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    Car hire in Exeter – Visiting South-west England

    Car hire in Exeter

    The city of Exeter, which was once the Roman Empire's most westerly settlement in the British Isles, is nowadays one of the main cities in the county of Devon. Located on the River Exe, it emerges quite naturally from the landscape through the form of its iconic cathedral - which can be seen from many miles around. A relatively small city by comparison with other British metropolises such as London, Manchester and Birmingham, for instance, Exeter is packed with history, entertainment, culture and interesting buildings in a part of the country unrivalled for its scenery, close to a region often referred to as the English Riviera.

    On account of its determined sense of individuality, Exeter packs a big punch as an upcoming tourist destination and in recent years has developed into one of the most appealing, dynamic and historically significant places in south-west England. Pre-dating the Romans, it boasts an abundance of excellent visitor attractions, such as the medieval Underground Passages, imposing Cathedral, well-preserved Roman wall and a lively quayside area which buzzes with activity during the warm summer months. Exeter is also home to the award-winning Royal Albert Memorial Museum where visitors can immerse themselves in the city’s 2,000-year history. Set on land backed by a steep hill on the River Exe, the city has mild winters with average temperatures around the 21ºC mark in summer, making it a viable option for visiting at any time of the year.

    Surrounded by miles and miles of verdant English countryside, and situated in close proximity to the region's famous Jurassic Coast, the city's location in the heart of Devonshire makes it the ideal base from which to explore one of the most picturesque parts of the UK. With a cheap car hire in Exeter you can stop for lunch in an old village pub before enjoying a relaxing afternoon on one of the area's long sandy beaches. The neighbouring county of Cornwall has lots of places well worth visiting, such as the beautiful city of St Ives and Land's End, mainland Britain's most south-westerly point. And the city is particularly well located for touring, with the fine port city of Plymouth just 47 miles (75km) to the south-west and London just under 200 miles (320km) to the east.

    When visiting this historical city, booking a car hire in Exeter is the ideal option for giving you that added freedom to explore the area. Before setting off though, read up on our UK travel information so as to be fully aware of any rules and regulations. Simply contact Auto Europe and we will help you, to not only obtain the most competitive quotations, but also place at your disposal a large selection of vehicles to choose from. Don't hesitate to contact us today and take a few minutes to read the first-hand accounts written by some of our previous customers on our Exeter car hire reviews page.

    Founded in 1954, Auto Europe is a well-established car hire company offering dozens of convenient pick-up and drop-off points all over the UK, including Exeter and its airport. You can confirm your reservation through Auto Europe's state-of-the-art booking engine in just a few clicks by selecting your dates and destination, after which you'll be presented with the cheapest deals available anywhere on the Internet. You can save even more money by taking advantage of our special promotions offering Free Additional Drivers, GPS included, free winter tyres, etc. Our rental specialists are on hand to help you book your car hire in Exeter, so if you have any questions or need advice on planning your itinerary, please give them a call on +44 123 3225 114 and they will be more than happy to assist you.

    For more information on renting a vehicle in Exeter, click on the car hire related topics listed below:

    Suppliers Car Hire FAQs Travel Guide

    Where to pick up a car hire in Exeter

    To give our customers the best choice, we work with all the world's top car hire providers, which means that you can pick up your vehicle in the city centre and start enjoying the city and its surrounding areas quickly and easily. Besides the many car hire companies operating at Exeter Airport, there are several pick-up points in the city centre, in close proximity to Exeter's top tourist attractions. Make a quick search in our state-of-the-art booking engine to find the best car rental in Exeter for your trip.

    Exeter Airport

    Exeter Airport is located just 4 miles (6.4kms) east of the city of Exeter, within the district of East Devon, south-west England. Several airlines operate out of Exeter Airport on a growing number of both domestic and international routes. Many of the world's top car hire companies have their offices inside the Arrivals Hall, with their pick-up points conveniently located in a nearby car park. Make sure you have all the necessary documents ready when you arrive to collect your vehicle in order to make the process as quick as possible.

    Exeter Airport (EXT)
    Address: Clyst Honiton, Exeter, EX5 2BD, UK
    Telephone: +44 (0)1392 367 433

    Book with the best car hire suppliers in Exeter

    We are a leading international car rental company offering a comprehensive selection of convenient pick-up and drop-off points in more than 180 popular holiday destinations around the world. Thanks to our many years' experience dealing with all the top global, national and local car hire suppliers, we are able to offer you the very best standard of service and cheapest prices on the market.

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    Should you require additional information about the car hire companies we work with or their policies, for example out of office pick up or questions regarding age restrictions, our car rental specialists are just a phone call or e-mail away and happy to assist you.

    Frequently asked questions about renting a car in Exeter

    Contact Us

    This section features the most frequent questions asked by people booking a car hire in Exeter. Scroll down for important tips relating to a wide range of essential car hire topics, such as credit cards, coverage, tolls, traffic and much more. If you need any more information, please call our reservations team on +44 123 3225 114 and they will be happy to help you with your reservation and assist you with your travel itinerary.

    Do I need a credit card to rent a car in Exeter?

    Yes. You'll need a credit card (not a debit or pre-paid card) in the primary driver's name to pick up your car rental in Exeter. This is because your chosen supplier will use it to place a security deposit for the duration of your car rental, the amount of which is specified on the voucher. When you return the car at the end of your rental agreement, the deposit will be released back onto your card assuming that it hasn't been damaged in any way. For luxury car bookings, please be aware that some car rental companies might request a second major credit card (ie Mastercard, Visa, Diners or American Express), also in the name of the main driver. Please make sure that you have enough funds on the card to cover the deposit or else you might risk not being able to collect your vehicle. You'll find all the credit card details you need relating to your rental in our booking engine search results just by clicking on the blue and white info icon (i). For a list of the most common questions, please consult our special credit cards and deposits page.


    What insurance do I need for my car rental in Exeter?

    The good news is that all the rates quoted on our website offer the minimum amount of legally-required car hire coverage. This includes Liability Insurance, Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Protection (TP), either with or without excess (depending on your chosen supplier). However, CDW doesn't cover some parts of the vehicle, which is why we strongly recommend you add Auto Europe's added-value Full Protection cover to your reservation by simply checking the appropriate box at check-out.

    All the car hire coverage information is clearly stated in the results after making a search in our booking engine. Just click the blue and white info icon (i) and the details will immediately appear. Please be aware that some local car hire staff supplement their income by selling additional insurance to drivers when they arrive to collect their vehicle. These policies are optional and can include Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), Personal Effects Coverage (PEC), Super CDW, Seguro Relax Insurance and Roadside Assistance, amongst many others. The money spent on this kind of insurance purchased directly with the supplier cannot be refunded by Auto Europe. The important thing to note is that when you purchase coverage through us, you will more than likely already be fully covered for your trip. Do not hesitate to call our rental specialists before confirming your reservation if you have any doubts.

    If you need to make a claim, please note that you must pay the car rental supplier first then claim the amount back from Auto Europe. When making a claim, it's essential that you provide all the required documents in order to receive your refund as quickly as possible. For more information about Auto Europe’s coverage policies, please call our rental specialists on +44 123 3225 114 and they will be happy to provide you with all the information you need. Please also read our blog post on the subject, which provides a general overview of the types of car hire coverage available.


    How is the traffic in Exeter?

    Exeter is a fairly small city, but you'll find plenty of parks, gardens and other green areas so it rarely feels congested, except perhaps during the morning and evening weekday rush-hours. The city centre is easy to navigate by foot, plus the city's one-way road systems and street markings are clearly signposted and well organised. Please visit our UK Driving Guide for lots of useful information relating to getting around the country by car. In general, the county of Devon is great for driving and has over 8,000 miles of road, making it the largest road network in the country. A car rental in Exeter is by far the best way to appreciate one of the most scenic parts of the country, along with the neighbouring counties of Cornwall and Somerset.


    Where can I park my car hire in Exeter?

    Ample car parking is available within the city of Exeter. In addition, a park & ride system exists; here you can leave your car in one of the designated car parks and hop-on a bus into town. Along with the car parks provided by Exeter City Council, three NCP car parks are also available. City Council car parks are set out from Premium to zones 1 until 3. Premium car parks are located in the actual city centre, within walking distance from the retail zones. Zone 1 car parks are sited close to the city centre and are slightly cheaper. Zone 2 car parks are sited approximately 5 to 15 minutes' walk from the city centre. And lastly, zone 3 car parks are not sited near the city centre but are the cheapest option for parking.


    Do I need to pay a congestion charge when driving my car hire in Exeter?

    Plans are currently in the pipline to restrict the movement of non-essential vehicles in and around Exeter city centre. Besides reducing carbon emissions, the general idea is to create a large public space and free up land currently used for driving and parking. Exeter City Council plan is also to reduce the dominance of cars and ensure that at least half of all trips made in the city are with the use of active modes of transport, such as walking and cycling. Low-emission vehicles will be keenly supported with Exeter planning to invest heavily in the use of electric car-sharing clubs, with plans also in place to introduce dozens of new charging points in the coming years.

    Exeter Travel Guide

    As the most fortified settlement in south-western Britain for many centuries, the Romans put Exeter firmly on the map and many traces of their formidable presence still exist in and around the historic centre. Nowadays, this stately and very serene provincial city is mostly appreciated for its abundance of elegant Georgian architecture, as well as its striking cathedral around which the city has grown.

    Best day trips with my car rental in Exeter

    In a few minutes of leaving the city you'll find yourself in the hear of the Devonshire countryside, and at the same time in very close proximity to the sprawling Dartmoor National Park, through which visitors can embark on a leisurely drive when they rent a car in Exeter. Besides that, there's all the fun of exloring the famous Jurassic Coast (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) before enjoying some moments of peace and relaxation on the English Riviera, one of the most appealing parts of the country.

    For clients wishing to explore further than the city of Exeter, it is also possible to undertake a road trip and drop your car hire in Exeter off in another city such as Bristol with a one-way car hire, which will allow for more freedom and flexibility.

    Dartmoor National Park

    Covering 954 square-kilometres (368 square-miles), Dartmoor National Park is a major attraction for people touring the Exeter area by car. There's much to do and see in the park; for instance, Dartmoor contains the largest concentration of Bronze Age remains in the United Kingdom. Other places of interest include Dartmoor Prison (and museum) which has been a regular landmark for centuries and famous for holding some of England’s most notorious criminals.


    A comfortable 2-hour drive up the M5 motorway from Exeter, Bath is without doubt one of England's most attractive cities. The city is particularly notable for its 2,000-year-old Roman baths, the water of which gushes from a depth of nearly 10,000 feet and contains over 40 essential minerals. Founded in 1499, Bath Abbey is one of the largest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in the United Kingdom and well worth visiting for the panoramic views from the top of the tower.

    English Riviera

    The fine stretch of Devonshire coastline known as the English Riviera comprises three key seaside resorts, namely Brixham, Paignton and Torquay. This 22-mile stretch of magnificent coastline is particularly family-friendly with safe, sandy beaches and predominantly calm waters ideal for young children. The English Riviera was awarded UNESCO Global Geopark status on account of its unique geographical position on the South Devon coastline, one of only a few in the UK.

    Jurassic Coast

    A UNESCO World Heritage Site, England's Jurassic Coast stretches from Studland Bay in Dorset to Exmouth in East Devon. Spanning 185 million years of geological history, it covers a distance of almost 100 miles (160 kiloemtres) and is easily accessible with a cheap car hire in Exeter. Over the millennia, the Jurassic Coast has been desert, marshland and a tropical sea, with the fossilised remains of various creatures from these periods reguarly found preserved in the rocks.

    What to do in Exeter

    As one of south-west England's most popular tourist destinations, Exeter is blessed with a wealth of attractions and a thriving cultural scene. At the city's heart lies its magnificent Gothic cathedral, an unmissable landmark visible from miles around. Other highlights include the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Exter's famous Underground Passages, a secret world of tunnels and chambers hidden away under the city'es streets.

    • Exeter Cathedral: One of England’s most impressive ecclesiastical sights, the city's ornate cathedral is a breathtakingly impressive building that was built over many years in the 14th and 15th centuries. Its rare astronomical clock dates from 1484 and shows the universe as it was thought to exist back then. Don't miss the bishop’s throne and canopy, which is generally considered to be one of the greatest pieces of medieval woodwork in the UK.

    • Royal Albert Memorial Museum: The Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) has been the city's start attraction since Victorian times. Housed in a large red-brick building, it is filled with many unusual exhibits, including African masks, Egyptian mummies and Samurai armour. The museum's impressive fine art collection features works by Thomas Gainsborough, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Stanhope Forbes and Barbara Hepworth.

    • Underground Passages: The only tourist attraction of its kind in England, Exeter's unique Underground Passages are a system of medieval vaulted passages originally built for the housing pipes laid to supply the city with fresh water. Visitors can join guided tours through the passages and learn all about their history, including hair-raising tales of ghosts, escape routes and cholera outbreaks.

    • Exeter Quay: The city's vibrant waterfront area is the place to be on a warm sunny day. Cobbled paths lead down to this restored precinct where former warehouses now operate as antique shops, trendy boutiques, fine-dining restaurants and workshops for local arts and crafts. The quay is also a centre for boat trips and guided walking tours.

    • Bill Douglas Cinema Museum: A must for film buffs, the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum contains an interesting collection of movie memorabilia amassed by the renowned Scottish film-maker, Bill Douglas, who is best-known for the semi-autobiographical trilogy he made about his childhood. He was also an avid collector, amassing in excess of 50,000 cinematic artifacts, including magic lanterns, peep shows, original celluloid from Disney films, Charlie Chaplin bottle stoppers, James Bond board games, vintage film posters and several original Star Wars toys.

    Useful links

    Exeter Tourist Information