from Manchester, and pick up a hire car there.
Driving in Manchester
In the UK, Manchester is second only to London in terms of rush hour traffic jams. Try to avoid the roads if possible between 7am-9:30am and 4pm-6:30pm. There’s also a mini-rush hour around lunchtime (12:30pm-2pm). Aside from that, the traffic in Manchester tends to flow quite freely. The city centre has lots of confusing one-way systems, so it’s a good idea to bring an up-to-date sat-nav with you to help you get your bearings. There are extensive bus lanes and cycle lanes to look out for. Always watch out for cyclists pulling up on your inside.
Parking in Manchester
On-street parking in Manchester falls into four zones. Parking restrictions are in place from Monday to Sunday, 8am-8pm. Parking is free on bank holidays. The maximum stay in Zone 1 (bang smack in the middle of Manchester) is two hours (£6), and it costs £1.50 for up to half an hour.
Zone 2 is a lot larger and covers landmarks like the Gay Village, The Printworks and the Northern Quarter. Prices in Zone 2 start from £1.30 for half an hour to £5.80 for the two hour maximum stay. Zone 3 is cheaper still at 60p for half an hour, and £3.70 for the three hour maximum stay, and in Zone 4 you can park for half an hour for 50p, ten hours for £7.50, and the entire weekend for £10.
Manchester is the first major UK city to trial The Parker App, an app which tells you where to find an empty parking space and directs you towards it. This is available on Android and iPhone and is well worth getting if you’re hiring a car in Manchester. NCP operate a huge number of car parks in and around Manchester City Centre, including the official car park for the MEN Arena. The Trafford Centre has a free car park, as does Old Trafford: although you’ll have to pay for parking if you’re visiting on a match day (about £10).
Prices subject to change
Great day trips from Manchester
Peak District National Park
From the hustle and bustle of downtown Manchester it takes less than an hour to reach the beauty and tranquillity of the Peak District. Get active by hiking across the moors, hiring a bike and cycling between villages, or by going horse riding across the dales. Or you can just drive around and enjoy the views. There are 45 pay and display car parks throughout the National Park, with charges of £1.50 for up to an hour and £4.50 for the whole day.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Enjoy all the fun of the fair at Britain’s favourite amusement park. Thrill rides, spectacular shows, and of course a lovely beach to enjoy, Blackpool offers a great day out for all the family. It takes around 80 minutes to reach from central Manchester.
Labyrinthine streets, a gothic cathedral, and medieval city walls set the atmosphere in England’s most haunted city. York is a must visit for history enthusiasts. After exploring the fascinating museums and ancient buildings, drop into one of the traditional pubs to whet your whistle (soft drinks only for the driver!)