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    Car hire in London – Top Quality at the Best Prices

    Car hire in London

    Samuel Johnson once said that anyone who is tired of London is tired of life, and it's hard to argue with the sentiment. At once modern and steeped in history, London manages to perfectly balance the new and the old, providing visitors with glimpses of a sometimes glorious, often turbulent, very seldom dull past, while simultaneously dazzling them with the vibrant innovations of the present.

    A visitor standing on the Millennium Bridge only has to look to one side to take in the sight of the commanding St. Paul's Cathedral, and to the other to admire the towering form of the Tate Modern or the sleek, modern lines of the Shard. Nestled between the two is Shakespeare's Globe, a faithful reconstruction of the original theatre founded by the Bard, and in the distance, the very recognisable form of the iconic Tower Bridge is easily discernible.

    Crowds flock to London every year to see the city's cultural landmarks, from the Houses of Parliament to Westminster Abbey, from Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London. But more contributes to London's status as one of the most visited cities in the world than just its architecture. As a cultural hub, the city is unrivalled, and the theatres of the West End have been delighting and entertaining audiences since 1663, when the first West End theatre was built on the site of what is today the Drury Lane.

    Nor do the city's attractions end there. Oxford Street offers shoppers the best the high street has to offer and is one of the busiest shopping streets in Europe. Other popular spots for those wishing to combine a spot of shopping with some sightseeing include Covent Garden and Camden Market, both extremely popular with both tourists and locals.

    And if you'd like to travel a little farther afield, picking up a car hire in London lets you do just that. Head to Brighton for a day by the sea or enjoy a day trip to Oxford; take the opportunity to visit Canterbury Cathedral or drive to Bath for some sightseeing. Hiring a car gives you all the flexibility to plan your holidays to suit your schedule and to see as much as you like while travelling in full comfort. For added convenience, Auto Europe also gives you the option to drop off the vehicle at a different location. That means that you could easily pick up your car in London and then drop it off in Edinburgh or Manchester, or wherever your final destination might be.

    In order to bring you the best car rental deals in London, Auto Europe works closely with leading local and international car hire companies in the UK. This allows us to offer our clients a vast range of vehicles at the most competitive prices without ever having to compromise on quality. Whether you find a Mini the most convenient car for a city getaway, need a van for a family holiday, or are looking for something a little more upscale for a special occasion, we help you find the best car for your needs. You can book directly on our website, using our convenient 3-step booking engine, or you can give us a call at +44 123 3225 114.

    Want to know what other people are saying? Check out our car hire reviews to learn what our clients have to say about their recent rental experience with Auto Europe in London and elsewhere in the UK.

    For more information on renting a vehicle in London, click on the car hire related topics listed below:

    Suppliers Car Hire FAQs Travel Guide

    Where to pick up a car hire in London

    In order to provide you with maximum flexibility when picking up your London car hire, Auto Europe has partnered with companies with offices across the city. Whether you're landing at Heathrow or Gatwick, alighting at King's Cross or Victoria Station, would like to pick your vehicle at a central location like Marble Arch or would prefer to avoid the heavier traffic of Central London, we provide you with countless pick-up options.

    To help you choose the perfect location for your needs, our booking engine includes the option (when searching for cars city-wide) of toggling a map display that pinpoints the exact location of the different rental offices. Our handy filters also allow you to narrow the display to specific suppliers.

    London Airports

    London is served by five airports. The largest and busiest of them, Heathrow Airport, is located west of the city, at a distance of just under 16 miles by car along the M4. The car rental desks are located on the arrivals halls of all the terminals, and shuttle buses are available to take you to where you'll pick up your car hire in London.

    Gatwick Airport is located 28 miles south of London, a trip of around an hour and a half by car, depending on traffic. The M23 offers the most direct route. The car hire desks are located in the South Terminal. Travellers arriving at the North Terminal can make use of the inter-terminal shuttle service to travel to the South Terminal.

    Stansted Airport is located north of London, at a distance of just under 40 miles. The most direct route to and from the airport is the M11. At the airport, just outside the terminal forecourt, a free bus departs every ten minutes to the Car Rental Village.

    London City Airport is the closest airport to the city, located at a distance of just under 9 miles from Central London, or about 40 minutes by car, depending on traffic. You can find the car hire desks next to the terminal.

    And finally, Luton International Airport is located 34 miles north of London. The most direct route into the city is along the M1. To reach the Car Hire Centre, you can hop on the free shuttle bus that departs from the terminal bus station (Bay C).

    Heathrow Airport (LHR)
    Address: Longford TW6, United Kingdom
    Telephone: +44 0844 335 1801

    Gatwick Airport (LGW)
    Address: Horley, Gatwick RH6 0NP, United Kingdom
    Telephone: +44 0844 892 0322

    Stansted Airport (STN)
    Address: Bassingbourn Rd, Stansted CM24 1QW, United Kingdom
    Telephone: +44 0844 335 1803

    London City Airport (LCY)
    Address: Hartmann Rd, Royal Docks, London E16 2PX, United Kingdom
    Telephone: +44 0158 240 5100

    Luton Airport (LTN)
    Address: Airport Way, Luton LU2 9LY, United Kingdom
    Telephone: +44 0158 240 5100

    London Train Stations

    If you're arriving in London by rail, we're also there for you. Auto Europe offers car hire services at all of London's main train stations, including Paddington, Victoria, King's Cross, Euston, Waterloo and St. Pancras.

    The car rental desks are located within easy walking distance of each of the stations (in some cases, they're even located immediately adjacent to the station), so you can easily pick up your car and be on your way. For more information about picking up your car at one of London's train stations, including the opening hours and exact location of the car hire desks, check out our dedicated page.

    Book with the best car hire suppliers in London

    For over 60 years, Auto Europe has worked to develop strong partnerships with leading car hire companies around the world. Together, we aim to bring our clients the best quality service at the most affordable prices.

    Our partners in London include such household names as Avis, Europcar or Sixt, as well as other great suppliers such as Keddy, Green Motion or National.

    Sixt - Car Hire Information Avis - Car Hire Information Hertz - Car Hire Information Alamo - Car Hire Information

    If you'd like more information about any of the companies we work with or have questions regarding specific offers on our website, do not hesitate to contact us by phone or email and one of our car rental specialists will be happy to help.

    Frequently asked questions about renting a car in London

    Contact Us

    Should you have any questions or doubts about hiring a car in London, our experienced reservation agents are always available and happy to reply to any inquiries. For your convenience, we've also gathered below the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

    Do I need a credit card to rent a car in London?

    Yes. You will need a credit card both to pay for the booking online and to pick up the vehicle.

    While it's not necessary to use the same credit card in both instances, it's important that the credit card used to pick up the car be in the name of the main driver stated in the voucher (i.e. the person under whose name the booking was made). There may be more than one driver added to the rental contract (and if that's something you'd like to do, make sure you check out our special offers with free additional driver), but the credit card must be in the name of the main one.

    Additionally, the credit card used to pick up the vehicle must have a high enough limit to accommodate the security deposit. On pick-up, the car rental supplier will block (not charge) a security amount on the credit card. This amount varies depending on the supplier and the vehicle's car category. The specific deposit amount for individual cars can be consulted in their respective "Info Icon" in our booking engine before booking. Should the vehicle be returned in the same condition at the end of the rental period, the block is then released.

    In the absence of a valid credit card (in the name of the main driver) with a sufficient credit limit in which to block the security deposit, suppliers may require the payment of additional insurance locally or refuse to release the vehicle entirely.

    Please note that debit cards and pre-paid cards are not suitable alternatives when picking up the vehicle.


    What insurance do I need for my car rental in London?

    All vehicles available in London through Auto Europe already include all the necessary insurance necessary to circulate in the United Kingdom, namely Theft Protection (TP), Liability Insurance and Collision Damage Waiver. This insurance typically includes an excess, which is the amount for which the driver is responsible in the event of damage or theft before the insurance kicks in. You can check the excess amount for individual offers in our booking engine in their respective "Info Icon".

    Additionally, some elements of the car are excluded from the mandatory insurance, such as wheels, underside and roof.

    In order to help you protect yourself further, when you rent a car in London Auto Europe offers you the option to add Full Protection to your rental when booking online. This product covers the excess and the exclusions, helping you enjoy your trip to the fullest without any worries or concerns.

    When you pick up your vehicle, you may also be offered additional insurance options at the counter. Please be aware that these are optional and you are under no obligation to accept them. In some cases, these insurance options may even overlap with the coverage you already possess (if you've opted for Auto Europe's Full Protection, for instance). In order to make an informed decision about whether or not to take additional insurance at the counter, it pays to be informed of what exactly your booking already includes in terms of coverage. You can find all this information in your voucher. If after reading up on the matter you still have questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

    While additional insurance offered locally is normally optional, in situations where the driver lacks a suitable credit card to pick up the vehicle (see the question regarding credit cards above), the supplier may require the payment of additional insurance as a condition to release the car. This is an extraordinary circumstance, however, and not all suppliers will offer the option. We strongly advise you to check the credit card requirements when booking.

    Drivers under the age of 26 may also be required to pay an additional fee when picking up the vehicle. This, however, is not insurance per se, but rather a Young Driver Surcharge.


    How is the traffic in London?

    As is the case in any major city, traffic in London can be challenging for those unused to the city's hectic pace. Morning rush hour usually falls between 7am and 10am, with heavier traffic flowing towards Central London. In the evening, rush how starts at around 4.30pm and lasts until around 8pm, with heavier traffic moving in the opposite direction.

    Transport for London (TfL) posts traffic live updates, including delays and any road closures, which comes in handy when planning your route.

    If you're picking up your London car rental at Heathrow Airport, the M4 offers the most direct route to London, whereas if you're picking up your vehicle at Gatwick Airport, the M23 will see you all the way to the city. From Stansted, just head south on the M11. Any of these routes will see you reach the M25, which encircles the city. Then it's a matter of choosing the exit that will see you closest to your destination.

    When driving your car rental in London, pay particular attention to the bus lanes, which are marked by a thick white line on the asphalt. While it may seem tempting to use them to escape the worst of the traffic, you should be aware that during their operational hours (which vary depending on the lane and can be found on blue signs before and along the route), they are reserved for buses, London cabs, bikes and motorcycles.

    It's also important to be mindful of yellow box junctions. These are indicated by yellow lines painted on the asphalt in a crisscross pattern and can commonly be found at intersections. Stopping on top of a box junction can (and often will) result in Penalty Charge Notices, particularly since many box junctions have cameras.

    For more information, take a look at our handy driving information guide.


    Where can I park my car hire in London?

    Finding parking in London can pose some challenges. First of all, you should be aware that parking on the pavement, partially or wholly, is forbidden everywhere in London. Parking is also not allowed anywhere where there are red lines or yellow lines along the curb. Where there's a single white line along the curb, parking is permitted with some restrictions (i.e. it's permitted at certain times, on certain days). Restrictions are particularly common during the working week: Monday to Saturday, from 8.30am to 6.30pm.

    In some areas, parking may also be limited to residents. Make sure you always check the information available on the relevant signage. In most places where street parking is allowed, drivers must pay for parking (and that may be the case even if there are no lines on the asphalt, so be on the lookout for any parking signs in the area). Paid street parking is usually operated through a pay and display system, by means of which drivers buy a ticket from a nearby machine and display it on the vehicle's dashboard.

    Parking garages provide a convenient alternative to street parking, and can be found throughout the city. In Central London alone, there are 16 car parks operated by Q-Park, namely in Oxford Street, Soho, Victoria and Leicester Square.


    Do I need to pay a congestion fee when driving my car hire in London?

    Yes. If you drive your rental in the Congestion Charge zone, you are responsible for paying the associated fee(s).

    The London Congestion Charge zone is indicated by a white sign with a large "C" in a red circle and currently comprises St. James's, Waterloo, Borough, the City of London, Clerkenwell, Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, Charing Cross, London Bridge, Holborn, Finsbury, Bloomsbury, Soho, Mayfair, Westminster and parts of Southwark, Lambeth and Marylebone. For up-to-date information regarding the zone's boundaries or to check whether a specific address falls within the Congestion Charge zone, check out the TfL's Congestion Charge page.

    The Congestion Charge zone operates daily from 7am to 10pm, except on Christmas Day, and payment is made per day, which means that the amount paid is the same regardless of how many times you enter the zone. Payment can be made online, directly on the TfL's website or on the TfL Pay to drive in London app. You can pay in advance or until midnight on the day of travel. Payment can also be made up to three days after you've driven within the zone, but the fee will then be more expensive.

    Some vehicles may also be subject to Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and/or Low Emission Zone (LEZ) charges. When paying for the Congestion Charge zone, any additional charges will be included if relevant.


    Can I hire a motorhome in London?

    Absolutely! Besides working with top car hire suppliers, Auto Europe also has developed close partnership with the best motorhome companies in order to bring you a large array of motorhome choices in London, always at the most competitive prices. Take a look at our great selection and start planning your next trip!

    London Travel Guide

    Something is always happening in London. There are plays to watch, concerts to attend, and a veritable cornucopia of museums and exhibitions and galleries to visit. History buffs, in particular, will be spoilt for choice in a city whose landmarks and architecture chronicle centuries of English and British history.

    This is not to say that those whose interests lie more in the present than in the past won't also find plenty to entertain them. London has something to offer everyone. Wherever your interests lie, you're sure to find something that caters to them.

    Best day trips with my car rental in London

    While London itself has much to recommend it even to the most exacting of travellers, having a car hire at your disposal gives you all the freedom and flexibility to travel a little farther out. Here are some of our suggestions for great day trips from London!


    Located just 25 miles from London by car via the A4 and M4, Windsor is a charming medieval town filled with cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses. Its picturesque appearance is only part of its attraction. Crowds flock to it round the year to visit Windsor Castle, one of the Queen's official residences. Originally built by William the Conqueror, Windsor Castle has long been a favourite of English monarchs, who've added to it throughout the centuries. Nowadays it's the single largest inhabited castle anywhere in the world. The State Apartments are unmissable, as is St George's Chapel, and no visit would be complete without watching the change of the guard. While there's no car park for visitors at the Castle, there are car parks in town where you can leave your vehicle. The long-stay parks on Datchet Road and next to the Coach Park are better value than the short-stay car parks elsewhere in Windsor, and are only a short 10-minute walk from the Castle.


    Renting a car in London gives you the perfect excuse to plan a day trip to Brighton! Arguably the most famous seaside resort in the country, Brighton grew from a humble fishing village to one of the most elegant and fashionable holiday spots in England, and was a great favourite with King George IV.

    Nowadays the city continues to attract visitors, drawn to it by its lovely pebbled beaches, by the fresh sea air and by its vibrant culture. Visit the Royal Pavilion, stroll along the Palace Pier, or take the opportunity to go sailing or surfing!

    Be mindful of the fact that parking in the city centre may be limited. Free parking can be found at the Withdean Sports Complex and there are also several paid car parks across the city.

    The Cotswolds

    Covering an area of around 787 square miles, the Cotswolds were designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966, but it's probably fair to say that their stunning and incomparable landscape has been delighting visitors for considerably longer than that. The whole area is a picture-perfect collection of rolling hills, quaint villages, and picturesque scenery that make for a lovely day out and provide countless opportunities for scenic drives.


    Home to one of the oldest and most well-known universities in the world, Oxford was once described by the poet Matthew Arnold as "the city of dreaming spires." The university buildings dominate the skyline, and no tour of Oxford would be complete without visiting a few of them. Of particular interest to Harry Potter fans are Christ Church College and the Divinity School, both used as filming locations.

    A visit to Oxford Castle should also be on anyone's list for the day, as should a stroll along Cornmarket Street, home to the popular Covered Market and the Golden Cross arcade.

    Oxford is located some 55 miles from London by car, with the most direct route following the M40 and A40.


    Deriving its name from the ancient baths established by the Romans in 75 BC, Bath owes its existence and much of its enduring popularity to its famous hot springs. Visitors can treat themselves to an experience very similar to that of the Romans by visiting the Thermae Bath Spa, located just across the original Roman Baths. Doesn't that sound relaxing? Even if you're not interested in taking the waters, the Roman Baths are entirely worth a visit.

    Bath's Georgian architecture is also a joy to behold, with special mentions going to the Royal Crescent and Queen Square. In fact, architecture enthusiasts are well-advised to visit the Museum of Barth Architecture, which includes an impressively detailed model of the city centre.

    Bath is located around 115 miles from London, and the most direct route is via the M4.

    What to do in London

    No one who visits London is ever bored. There's just so much to do and see! The real difficulty is in choosing where to start. Here are some of our suggestions for unmissable London attractions.

    • Buckingham Palace: It's the number one stop for thousands of visitors to the capital every year, and understandably so. In a city full of iconic buildings, Buckingham Palace is perhaps the most iconic of all, the visible symbol of Queen and country. It's been the official London residence of British monarchs since the reign of Queen Victoria, and few people will be unfamiliar with the sight of the royal family greeting the crowds from the famous balcony on the East Front. When the Queen is in residence, the Royal Standard flies above the palace, whereas when the Queen is absent, the flag flown is the Union Jack. The palace is open to the public during the summer months, normally from July to October.

    • London Eye: The iconic London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, is located on the South Bank of the Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament and the Big Ben. At 541 feet high, it's the tallest ferris wheel in Europe and offers an absolutely stunning view of London. While no longer the highest viewing point in the city open to the public (that distinction now goes to the observation deck on the Shard), it continues to be one of the most popular attractions in the UK, receiving over 3 million visitors a year.

    • British Museum: Established in the mid-18th century, the British Museum houses a collection of over eight million works spanning two million years of history. It's one of the oldest public national museums in the world, as well as one of the largest. The permanent exhibition is free to visit and, throughout the year, the museum also plays host to a number of special exhibitions and events. While the British Museum itself does not have parking facilities, there are several car parks nearby where you can leave your rental.

    • London Dungeon: Founded in 1974, the London Dungeon takes tourists on a voyage through a thousand years of London's history. From the Great Fire of London to Jack the River, it covers the highlights of the city's history, using actors, shows and rides to dazzle and immerse visitors in the different eras. Though beware! The experience is not for the faint of heart! Visitors will have to contend with skeletons, the torturer, the plague doctor and many other unsavoury figures. The London Dungeon is located on the South Bank, near the London Eye. While there is no parking available at the London Dungeon, the Q-Park Westminster lot is relatively close to the attraction.

    • Harry Potter Studio Tour: Located just outside London, in Leavesden, the 'Warner Bros. Studios Tour – The Making of Harry Potter' is one of the largest permanent filmmaking exhibits in the world and showcases the props and sets used in the Harry Potter films. The exhibition allows visitors to immerse themselves in the Harry Potter world as they explore the Great Hall at Hogwarts, stroll along Diagon Alley, or even enjoy a nice Butterbeer right next to the Knight Bus. The Tour is located 20 miles north-west of London, just off the M1, and there's free parking available for ticket holders.

    • Legoland Windsor Resort: Who doesn't love Lego? Legoland Windsor offers a fabulous time to kids and adults alike. It boasts countless rides, building workshops, live shows and amazing replicas of iconic builds made entirely out of Lego bricks! It makes for a great day out for the entire family. The attraction is located just two miles from Windsor, about 26 miles from London. There is paid parking available.

    Useful links

    Travel Inspo - London Sighseeing Marathon

    Tourism Information