Driving in UK

Jun 26th, 2008, 12:02 PM
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Driving in UK

My family (with two boys age 7 and 12 will be travelling to UK next week for two weeks. Any suggestions to go? Have accomodation in North London. Does anyone know how to get the best deal for car rental? How can we obtain those CDP# of PC# to get discount?
Many thanks
ywkkw is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 12:07 PM
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Okaaaay? I have no idea what "How can we obtain those CDP# of PC# to get discount? " means. Translate please.

Where in "North London". That covers a huge area. IF you need a rental car (you won't if you are staying in London) you need to book it before you leave for the UK. Walk-up rates are much higher.

You probably already have some ideas where you want to go - so what have you planned so far?
janisj is online now  
Jun 26th, 2008, 12:16 PM
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Next week, eh?

I think -- I THINK-- those CDP/PC coupons can be had through Costco Travel, but for only certain rental agencies. Check Costco.

Anna Roz
anna_roz is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 12:22 PM
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CDP# means Counter Discount Progam and PC# means Promotional Coupon. All I know is that it does make a big differece to the cost for car rental.

We really have not planned anything yet. I am thinking should I buy a Great British Heritage Pass for 7 days and go to Roman Baths, Warwick Castle, Shakespeare's birth place and Stonehenge. I do not know how long we should stay at each point as I have never been to any of these placea. Also should I rent a car with GPS (never use it before) as I understand all these popular places should be all well sign posted. Will the boys enjoy going to Hampon Count and Blenheim Palace?
ywkkw is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 12:25 PM
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A lot of times, the car rental companies actually will list the discount codes on their websites.

For example, on Hertz.com, you can get a 15% off car rental in Europe with Promotion Coupon (PC) number 112755. This is available on their website. You just need to do some homework yourself.
yk is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 12:33 PM
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Thank you very much,yk. You are a great help. One more favour to ask-by any chance you know the PC# for Avis too?
ywkkw is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 03:25 PM
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If you use autoeurope.com it is very likely you will get Hertz or Avis for less than you would using their "PC#'s"
janisj is online now  
Jun 26th, 2008, 03:31 PM
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I'll second janisj's recommendation of AutoEurope. We got a very good rate with them last year - picked up the car in London and returned it at Heathrow.

Personally, I think Blenheim Palace is ostentatious; the grounds were lovely, but I didn't find the inside all that interesting.

I haven't been to Hampton Court, but I think your boys will really enjoy Warwick Castle.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 03:32 PM
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Your boys will love Warwick Castle because it looks like a little boy's idea of a castle--drawbridge, etc. Hampton Court is good for children because you can do self-guided tours and there are people in costume in some of the rooms--you probably still can take a boat from London (Thames at Westminster pier) up to Hampton Court then easy trip back on the train. Don't know about summer, but the last time I was there meat was roasting on a spit in the Tudor kitchen--the sort of thing that appeals to young ones. Blenheim is a bit more stuffy but I think there is a small train which goes around the property and animals on display at the estate farms, also wonderful ice cream made on the estate. Hope you are not planning to drive in and out of London for these day trips--big mistake. Depending on where you're staying you might have to pay the London congestion charge each time you take the car and you could be in horrendous traffic getting in and out of London. If you drive, Bath (Roman spa)and Stonehenge should be combined for one day and Warwick Castle and Stratford (the latter probably big yawn for your kids) could be another day. When I lived in London, I used to take the underground to Heathrow to pick up a rental car for a day in the country--avoids the traffic and hassle of London. All the sites you mention make sense for a Heathrow rental car pickup except I wouldn't drive to Hampton Court.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 03:39 PM
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It would be better to take the train TO Hampton Court Palace and the boat BACK to London. Otherwise you don't get to the palace until the afternoon and may not have enough time to tour.

Take a morning train to HCP, getting there at opening time. Then after lunch and at least 3 or 4 hours for teh palace itself, you can take the boat the 3+ hours it usually takes to get back to Westminster.

Do tell us where you are staying - "North London" could mean anything, and a car may or may not be your best bet.
janisj is online now  
Jun 26th, 2008, 04:50 PM
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For your car hire also look at www.novacarhire.com - no coupon or code needed for the discount. We have used this broker numerous times. You will be placed with one of the major car hire companies. An automatic car will cost you more.

How many days do you plan to stay in North London? Share where it is you are booked?

For driving you need to purchase a good road map (can do this when you arrive). Also print out some of the routes you plan to drive from www.theaa.com etc.

SandyBrit is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 05:49 PM
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Recently we have found www.Kemwel.com to be a bit cheaper than Autoeurope although they are related companies. Autoeurope will meet Kemwel's price. In fact, last time we spoke to Autoeurope about Kemwel being cheaper, Autoeurope replied, "Okay, I'll just write it up on Kemwel." Go figure.
crckwc1 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 06:04 PM
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I disagree that Stratford won't be fun for the kids. The waterfront area is entertaining in summer and while I wouldn't push too many of the Shakespeare sights in town, your kids would enjoy Mary Arden's house which is located a mile or two out in the country. Warwick castle is superb, and you could also visit Kenilworth, about 5 miles from Warwick, 12 mi from Stratford, in the same day. Kenilworth has a beautiful castle in semi-ruins - very evocative.

You could go to Stratford/Warwick/Kenilworth for two days. It is about 90 mi from London and would be a lovely break from the city.
palatino82 is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 08:17 PM
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Thank you for all the replies. We have rented a place at East Finchley where it is supposed to be close to M1- the motoway. We will pick up a car at Heathrow. So Warwick Castle is definitely a good choice. What is it special about Mary Arden's house? Can I drive to Hampton Court Palace from East Finchley without paying the London Congestion charge? Will the GPS show the option(to pay or not to pay)? GPS will cost about GBP150 more (from Hertz). With all these famous landmarks, is it worth the cost to get a GPS or just a few good maps? Does anyone knows about the back stage tour at Stratford too?
ywkkw is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 09:29 PM
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I used to live in finchley - use the tube to go into central London don't drive. I used to go to work on a motorbike, and that is the only private transport I would use in central London.

Reasons not to drive in central London

1) traffic, lots of it moving slowly

2)sinage - or lack of it. A lot of signs only tell you the next place along, not whether you are heading north or south or if you are heading out of London.

3) Congestion charge - i moved before this came into force. If you don't pay the charge (£8) on the day or the day after (and there are no toll booths) you will have to pay a penalty of £120. If you are unfamiliar with the roads you might stray into the charging zone without realising it.

Rent a car for the days you are out of London but otherwise use public transport.

East Finchley is an OK place, a few restaurants and pubs, no McDonalds even though the UK headquarters is there, but one tube stop on the Northern line will take you to Finchley Central which has a lot more going on and a couple of supermarkets for groceries.
sashh is offline  
Jun 27th, 2008, 04:35 AM
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I would spring for the GPS. When we first arrived we found driving (on the other side of the road) to be pretty stressful and trying to read a map, even with two people, only added to it.

As for relying on signs for the major attractions, I wouldn't. The signs for Stonehenge don't show up until you're almost there. Also, maps don't always clearly say if a road is one way. This can also add to the stress level!

Last note -- our GPS will also show rest stops on the motorway and it's always nice to know when the next bathroom break is! Our GPS also has a very cool option where it will find "points of interest" nearby. The other day we were at the beach but the wind was too harsh so we hopped in the car and checked what else was cool and closeby. We ended up at Portchester Castle and it was amazing. It's sort of a fun way to add some serendipity to your planned vacation.

Good luck!
BKP is offline  
Jun 27th, 2008, 07:31 AM
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AutoEurope never comes close to the rates that I can get direcly from the major rental companies when I use a good discount code. Check http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=392 for codes.
JP is offline  
Jun 27th, 2008, 01:57 PM
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I would not drive in London. The congestion and traffic is unbelievable. Just pick up a car for the time you want to be out of the city; check AutoEurope or whatever company you decide to use to see if they have a pickup/drop-off site near where you're staying.

We used
and printed out their driving directions for the places we wanted to go. Mr. Pickle drove and I read the directions.

Lee Ann
ElendilPickle is offline  
Jun 27th, 2008, 06:45 PM
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JP - I went on the link to flyertalk for coupon codes but the best I found was 15%. Did I miss something? With the 15% discount, Hertz quoted 334.23 GBP (roughly $662.00) compared to Autoeurope's $467.75 for the same size car, same itinerary, same everything.

Where can I get a coupon that would beat this? Anybody?
crckwc1 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2008, 06:23 AM
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If I was traveling with 2 boys I would take them to Northern Wales. Betws-y-coed. Snowdonia Park. In the area there are great castles, hiking, slate mine tour, woolen mill tour, train rides up the mountain.
http://www.castlewales.com/caernarf.html The Caernarfon Castle has an elderly gentleman who will take you on a tour for 1 or 2 Euro. He is worth every bit of it. He makes the castle come alive again.
bratsandbeer is offline  

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