Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Renting a car at Heathrow--Recommendations etc.

Renting a car at Heathrow--Recommendations etc.

Old Nov 30th, 2020, 05:44 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 76,504
Received 22 Likes on 2 Posts
"There is no need to book direct and pay more, "
Note: I did not pay more. That would make no sense.
starrs is offline  
Old Nov 30th, 2020, 07:54 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 67,483
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Autoeurope will be cheaper in the UK about 70% or 75% of the time. I have not booked every one of my UK cars through AE but have done so the vast majority of times. I have never once booked without checking AutoEurope AND the individual vendors. Other than using AE at various times I've booked directly through Alamo, Hertz, Enterprise, Sixt, Europcar, I 'think' Dollar, and a couple of smaller local companies - probably others I can't remember. I pretty much know every rental permutation in England/Scotland and some advantages of AE are 1) often lower rates, 2) fantastic US-based 24/7 customer service with worldwide toll free ph numbers, 3) frequently much better insurance/CDW options/costs, 4) usually lower or non-existent 2nd driver fees.

But -- after getting quotes from AE, definitely do double check with Hertz or whomever you initially choose . . . there ARE the rare unicorn instances where you can get a better deal directly.
janisj is offline  
Old Nov 30th, 2020, 10:57 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,958
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Persimmondeb, Leonidas is fine, but nothing special. They have hundreds of shops and a big turnover, it's not an artisan chocolate shop.
I wouldn't make a detour to Ealing for it. But I live in Belgium, there are much better chocolates to be found here.
Tulips is offline  
Old Dec 1st, 2020, 03:17 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 19,026
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
just a quick check on chocolate. Much of US chocolate has a special flavouring in it which is normally found in Parmesan cheese, rancid butter, vomit etc. European chocolate lacks this flavour being basically made of just chocolate with various levels of vegetable fats. So it will taste different. Just in case DH was not aware.
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Dec 1st, 2020, 03:43 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 8,005
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you are used to driving an automatic, my advice would be to get one and rent at London Heathrow. The non-driver can be the navigator and hold any handheld device you are using. The government plans to ban the driver using a handheld phone for any purpose, including GPS sat nav, not just making calls or sending texts.

https://www.theguardian.com/technolo...-while-driving

Going west from the airport is fairly easy, because you can take the M4 motorway until it joins the M25 Orbital and then take that (or stay on the M4) to another motorway going in the direction you plan to travel.

Unfortunately traffic around London has increased enormously since starrs’ visit 30 years ago. The M25 Orbital was supposed to be the answer to London’s traffic problems, but now it’s worse than ever. Years ago I used to drive into central London, but now I wouldn’t dream of it.
Heimdall is offline  
Old Dec 1st, 2020, 04:59 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,958
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
just a quick check on chocolate. Much of US chocolate has a special flavouring in it which is normally found in Parmesan cheese, rancid butter, vomit etc. European chocolate lacks this flavour being basically made of just chocolate with various levels of vegetable fats. So it will taste different. Just in case DH was not aware.
That's a bit of an exaggeration Bilbo. There's also good chocolate in the US, and there's some bad chocolate in Europe. I think Cadbury's is awful, It contains palm oil and shea fat.
Tulips is offline  
Old Dec 1st, 2020, 06:15 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,086
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't know what Cadbury's chocolate tastes like now, as I haven't bought any for years. The company was bought out by Kraft, who have since changed their name to Mondelez. Our local Cadbury factory was closed, and production moved to Poland.

When the takeover was announced, Kraft said that they had no plans to close our local factory, Within a week, they changed their plans and a major local employer cut thousands of jobs. Where I live, the name Kraft/Mondelez/Cadbury leaves a nasty taste in the mouth even if you don't eat their chocolate.

Also be aware that the British premium brand Green & Blacks is also made in Cadbury factories.
chartley is offline  
Old Dec 1st, 2020, 06:50 AM
  #28  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,914
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The "special flavoring" is butyric acid, which at least originally, formed during Hershey's processing of milk, and is also found in a lot of cheeses. DS will eat American chocolates. He also likes a lot of European chocolate. I don't think he's particularly enamored of Green & Black, actually. The factory closing is finky and unfortunate, but if we boycotted every company that did similar, we'd eat very little and have no furnishings in the house.

There's of course a profound difference between Cadbury's (and similar) and the Belgian products, but it's all good, and will make my kid happy. I don't mind eating both either. DH rarely eats chocolate, but is happy to drive, and is intrigued by Cadbury World. He may even be intrigued by a random shopping centre in Ealing.

We definitely need a real GPS/sat nav. I'm horrified that people actually try to hold the phone for navigation themselves, since that sounds profoundly unsafe, and we certainly wouldn't do that. Even having the passenger navigate with one works badly for us. It's just more confusing and adds another layer of interaction. And it doesn't matter if the navigating passenger is me or DS (who's good with maps and reads well), it's just more going on. The only real question is whether we suck up the fee, or just buy a cheap one. It does need to be one that talks to DH, in addition to having a clear display, which the passengers usually will assist with interpreting.
persimmondeb is offline  
Old Dec 1st, 2020, 07:42 AM
  #29  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 19,026
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Tulips View Post
That's a bit of an exaggeration Bilbo. There's also good chocolate in the US, and there's some bad chocolate in Europe. I think Cadbury's is awful, It contains palm oil and shea fat.
hi Tulip, not exaggerating, I just asked google (miss miss it was him over there) I seldom eat the stuff except when forced to by Mrs Bilbo who likes it with beetroot
bilboburgler is online now  
Old Dec 1st, 2020, 09:40 AM
  #30  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,958
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you are going to eat chocolate, better to have a little of something fabulous rather than a large average bar.
My favorite is the Chocolate Line.
I just noticed they have a new one;
https://thechocolateline.be/nl/c/pralines/javel

Javel means bleach.. luckily that's not what it's made off.

The shop is in the former royal palace in Antwerp, and they make some of the products right there in the kitchen where you can see them at work.


Tulips is offline  
Old Dec 1st, 2020, 12:08 PM
  #31  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 67,483
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Leonidas even has a few shops in the States. But if you are determined to go to the Ealing store, I surely wouldn't drive in to Ealing B'way. I'd probably take advantage of my jet lagged arrival day and take the tube in from LHR. Either to Acton Town and change for Ealing Broadway and about a 5 min walk, or without a transfer, get off at South Ealing and walk the mile or so.

In either case, a hecka lot easier than trekking in nearly 15 miles by car and then back out again through the horrible traffic of West London
janisj is offline  
Old Dec 1st, 2020, 11:12 PM
  #32  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,958
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What Janisj says is sensible, for the trip to Ealing.
Tulips is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2020, 05:28 AM
  #33  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,914
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We're still a bit on the fence with Ealing. If we go, we may drive, since it would likely be at least sort of on the way to something else, but I took a look on Google, and it's obviously pretty dense from a traffic perspective, and not intrinsically all that exciting. Although there is an Argos there, and they would give me a GPS for about 70 pounds, killing two birds with one stone, although I'm sure there are purveyors of them nearer to Heathrow. It doesn't look like Kew Gardens is all that far from there, and DS would like that, but it's clearly not someplace you should really drive to, considering the way their website stresses limited parking.

Although I do have a question. Will my blue handicap hangtag be honored in the UK if we hang it from the dash? I rarely use it, because plain old distance isn't really an issue, but occasionally something weird is going on with satellite lots, or there's ice, or a very uneven surface. I was unsure if it made any sense to bring it, since not having it is unlikely to be a major issue (my balance is poor, I use a cane outside most of the time, and inside in some places-but I can actually walk for miles as long as I have it). My cousin Gerald parked in a handicap spot at the Rock of Cashel, and just told them that he had an elderly American with a cane with him (my father) and no tag, but we're not going to do that.
persimmondeb is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2020, 05:39 AM
  #34  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,914
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I should also qualify, since this seems to be a hotly debated topic. I meant only to use to park in handicap spots, not over the time limit or in no parking places.
persimmondeb is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2020, 07:01 AM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 42
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There is parking outside Kew Gardens on the A307 from approx where Old Deer Park is to approx where the Maids of Honour cafe is. It is free to park there. Obviously if you go at the weekend/peak times/summer you will/might have an issue. Plus there have been roadworks on Kew Bridge which has caused considerable traffic, hopefully will be finished by next year. If you are driving, getting there early is important, just after the rush hour preferably.

I used to live in Ealing a few years back, it was and still is very easy to get to from Heathrow, just go on the M4 and come off at the B455 and drive straight up to Ealing, past South Ealing tube station. This will lead to a car park for Ealing Broadway shopping centre accessible from Grove Road (you can check google maps) You can park on the street in Mattock Lane and pay at the meter. Traffic has not been very heavy this year due to obvious reasons, that might not be the case next July. But even so, traffic on a Sunday from LHR to Ealing is unlikely to be heavy, it might be once to get close to the shopping centre but we are not talking NY or LA type traffic. I do not believe your disabled badge will be honoured in the UK.

https://www.ealingbroadwayshopping.co.uk/parking-ealing
balthy is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2020, 09:51 AM
  #36  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,914
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by balthy View Post
There is parking outside Kew Gardens on the A307 from approx where Old Deer Park is to approx where the Maids of Honour cafe is. It is free to park there. Obviously if you go at the weekend/peak times/summer you will/might have an issue. Plus there have been roadworks on Kew Bridge which has caused considerable traffic, hopefully will be finished by next year. If you are driving, getting there early is important, just after the rush hour preferably.

I used to live in Ealing a few years back, it was and still is very easy to get to from Heathrow, just go on the M4 and come off at the B455 and drive straight up to Ealing, past South Ealing tube station. This will lead to a car park for Ealing Broadway shopping centre accessible from Grove Road (you can check google maps) You can park on the street in Mattock Lane and pay at the meter. Traffic has not been very heavy this year due to obvious reasons, that might not be the case next July. But even so, traffic on a Sunday from LHR to Ealing is unlikely to be heavy, it might be once to get close to the shopping centre but we are not talking NY or LA type traffic. I do not believe your disabled badge will be honoured in the UK.

https://www.ealingbroadwayshopping.co.uk/parking-ealing
Thanks, good to know it's straighforward, and DH does occcasionally drive in NYC, so he is reasonable accustomed to heavy traffic.

I wan't completely sure about the hangtag, and what I've found online seems to be somewhat contradictory. Fortunately using one shouldn't be critical, as there's not going to be ice in July, and if something looks really hairy, DH should be able to drop me somewhere flattish.

I am a little cautious about the Tube, as I understand not all stations have lifts, and those escalators are going to be problematic (I have trouble getting on and off--just how much depends on the escalator in question, but my memory is that they're pretty fast, and I know I found it a little exciting 30 years ago). I'd actually be better off with stairs, but I don't remember if they're normally publicly accessible, and I'm sure that's a long climb.
persimmondeb is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2020, 10:04 AM
  #37  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 26,056
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Yes, the Tube is an issue if you have mobility concerns. The last time I was in London I was having trouble with my knees, and I switched almost entirely to buses. If you go here there is a step-free Tube guide: https://tfl.gov.uk/maps/track/tube It's not only the stairs, some of the interchanges require a route march.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2020, 10:48 AM
  #38  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,914
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
Yes, the Tube is an issue if you have mobility concerns. The last time I was in London I was having trouble with my knees, and I switched almost entirely to buses. If you go here there is a step-free Tube guide: https://tfl.gov.uk/maps/track/tube It's not only the stairs, some of the interchanges require a route march.
Walking per se isn't really a problem, or even climbing ordinary stairs as long as there's a handrail (and I'm thinking those must be very long stairs in some of those stations, so not really fun) but I have a lot of trouble getting on and off moving things without falling. Some escalators are doable if I'm careful, and some are not. I'm thinking the ones on the Tube are probably not. Buses seem like a much better plan if we're not driving, although I know some stations do have lifts, and in a pinch we could probably plan around those.
Thanks for the guide!
persimmondeb is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2020, 07:13 PM
  #39  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,270
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
If the idea in Ealing is to visit specific shops (Argos, chocolate shop etc) I'd check opening hours. We were surprised when we first lived in the UK that shops were generally closed until lunchtime on Sundays. That may have changed by now but there's little point in making your way to Ealing to find everything shut.

If you decide on public transport to Ealing (we used to live in Ealing and that's definitely what I would do) there is also a bus that goes directly to Kew Gardens from Ealing. Easy and cheaper than car hire, no need to hassle with parking.

The long escalators at many tube stations do sound potentially unsafe for you. London has a fast pace and you could easily get bowled over getting on or off, though that's a lot less likely on Sunday than during the week. We were getting to the end of a tube escalator once and a young girl in front of me hesitated getting off and if I hadn't grabbed her round the waist she could have fallen over and been trampled by the rush of people behind us. It was fine but could have been very unpleasant. Check on the TFL website which stations have steps or use the buses.
KayF is offline  
Old Dec 2nd, 2020, 07:28 PM
  #40  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 26,056
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by persimmondeb View Post
Walking per se isn't really a problem, or even climbing ordinary stairs as long as there's a handrail (and I'm thinking those must be very long stairs in some of those stations, so not really fun) but I have a lot of trouble getting on and off moving things without falling. Some escalators are doable if I'm careful, and some are not. I'm thinking the ones on the Tube are probably not. Buses seem like a much better plan if we're not driving, although I know some stations do have lifts, and in a pinch we could probably plan around those.
Thanks for the guide!
It would never occur to me to voluntarily take the stairs in a Tube station, even when much, much younger! If you can cope with stairs you can ride the top deck on the buses, which is always a good view, but above ground travel can be really sloooow. That said, with three of you, taxis may be a viable option (proper black ones, please, not Uber).
thursdaysd is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:27 AM.