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Best way to get out of London and rent a car?

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My husband and I will arrive in London (our first trip) in early July and after a few days there want to rent a car to go to Cornwall and later Scotland, returning to fly out of London (Heathrow). What is the easiest, and least intimidating, driving-wise, way to rent a car? Train out of the city somewhere first and hire there? Any suggestions? Same process on the other end, only returning from a different direction. Ideal would be a place not far from the city where we could pick up and return car to the same place, but which would not be too inconvenient (and not too much city/traffic driving) on either end. I am driving myself crazy with the logistics of this, and write these words at 2 a.m. as I lay not sleeping. All suggestions welcome with thanks.

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