Rent a Car for Travel in London

Renting a car enables exploring London’s top attractions and beyond at your own pace. With proper planning for insurance needs, driving laws, and navigating London’s complex streets, renting a car can be easy. Follow this guide for tips on renting a car for travel in London.

Finding a London Car Rental

Start by finding a rental provider:

Major Rental Agencies

Big international companies like Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Europcar and Budget have airport and city locations.

Local UK Companies

Local brands like Green Motion, Easirent, or Arnold Clark may offer lower rates than major brands. Research policies.

Peer-to-Peer Rentals

Sites like Turo allow locals to rent out their personal cars. Compare costs but verify insurance coverage.

Aggregator Sites

Use comparison sites like and Kayak to find deals across multiple companies. Watch for hidden fees.

Rent a Car for Travel in London

London Car Rental Companies

CompanyPickup Locations
HertzHeathrow, Gatwick Airports, City Centers
EnterpriseHeathrow, Gatwick Airports, City Centers
EasirentHeathrow, Gatwick Airports, City Centers
AvisHeathrow, Gatwick Airports, City Centers
Green MotionHeathrow, Gatwick Airports, City Centers

Choosing a Rental Car in London

Consider the following when selecting a rental car in London:

  • Rental duration – Are you renting for a few days or longer?
  • Number of passengers/luggage – Choose a car size that fits all passengers comfortably.
  • Locations – Will you stay central or take road trips outside city?
  • Fuel efficiency – Opt for diesel, hybrid, or smaller petrol cars.
  • Transmission – Manual is more common than automatic. Ensure you can drive stick.
  • Features – GPS, Bluetooth, child seats etc.
  • Cost – Balance size and features with rental fees.

Insurance Needs for London Car Rentals

Insurance for London rental cars is crucial. Ask:

  • Is basic insurance included or will you need to add CDW (collision damage waiver)? Know what’s covered.
  • Should you purchase supplemental liability insurance for extra protection?
  • Does your credit card provide rental coverage? Understand the benefits.
  • Are there exclusions like damage to windows, tires, roof or undercarriage?

Purchase adequate insurance to avoid large out-of-pocket expenses for any damages or theft. The minimum liability may not provide enough coverage.

Pick Up and Drop Off Locations

When booking, choose convenient rental locations and times. Options include:

  • Heathrow (LHR) or Gatwick (LGW) airports – Best for arriving visitors.
  • London train stations – Pick up a car right downtown.
  • Inner city rental offices – Major agencies have central branch locations.
  • Flexible return – Return to a different approved location for a small fee.

Review opening hours to avoid after-hours return fees. Factor in transit connections to and from rental locations.

Driving Tips for London

Driving in London requires caution. Be prepared with these tips:

  • Use GPS and maps to navigate London’s complex streets and roundabouts. Mobile data is inconsistent.
  • Watch for motorcycles, cyclists, pedestrians – they have the right of way.
  • Parking is extremely limited. Reserve rental lots or garages ahead when possible.
  • Avoid congestion charge zones in the city center without proper credentials.
  • Follow speed limits and signs closely. Fines from speed cameras are expensive.
  • Be alert for narrow lanes, reversing into spaces, left-hand turns.

Rules of the Road in the UK

Follow these rules when driving a rental car in London and the UK:

  • Drive on the left side of the road.
  • Seat belt use is mandatory for all passengers.
  • Children must be in proper child safety seats.
  • Headlights required day and night when driving.
  • Yield to traffic from the right at uncontrolled intersections.
  • Strict legal limit of 0.08% blood alcohol content when driving.
  • Completely hands-free mobile phone use only while driving.

Refueling Your London Rental Car

  • Review if you must return the car full or can pay for unfilled fuel.
  • Refill close to your drop off location before returning the car.
  • Keep fuel receipts as potential proof of fill level.
  • Most stations are self-service. Pay at the pump with chip/PIN.

Dropping Off Your London Rental Car

When it’s time to return your rental car in London:

  • Return during posted office hours to avoid after-hours drop off fees.
  • Inspect the car fully with agent and note any new damage before turning it in.
  • Keep rental agreement in case of disputes over later damages or charges.
  • Have fuel receipt ready to show fuel remaining.
  • Get $0 balance receipt from agent upon safe drop off.

Helpful London Car Rental Resources

Use these additional London rental car resources:

With proper preparation, renting a car enables easy travel around magnificent London and beyond. Use this guide to start planning your London road trip!

Frequently Asked Questions about Renting a Car in London

What documents do I need to rent a car in London?

You’ll need a valid driver’s license, passport, and credit card in your name. Some companies require an International Driving Permit (IDP).

What is the minimum rental age in London?

The minimum age is usually 21-25 depending on the company. There may be extra underage fees for younger drivers.

Can I take a rental car from London to other parts of the UK or Europe?

Yes, but notify the rental company in advance. Extra insurance fees or restrictions may apply outside the UK.

Is automatic or manual transmission more common for London rentals?

Manual transmission is far more common. Ensure you are able to competently drive a stick shift before renting.

How expensive is car rental insurance in London?

Basic insurance averages £10-20 per day. Supplemental liability can cost £20-40+ extra per day.


Renting a car enables you to visit London’s incredible sights and surroundings on your own flexible schedule. With the right vehicle, insurance coverage, and knowledge of local driving rules, you can comfortably navigate this world-class city and region by rental car. Use this guide to start planning your London road trip!