Driving hire car into London on a Sunday

Old Aug 3rd, 2008, 10:22 PM
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Driving hire car into London on a Sunday

Hi all

First time poster.

I had been planning to drive my hire car into London on Sunday, drop it off at the depot, and walk to my accommodation (not very far from my drop-off point).

Having read all the admonitions not to drive in London (but not having seen too many relating to Sunday driving) I was wondering if maybe I should re-consider this option.

I will avoid the congestion charge but was wondering just how horrific driving will be. My drop-off point is Marylbone/Mayfair and closes at 3.00pm
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Old Aug 3rd, 2008, 10:35 PM
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Broin, I wouldn't worry about it on a Sunday. There is less traffic than during the week (though the area around Oxford Street is always busy). I've driven around London at all times of the week, and though it can get busy, it's not the kind of crazy traffic you can find in southern European cities.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2008, 10:57 PM
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London traffic is never "horrific", unless you're so easily horrified you're reduced to a gibbering mass of terror at the sight of a field of newborn lambs.

In fact, if you've been driving elsewhere in Britain, you'll find traffic in central London extraordinarily disciplined, predictable and polite.

The problem for people from out of London isn't the traffic: it's the complexity of navigating to a specific point - and the fact that, if you get the navigation even slightly wrong, recovering can be very tricky indeed.

Get the hire company to give you PRECISE directions of how to get to the dropoff point from the motorway you'll arriving on. PRECISE means how to get to the specific place you have to drive the car to - not where the office is. Dropoff points are often five or ten yards from thg street address of the office: often in a different street, and sometimes needing crucially different approach strategies for the last half mile. And no-one in the street's going to have the foggiest where the car hire place is: none of them are from London either, and they've all done less driving here than you.

Remember that however polite thge other traffic, you're dealing with constantly changing street names, straight roads are unEnglish and most central London streets are one-way.

But you'll be fine.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2008, 11:20 PM
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Thanks Tulips, and flanneruk I will take your advice.

If it's not stretching this topic too far, might I just ask for one other piece of advice.

I will most likely be coming into London from Winchester way - is there one road/motorway that would be best to use and/or one to definitely avoid?

Thanks again.
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Old Aug 4th, 2008, 12:05 AM
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An extraordinary proportion of the old lags on this forum have some connection or other with Greater Portsmouth, and undoubtedly have their own favourite route. Few of them are ever up this early, though.

Personally, I'd just take the M3, then follow the Central London signs as it turns into the A316, then taking the A205 and A4, stiill following Central London. That gets you to Hyde Park Corner.

Now wait for the REAL squabbles...
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Old Aug 4th, 2008, 08:46 AM
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I agree - you should be just fine driving into London on a Sunday. At least if you are at all used to UK road signage, etc. I'll assume that won't be a problem since you would have been driving around in you rental car for days/weeks.

But I can't stress enough flanneruk's advice about getting EXACT directions to the drop off point - including which lane to be in at what points. If the entrance to the garage is even 50-100 feet from the office it could be in a different street or around the corner - or possibly across the street. And that could mean a real maze to get back to square 1.
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Old Aug 4th, 2008, 09:26 AM
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I would not disagree with Flanner about the route he suggests.

However, as someone brought up in Portsmouth, I would say that Winchester is virtually the Midlands, and quite different from Portsmouth. The scenery is different, the climate is different, and the people are different. Once you get "over the hill", everything changes - for the worse. "The hill" is Portsdown Hill, the long chalk ridge overlooking the city. The highest point on the island of Portsmouth itself is Fratton railway bridge, about 12 feet above sea level.
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Old Aug 4th, 2008, 12:26 PM
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I would suggest either renting a sat nav with your car, or if you one that has UK mapping, bringing one from home. They are indespensible in London.
Also, no congestion charge on Sunday.

I have find google maps directions better than mapquest, if you are mapquesting directions to your final destination.
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Old Aug 4th, 2008, 01:35 PM
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Hi all

Thanks very much for the advice. I had been considering bringing a Satnav but had ruled it out. I think I'll reconsider.

Cheers
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