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Two questions about renting a car

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Bombay, India
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334 posts
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Two questions about renting a car

We (a family of 4) plan to rent a car to visit places like Bath, Arundel, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon for 4-5 days. These will NOT be day trips from London - we will stay in convenient motels near these places. I must mention that since I drive in india, I am already used to driving "right-hand-drive" cars on the left side of the road, so that's not a concern.

First question:

Would paper maps be relaible and accurate enough for navigating around the motorways and highways between these places? Or would a GPS be essential? Any suggestions for where I can get good maps - preferably free?

Reason for asking is primarily to save the approx 50 pound cost of GPS rental, which is almost a third of the entire car rental cost!

Second question:

I'd like to pick up and return the rental car from somewhere near our London rented apartment, which is in Maida Vale (post code W9 3TN). Most of the car rental companies have garages in the Edgware Road or Padington areas, which is reasonably close to the apartment. I'm a little apprehensive of driving in the city and finding my way upto the motorway. I'd also like to avoid the congestion charge zones (the apartment itself lies just outside the CC zone, at its nothern edge).

How difficult will it be to find my way in and out? On our first day we will be driving south to Arundel, aiming to reach there by approx 10 am. On our last day, we will be returning from the west along the M3 or M4, probably around 4 pm.

Would it be better to take a train or bus to some point outside the city to pick up the car?

Any other points I need to be aware of?

Watford
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for London
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41. Re: Two questions about renting a car

Both would work although they would be time consuming. I'd go with the Putney Bridge option as the family can wander along the river or find a cafe (there are a couple nearby if memory serves) should the weather be poor.

Ontario
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42. Re: Two questions about renting a car

Hubby and I have logged several thousand miles in the UK over the years without the aid of a GPS. I do agree that it takes 2 people - my husband doing the driving and me doing the navigating. The first time we tried it we got off to a pretty rocky start. I first had to dislodge my fingernails from the dashboard - I was terrified hubby was going to slip over to the "other" side of the road. And does everyone NEED to travel at warp speed over there?! We also went round and round and round the round-a-bouts more than a few times while I got myself oriented with the map! My biggest problem, coming from Canada with its vast countryside, is how compressed everything is in England. I always overestimated the distances on the map and we would be through a village before we knew it!

Several years ago, English friends gave us a very detailed atlas given out by Barclay's Bank. It has been with us on every trip since, and is now a little worse for wear with duct tape on the binding. As long as we have it though, we never feel lost. We consider every wrong turn an adventure, and we've seen some great sights that we otherwise would have missed! My only problem now is that I also need a large magnifying glass - my middle-aged eyes not being what they used to be. Oh - and I plan to wear Sea-Bands as I experienced a little motion-sickness on the last road trip because my eyes were too long on the map and not on the road - darn bi-focals! These are the adjustments one must make as time marches on! One other concession to creeping age -- I finally convinced hubby to rent an automatic this time!

Heading over May 10 to visit Devon/Cornwall/Dorset - the last bit of the UK that we have yet to see. Can hardly wait!

Bombay, India
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334 posts
14 reviews
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43. Re: Two questions about renting a car

Due to a last-minute change in my apartment, I am now considering another pickup / dropfoff location. My new apartment is in W14, about 600m south of Shepherd's Bush tube station.

National/Alamo have a garage located at 73/77 Britannia Road, Fulham SW6 2JR. This is JUST outside the congestion zone limit, and is very close to the Fulham Broadway tube station.

Compared to the garage at Putney Bridge (SW6 3UH), would the Fulham garage be more convenient in terms of ease of city driving?

Watford
Destination Expert
for London
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44. Re: Two questions about renting a car

Putney Bridge is two stops further down the District line so a little further out of central London and therefore better for ease of getting away although there isn't a lot in it.

From your new property you can take a overground train from the new Shepherds Bush station to West Brompton and change there for the southbound District line.

45. Re: Two questions about renting a car

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