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How many days to hire car for Cornwall leg of our trip?

How many days to hire car for Cornwall leg of our trip?

Nov 14th, 2015, 08:36 AM
  #1  
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How many days to hire car for Cornwall leg of our trip?

Mom and I are staying in Marazion from 21-28 May and had planned to hire a car for the entire week. However, we are now arriving in Penzance by train later in the day on Sat. the 21st (probably around 1800), so too late to get a car that day, which is fine. Our current plan is to get a taxi to our cottage, enjoy a car-free day in Marazion on the Sunday, and get a car in Penzance on Monday morning, returning it on Sat. the 28th for our departure by train.

Now I'm wondering how many days we'll really need a car. I'm considering doing a private day tour with Western Discoveries because I've read such great things about how they cater the day to your interests and get into the nooks and crannies of Cornwall. And I think a day in St. Ives would be fairly easy without a car, by taking a taxi to the train station in Penzance. So combined with our first day in Marazion (in which we'll probably at least visit the gardens and village at St. Michael's Mount), we may only need a car for three days. However, it actually costs more to hire a car for a few days than it does for a week. I realize this is totally subjective, but thought I'd ask what others would suggest anyway - have a car longer, or take advantage of some of the car-free options and then explore on our own with a car for a few days?
BBgt is offline  
Nov 14th, 2015, 09:33 AM
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if that's the case, there's your answer right there
sofarsogood is offline  
Nov 14th, 2015, 09:33 AM
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For me, given that Cornwall has little good public transport, I'd hire a car for most of it. My sister (who now lives there half a year) tells me when the weather is duff on the south coast she goes to the north coast, so you may want to build in some flexibility to your plans

Lets see if Annhig comes along with other ideas.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 09:40 AM
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I'd definitely hire a car for the entire time. Even if it sits for a day or two it won't cost you anything. And if you don't have one you are stuck if you change plans or want to go somewhere after the day tour.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 09:42 AM
  #5  
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I agree that cost would seem to be the deciding factor, but I've also got to pay to park the car in the local car park (which would still probably be cheaper). Maybe my bigger question is how much can we do without a car, but perhaps I've partially answered that already.

I also agree that flexibility is important - it's why we got a cottage for a week and planned to get a car in the first place! We really don't want to lock into too many plans for this part of our trip. I guess I'm just ruminating and wondered what others would do in my place...
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Nov 14th, 2015, 09:42 AM
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I was wondering how you felt about cost, was thinking about the weekly rate vs just a few days and then you mentioned it. The problem can be returning the car early, as some (if not all) agencies will change the price to the daily rate if the car is returned early and it seems you cannot keep it for a week in any case. The only fix for the problem, if it is a problem, is to pick up the car earlier in Penzance or, alternatively, sooner on your way down and incorporate the drive from that point into your itinerary.

Another advantage of having the car for the entire week is the ability to be more spontaneous on any given day, to use it or not use it for whatever you feel like doing when you get up in the morning. My habit has been to chose between planning a trip , or portion of a trip, entirely with a car, or entirely by public transport. Each has its advantages, neither better nor worse, just different. My week in Cornwall was entirely without a car as I found it easy to see what interested me by bus, as well as train.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 09:43 AM
  #7  
ESW
 
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Have you factored in the cost of taxis and train fares to St Ives into your calculations?

If the car hire is cheaper for a week rather than a few days this seems the obvious solution, Even if you do the private tour you are still ahead in the money stakes...

Actually if you do your own research you may well find you ca get into all the nooks and crannies by yourself without needing a private tour. I always use Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger maps when I am planning a holiday and very rarely bother with guide books now. I'll do a google search on a names or places that look interesting on teh map and it is amazing the amount of information it throws up.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 09:46 AM
  #8  
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Janisj and I were typing at the same time. Yep - that probably makes the most sense. Maybe I'll bag the idea of the private tour, although it sounds lovely. It would cost nearly as much as the week of car hire, though!

Just to fill in the gaps - we originally planned to fly to Exeter, drive to Cornwall, then spend another night in Exeter before taking the train to Newbury (visiting Highclere Castle). We were able to tweak the dates on our cottage to buy us an extra night between Edinburgh and Cornwall, so now we are taking the train to York from Edinburgh, spending one night in York, then taking the train to Penzance - which is why we won't get into Penzance until evening, and why we won't be able to get a car until Monday morning.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 09:52 AM
  #9  
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More simultaneous typing going on... . I'm pretty confident that if we pick up the car on Monday morning and return it on Sat. morning (before taking the train to Newbury) that we'll be charged the weekly rate. Everyone's comments about flexibility are reminding me of the initial attraction of getting a car in the first place - which was so we wouldn't have to make firm plans and could do whatever we feel like on the day.

Question about those Ordnance Survey maps - if we get one, would you bother with GPS? I've read that GPS can be a bit unreliable in Cornwall, although I usually don't travel without it.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 09:54 AM
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"...why we won't be able to get a car until Monday morning."

Then it seems that you'll be stuck with the daily rate or no car. Considering fares for 2 without the car, the daily rate may not be such a bad deal as it seems at first glance.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 09:57 AM
  #11  
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MmePerdu - I agree with your method of planning a portion of a trip either all by public transport or not. We'll be spending a week in Edinburgh with a few Rabbie's day tours and of course public transport for getting around the city, and the idea was to be independent for our week in Cornwall. Then I started thinking... (always a trap for me ;-))

It sounds like I should stick with the plan of a car from Monday morning forward. Thanks for helping me talk this through!
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Nov 14th, 2015, 09:58 AM
  #12  
 
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In my experience, the weekly rate is for a week, 7 days. I've researched the possibility of, as you intend, returning it early but keeping the discount and have been told it just doesn't work that way. So I'd advise to not assume anything but ask, so no surprises.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 09:59 AM
  #13  
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As for the weekly vs. daily rate - apparently the weekly rate kicks in for 5 days or more (we're looking at Enterprise), so for 4 days, the cost is actually more than 5 days! So picking up on Monday morning works for getting the weekly rate.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 10:01 AM
  #14  
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Hmmm... different car hire companies, I guess. I have a quote from Enterprise that pretty clearly reflects the break at 5 days, so hopefully that's firm enough!
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Nov 14th, 2015, 10:03 AM
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"Question about those Ordnance Survey maps - if we get one, would you bother with GPS? I've read that GPS can be a bit unreliable in Cornwall, although I usually don't travel without it."

Same satellites pass over Cornwall as the rest of the world so GPS is not the problem. The maps will all be based on OS (hence some of the best in the world) so I can see no reason to travel without GPS. But if you like the fun of map reading then get the OS maps. I think the person advising you was "pulling your leg".
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Nov 14th, 2015, 10:03 AM
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"...apparently the weekly rate kicks in for 5 days..."

This is very good to know and may be useful for my spring trip. I've been mulling relying on trains and friends or renting a car for a few days south of London and this may make the decision easier.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 10:09 AM
  #17  
 
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The OS maps are wonderful, the 1:25,000 my favorites for walking, any excuse to acquire another. However, while the same satellites are passing overhead, how they interpret what they see varies. I know this from trying to get visitors to my house in somewhat rural California. If they rely on GPS they never arrive. I get regular phone calls saying they're lost as they failed to heed my warnings and follow my directions. Then, of course, since neither they nor I know where they are, they're on their own. All these words to say, have both.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 10:09 AM
  #18  
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I just plugged in dummy bookings on Enterprise to check myself, and sure enough, it's £32 cheaper for 5 days than for 4! So, for Enterprise anyway, the weekly rate kicks in at 5 days. I'm sure it's different for different companies, but definitely worth checking before your trip, MmePerdu.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 10:11 AM
  #19  
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Looks like we'll have maps and GPS. We both love map-reading, in any case, so Mom will probably be happy to be in the navigator seat.
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Nov 14th, 2015, 10:45 AM
  #20  
 
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I have done a lot of driving in the SW. I personally would not get the OS map but an inexpensive road atlas (often AA -published but there are other equally good brands) at the first garage I saw. Or -- you could even buy one in Edinburgh or York and plan out some drives while on the train heading south. Will likely cost between £2 and maybe £5 tops and will be easier to handle than an OS map.

IME the weekly rate is OK for a 5+ day rental.
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