Different Car Rental Question - England

Old Oct 21st, 2002, 08:55 AM
  #1  
K
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Different Car Rental Question - England

Hi,

I am thinking about renting a car for 4 days to travel the English countryside from London. There will be 3 of us, so we feel it will be better than the train.

We will be staying in London first, then traveling. The question: Should we arrange to pick up the rental car at the airport anyway, or in town? We figured if we picked up and dropped off the car in Heathrow before heading to Bath, then we would avoid driving in London itself, which I hear can be difficult for first time
left-side drivers. We will also be returning to London after dropping off the car.

Yes, we realize we will have to get back and forth from the airport an extra trip, but avoiding driving in London might be worth it.

Thoughts, anyone? If London is not so bad, we can pick up a car not too far from where we are staying (near Marylebone). Thanks.
 
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 09:01 AM
  #2  
janis
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Your are right - Definitely pick up the car at Heathrow. it is very easy to get to LHR and very easy to drive from LHR to Bath.

getting out os London unless you have driven there MANY times can and usually is a nightmare. But LHR is right on the M4 motorway that heads towards Bath.
 
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 10:40 AM
  #3  
K
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Thanks, Janis! I appreciate the response. I think the airport plan will be the easiest - at least on our nerves!
Happy travels, Karen.
 
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 11:14 AM
  #4  
Jim
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Absolutely agree that you should pick up at LHR. You'll be right by the Motorway (the M4 if my memory serves me right) and you can get on your way. The only caveat is that when returning the car to LHR, look very closely for the sign for rental returns as it was very small and we missed it the first time. But you'll be fine driving on the left. I certainly was.
 
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 02:33 PM
  #5  
Snoopy
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Check around with different agencies to find out where they have pickup locations. I think there are a serveral hotels near Heathrow, on the M4 where you can pick up cars from Avis, Hertz, and several other companies without having to drive onto the airport grounds.
 
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 10:53 PM
  #6  
John H
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Definitely recommend the Heathrow option. That's what I did in September, and it worked wonderfully. Little stress (though finding rental agencies and gas stations when returning the car can be a little tricky/luck of the draw. You may want to pay more for gas and stop off for it on one of the main highways before exiting for Heathrow).

Having rented a car once in London itself, I would never do that again. Take the tube or train out and start your rental in a relaxed way.

Happy travels.

john h
 
Old Oct 22nd, 2002, 05:37 AM
  #7  
K
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Thanks everyone! Since you all say the same thing, I think my mind is definitely made up. To LHR it is! I think the driving part will be a fun adventure (I hope!).

Happy travels everyone,
Karen
 
Old Oct 25th, 2002, 12:26 PM
  #8  
Rob
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Heathrow is definitely the way to go. We rented a car this fall and would do the same again. The traffic in London is definitely worth avoiding if at all possible.

For your information, your car rental will probably cost you more than you expect. When we rented, I assumed that my credit card would cover the usual extra insurance charges, which it did for collision damange but if you're from the U.S. or Canada, you will be hit with a charge for 3rd party liability. There is no way to avoid it, as far as I can tell. For us, our car rental went from £375 for 24 days to over £700. You need unlimited 3rd party liability in the UK whereas here in N.A., it's usually in the $2-5 M range. If you are lucky enough to have unlimited 3rd party with your insurance company, bring along documentation of it or you'll be forced to pay the additional coverage.

Otherwise, have a great time. By the way, while we were there gas was around 73 pence per litre, and it's always cheaper in towns and much more expensive in the gas stations along the M's.
 
Old Oct 27th, 2002, 07:39 PM
  #9  
Audrey
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I was just ready to book a mid-size wagon so 5 of us could travel with luggage for 3 of us. Would that be a bad idea? We are going from London to Swansea, Wales and then stopping on the way back to London in the Cardiff and Bath areas. Also, we were going to pick the car up at the Victoria Station Hertz counter and return it there since we may be spending another day in London before our return trip via Gatwick airport. Is it really that tough to drive out of London from the Victoria Station? Should I reconsider and rent the car out of Heathrow?
 
Old Oct 27th, 2002, 07:53 PM
  #10  
Ric
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I think Heathrow is the way to go if you have never driven in London. Luckily, the people I was traveling with had driven a right hand drive car before. I was the navigator from the car rental place back to our hotel to get the others in our party, so I did not actually drive. Let me tell you from sitting in the passenger seat, driving in London is scary!!! Not only do you have to keep repeating "keep left", but we almost hit a person on a bike who darted out in front of us. I could never have done the driving, but thank g-d I had a real pro doing it! Once we hit the A4/M4 it was much, much easier!
 
Old Oct 29th, 2002, 12:14 PM
  #11  
k
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Not to keep bumping up my own post, but Rob said that unlimited 3rd liability was necessary and not covered by US insurance and he paid a fortune for it, and didn't know about it until he got there.

For future reference, when people search on the forum, I thought I'd update you on a response from hertz.com.

I asked (via email) if their prices included the unlimited 3rd party liability that I heard was mandatory in the UK, and the response was "The liability protection is not mandatory, it's optional. You don't have to buy it".

I'm not sure if this policy is different for different rental companies, but I am printing out the response and bringing it to England with me, just in case...

Happy travels,
Karen
 
Old Oct 29th, 2002, 12:27 PM
  #12  
EW
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Whoooaaaa there Karen:

DON'T EVER drive on a British road without 3rd party liability. It is the very minimum insurance allowed on our roads. Should you be involved in an accident that is your fault, you will be liable for ALL costs (and that includes road repairs!). This is waived as you will have 3rd party insurance (or at least it will be claimed from your insurers). If you drive without 3rd party insurance, you will be driving uninsured - and this may result in a prison sentence if caught.
 
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