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Is it advisable to rent a car when visiting the United Kingdom?

If you are visiting London or other major cities in the United Kingdom, it is generally not necessary nor advisable to rent a car for several reasons:

  1. Traffic goes in the opposite direction in the United Kingdom as compared with the United States and the rest of continental Europe. So, it may be difficult to adjust your driving habits.
  2. There are traffic conjestion fees of £8 for entering London during rush hours and parking is both limited and costly.
  3. Gasoline is expensive.
  4. Public transporation is thorough, much more cost-effective and relatively easy to use.
  5. If you are visiting destinations that are not well served by public transportation then you can probably take a train or bus to a major transit point near your final destination and rent a vehicle there rather than renting one at the airport

Should you be planning to drive in the UK nonetheless, be sure to confirm whether your driver's license and automotive insurance are valid in Britain.

last updated 2008.10.19
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