We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

car rental outside london?

australia
Level Contributor
166 posts
81 reviews
Save Topic
car rental outside london?

Hello again. We are staying in London first 2 nights then want to hire a car to travel around UK...friends have told me they saved money by hiring the car from Reading instead of picking it up in London. Not as convenient, but any thoughts on this?

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Likely To Sell Out
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Bath from...
5,358 Reviews
from US$131.10*
Special Offer
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath...
2,128 Reviews
from US$139.80*
US$155.40
Likely To Sell Out
Warner Bros Harry Potter Admission...
515 Reviews
from US$118.30*
Likely To Sell Out
Luxury Paris Day Trip with Champagne...
477 Reviews
from US$349.20*
Hertfordshire...
Level Contributor
8,740 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: car rental outside london?

I'm not sure really, I would have thought that all the big chains offer pretty similar rates no matter where you pick up, though I understand that some charge a small premium for a Heathrow pick up.

I know that some people on this forum have picked up cars outside London in the past, but that's mainly because they wanted to avoid driving in London. Guildford has quite a few of the main chains not far from the train station, and it's about one hour on the train from London Waterloo station. You'll have to do a bit of research with your pickup locations and see whether it's worth the extra hassle.

As an example, I just looked at Europcar and took a hypothetical journey next week, picking up a small economy car from Heathrow, returning it 10 days later, and it was 179 pounds. The same booking, picked up at Guildford, was 166 pounds. 13 pounds is not a lot of difference, and is cancelled out by your train fare I'd reckon. So do some homework, and see what other companies come up with, it may be worth it, it may not.

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Guildford
Guildford
Surrey, UK
London Waterloo Hostel
London Waterloo Hostel
328 Reviews
London, UK
Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport
Hounslow, UK
Hertfordshire...
Level Contributor
8,740 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: car rental outside london?

In fact the biggest difference I'm getting at the moment is with Hertz, £188 for a 10 day Heathrow pickup, or £171 for a Guildford pickup. £17 isn't a lot of money and probably doesn't justify the train fares.

There are sometimes budget hire firms out in the sticks... maybe this was what you friend used? Just for info, the very cheapest quote I'm getting for Guildford is with Alamo.

In short, unless your friends know of a really cheap rental place in Reading, then Heathrow is probably the easiest and most cost effective pick up place.

Mentioned in this post
Guildford
Guildford
Surrey, UK
Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport
Hounslow, UK
australia
Level Contributor
166 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: car rental outside london?

Thanks, but we don't want the car in London, we only need it to travel around the UK, so Heathrow isn't really a necessary option for pick up. We plan to stay near Waterloo station and it's difficult, looking at maps, when you aren't familiar with the city, to get your bearings. My husband isn't sure if he wants to drive out of London or not. Some people say it's a nightmare, others say it's ok. Just wondering how complicated it is, driving from Waterloo station in London, to the Cotswolds? I went into the AA route planner and it doesn't look very straightforward. Any thoughts?

.

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Cotswolds
Cotswolds
England, UK
Waterloo Bar and Kitchen
Waterloo Bar and Kitchen
570 Reviews
London, UK
Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport
Hounslow, UK
London, United...
Level Contributor
11,395 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: car rental outside london?

I f you don't want to drive in London, but want to drive from London to the Cotswolds, Heathrow would be a near ideal pick-up place, I think. It's well outside the narrow and busy streets of London, and it's on the Motorway on the correct side of London for the Cotswolds.

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Cotswolds
Cotswolds
England, UK
Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport
Hounslow, UK
Bath UK
Destination Expert
for Bath
Level Contributor
2,634 posts
66 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: car rental outside london?

Hi

Thousands of people manage to navigate around London every day and, yes, quite a few will end up going the wrong way for at least part of the journey!

I can't tell where you are from but if you can successfully navigate your way across Sydney/Melbourne/Perth avoiding the highways you ought to be fine.

It's a lot less stressful to set a small proportion of your overall budget aside and hire a car with sat-nav.

The advantage of hiring a car from, say, Reading or Heathrow is that you avoid London and you can just drop your car off on the way to catch your plane. BTW there is a (slow) train that runs between Waterloo and Reading if you did decide to hire from there (which would save you having to get to Paddington).

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Perth
Perth
Perth and Kinross, UK
Reading
Reading
Berkshire, UK
The Paddington Hotel
The Paddington Hotel
391 Reviews
London, UK
Waterloo Bar and Kitchen
Waterloo Bar and Kitchen
570 Reviews
London, UK
Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport
Hounslow, UK
UK
Level Contributor
49,560 posts
91 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: car rental outside london?

I think the difficulties of driving a car out of london are over-exaggerated as long as (1)you have sat nav and (2) avoid the congestion zone (so you dont unknowingly pick up a large fine later).

I think Reading would be a PITA to hire a car from, Reading centre is usually congested and awkward to get out of. Ask your friend what they did when they got to the station. Did they need to get a cab toa car rental place?I cant recall any car hire facilities nearby the station.

With sat nav it would be reasonably straightforward to get out of LOndon, and it would avoid faffing about with luggage going to Heathrow and then getting a rental shuttle - you could be best part of the way to the Cotswolds by the time you have done that, especially if you stayed somewhere to the north of the city (for where you are going).Waterloo is a pretty grotty area anyway, so that would be a double bonus if you avoided staying near there

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Cotswolds
Cotswolds
England, UK
Waterloo Bar and Kitchen
Waterloo Bar and Kitchen
570 Reviews
London, UK
Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport
Hounslow, UK
australia
Level Contributor
166 posts
81 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: car rental outside london?

Thanks everyone. Plan B is to do the London bit at the end of the trip instead of at the beginning. That way we can sleep at a hotel near the airport the first night we arrive (luckily we do arrive at night!) pick up a car next morning, do our tour of the 3 countries, drop car back at or near airport (depending on where drop off point is), train into London and stay a few nights then home. This sounds simpler, I think.

As for Waterloo being a grotty area...only going by what TA members recommend hotel - wise...the Premier Inn there is supposed to be very central to everything, and gets good reviews, but will look at Tower Hill one instead; this may be even better.

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Waterloo Bar and Kitchen
Waterloo Bar and Kitchen
570 Reviews
London, UK
Melbourne
Level Contributor
3,247 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: car rental outside london?

I would look at picking up & dropping off the car at one of the numerous rental depots on Edgware Road. Outside of the congestion zone & a straight run out of the central London area heading to the north-west and then onto the motorway. Its on the circle line on the tube so easy & cheap to get to from anywhere in central London. I've always found it a great alternative to Heathrow and much easier than the rental depots near Waterloo. Almost no need for a GPS as well.

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Waterloo Bar and Kitchen
Waterloo Bar and Kitchen
570 Reviews
London, UK
Heathrow Airport
Heathrow Airport
Hounslow, UK
Hertfordshire...
Level Contributor
8,740 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: car rental outside london?

<"As for Waterloo being a grotty area...">

It's not really, just a few bits around the station are. Whoever told you to stay in the Premier Inn was talking sense, it's a popular tourist hotel close to the Thames with only a ten minute walk over the river to the West End. So don't worry too much about Waterloo being a dump!

Mentioned in this post
Waterloo Bar and Kitchen
Waterloo Bar and Kitchen
570 Reviews
London, UK
The Thames
The Thames
195 Reviews
London, UK
10. Re: car rental outside london?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 17 April 2010, 05:23