London Car Hire

Jun 15th, 2014, 07:21 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 274
London Car Hire

I will be staying in Richmond, Surrey, during September 2014. I intend to spend a few days in and around Port Isaac while I am there. I will be needing a small car for driving around in Cornwall.

I looked at two options:
1. Take the train from London to either Bodmin or Truro and hire a car there.
2. Hire a car in London and drive down.

Option 1 looked attractive until I started doing the budget. Then it became clear that adding the return rail fare to the car hire became quite expensive.

I then looked more closely at option 2. After lengthy research into car hire options in London, the cheapest place I have found to hire a car is Gatwick Airport. The quotes I am getting there are almost half the quotes I am getting in central London. Even adding in the cost of getting from Richmond to Gatwick, it is still looking like the cheapest option.

Am I missing something?
Will the cost of petrol to drive all the way offset the cost of the train fare to Cornwall?
Are there cheap car hire companies operating from Gatwick that I have to watch out for?

All advice will be gratefully appreciated
Yelpir is offline  
Jun 15th, 2014, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 27
Gatwick is the wrong side of London for Cornwall, you would be better looking for quotes at Heathrow Airport which has direct access to M4 for journey West. Either way its a Long drive. Petrol is around £1.30 a litre

It depends on number in party - for 2 or more car hire is probably cheaper but for a single traveller train with advance purchase fares would be usually be cheaper
MymsMan is offline  
Jun 15th, 2014, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,229
I'd do a one way rental - take the train to Exeter or Plymouth, collect a car there, do your car touring and drive back towards London. Where you drop the car depends mostly on your plans -- if you are flying out or returning to spend more time in Richmond - drop the car at LHR.
janisj is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 07:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 274
Thanks MymsMan and janisj for your replies.

I must be missing something. Each time I look up train prices from London to Cornwall it comes up close to 100 pounds one way. Sometimes I get lucky and it offers me a return for 102 pounds (depending on which destination I choose).

Using a distance of 250 miles each way, a fuel consumption of 10 miles per litre and a fuel cost 1.3 pounds per litre, the total cost of fuel there and back comes to about 65 pounds. An extra day's car rental adds about 25 pounds. So one way by train and the other by car works out pretty expensive. Return by train and return by car come out pretty much a wash. For the extra 10 pounds that the train costs, I get to sit back and let someone else do the driving

However, some of the very cheap car rental places at the London Airports make a huge difference because they offer a price of 15 pounds a day or less. Over a total of 5 days hire, that is substantial.
Yelpir is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 07:36 AM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,006
With the very cheap car hire, it might be worth checking that this includes unlimited mileage. You should also understand that a cheap car will be small and might not be very comfortable over such a long journey. Some car hire places have very basic models in order to keep the price down.
chartley is online now  
Jun 16th, 2014, 09:58 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 27
Advance fares are only published three months in advance so may not have been available for the dates you looked.

I found using random dates in July a fare of £20.50 each way (sometime 2 singles is cheaper than a return ticket) for London-Exeter £33 for faster service.
Bodmin/Truro are about £75.50 Plymouth £65.50

If you do drive and use the A303 route you will pass directly by Stonehenge
MymsMan is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 10:20 AM
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 721
I must be missing something.

Cheap "Advance" tickets only become available a maximum of 12 weeks before date of travel.
dotheboyshall is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 27
You could also look at flying to Newquay - prices from £65 return;r=2014-09-07
MymsMan is offline  
Jun 16th, 2014, 11:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 274
Thanks, all, for your kind help. It seems that I am trying to book too early. I think I will wait a couple of weeks and try for those cheaper train fares. I would prefer not to have to drive all that way and I am a little nervous of the super cheap car hire companies.
Yelpir is offline  
Jul 12th, 2014, 10:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 274
A quick update: Having waited for the cheap tickets to become available, I was able to get train tickets from Richmond to Exeter and back for 37 pounds!!! Car hire in Exeter is also very reasonable, so it's a win-win
Thanks for all the great help
Yelpir is offline  

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