Few contemporary artists are celebrated by the average man as much as the mysterious king of counter culture, Banksy. His subversive brands of humour, rejection of conformity, authority and warfare have captured the imagination of many, whilst his remarkable talents have impressed the art world.

Photo by Dan Taylor on Flickr

Starting off as a youngster with a sharp sense of humour, keen political eye and a talented hand with a spray can, he is now one of the most successful and celebrated artists of his generation. An accomplished political activist and film director, Banksy’s street art is undoubtedly his biggest achievement. The artist has been referenced in many areas of popular culture, guest starring as a character on hit comedy The Simpsons and designing the album sleeve for Blur’s “Think Tank” album.

Bristol – the home of Banksy?

Banksy’s artwork has sprung up on the walls and pavements of many towns and cities, notably London, Brighton and California. However his work is most evident in Bristol, widely believed to be his hometown.

It is for this reason that many of his fans make the pilgrimage to Bristol, hunting out his most famous artistic offerings. Much of Banksy’s early work from 1998-2001 was considered by many as little more than vandalism, with much of his work destroyed and painted over. Thankfully today, some great examples still exist in the city with the demand for Banksy originals resulting in entire walls being auctioned off, removed and shipped to private collections and galleries.

Visiting Bristol

Bristol is a large city spread over a considerable distance and Banksy’s work can be found on almost every street corner. Driving in Bristol will provide you with plenty of opportunity to catch a glimpse of his iconic art whilst viewing the stunning skyline of this beautiful city.

Here at Avis we provide plenty of options for car rental in Bristol so you don’t have to worry about a thing. Competitive prices and high quality services mean you’ll benefit from numerous features and get the car hire experience you deserve.

Bristol car hire provides you with the means to explore the length of breadth of this fantastic city, with more than just the artwork of Banksy to keep you occupied. Whether you stick within the city limits or take a trip over Clifton Suspension Bridge and visit the Welsh country, all you need is a little research, a map (or sat nav) and one of our fantastic hire cars.

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Nice is believed to be amongst the oldest human settlements in Europe and remains one of the most popular cosmopolitan tourist resorts in Europe. A hub for arts and culture enthusiasts, those interested in visiting this beautiful region will find plenty to keep them entertained.

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Opéra de Nice

Throughout history, Nice has changed hands many times leaving it as culturally rich and architecturally stimulating as any other European city. Home to some of the most beautiful squares France has to offer, the Opéra de Nice which was built in the 19th Century still provides locals and tourists with regular performances and plenty of fantastic attractions.

Nice Cathedral

A remarkable building dating back to the 17th Century with an ornate frontage and beautiful bell tower, relics retained from Saint Reparata make this one place you can’t afford to omit from your itinerary. The city also offers botanical gardens, monuments, theatres, observatories and an impressive waterfall on the Colline du Chateau.

The Collection of the Museum of Modern Arty and Contemporary Art

No trip to Nice would be complete without paying a visit to The Collection of the Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art (Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain or ‘MAMAC’), situated by Place Garibaldi.

Just a short drive from the station, hiring a car can easily connect you with this fantastic attraction which boasts nine showrooms bursting with displays of artistic excellence.

Travelling to Nice

The English have long travelled to this enticing corner of France – and for good reason. It is well served by an airport, train station, port, and tram network. For those who really want to explore its beauty should consider car hire in France, leave the well-worn tourist trail and venture into the surrounding countryside.

Our wide range of comprehensive car hire means, whatever you need, you’ll be sure to find something to suit all your needs. On top of that, all of our services come with fantastic promises that ensure you get the best possible service.

Our three-minute promise, which guarantees you’ll receive your finalised rental agreement in just a couple of minutes, is available in almost 500 locations across the world including Nice airport, so you don’t have to worry about a lengthy rental process interfering with your holiday.

You need to have signed up for our Free Avis Preferred Membership to qualify but doing so will see you clutching the keys to your hire car in three minutes or less.

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Bright lights, the buzz of people milling about and cold crisp winter air; nothing gets you into the spirit of Christmas like a spot of festive shopping. Unlike shopping at any other time of the year, finding the perfect gift often requires substantial thought and a trip to at least one or two Christmas markets.

© Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence

Christmas in Manchester

Manchester Christmas market boasts over two hundred stalls with a remarkable choice of exotic food and drink. Local and European producers are all on hand to offer a diverse range of gift ideas which you won’t find on your average high street and this helps to make Christmas truly magical.

The market is geared not just towards the concept of offering outlets for gifts but actively making the process of Christmas shopping as enjoyable, relaxing and festive as possible. Whether or not you have a definitive list of presents for family and friends, the vast possibilities on display will soon have you thinking outside the festively decorated box.

The best way to explore Christmas markets

For those interested in sampling the delights of Christmas markets in Manchester, finding a suitable way to get there is naturally important. Like any large city, driving in Manchester is a great option. Getting you from ‘A’ to ‘B’ with little or no fuss, ample parking in the city means that you’ll be able to fill your car with festive goodies.

For those who choose to rent a car in Manchester to do their Christmas shopping, we have plenty of options available. These offer plenty of flexibility to ensure you have a bespoke agreement which matches your needs perfectly – ensuring your shopping trip runs as smoothly as possible.

Struggling with heavy shopping is not anyone’s idea of a great time and in a city the size of Manchester car hire is an efficient way of getting about. Don’t limit your gift ideas to the same old run of the mill purchases, go somewhere a little further afield and bring back something truly spectacular – the facial expression of the recipient come Christmas Day will be all the thanks you need.

For more information on shopping and other things to do in Manchester, visit http://www.visitmanchester.com/.

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Edinburgh is a city filled with a rich history of culture and spectacular grand stone architecture, a haven for tourists and local visitors alike – especially at New Year.

One of the city’s largest events, the annual Hogmanay Festival celebrated on New Year’s Eve is famous throughout the UK. Hogmanay is one of the biggest and most celebrated dates in the Scottish calendar, hosting traditional singing of “Auld Lang Syne”, widely adopted by the rest of Britain.

In days gone by it was customary to give gifts of fruit cake or salt to neighbours but modern celebrations have replaced this with a huge and triumphant festival featuring live music performances from top international artists. To mark the end of 2012, live music from acts including Simple Minds and The Maccabees will feature among other great attractions as the eyes of the world once again focus on Edinburgh.

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Edinburgh Old Town

Outside of the New Year festivities, Edinburgh still has plenty to entertain tourists. The Old Town retains many of its medieval characteristics, all of which can be seen throughout Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile. This area is also home to the Royal Museum of Scotland and the majestic law courts.

The city is surrounded by green parks and golf courses, however given their distance from many of the other attractions within the city; we would advise making car rental in Edinburgh a priority. We provide plenty of rental options for this, with a wide variety of cars on offer, so you can enjoy a trip across Scotland without any worries or restrictions.

Edinburgh – the city of festivals

For those who want to see Edinburgh at its most lively, Hogmanay isn’t the only festival on the Scottish calendar. The Edinburgh Fringe (now named the Edinburgh Comedy Festival) is the largest and most successful comedy festival in the world attracting the finest comedians, both professional and amateur. Acting as a springboard for many household names, this is one event which can’t be missed if you’re keen to get a glimpse of tomorrow’s comedians, today.

Packed with culture

With the five Scottish National Galleries all in Edinburgh, an electric mix of art, both historic and contemporary, can be found in this city’s cultural makeup. There are also several outstanding music venues that cater for local artists as well as hosting more established bands taking nationwide tours.

Exploring further

A great destination in its own right, Edinburgh is also the ideal base for further travel. A drive across the north of the bridge will bring you to Dunfermline which has a lot to offer. It is noticeably home to a 10th Century abbey. If you rent a car in Edinburgh, remember to consider where you intend to travel carefully. A little planning beforehand can help ensure your journey runs smoothly and allow you to enjoy the sites of Edinburgh and Scotland.

Our options for car hire in Edinburgh are incredibly popular and efficient way of getting to see as much of this wonderful city as possible and allow you to run to your own schedule, rather than relying on public transport.

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Driving in winter can be treacherous. As a driver it is imperative that you ensure both you and your car are safe on the roads during this difficult time – and that means being prepared.

Wintertime brings with it a range of adverse climate and road conditions. Many of us will be used to travelling in icy, wet or windy conditions but you should never underestimate Mother Nature when making your preparations.

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Check the news

Weather reports and news stations provide you with vital information about local weather and road conditions. So if you are unsure about making a journey, always check your local weather site or watch the daily weather report before setting out in your vehicle.

Learning how to drive in snow is also important, especially as weather conditions can change suddenly when you’re on the road. Here at Avis we provide additional winter driving services with our car hire options, including snow tyres and chains, to put you in the best possible position for driving.

Monitor the situation

As stated above, the weather can change drastically and this will naturally affect driving conditions. Make sure you monitor the situation as you drive and act accordingly. If you are worried about the weather then pull over at a convenient point. Difficult conditions could leave you stranded or put yourself and other road users at risk so think before you act.

Reduce your speed

It is always safer not to drive when road conditions are bad but if must travel make sure you do so slowly and safely. Many roads become icy and slippery during winter if not properly gritted so remember your braking will need to be adjusted. Avoid any sudden adjustments in speed or change of direction and keep the revs high but gear low when pulling away on unstable surfaces.

Make yourself visible

Visibility is important at all times but especially when driving in poor winter weather. Make sure that your lights and windscreen are completely clear of snow and remove any thick snow cover from your roof too. Failure to do so could see it fall when your car is transit and this can distract other drivers, especially if it hits their vehicle.

Avis provide rental cars that are equipped for the toughest of weather conditions. For more information visit the Avis UK website.

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