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.

Renting a car in London

Level Contributor
155 posts
11 reviews
Save Topic
Renting a car in London

We will be in England in May 2012. Staying in London for 10 days, then rent a car (10 days) to tour Cotswold, Bath and Wales. Likely we will be staying in zone 1. Would appreciate any advice on a good car rental etc.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
86,079 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Renting a car in London

AutoEurope is an agency that arranges cheap rentals with the major companies. The UK site is sometimes cheaper than the US one, so check out both www.autoeurope.com and www.auto-europe.co.uk

Dunfermline, United...
Level Contributor
13,237 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Renting a car in London

It would be a good idea to pick the car up at Heathrow Airport rather than in London. Easy to get on the M4 heading west. Driving in London can be a nightmare

London, England
Level Contributor
1,319 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Renting a car in London

No idea why Nick is suggesting using an agency.

There is rarely any benefit and should changes be required or should you have any queries post booking they don't have access to the hire company systems.

Where will you be staying in London? After your trip will you be flying straight home, and if so from which airport?

County Dublin...
Level Contributor
26,490 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Renting a car in London

This is a good local firm.


Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
29,541 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Renting a car in London


If you rent the car from Heathrow, you should be able to return it to Gatwick without having to pay the extra "different drop off" premium.

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2,950 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Renting a car in London

I have done a similar trip driving to Wales and the Cotswolds. I rented the car from Oxford (from Avis). This had two advantages, it reduced the amount of driving I had to do, and I avoided having to drive through London. Even without the congestion charge driving in London is difficult. Having lived there on a previous occasion, I know it took me a month or so to get used to local driving conditions and to learn my way, and I was only driving in the outer suburbs and Surrey, not inner London.

Doncaster, United...
Level Contributor
26 posts
117 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Renting a car in London

One thing to consider is that renting at Heathrow airport is usually much more expensive than renting elsewhere. I would seriously consider treating the holiday in two halves. Take the train to London when you arrive and enjoy London without the driving hassle (the Tube is very easy to use) and then take the train from London Paddington out to somewhere like Reading and hire from Rabbit (they have a depot less than a mile from the station) or one of the other local companies.

From Reading you can get straight on the M4 motorway and go west towards Bath and the Cotswolds. When you get back to Reading, there is a coach service from the Reading railway station to Heathrow.

Edited: 12 January 2012, 06:44
Level Contributor
9,939 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Renting a car in London

"One thing to consider is that renting at Heathrow airport is usually much more expensive than renting elsewhere"

That's not my experience. For a rental last month I checked rates for various locations across London and the quotes for airport pick up were identical to city centre locations.

The truth is that the rates / deal change all the time and you have to do lots of test bookings to find the best for you. If you're not familiar with driving in very dense/aggressive conditions, then picking up the car somewhere like Oxford may be an option to consider.

London, United...
Level Contributor
1,334 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Renting a car in London

It might work for you, assuming that you choose one or other of the two apartments around the Surrey Quays area as mentioned in other posts, if you were to look at picking up from Wembley Park station. I believe that one or other of Enterprise or Europcar (can't remember which) will either bring the car to you or pick you up and take you to your depot. Wembley is close to the A40/M40 which will get you on your way towards the Cotswolds. Wembley Park is on the Jubilee tube line, so you would be able to get there from a station near to your apartment without the need to change trains.

London UK
Level Contributor
2,562 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Renting a car in London

Try Ealing Car and Van Rental. It is beside the start of the A4/M4 in west London and the nearest stations are Kew Bridge Rail Station and Gunnersbury Tube Station. The office is open 24 hours a day. During office hours it books out cars although from about 6 pm it can only receive cars at the end of the hire period. So it will be open to pick up the car and from 6 pm it can accept dropped off cars. It has its own website for further details.

Not many , if any, central London car hire companies offer a 24 hour drop off service.