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Getting Around Manchester in a Rental Car

driving tips in manchester

The north of England is a fantastic place to explore in a rental car. If you are planning to spend some time in Manchester, a rental car is a great way to get around. We compare car hire from top rental companies in the UK to make sure you find the best deal. We have put together a guide to help you travel easily around Manchester.

Where to drive your rental car in Manchester

  • Castlefield: This historical area is home to Roman ruins, the Museum of Science and Industry. There are also plenty of cafes and bars along the edges of the canals.
  • Salford Quays: Just fifteen minutes from central Manchester, this hub of activity has seen a lot of growth in recent years because of the development of Media City. The area is home to the Lowry and the Imperial War Museum North.
  • Northern Quarter: This vibrant area just north of the CBD is a hive of activity. With more vintage shops than you can count and unique cafes, the area is a great place to spend some time and admire the street art.
  • Old Trafford: This older area of Manchester has primarily become known as the home of the Old Trafford football ground, of the famous Manchester United.

Driving tips in Manchester

  • Get used to driving in the wet weather. It rains a lot in Manchester, so it is a good idea to take extra caution and maintain slower speeds.
  • Manchester is surrounded by a number of motorways. Familiarize yourself with the numbers of the major roads you need before you travel. The Ring Road (M60) will take you in a loop around central Manchester. The M62 will take motorists south toward Liverpool.
  • There are strict limitations on the amount of alcohol you can consume before driving in the UK. Make sure you are below the limit.
  • It is an offence to use your mobile phone while driving.
  • Traffic is busy in Manchester, and roads can frequently become congested, especially in the central regions where you may also be driving on one-way streets.

Parking in Manchester

There are a number of NCP car parks in central Manchester, as well as pay and display bays around the city centre. If it is a bank holiday, there is often no charge for using specific parking bays. Time restrictions will apply to central parking zones.

Toll roads in Manchester

The Warburton Bridge in Greater Manchester will charge users a toll. There are no toll roads in central Manchester, however the M6 road charges a toll if you are driving toward the West Midlands.

There are toll tunnels and bridges if you are heading into Liverpool or Preston. Note that the Mersey Tunnels in Wallasey will charge a toll.

Driving distances

  • Manchester to Liverpool: 55 minutes
  • Manchester to Sheffield: 1hr 20mins
  • Manchester to Leeds: 1hr


Make sure you fill up your rental car with petrol before you return it, or you could face additional charges. Here are a few centrally located petrol stations.

  • Texaco 25 Broughton Ln, Salford.
  • Shell 571 Oldham Road, Manchester.
  • Texaco Palma Ave, Manchester.
There is a lot to see in Manchester. If you're a football fan, you can't miss a tour of Old Trafford and Etihad Stadium, the grounds of Manchester United and Manchester City. In the city centre, St Peter's Square and Town Hall are a must-see. There are also plenty of exciting places to discover in the lively Salford Quays area.

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