Thursday, 25 April 2013

Kirkcaldy Car Rental

Given the nickname Lang Toun (Long Town), in reference to its four mile long main street, Kirkcaldy curves around a sandy cove along the Firth of Forth, 18.6 miles north-northeast of Edinburgh.

By Rohancragg, via Wikimedia Commons

The town isn’t somewhere where visitors with a Kirkcaldy Car Hire would spend weeks on end exploring; however, there are three places which are worth visiting if you’re in the area. The first is Ravenscraig Castle. Built by James II in the 1450s, the castle was originally in an isolated spot, but as the town grew, the castle became surrounded. The second place on your whistle stop tour is Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery, the town's main museum and exhibition space. Situated next to the train station, it first opened its doors in 1925, and with the exception of the National Galleries of Scotland, it holds the largest collection of paintings by the Scottish painters Samuel Peploe and William McTaggart. The third place to visit is the Adam Smith Theatre, named after Kirkcaldy's most famous former resident, today it’s also a cinema as well.

The locals understandably get a bit ‘miffed’ when the name Kirkcaldy is repeatedly mispronounced, so this is a sure fire way of getting in their good books. For fans of Star Trek think of Captain Kirk, next think of a fish - the Cod, and finally imagine the Fonz from Happy Days; picture him putting his thumbs up and saying Aaaaay! There you have it, Kirk – Cod - Aaay. Alternatively, just ask a local where Gordon Brown comes from, then they’ll say it for you.

Like many towns throughout the British Isles, Kirkaldy has seen some changes but it’s also remained unchanged.

Kirkwall Car Hire

Kirkwall, capital of the Orkney Islands, lies just off the north coast of Scotland. It’s a charming and quiet side place when you first arrive, but when you return after visiting one of the other smaller and quieter islands further offshore it will feel as if it’s a bustling metropolis.

Bishop's Palace in Kirkwall, by David Stanley on Flickr

Kirkwall’s harbour is the arrival and departure point for ferries from Shetland and the other Orkney Islands, as well as for the city of Aberdeen. It hosts cruise ships from large super liners to small more intimate ships, and its airport is where flights from other parts of the UK touch down. It’s also where visitors looking to explore the area can pick up their Kirkwall Car Hire, stock up on supplies and head off to explore. The town’s best feature is its cathedral which is surrounded by quaint grey buildings and narrow, flag stoned streets, bustling with typical market town life. Other points of interest are the Bishop's Palace, the Tankerness House which is now the Orkney Museum, and the Old Kirkwall Grammar School.

The old part of the town is considered to be one of the most well preserved examples of an ancient Norse town. It originally went by its Norse name "Kirkvoe" (pronounced "Kirkva" - with the "v" sounding more like a "w"). However, its name got changed by accident when mapmakers mistook the “Waa'" sound in "Kirkva" to be the same as "Wa'" which meant “Wall" in Scottish, and that’s how Kirwall got its name,

If you’re arriving by plane, this is the view your pilot will get coming into land, but don’t let put you off.

Lancaster Car Hire

In the past, Lancaster played a leading role in the War of the Roses - where the ‘Lancastrian’ man Henry Tudor, beat the ‘Yorkist’ King Richard III, and took the throne. Today things are a lot more relaxed, there are no beheadings or fights to become the leader of the country, but the locals are still very proud of their history. You can see that when you travel around the area in your Lancaster Car Hire. You can visit the Maritime Museum which explains about the area’s fishing history, you can also visit Lancaster Castle.

Lancaster Castle by from Wikimedia Commons

Built on the site of an old Roman fortress, the castle was enlarged by Elizabeth I (King Henry VII’s second daughter, whose mother Anne Boleyn lost her head). It was also connected with some gory deaths of its own. Until recently it was still used, as a prison and a court, but back in 1612 it was known as the Lancaster Assizes and was the site of the Pendle witch trials. The castle was where twelve witches from Pendle, accused of murdering of ten people with various spells, were brought to trial, convicted, and executed by hanging. Over the years, the court was responsible for sentencing many more people who were hanged, in fact, they were responsible for more hangings than any other town in the country outside of London, earning it the nickname, ‘the Hanging Town’.

On a more positive note, Lancaster’s bloody history and its links to the monarchy make it well work a visit, these are just a few things you may see.

Lancing Car Hire

Although the village of Lancing is often overshadowed by its neighbours Worthing and Shoreham by Sea, it’s famous for being the largest village in England. Situated in West Sussex, on the south coast of England, the village was a popular seaside resort of the gentry in the mid-19th century because of its secluded atmosphere. Today most people prefer the hustle and bustle of the larger resorts, but Lancing still has a small number of guesthouses, where visitors can stay a night or two - just like a famous writer. In the 1890’s Oscar Wilde stayed in nearby Worthing, but he visited Lancing and decided to name the piece he was working on, Lady Lancing. Later, the piece of writing changed its title to The Importance of Being Earnest.

Beach Huts, Lancing Beach by Geograph on Flickr

With a Lancing Car Hire it’s easy to explore the nearby town of Worthing and further a field. The area has been populated for at least 6,000 years, and has same fascinating places where you can to find out about the past. It has Britain's greatest concentration of Stone Age flint mines, some of the earliest mines in Europe, and not far way is the Iron Age hill fort of Cissbury Ring. Lancing is also ideally positioned for visiting the South Downs, chalk hills which extend for about 260 square miles, and include the White Cliffs of Dover; it’s recognised as one of the most important chalk landscapes in England.

But, back in Lancing, you’ll certainly always find a spot on the beach which is ideal for flying model aircraft; you can even enjoy making your very own movie from the air, just like this one.

Leeds Car Hire

With an estimated population of over 750,000, Leeds is the third largest city in the UK. It’s a modern city, popular with shoppers, and with a centre full of large indoor shopping complexes and a pedestrian only zone, visitors can shop till they drop. This shopping paradise includes the brand new ‘Trinity Leeds’, a place where visitors can spend their hard earned cash on well known British favourites, as well as a huge choice of international and exclusive names such as Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood, and Harvey Nichols. Names that give the city a cosmopolitan feel.

The Corn Exchange, Leeds by Paul Stevenson on Flickr

But it’s not just about shopping; Leeds also has natural and built landmarks. It has the gritstone outcrop of Otley Chevin and the Fairburn Ings RSPB reserve, both places to enjoy on a sunny day. Then there’s ‘The Dalek’, at 112 metres, the tower of the Bridgewater Place is the regions tallest building. As well as all the shopping, and landmarks many people visit the city for sport. Elland Road is the home of football and Leeds United, and the Headingley Stadium is where games of cricket and rugby matches can be enjoyed.

If your lucky enough to have a Leeds Car Hire, then not only is it good for transporting all that shopping, but it’s also a great opportunity to escape the city for a while. Leeds is a fantastic base to explore the countryside of the Yorkshire Dales, the Yorkshire Moors or the Peak District, all excellent locations for walking.

Leicester Car Hire

Leicester lies in the heart of the Midlands. It has been the home of the Romans, the Tudors and the Industrial Revolution. Today it’s a multi ethnic and diverse city to visit.

Leicester is one of the oldest cities in England with a history going back at least 2,000 years. The ancient Roman settlement of Ratae Corieltauvorum, famous for its baths, can still be seen at Jewry Wall. It became a significant trading centre along the Fosse Way, the road between Lincoln and Exeter, and one of the largest towns in Roman Britain.

Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester from Wikimedia Commons

In Tudor times a few prominent people were born, and died, in the city. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey died here on the way to the Tower of London; he is buried in Leicester Abbey. Lady Jane Grey, Queen Regent for nine days was born here, and Robert Dudley, the alleged one time lover of Queen Elizabeth I was the Earl of Leicester.

Today you can still witness the Roman and the Tudor influence; you can also see the Grand Union Canal, something which played an important role in the Industrial Revolution. Built in the 1790s’, the canal linked Leicester to London, and today is a great place to see some working locks. Why not discover Leicestershire’s tourist sites in and around the city at your own pace with a Leicester Car Hire. You can visit the Battle of Bosworth Heritage Centre and learn about King Richard III and Henry Tudor, or perhaps try one of the stately homes; Stanford Hall, Calke Abbey, or Belvoir Castle (pronounced Beaver), where battle re-enactments, pheasant shoots and wedding are held, although not at the same time.

Lerwick Car Hire

Two hundred and thirty miles west of Bergen in Norway, and more than one hundred miles off the north coast of Scotland, Lerwick is the capital of the Shetland Islands and its main port. The name Lerwick means muddy bay, a name which has its roots in Old Norse. Its Norwegian name is Leirvik, leir meaning clay and vik meaning inlet.

Lerwick's Waterfront by Murray Barnes on Flickr

Getting here is not too difficult, despite its location. Lerwick is served by two airports, Tingwall Airport and Sumburgh Airport, there’s also a daily overnight ferry service which runs between Lerwick and Aberdeen. This service frequently calls into Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands, making a tour of the islands a popular activity, especially if you have a Lerwick Car Hire.

The town of Lerwick is a bustling seaport, originally an unofficial and illegal marketplace built to maintain the 17th century Dutch Herring fleets. Today the old waterfront still hosts all kinds of boats, pleasure boats, visiting yachts, historic craft and working fishing boats and its narrow main street still follows the old shoreline, although the port has now been built in front of it. Perched on the hillside overlooking the harbour, the rest of the town has also kept its old world charm and narrow lanes, which provide welcome shelter from the south westerly winds during a gale.

This is a place where you can watch otters and seals play in the ocean, and where seabirds cling to the cliffs in huge, noisy colonies. If you’re into history and geology, it’s an area rich in rocks carved and shaped by ice, and the global Geopark provides endless inspiration for photographers and artists. If history is your thing then there are over 6,000 years of human history on the island, Clickimin Broch is a fine example. Close to a loch in the middle of Lerwick, this site is easily accessible, there are also many others.

Lichfield Car Hire

Whether you’re into religion and historic buildings, theme parks, fun on the waterways or spelling, Lichfield is the place to visit. Staffordshire's premier heritage city sits in the heart of the country not far from Birmingham, and its jam packed with things to do. So, you have your Lichfield Car Hire, where do you explore first?

Lichfield House, Bore Street, Lichfield by Brian Clift on Flickr

Lichfield is filled with lovely black and white buildings, but it’s most famous piece of architecture is its three-spired medieval cathedral, beautiful both inside and out. Once you’ve had a tour around the cathedral how about brushing up on your spelling at the house of Samuel Johnson, the writer of the first Dictionary of the English Language. The Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum is where you can learn about the life and times of England's greatest man of letters, famous for his wit.

If the day is bright and sunny there are lots of outdoor options too. Go for a short drive to Barton Marina in nearby Barton under Needwood. This is home to a nice lake and if you’ve never seen canal barges you’ll be guaranteed to see a lot here. You can also visit Drayton Manor Theme Park. Drayton Manor is a fantastic place to bring the family for a day out. You’ll find Thomas Land, a park dedicated to Thomas the Tank Engine, a 4D cinema, restaurants and a zoo. For those who enjoy adrenaline fixes there’s Apocalypse, the stand-up coaster, Shockwave, the splash-tastic log flume, Stormforce 10, and the stomach-churning Maelstrom. If you try these rides make sure you have lunch afterwards and NOT before.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Kilmarnock Car Hire

Kilmarnock, the 14th largest populated place in Scotland and the second largest town in Ayrshire is famous for three things - its rugby and football club, it was where Alexander Fleming (the man who discovered penicillin) studied, and until recently it was the home of Johnnie Walker whisky.

Johnnie Walker Whisky by eugeni_dodonov on Flickr

Kilmarnock had been home to Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky since the 19th century, but in 2009, its owner announced the closure of its bottling plant in the town ending its 189 years of history. Originally known as Walker's Kilmarnock Whisky, the Johnnie Walker brand was started by John ‘Johnnie’ Walker who sold his own distilled whisky from his grocer’s shop. After his death, his sons and grandsons continued the tradition. Prior to 1860 it was illegal to sell blended whisky, but in 1865, John’s son Alexander produced their first blend ‘Walker’s Old Highland’, and in 1870, he also introduced the brand’s unmistakable square bottle. The square bottle was a great innovation as it was less likely to break and more bottles could fit into the same space; the fact that its label was applied at an angle of 24 degrees also made it pretty unique.

Kilmarnock is a watery place, the River Irvine runs through its eastern part, and the ‘Kilmarnock Water’ also passes through it. The town also has a ford, a stretch of river which crosses the road, and the video below proves that whilst in your Kilmarnock Car Hire you should always read the road signs.

Kings’ Lynn Car Hire

Kings' Lynn is a popular base with visitors touring the Norfolk coast. It’s an area which includes quintessential old villages, the city of Norwich, fishing villages and the popular seaside town of Great Yarmouth. One stop visitors to the town should make is to the Customs House which overlooks the port. As the name suggests, this was a prominent place in years gone by, and today is home to the tourist information centre where you can pick up details of places to visit relating to two of the area’s famous mariners, Admiral Nelson and Captain Vancouver.

John Hoppner Wikimedia Commons   

A few miles inland of the north Norfolk coast, in the hamlet of Burnham Thorpe, visitors will find the birthplace of Lord Horatio Nelson. Fatally wounded at during the Battle of Trafalgar, Lord Nelson wanted to be buried in his local churchyard, but instead, he ended up in St Paul’s Cathedral in London. However, his local church does have a cross and lectern made from the timbers of his ship, the HMS Victory. Lord Nelson was certainly famous, but the biggest hero of Kings Lynn was Captain Vancouver. Captain Vancouver was the man who sailed his ship ‘The Discovery’ to beat a fleet of American ships to the northwest coast of America. When he stepped ashore he declared the area should be called “British Columbia”, the city of Vancouver was also named after the man himself.

There’s another place you must visit in your Kings Lyn Carhire, and that’s the Norfolk Arena. The arena is home to Premier League Speedway, the King’s Lynn Stars, Quad Racing, Monster Trucks, Bangers, F1 and F2 Stock Car Racing. It’s brilliant fun, but please, leave your car in the car park!

Kidderminster Car Hire

Located approximately seventeen miles south-west of the UK’s second city, Birmingham, Kidderminster is an interesting place to explore. The town itself was where the modern carpet industry was founded in 1785, and it’s where bespoke carpets for hotels and venues such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris are made. It's also popular with those looking for carpets for momentous occasions, this is where the red carpet used for the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Katherine Middleton was manufactured, and they’re very proud of it. From a totally different perspective, the town is also where solid-fuel rocket motors for the Seawolf missile, Rapier missile and Starstreak missile systems are manufactured.

Kidderminster Station Emporium, By Andy 4 nothin on Flickr

Kidderminster is an easy town to get around, but if you have a Kidderminster Car Hire you can easily travel just outside to visit attractions such as the West Midlands Safari Park and the heritage railway line, the Severn Valley Railway. The Severn Valley Railway is a 16-mile line running along the Severn Valley from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth, following the River Severn for much of its route. Steam trains are the most regular and popular trains on the route, although when the risk of fire is high, diesel locomotives replace them. The line is the sixth longest standard gauge railway in the UK, and one of the most popular heritage railways in the country. The track runs from Kidderminster, through picturesque villages such as Arley, Highly and Hampton Loade to the northern most station at Bridgnorth. Here, you can stop for a picnic or simply turn round and travel back again. Christmas time is especially fun for the children as the Santa Specials have a very ‘special’ driver!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Inverness Car Hire

Capital of the Highlands of Scotland and the location of two famous battles, Inverness is the northern most city in the UK.

Every year the city hosts its annual Highland Games, an event which celebrates Celtic culture, and includes a sport called Tossing the Caber. Tossing the Caber involves taking a large wooden pole at one end and throwing it as far as possible; in the past this game served a practical purpose - it was a way of creating a bridge to cross the narrow chasms in the mountains. The kilted muscle men who throw the cabers are called a "tossers”, but don’t even think about teasing them, they’ll be much bigger than you and these cabers, made from Larch trees, are usually around 19 feet 6 inches (5.94 m) tall, and weigh 175 pounds (79 kg).

 Tossing the Caber - Dornoch Highland Gathering 2007, photo by foxypar4 on Flickr

If you have an Inverness Car Hire, travel just outside the city to catch a glimpse of Nessy. Nessy is the famous Lock Ness Monster who is said to inhabit the deep waters of the loch at the south side of the Moray Firth. Giant Nessy can live here because Loch Ness never freezes and it contains more water than all the other lakes in England, Scotland and Wales put together. One hundred feet down, the temperature always remains at 44 degrees Fahrenheit (6.6 degrees Celsius), and on a very cold day the loch actually steams; or maybe that’s Nessy’s breath. Travel just a little further on from the loch, along winding Scottish roads, and you will reach the Nevis Mountain Range where you can take a cable car up Aonach Mor, the mountain next to Ben Nevis, to check out the views.

Ipswich Car Hire

One of England’s oldest towns, Ipswich, or Gippeswick as it was once called, is located on the River Orwell in the east of the country.

The River Orwell by Martin Pettitt on Flickr

Its location has always made it a significant trading post. It started with the Romans who built a strong fort to form part of the coast defences of Britain, and continued with the Anglo-Saxons who moved in to exploit the North Sea trade between Britain and Scandinavia. Many years later it was the lovely Frisian potters of the Netherlands who inhabited the area; they arrived, settled in and set up the first large-scale pottery. You can still see some of the things which these settlers left behind them when you explore the area in your Ipswich Car Hire, or you may just like to enjoy the town which was once home to writers, artists and other famous people. Lord Nelson was High Steward of Ipswich, the painter Thomas Gainsborough lived and worked here, and in 1835, Charles Dickens stayed at The Tavern whilst writing scenes for his book ‘The Pickwick Papers’. Dickens made The Tavern famous and his hotel is still standing, unfortunately, it’s not a tavern full of famous writers anymore, but home to a major coffee retailer and an outdoor shop.

Today the town is famous for its football club, Ipswich Town, which was where two of the most successful England managers of their time, Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson once worked. The club is also a record breaker, being undefeated at home in all of its European competitions, drawing in 6 matches and winning the other 25.

Isle of Man Car Hire

Approximately 32.5 miles (50km’s) from north to south and 13.5 miles (20 km’s) from east to west, it won’t take you long to drive the island in your Isle of Man Car Hire. The island is a small one, but there are plenty of things to see and experience which make it rather unique.

Isle of Man TT 2008 by Jonathan Camp on Flickr

 The island is famous for a few things; firstly there are the Manx cats, noted for having a genetic mutation which causes them to have short tails. Then, there are the Manx fairies that live under Fairy Bridge (its true). The ‘little folk’ or ‘themselves’, expect you to wish them good morning or good afternoon when passing over their bridge, and if you leave them a coin, it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll experience good luck. Last but by all means least are the rather weird and wonderful national dishes; chips, cheese and gravy, and Kippers (Smoked herring) with sweetcorn mash which is traditionally served with chilled port. However, what the island is really famous for is its TT races.

The TT races or Tourist Trophy races are motorbike races which follow a course around the island. First started in 1907, the event takes place over a two week period in late May and early June each year, and is considered to be one of the greatest motorcycle sporting events in the world. During the race fortnight the whole island takes on a carnival atmosphere with picnicking crowds flanking the course, but be warned, it’s also difficult to move around the island because many of the roads are closed, you'll see why in the video below.

Jersey Car Hire

Just off the coast of France, the island of Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands. Jersey is unique and has a different relationship with the British monarchy than the other Crown Dependencies of Guernsey and the Isle of Man. It’s not part of the United Kingdom, but the United Kingdom is responsible for its defence. It’s not a member of the European Union, but it has a special relationship with the EU for the purposes of free trade, so, all in all its…different.

St Aubin Jersey - photo by MarilynJane on Flickr

The identity of the island is a combination of British and French. When you travel around in your Jersey Car Hire, you will come across unspoiled countryside, lovely beaches, and scenic harbours. You will also come across charming towns with elegant shops, and in some of these shops there are a few things to buy which, just like Jersey, are quite unique.

The first unique thing to buy is a pullover. Depending on your age, you may never have heard of the term pullover or jersey used in relation to a jumper, but in the past that’s what a woolly jumper was called - a jersey pullover. Knitting was associated with the island for over 400 years, and in the 16th century many knitted articles such as stocks, waistcoats and pullovers were exported to England and France; you can still buy a traditional fisherman’s jersey today. The second unique item to buy in the town of St Aubin is a cabbage walking stick. The walking sticks, which have been made by Jersey wood turners since 1827, are made from massive cabbages which grow up to 10 feet (3 m) tall.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Travel North Carolina

Visit the true South with a trip to North Carolina! The state has both natural and cultural delights, and is a personal favourite, from the skyscrapers of Charlotte to the impressive Smokey Mountains. The state's 100 counties spread across a range of different elevations, from the mountain heights to sea level on the coast. Winters are mild and summers warm.

Wilmington is the biggest of North Carolina's coastal cities, the seat of New Hanover County. This city is home to The University of North Carolina, and I found it had a lot to offer a visitor- it is handy to beaches and other major North Carolina cities (easy driving distance), and is full of history!

The Historic District of Wilmington is pretty big, with lots to see- around 300 blocks! WE took a Wilmington trolley Tour, which showcases the best of the district, and you can also take narrated riverboat tours. A stroll around the area will give you an idea of the charms of historic Wilmington. All buildings must comply with the established historical standards, so taking a stroll through the residential area is like taking a step back in time to a neighbourhood of yesteryear! You can tour some of the houses in the district, like the Bellamy mansion, the city's most spectacular example of Antebellum architecture.

Wilmington's other drawcard is the beaches, and by extension, the seafood! There are three main seaside communities, Kure Beach, Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach. Wrightsville is the closest, while Kure and Carolina are to the south of the city. Whilst the beaches host a lot of holidaymakers in the summer, they are always pleasant, not too crowded and perfect for walking, swimming and sunbathing. Between Wrightsville and the Southern beaches we found the Masonboro Island Coastal reserve to be a great place to experience an undeveloped part of the coast. It is mostly untouched and accessible only by boat.

Carolina Beach
by bumeister1 Flickr Creative Commons

See here for Wilmington car rental, which makes it easy to see Wilmington and get to the North Carolina beaches!

Not too far from Wilmington is New Bern, a city named after 'Old' Bern in Switzerland, and originally inhabited by Swiss settlers. It is a port city located at the confluence of two rivers, the birthplace of Pepsi Cola and the county seat of Craven County. Tryon Palace is a reconstruction of what was once the home of Governor Tryon in the 18th century, and transported us right back to the past- colonial America. Also on the site is the North Carolina History Centre, an amazing interactive museum which really makes the most of technology to get visitors taking part and learning about history.

Tryon Palace
by rjones0856 Flickr Creative Commons

Another place we enjoyed visiting solely for the novelty factor was the birthplace of Pepsi, that cola eternally in the shadow of its red-labelled foe.  There is also a Firemen's Museum, and tours available which take in the history of this very early settlement. There is a Ghost Tour for anyone who likes that kind of thing- not me!

Check out some New Bern car rental here if you need it!

After venturing inland several hours, we came across the smallish city of Winston-Salem, another one with a rich heritage dating back to the first European settlers of North America. The West End historic district is the perfect place to walk around and get in a bit of shopping or eating. We enjoyed walking in the Historic Bethabara Park, where there are two restored period buildings. There are plenty of museums in the city, and also many institutions of learning- including the women-only Salem College, and the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

by Barney Barnes Flickr Creative Commons

An unexpected bonus- Salem-Winston is also home to North Carolina's biggest shopping mall, Hanes Mall! Have a look here for Winston-Salem car rental.

The capital of North Carolina is Raleigh. Home to the North Carolina State University, and several others, it is a centre of learning and culture, with lots of museums and art galleries, broadway shows and live music. A personal favourite was the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, a tribute to the hallowed passtime of sport, from basketball, baseball and tennis to billiards and trap shooting. Sport is a big thing in Raleigh, home to the only major league North Carolina team to have won a championship, the Carolina Hurricanes who won the Stanley Cup in 2006.

The North Carolina Museum of Art is also worth a visit for those who enjoy all kinds of art. Food-wise, southern fare is of course the most popular style, and make sure you take the opportunity to enjoy some of what the city has to offer!  Not far from Raleigh is the smaller city of Durham, home to Duke University and a city with a trendy and liberal vibe. These two cities form the 'Reserach Triangle' with Chapel Hill, a small and hilly city to the west of Durham.

Duke University
by Matt Phillips Flickr Creative Commons

Car rental in Raleigh can be found here- makes it easy to explore the Triangle at your own pace!

Charlotte is North Carolina's biggest city, rapidly growing and a centre of finance, business, technology and entertainment for the region. The Uptown district is Charlotte's CBD, full of highrises, Fortune 500 headquarters, nightclubs, eateries, condos, parks and more. The area is safe and easily walked, or you can try the free Gold Rush Trolleys, minibuses which look like historical streetcars. Discovery Place is a great museum for kids, as is ImaginOn, the library/theatre. Families will also enjoy Charlotte's parks. For adults, venture out after dinner to the NC Music Factory, Whiskey River, EpiCentre or any of the great bars and clubs that can be found in Uptown Charlotte.

by Corey Griffith Flickr Creative Commons

Like Raleigh, Charlotte is big on sports, and has a NASCAR track- Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Carolina Panthers are the city's NFL franchise,  and they play games at the Bank of America Stadium. The Bobcats play in the NBA, with their games taking place uptown.

Charlotte car rental can be found here.

Further inland and close to North Carolina's borders with Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina is Asheville. This city has a naturally stunning setting, between the Smoky and Blue Ridge mountain ranges. It is liberal, art-loving with many monikers, including the 'Paris of the South' and the 'San Francisco of the East,' which is surely confusing to anyone who has heard both! It defies the traditional southern stereotypes with it's alternative atmosphere and residents, and is popular as a tourist destination, especially with domestic visitors as those outside the States are usually not aware of this interesting city.

Smoky Mountains
by Snotgoblin Flickr Creative Commons

The city's abundant Art Deco architecture adds to its uniqueness, and it has art galleries coming out of its ears, so do not miss Asheville if you are a fan of art! These are very varied- from the Appalachian Craft Centre to the Red Square Gallery of Russian Art and Culture to the Bella Vista Gallery of contemporary art. There is also an Art Museum, along with several other museums.

A landmark of Asheville is the Biltmore Estate, a magnificent mansion on sprawling grounds which was built as an escape by George Washington Vanderbilt II. It is still owned by one of his descendants, and is the largest privately owned home in the US at 250 rooms, 175,000 square feet. The amazing building is a monument to the Gilded Age which followed the Civil War, and the heady social heights which the Vanderbilt family reached thanks to the shipping and railroad tycoon Cornelius. We toured the house and gardens of the very impressive residence to get a glimpse of how the other 0.001% live, and it is enviable!

Biltmore Estate
by Smart Destinations Flickr Creative Commons

Microbrewery tours, ghost tours, arts and culture festivals and the beautiful mountains and trails surrounding the city kept us very busy and far from bored during a visit to Asheville! To explore, have a look here for car rental.

Author: Kevin Hall+

Holyhead Car Hire

South Stack Lighthouse by Bert Kaufmann, Flickr

Cymru Am Bydd - Welcome To Wales and the Island of Anglesey. The popular port of Holyhead in north Wales is not officially on the island of Anglesey, but a smaller island called Holy Island, connected to Anglesey by a causeway. But however you look at it, this area has become extremely popular in recent years thanks to a rather famous couple.

Holyhead is surrounded by towering sea cliffs, some 600 millions years old. There is natural beauty all around, the sea, the beaches, the rugged coastline, and its countryside. This was once the bastion of the Druids, a mysterious order of priest like figures, it was a refuge for Welsh Princess who resisted Edward I during the 13th century, and it was the stronghold of the Welsh language when Henry VIII virtually eliminated it. The Welsh are Celtic and proud of it, although visitors don't need to worry, because although Welsh is commonly spoken here, everyone is bi-lingual and signs are in English.

Holyhead Car Hire is an excellent way of discovering the island’s many excellent fishing spots, its golf courses and of course it’s beautiful, unspoiled beaches. You can even cross the sea to Ireland for a few days, it takes just 99 minutes. But who are the famous couple who now make Anglesey their home? The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or William and Kate to the locals. RAF Valley is where the Duke is based, and the couple’s home at Aberffraw is on the south west coast. It’s not uncommon to see the couple out and about in their car, buzzing about on their red and white motorbike, or even in the local supermarket buying a few snacks, so keep your eyes peeled. 

Author: Kevin Hall+

Hull Car Hire

The Deep, Sammy's Point, Hull. By Tom Young on Flickr

Take your Hull Car Hire out on the roads of Yorkshire, and right on the banks of the Rivers Hull and Humber, you will come across one of the north of England’s most important cities. Hull has shaken off its image of a rather bleak city close to the North Sea coast, to become an absolute gem, an exciting, dynamic and entertaining place to visit.

Its residents are young and vibrant, friendly too, and since its revitalization, the city’s rich cultural heritage mixes well with a fun and lively social scene. There are great places to shop, every kind of food your heart could desire, as well as eight free museums, a fantastic aquarium, theatres, nightclubs - everything you need in a city break.

In 1922, the city was known as Kings Town upon Hull, thanks to King Edward. Kings Town soon became Kingston, but even then it was quite a mouthful, so these days it’s simply known as Hull. In King Edwards's day,  the city was a thriving port town, a trading hub, a whaling and fishing centre, but during the Second World War the Hull Blitz caused devastation. Trade suffered, social and education standards dropped, and times were tough. But in the early 21st century spending increased rapidly, and not only did the city see massive investment in retail, housing and public services, attractions for tourists such as the Hull Marina and The Deep, one of the city’s landmarks were also created.

The city of Hull is a culture rich and diverse city to explore with something for everyone, from culture vultures to all night partygoers.

Author: Kevin Hall+

Humberside Car Hire

Right down the Runway, near to Humberside International Airport, by

Once upon a time, not so long ago, Humberside was a county in Northern England. It bordered North Yorkshire to the north and west, South Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire to the southwest, Lincolnshire to the south, and the cold North Sea to the east. But when you visit it today, in your Humberside Car Hire, you will in fact not be there at all, as on the 1 April 1996, Humberside was abolished and replaced by four unitary authorities: North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire, Kingston upon Hull and East Riding of Yorkshire.

By 1964, the name Humberside was used to describe the area on both sides of the Humber Estuary which included the busy ports of Hull, Grimsby and Goole. The name brought the people of the area together; it was also widely used by the local authorities, who were trying desperately to promote the construction of a suspension bridge. Before the Humber Bridge was built, passengers would have the option of a ferry crossing or a long drive to cross the water, but after its construction, the bridge became the sixth largest of its type in the world, and reduced the travelling distance between Hull and Grimsby by 50 miles (80km)

So, although today you may officially not be in Humberside, you may not even know it as the name continues to be used in all kinds of institutions such as Radio Humberside, Humberside Police and Humberside Airport. It also remains the name of an extremely difficult dance – the Humberside Egg Dance.

Author: Kevin Hall+