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Car Hire Nottingham

All you need to know about hiring a car in Nottingham

Best known for its association with Robin Hood, Nottingham is considered the gem of the Midlands – and whether you’re renting a car here for business or pleasure, you’ll find an endless assortment of things to do. 


Interestingly enough, Nottingham is considered a fairly young city, with Queen Victoria giving it city status during her 1897 Diamond Jubilee celebrations. But it’s also steeped in history. Step into the Lace Market, and you’ll see the legacy of a bygone era – the stunning architecture left behind from its past as the home of British lace. Today, the area is full of quirky boutiques, eateries and small businesses, giving many modern independents a place to set up shop. 


And if history is what you’re after when visiting Nottingham, you’ll want to take a short trip in your hire car to Wollaton Hall. This gorgeous, grade-1 listed building contains both a natural history museum and an industrial museum, and it’s instantly recognisable from its role as Wayne Manor in the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. Beyond that, there’s a picturesque deer park to explore, and it’s often the site of outdoor cinema events. 


On the theme of nature, Sherwood forest is a name synonymous with the city. A vast stretch of woodland, you’ll find an ancient tree here – the Major Oak – that’s said to be around 1,000 years old and the location where Robin Hood and his band of merry men camped. Other unspoilt places within a short drive of the city include Clumber Park, Rufford Abbey and the Attenborough Nature Reserve. Or, you could stay put in Nottingham and explore the Arboretum – the city’s first public park.

Without a doubt, you’ll want to discover Nottingham’s caves when you take a trip here by hire car. Winding secretly under the city is a labyrinth of over 500 individual sandstone caves, containing a medieval tannery down here, Victorian-era slums and even various wartime air raid shelters. Plus, budding geologists can learn about the properties of rock or take part in a min-dig, while sightseeing enthusiasts can even link up entry to the National Justice Museum to save money. 


Nottingham also plays host to the arts, with Nottingham Contemporary art gallery frequently showing films and exhibitions since opening in 2009, and musical theatre lovers enjoying both the city’s Nottingham Playhouse and The Royal Concert Hall. 


Finally, for families, there’s a fair few animal-based attractions. Stonebridge City Farm is located just minutes from the city centre and has animals ranging from pigs and horses to meerkats. And if you visit the ever-popular Kitty Cafe – which is partly a cat rescue centre - you could even come home with a new furry friend. 


Whatever your reason for visiting Nottingham, there’s no denying there’s a lot to do here – and hiring a car in or around the city is the perfect way to get around. 

Driving zones
After confusion in the past about whether 20mph zones are advisory (e.g. through traffic calming humps and chicanes) or mandatory (i.e. through speed limit signs), much of the city centre is now legally 20mph, with strict enforcement in place. Additionally, many residential streets are also capped at 20mph. 


While there’s no current ULEZ or LEZ in place, with London expanding their zones, the Nottingham Post recently polled readers on whether a congestion zone would be supported by residents – and though 82% said they would not, it’s quite likely the city will follow in the capital’s footsteps.


Traffic updates

You can find out about traffic in the city through Google Maps, radio stations like BBC Radio Nottingham, Trent FM and Capital East Midlands. Most stations give an hourly traffic report along with general news updates, or you can visit websites like the AA.


Road links
One of the most useful aspects of Nottingham is its tram network, which links to various park & ride locations on the city’s outskirts. While hire cars can park on-street, you could also take advantage of the Queens Park & Ride site, which allows you and your friends or family to travel to the centre via tram, or other locations such as the University. 


Visitors to the city can find their way in via the M1, the A52, the A60 and the A610. Equally, Nottingham’s ideally located for daytrips to surrounding locations like Derby and Leicester. 


Events and attractions

Nottingham famously has a cricket ground at Trent Bridge, although it’s also been used in the past to host opera and other outdoor events. For music, Nottingham arena is often booked all year round by acts and artists ranging from singer Tom Jones to comedian Jimmy Carr. And if it’s other entertainment you want, a bowling alley and ice arena are also nearby. 


Most venues have some on-site parking, or residential or Park & Ride are alternative options for those travelling by hire car.


Airport parking, pick-up and drop-off
East Midlands (EMA) is the closest airport to Nottingham. Parking can be pre-booked, or cancelled for free up to 1 hour before your slot, online. Spaces are monitored by number plate recognition for extra security, or you can try a transfer, which EMA says is its cheapest option. For short stays, you can drop-off or pick up for £6, which covers you for 30 minutes. Or, you can park for free in the long stay car parks for up to 1 hour.

We’d advise all hire car drivers to check restrictions and prices before travelling though, to avoid problems or confusion.  


Other help and advice

Our team is always on-hand to help you get from A to B, and back again. With great deals on bookings, top-of-the-range vehicles, locations around the UK and extras like free mileage, why go anywhere else? For tips, advice and general information on hiring a car in or around Nottingham, visit our social media pages or get in touch today.