Car hire Southampton Airport

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Set off with a Southampton Airport car hire

Steeped in maritime history, this port city on the English Channel has more to offer than might be expected. Many travellers pass by the attractions of Southampton on their way to board a cruise ship—unless they are Titanic history buffs come to visit the ship’s last port. Should you have the opportunity to experience this seaside city, it’s well worth exploring the many theatres, expansive Southampton Common, the historic town walls, and the many museums. 

Southampton Airport car rental locations 

The rental car facilities at Southampton Airport are found in the multi-storey car park building just outside the terminal. To determine the location for picking up your car hire, read the instructions in your rental confirmation and follow any signs. 

What you need to know for your Southampton car hire adventure 

Guide to Southampton Airport 

Southampton Airport (IATA: SOU) offers both domestic and international flights and is located in both Southampton and Eastleigh. The single terminal has 12 stands, and there is one runway. The airport has a dedicated mainline railway station and is also located near the junction of two motorways, making it easily accessible. 

Inside the terminal building, travellers will find an array of shops and eateries as well as a pay-per-use lounge. There is free WiFi available and conveniences such as ATMs, a help point, and a post box.

Parking is available, both long and short stay car park, and can be booked online.

southampton bus street buildings

Driving your car hire in Southampton and the UK 

A safe trip is a good trip! Before you hit the roads of Southampton and take to the highways to explore the rest of the country, brush up on some local customs and rules. Stay clear of incidents and enjoy your journey—here are our top tips.  

  • Always drive your car rental Southampton Airport on the left! This is the rule and custom in the UK. If you are unused to this arrangement, we recommend setting aside some time to practice after you arrive and pick up your rental car. 

  • Distances and speed limits will be posted in miles and miles per hour. 

  • The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration when driving is 0.08%. 

  • Country lanes in the UK can be narrow and winding. Drive slowly on these and be prepared to pull over to allow other vehicles, animals, cyclists, or pedestrians to pass. 

  • There are several M roads leading out of Southampton. These are dual-carriage motorways and the default speed limit is 70 mph. Always stay in one of the left-hand lanes unless overtaking. 

  • At a roundabout, you must give way to any vehicles already circulating. Always drive around them in a clockwise direction. 

  • The Southampton city centre provides on-street parking from 8 am to 8 pm Mondays to Saturdays, and 1 pm to 6 pm on Sundays. In the inner city, you are only allowed to use it for two hours, while other areas will permit you to park for four hours.

A person walking down a shop lines street in Southampton.

Where to take your Southampton rental car 

With a car rental in Southampton, you can discover both the city and the many wonderful places to be found in the south of England. Drive a short distance and you can be wandering the streets of London, enjoying the beaches of the Cornish Coast, or marveling at the monoliths of Stonehenge. 

Set right on the southern coast of England, Southampton makes a fantastic pick up location for a memorable UK adventure. With your own (rented) set of wheels, you can march to the beat of your own drum and plan a journey to suit yourself. Of course, London is nearby (with rental cars available from Stansted, Luton, and Heathrow airports), and beyond that, you might drive your hire car to Bristol, Birmingham, and an array of other charming and character-filled cities in England, Wales, and Scotland.

 If you’re planning a more localised car hire Southampton holiday, there are many fantastic destinations you could include in your itinerary. Below are a few ideas, all of which are in the city or within an hour’s drive.

SeaCity Museum 

This wonderful facility includes the story of the Titanic as part of the wider tale of Southampton’s connection with the sea. If that’s not enough history for you, the city has many more museums including the Solent Sky Hall of Aviation and Tudor House Museum and Garden. 

Southampton Common 

This vast urban parkland covers 326 acres not far from the city centre. It includes an Urban Wildlife Centre and fishing lake, the ideal car rental Southampton destination for locals and visitors alike in the summer months. 

Stonehenge 

Stonehenge.Less than an hour’s drive northwest of Southampton will see you at Stonehenge, the UK’s most famous ancient historical site. The stone circle made up of huge monoliths is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a perplexing mystery—nobody knows why it was erected. 

Bournemouth

This seaside resort town in Dorset is around 40 minutes drive from Southampton, a pleasant drive through New Forest National Park. A popular oceanfront destination both now and in Victorian times, it is packed with spa hotels and makes a fantastic weekend getaway. 

National Motor Museum

This is also called The Beaulieu Motor Museum. From the ancient motor carriages to classic family saloons, this well-known National Motor Museum has one of the finest range of cars, motorcycles, and motoring memorabilia around the globe. Just this year, they decided to show off iconic cars, gadgets, and costumes from the latest 007 film, Bond in Motion – No Time To Die.

Medieval Merchant's House

Have a break from the busy city and take in the history of Southampton's 'old town'. With just a 15-minute drive in your rental cars Southampton coming from the airport, this restored late-13th-century building is equipped with replica period furnishings that will surely be worth your time.

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Car hire Southampton Airport: Frequently Asked Questions

See all of our FAQs

Is it cheaper to rent a car at the airport or away from the airport? 

Rental rates for city occasions and airport locations are generally quite similar. Hiring a car from the airport can cut costs spent on other forms of transport. 

Is it easier to rent a car from the airport? 

Picking up your hire car for Eastleigh or Southampton from Southampton International Airport makes it easy to hit the ground running—driving—and explore without having to worry about public transport schedules or shuttles. 

Which car rental companies are onsite at Southampton Airport? 

Rental suppliers operating at Southampton Airport include Budget, Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, National, Alamo, Europcar, and Sixt. Follow the signs to the car rental office of your chosen provider and experience meet and greet service from the reservations specialists to collect the vehicle keys and rental agreement.

What choice of cars are there to hire at Southampton Airport? 

The range of rental cars at Southampton Airport includes everything from small compact vehicles to luxury cars, vans, and SUVs. When you search for your rental vehicle with our simple search engine, you can narrow down the options to see the ones that suit your need and price range.

If you have any specific details needed regarding your chosen car or van hire, it is best to get in touch with the rental office to get that important information.

How do I find the best car hire deals at Southampton Airport? 

To find the best deals on Southampton car rentals, enter your details into the search panels at the top of the page. The handy filters make it easy to pinpoint the vehicle size, type of transmission, rental company, and other features that will suit your plans. 

As a global rental agency, GoSee has the buying power to secure the best prices and specials—and pass the savings on to our customers.

What’s the cheapest Southampton Airport car hire? 

The title of cheapest Southampton car rental is one that will be passed between vehicles and suppliers according to rate changes, temporary deals and discounts, and other factors. However, Alamo, Enterprise, and Europcar have consistently affordable rates. 

To locate the cheapest available vehicle for your hire period, ensure that the listings are sorted by “cheapest price first”.

What is the cost for week-long car hire in Southampton? 

The cost of a week’s hire car at Southampton Airport can range from around GBP£240 to GBP£1,700+ depending on the vehicle and supplier you choose, any applicable deals, and the time of year. 

What do I need to get a hire car in Southampton?

You must be 21 years or older to get a hire car at Southampton Airport. Some car rental companies allow renters with the age of 25, and most of them will charge a young driver's fee if you are under 25 years old.

Also, a renter must present a full driver's licence and a valid credit card. You must also prepare an additional identification such as your passport.

Can I return my Southampton Airport car hire outside office hours?

It is recommended that you return your car rentals Southampton during office hours. But if it is not possible, you may want to contact your chosen brand (call Avis, Budget house for example) to find out whether a 24-hour drop-off service is available. Please remember you are responsible for the condition of your rental vehicle until they check it.

What is the minimum rental period?

The minimum rental period for a Southampton Airport car hire varies per brand. Some companies allow rentals for at least 24 hours, while others have a minimum of 3 days. Please read the rental agreement of your chosen company or call them directly for any clarifications.