Old Jul 24th, 2001, 05:39 AM
Bill W.
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My wife and I will be traveling to France and England in a month. We intend to take the "Chunnel" train from Paris to London Waterloo Station and then rent a car to tour England.
My travel agent strongly recommends not renting at Waterloo but taking a train to Oxford to rent one. Her reason is the congestion at Waterloo is too overwhleming. Has anyone rented a car at Waterloo and is it that bad? We plan to leave London immediately for the country side (Cotswolds and then north). Also, any other suggestions for travel and lodging (B&B) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Old Jul 24th, 2001, 05:56 AM
david west
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Waterloo is smack bang in the centre of london (on the other side of the river from the houses of parliament) as such it is a very congested area, with high levels of traffic at all times. If you aren't used to driving on the left and a manual gear lever it may not be the best place to learn!

Why did your agent suggest Oxford? Is this your first proposed stop? You may also want to take into account that trains to oxford leave from paddington, which is a pretty easy journey on the tube (bakerloo line straight there) so if you mave lots of luggage it could be a bit of an ordeal (theres always taxis of course).
Old Jul 24th, 2001, 05:59 AM
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Bill- having lived just down the road from Waterloo I would disagree with your Travel agents opinion re:congestion around Waterloo. If you are used to driving in a City then the traffic isn't too bad nor is it too daunting - you just need a good map. However, I am not sure which Car Hire firms operate from Waterloo. Taking the train to Oxford would mean trekking across London with your bags to a different Station - I know what I would do given the choice! have a good trip.
Old Jul 24th, 2001, 06:36 AM
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Traffic in London IS bad. I live nearby and drive all over the place, but never drive into London. Given that you will be totally unused to driving on the left I would really recommend going to the extra effort to get out of the city before you rent. Of course, I'm sure you could manage, but why get stressed when you are on holiday? Get a taxi to Paddington and a train to Oxford (I'm assuming that is your first destination) and rent a car there. It will be easier to start driving an unfamiliar car, on the "wrong" side of the road, somewhere where there is a little less traffic. Mind you, Oxford can get pretty busy, but it's smaller than London so you'll get away from the traffic quicker.
Old Jul 24th, 2001, 07:10 AM
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Driving in central London is impossible. But driving in Oxford is no picnic either since they restrict most streets and encourage public transit and bicycling. In fact almost no one tries - they park in the park-and-ride lots on the outskirts and take buses into the city center.

So the best option is probably to pick up you car at Heathrow (the immediate Heathrow traffic is bad but the rental agencies are outside the airport perrimeter road) and get on the M40 motorway that goes straight to Oxford.

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