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.
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!
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?