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Car rental pick up--ugh!! Euston?

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Mar 21st, 2013, 02:26 PM
  #1
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Car rental pick up--ugh!! Euston?

We are staying in London for the first three days of our trip then heading to Bath and various countryside. We would like a car for that portion of our trip (not IN Bath, but for countryside). Thought about taking train to Bath and renting a car there, but cost is higher for pick up/drop off difference plus train ride . . . Our London hotel is very close to Euston train station and Kings Cross, so rental pick up in that area would work as we will end our trip there at same hotel.

Is it crazy to try to drive out of London? We will be leaving first thing- 8ish- on a Saturday morning. Some inconvenience ok, but we don't want hours of congestion. Does anyone have recommendations about catching train vs. getting car there? If not getting car in London, is there a more convenient stop just outside? We'd like to have the car sooner than later to keep luggage as we spend day in Bath before going just past Bristol to a B&B.

Further note: we are both good drivers and not upset by traffic, just don't want to spend all day getting out of town.

Thanks for your input!
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Mar 21st, 2013, 02:45 PM
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"Is it crazy to try to drive out of London? "

Of course not: millions of us do it every day. It's far better signed than anywhere I've ever been in America, and infinitely better disciplined than third-world horrors like Manhattan or San Francisco, where they've still to learn that emotional incontinence might be mandatory in psychiatric therapy but is a bloody stupid way of getting across a busy city.

The big problem is getting the car back. So big that if I were unused to driving on the proper side of the road, I'd collect the car at Heathrow and take it back there

At 0800 on a Saturday it's a piece of piss to get from a Euston/KX hire depot to a westbound motorway. It's important to follow M40/A40 signs for 20 miles to the M25, then drop south to the next junction and get the M4 west. Following M4 signs from north London exposes you to urban traffic before you've got used to our way of driving: going M40/M25/M4 gives you 2 hrs of divided road before encountering a car heading towards you on what colonials delude themselves is the wrong side.

For Bath then Bristol, collection at Kings Cross or Heathrow makes much better sense than trying it in Bath/Bristol.
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Mar 21st, 2013, 02:49 PM
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I don't think it will be too bad at 8 am on a Saturday, if it's more conveinient for you to have the car then, go for it. Now coming back in to London could be another matter........
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Mar 21st, 2013, 03:49 PM
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<>

Yeah, like the signs make sense or the drivers are all well-studied Brit public schoolers or the roads even go anywhere useful - no such thing as a logical grid-street layout in London. Evidently flanner can be a provincial ass and criticize one on the same day. [http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...70596-2.cfm?7]

Here's a legit question: if you rent at Euston, will you be hit with the charge that private drivers get when in London?

And are you going to Bath first for __ nights before leaving for the countryside? If so, then you're not necessarily paying more for getting the car in Bath because you can rent your last day there and save the additional daily charges.

And have you ever driven on the other side? If not, you may want to just rent in Bath because it's easier to get accustomed to that outside the largest city in Western Europe.
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Mar 21st, 2013, 05:11 PM
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On a Sat AM it won't be too difficult to drive out from Euston/Kings Cross. But to take the pressure off - just take the tube from Kings X to LHR and get the car there. That is by far the easiest location to collect a hire car.
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Mar 21st, 2013, 08:28 PM
  #6
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Flanneruk- directions very helpful. I can see that the getting out would be easier than the getting back.

Smeagul- that does seem to be the problem. We'll be coming back the next Wednesday night late evening. I wondered if that would be easier as sometimes heading opposite of commute isn't as time consuming. Thoughts?

Big Russ- we hadn't thought of the extra London charge. I will check on that. We are only in Bath on Saturday, so need the car that evening to get to our B&B.

Janisj- Heathrow is looking like a good option. On maps it is hard to get a sense of things, is it difficult to maneuver from underground to car rental places?

Thanks everyone!
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Mar 21st, 2013, 08:37 PM
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I could be wrong, but I don't think the congestion charge for central London is charged on the weekend. Also Euston station is right on the edge but not in the zone.
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Mar 21st, 2013, 08:46 PM
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>>is it difficult to maneuver from underground to car rental places?<<

The rental agencies are on the edge of airport so you'd walk from the tube station into the terminal and follow the signs for ground transport. The rental shuttle buses circulate.
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Mar 21st, 2013, 11:37 PM
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The congestion charge is Monday to Friday and Euston is just outside of it.
Traffic won't be great coming back in but if it's more conveinient do it.
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 12:45 AM
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" We'll be coming back the next Wednesday night late evening. I wondered if that would be easier as sometimes heading opposite of commute isn't as time consuming."

It's not the congestion. It's that, with no signs on the M4 saying "Hertz Euston car hire return this way", you've got to navigate yourselves.

Tricky enough anywhere in Britain (in a built up area, satnav signals aren't reliably accurate enough for the precision needed to get the turning into a hire place right): a particular problem for hire depots in central London because it's very easy accidentally to stray into the congestion charging zone (though it ceases to operate at 1800). The zone's very clearly marked in advance - but it's not always easy if you've strayed into a lane heading into it to change lanes before crossing the boundary. This is a particular risk returning to Euston/KX from the M4: it's close to impossible to stray inside if you're coming in on the M40.

If you do stray in before 1800, you can pay by web, phone or most convenience stores (£10 if you do it before midnight, £12 if you pay the following day) so it's not the end of the world. Details at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cong...ging/6744.aspx
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 01:22 AM
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Driving in London is fine - I certainly prefer it to driving in Brussels.

And I find it easier to drive on the left on roads where it's busy. It is on quiet country roads without traffic, that you will make the mistake of going the wrong way around a roundabout, or making a turn and ending up on the wrong side of the road. When there are lots of cars, you just follow the flow of traffic.

As Flanneruk says; drive in and out of London via the M40.
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 02:00 AM
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To coin one of Flanners sayings " it's a piece of piss" if you come in OFF the M40 very very easy, you really can't miss where to go!
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 02:31 PM
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One thing to consider - most city center locations have limited hours. Are you sure the Euston one is open late in the evening?
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Mar 22nd, 2013, 09:01 PM
  #14
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Well, flanneruk, I am disappointed to hear about the lack of "Hertz this way" signs on the highways. Seems kind of inconvenient for random visitors like me! I appreciate your directions and information, though. One question, how would we know if we had crossed the boundry?

Smeagol- thanks for the encouragement! (it is very likely we can miss, but it's always good to go in optimistically )

janisj- I am so glad you mentioned the hours. I had a smack-my-head moment! I can't believe I haven't checked that specifically. Hopefully the Ts we forget to cross won't be catastrophic.
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