Where and What to Hire
When it comes to renting a car in London, there are literally hundreds of options to choose from. Each London’s airports have a good range of international car hire companies as follows; London City - Avis and Sixt London Heathrow – Sixt, Budget, Hertz, Enterprise and National Car London Gatwick – Sixt, Easirent, Europecar, Budget, Four Motion, Thrifty and Enterprise London Luton – Enterprise, Sixt, Monarch, Alamo and Green Motion London Stansted – Europecar, Easirent, Ambassador, Green Motion, Budget and Acme. In the city centre there are also hundreds of places from where to hire a car. It is best to do an online search to find the most convenient. It is possible to rent everything in London; from a motor home, limousine or sports cars to smart cars, electric cars, two-door, four-door, luxury vehicles and vans, motorbikes and scooters.
Driving in London has a certain reputation. It is hectic and frantic with many cars on the roads as well as thousands of cyclists that often tend to weave in and out of the traffic. In 2003 a congestion charge was implemented in the centre of London. This has decreased traffic slightly. (This information is correct as of 8 April 2015) The charge applies from 7am to 6pm Monday to Friday and is £8 for a day. The North and South Circular are often busier as many cars bypass the congestion zone as they are not entering central London.
Parking in London is difficult and expensive. Restrictions apply from 8.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday and 8.30am to 1.30pm on Saturdays. There is metered on-street parking which is often time limited, but there is no guarantee of finding a space, especially on weekends or when there are large events on in the city. Commercial parking is often a better option especially as these are free on weekends. Charges only apply in Victoria, St. James’s, Waterloo, Borough, City of London, Clerkenwell, Holborn, Finsbury, Bloomsbury, Soho, Mayfair, and parts of Marylebone. Parking for West End shows and theatres can be made cheaper with the Theatreland Parking Scheme which gives up to 50% off parking.
Where to Go and What to See
Hiring a car in London is a good idea in order to explore the surrounding area. Just over an hour away is the beautiful historic city of Oxford where picnics and punting bring welcome relief from the bustle of London. Brighton is just a 2 hour drive south of London and makes a great day trip for the whole family with attractions for kids and adults alike. For art and architecture, just travel the 14 miles south west to Hampton Court Palace for a day among splendid gardens and a wonderful maze that kids will love getting lost in. Less than 2 hours from London by car is the breath-taking New Forest which is a world away from hectic London. Here, walkers, hikers and mountain-bikers can enjoy the stunning scenery, pony treks, cosy pubs and endless rolling hills. 35 miles North West of London is another wonderful day out for younger visitors; the Roald Dahl Museum. A visit to this award winning museum is an unforgettable experience.