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When people visit England, most choose to stay in London. London is a great city full of wonderful sites to see, but if you are limiting yourself to only using public transportation, you are going to miss taking some great day trips from London by car.
There are so many nearby towns you can visit if you have access to a car and part of the fun in coming to England is being able to experience different parts of the country.
We often stay right outside of London, rent a car and take day trips to different cities. There is so much to see that is within an hour or two drive from London that you might miss if you don’t have a car.
Driving in England
Worried about driving in England? Don’t. While driving on the left does take some getting used to for those of us that drive on the right, you will find that it is fine once you get the hang of it!
Those roundabouts can be quite the bugger if you don’t know what you are doing. The best advice I can give you is to study up on roundabout etiquette before you get to England.
Renting a Car in England
When you are looking to rent a car in England there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
First, cars are quite small and that is for a reason. The parking in England is tight. Don’t be expecting to get a minivan or an SUV easily. Most likely, you will be in a 2-door hatchback.
Second, most rental cars are manuals. If you want an automatic, you are going to want to make sure that you book that in advance. But do know, you will pay more for an automatic than a manual.
When renting cars in England, factor exact times of pick up and drop off. Most car rental companies book cars for 24 hour rentals. This means that if you pick up the car at 12 pm, you need to bring it back before noon the day of your return. If you show up at 12:30, you will be paying for an extra day!
Just like when you rent in your own hometown, the Car Rental Company will try to sell you on their insurance plan. Make sure you speak to your own car Insurance agent to see what they cover and what they don’t.
Parking in England
Since you will be going to different destinations, you are going to want to know where you can park and where you can’t! Parking is no joke here and you are going to want to follow the rules or face harsh penalties, like fines, boots or towing.
First off, you are going to want to make sure that you have plenty of coins with you when to are driving. Most car parks will ask for pounds and not all accept credit cards or give change. Be prepared!
Read the directions when you park the car and pay. Some will ask you to pay & display a ticket on the dashboard. Others will want you to take the ticket and pay when you exit the lot. No matter which, be sure your car is not over the line. If it is, you can expect to face a penalty.
Don’t let this keep you from taking some day trips from London by car! The key is to be prepared and knowledgeable about the rules before you take to the road. As long as you obey the rules and drive in a safe manner, you will be fine!
Have you taken any day trips from London by car? What was your experience? Do you have any tips to share?