Rental companies may charge extra for drivers aged under 25, normally payable when you pick up your car. Age restrictions may apply in certain locations. Check the rental company's website before booking.

Car Hire in London

Car Hire in London

This information is correct as of June 2015

London, one of the most popular cities in the world, is filled with various historical landmarks, grand museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, and an entertaining nightlife. Going around here with public transport can be manageable, but it is more convenient for some to have a car rental. If that is the option you prefer, you will find various choices to think about upon arriving in London.

Where to hire a car in London

Big-name companies – Avis, Sixt, Thrifty, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car – are only some of the operators providing car rental services in London. There are over a hundred of smaller firms and independent owners offering different types of cars in the city, which makes it easier to shop around for rates that would fit with your budget. From here, you can choose from a wide range of selection from the operator you choose to transact with. Any would be suitable, as long as the breadth of the car is not too big for the parking spaces and other regular-sized public areas. When beginning the arrangements, make sure you understand all the terms and conditions to learn the instances when you are not allowed to use the car or how you should pay additional fees for certain damages. You should also take into account the need to be insured properly, as well as the various requirements you will need to submit. If you have a non-UK driving licence, it is valid for use for up to 12 months from the time of your last entry into the country.

What to expect when hiring a car from London

It is important to note the rush hours when driving in London. The city centre, more or less, experiences heavy traffic almost all day, but there is lighter traffic on the side roads. Traffic is generally easier to traverse before and after 8 pm, which makes it important that you schedule your day trips within these times, so you do not get bogged down during peak hours.

When travelling in London, you should be aware of where the toll roads are. Going through motorway routes such as M4 and M25, as well as bridges and tunnels on specific A roads, so be sure to look them up before going on your trip. You will also pay to congestion charges if you are going through the following areas: St. James's, Waterloo, Borough, City of London, Clerkenwell, Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, Charing Cross, London Bridge, Holborn, Finsbury, Bloomsbury, Soho, Mayfair, Westminster, and parts of Marylebone, Lambeth, and Southwark. The fees apply between 7 am and 6 pm on Mondays to Fridays, and are cheaper if you pay in advance.

Trams can also be found in South London, where there is a small network called London Tramlink. Three routes run along 28 kilometres of track, including Wimbledon to Elmers end via Crydon, Croydon to Beckenham, and Croydon to New Addington. Cycle routes are also available, so you should be additionally careful when driving next to these lanes. If you are looking for parking, various facilities can be found in London. You will have to patient with looking for free spaces, though, as it can get crowded, especially in weekdays.

Getting to your destination

There are various areas you can reach from London. Some of them are:

A historical city associated with the Magna Carta and Christianity in England, Canterbury makes a pleasant city to visit. You will find here the Fordwich Town Hall and the Canterbury Norman Castle, as well as the Greyfriars Chapel, to name a few.

To get to Canterbury, you will have to take A3211, A1203, and A102 to A2. Follow A2 and M2 to Boughton Bypass/A2 in Boughton-under-Blean. Take exit 7 from M2 and then continue from here to A2050 to King Street in Canterbury. The trip can take an hour and 20 minutes, depending on the traffic along the way.

The East Sussex town of Hastings are dominated by the sea, which sustained its livelihood, and the legacy of the Norman Conquests, which took places just a few miles down at the Battle Abbey. The remains of William the Conqueror's first English castle can still be found here today, including the annual coastal Current Arts Festival.

When going here, take A3212, A302, Westminster Bridge Road and London Road to New Kent Road/A201. Tolls would have to be paid at A302, so be sure to prepare for the charges. You will then follow A20, M25, and A21 to White Rock Road in Hastings, and continue from here to your destination. Partial restricted usage on this road should be expected, so slightly heavier traffic might be found here if you are arriving near the hours of congestion. The trip can last an hour and 45 minutes at the earliest, so be sure to get out of London early to avoid incoming traffic.

A dynamic and vibrant waterfront city, Portsmouth is packed with unique shopping destinations, great places to eat, and a long waterfront that stretches out for miles. It is also home to various museums, galleries, and other cultural venues from magnificent theatres to live music venues.

Going to this part of England would make it necessary that you go on St Margaret Street/A3212 and then take A3 and A3(M) to Twyford Avenue/A3 in Portsmouth. You can then take the exit towards Cross Channel Ferries/North End from M275. Upon continuing on Twyford Avenue, drive to Stamshaw Road/A3 to arrive in your destination. The trip can go between an hour and 30 minutes or longer, depending on the traffic conditions on the day of your trip.

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