Thinking about renting a car in the UK for a holiday? But which British car hire company to choose & what to be aware of when renting a car in the UK?
Looking for the best rental car in the UK? Car rental in England and the rest of the UK is a growing business! Do you know why? With millions of tourists visiting London and other main cities in the UK each year, many of them are searching for the cheapest car rental companies in order to visit less touristy places.
But how to rent a car in the UK and which car rental company is the best one? From visiting the Cotswolds and stunning towns and villages in Cornwall to going on scenic drives near London – there are many places in the UK you can visit by car.
With many magical places in England, you just need a car to visit them all! We really hope that this guide will help you to find the best car rental company for your next holiday in the UK 🙂
Just follow our car rental tips!
What is the most popular car hire in the UK?
The most popular car hire companies in the UK are:
It’s important to note that popularity can vary depending on the region or city within the UK. Additionally, different companies may have varying levels of popularity for different types of vehicles, rental durations, or other factors.
Top car rental companies in the UK by city/region:
|London Heathrow Airport||Alamo|
|London Airport Gatwick||Enterprise|
|London Stansted Airport||Avis|
|London City Airport||Hertz|
|Waterloo Train Station||Europcar|
|St Pancras Train Station||SIXT|
|Paddington Train Station||Goldcar|
Is it easy to rent a car and drive in the UK?
Renting a car and driving in the UK can be relatively straightforward, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
Firstly, you’ll need to have a valid driver’s license from your home country, or an International Driving Permit (IDP). You should also check with the car rental company to see if they have any specific requirements or restrictions.
Secondly, driving in the UK is on the left side of the road, which may be unfamiliar for some drivers. It’s important to take extra care when driving, especially at intersections, roundabouts, and when turning.
Additionally, UK roads can be narrow, winding, and have different speed limits than what you might be used to in your home country. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road and any traffic signs before driving.
Finally, if you plan to drive in London or other major cities, be aware of congestion charges and parking restrictions, as well as the possibility of heavy traffic.
Overall, renting a car and driving in the UK can be a great way to explore the country, but it’s important to be prepared and take safety precautions.
Is driving in the UK on the left side of the road difficult?
Driving on the left side of the road in the UK can be challenging if you have never done it before, especially if you are used to driving on the right side of the road in your home country. However, with a bit of preparation and practice, it is possible to adapt to driving on the left.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road in the UK before driving. You can research online or take a short course to learn about road signs, speed limits, and driving regulations. You should also pay close attention to road signs and markings, especially when approaching roundabouts, intersections, and one-way streets.
If possible, it’s a good idea to practice driving in a quiet area with little traffic before heading out onto busier roads. This will help you get used to the feel of driving on the left side of the road and the position of the driver’s seat.
It’s also important to take extra care when driving on the left side of the road. Be aware of blind spots and make sure to look in all directions before making turns or changing lanes. Take your time and drive at a slower speed until you feel more comfortable.
Overall, while it may take some time to adjust to driving on the left side of the road, it is possible with preparation, practice, and patience.
Best trips when you hire a car from London’s airports
Here are great trips you can take when you hire a car from London’s airports:
- Cornwall: Head southwest from London and take a scenic drive to Cornwall, known for its rugged coastline, stunning beaches, and charming towns. Highlights include the seaside villages of St. Ives and Padstow, the dramatic cliffs of Land’s End, and the iconic St. Michael’s Mount.
- Devon: Continue southwest from Cornwall and explore Devon, another picturesque coastal region with a laid-back atmosphere. Must-sees include the seaside town of Torquay, the historic city of Exeter, and the stunning Dartmoor National Park.
- Cotswolds: For a quintessentially English experience, head northwest from London to the Cotswolds, a picturesque region known for its rolling hills, charming villages, and historic market towns. Highlights include the villages of Bourton-on-the-Water and Castle Combe, as well as the stunning town of Chipping Norton.
- The Chilterns: A short drive northwest of London will bring you to the Chilterns, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty that spans several counties. Highlights include the picturesque town of Marlow, the charming village of Henley-on-Thames, and the historic city of Oxford.
- Brighton: If you’re looking for a seaside escape, head south from London to Brighton, a vibrant city known for its beachfront attractions, lively nightlife, and iconic Royal Pavilion.
- Bath: Drive west from London to the historic city of Bath, known for its stunning Georgian architecture, natural hot springs, and rich history. Highlights include the Roman Baths, the Georgian Royal Crescent, and the picturesque Pulteney Bridge.
- The New Forest: Head southwest from London to the New Forest, a stunning national park known for its wild ponies, heathlands, and ancient woodlands. Highlights include the charming villages of Beaulieu and Brockenhurst, as well as the stunning Exbury Gardens.
- Norfolk: If you’re looking for a tranquil escape, head east from London to Norfolk, a peaceful county known for its unspoiled coastline, charming market towns, and historic churches. Highlights include the seaside town of Cromer, the historic city of Norwich, and the stunning Norfolk Broads.
- The Lake District: Drive north from London to the Lake District, a stunning national park known for its scenic lakes, rolling hills, and picturesque villages. Highlights include Lake Windermere, the charming village of Grasmere, and the stunning views from the top of Scafell Pike.
- Yorkshire Dales: Head north from London to the Yorkshire Dales, a stunning national park known for its rugged landscapes, charming villages, and historic castles. Highlights include the charming town of Skipton, the picturesque village of Malham, and the stunning Aysgarth Falls.
Is it worth hiring a car in the UK?
Whether it’s worth hiring a car in the UK or not depends on your specific travel plans and preferences. Here are some factors to consider:
- Destinations: If you plan to visit major cities like London, Edinburgh, or Manchester, you may find that public transportation is a more convenient and cost-effective option. However, if you plan to visit more rural or remote areas, a car rental may be necessary to get around.
- Flexibility: Hiring a car gives you the flexibility to explore at your own pace and visit destinations that may not be easily accessible by public transportation. You can also make impromptu stops and take scenic routes without having to worry about public transportation schedules.
- Cost: Hiring a car can be more expensive than taking public transportation, especially if you factor in the cost of gas, parking, and tolls. However, if you’re traveling with a group or plan to visit multiple destinations, a car rental may be more cost-effective than buying individual tickets for each leg of your journey.
- Driving experience: If you’re comfortable driving on the left side of the road and navigating UK roads, then hiring a car can be a great way to explore the country. However, if you’re not confident in your driving skills, it may be better to stick to public transportation.
Overall, hiring a car in the UK can be a great option if you plan to visit rural areas or want the flexibility to explore at your own pace. However, it’s important to weigh the costs and consider your driving experience before making a decision.
How can I find the right car for rent in the UK?
To find the right car for rent in the UK, there are a few steps you can take:
- Determine your needs: Consider your travel plans, such as the number of passengers, the amount of luggage, and the type of terrain you’ll be driving on. This will help you determine what type of car you need, such as a compact car, SUV, or minivan.
- Research car rental companies: Look online for reputable car rental companies in the UK. Check out their websites to compare prices, vehicle options, and rental policies.
- Read reviews: Check online reviews from previous customers to see their experiences with different car rental companies. This can give you a good idea of the quality of service, vehicle condition, and customer support.
- Compare prices: Once you have a list of car rental companies and vehicle options, compare prices to find the best deal. Keep in mind that rental prices can vary based on the rental location, time of year, and rental duration.
- Book in advance: Once you’ve found the right car rental company and vehicle, book in advance to ensure availability and lock in the best price. Some car rental companies may also offer discounts for booking in advance.
By following these steps, you can find the right car for rent in the UK that meets your needs and fits your budget.
Can tourists drive in the UK?
Yes, tourists are allowed to drive in the UK as long as they have a valid driver’s license from their home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). The UK recognizes driving licenses from most countries, but it’s always a good idea to check with the car rental company or the UK government’s official website to confirm if your license is valid in the UK.
Do I need a car to get around the UK?
No, you don’t necessarily need a car to get around the UK. The country has an extensive network of public transportation, including trains, buses, and subways, which can take you to most destinations within the UK. Major cities like London, Manchester, and Edinburgh also have excellent public transportation systems that make it easy to get around without a car.
However, if you plan to visit rural or remote areas of the UK, a car rental may be necessary to get around. Some attractions and natural sights, such as the Cotswolds or the Scottish Highlands, may not be easily accessible by public transportation, so having a car can give you more flexibility and independence.
If you’re planning to stick to major cities and popular tourist destinations, public transportation may be a more convenient and cost-effective option. However, if you plan to explore more off-the-beaten-path areas, a car rental may be necessary.
How much does it cost to rent a car in the UK?
The cost of renting a car in the UK varies depending on several factors, such as the type of vehicle, rental duration, rental location, and time of year. Here are some general estimates for car rental costs in the UK:
- Economy or compact car: £15-£25 per day
- Mid-size car: £25-£40 per day
- SUV or minivan: £40-£70 per day
It’s important to note that rental prices can be higher during peak travel seasons, such as summer and holidays. Additionally, car rental companies may charge extra fees for optional insurance, additional drivers, and equipment like GPS or child seats.
To get the best deal on a car rental in the UK, it’s recommended to book in advance, compare prices from multiple rental companies, and check for any discounts or promotions. Some rental companies may offer discounts for booking in advance or for longer rental durations.
Overall, the cost of renting a car in the UK can vary widely depending on the above factors, but it’s possible to find a car rental that fits your budget with a little research and planning.
How to find the cheapest car hire in the UK?
To find the cheapest car hire in the UK, you can follow these tips:
- Book in advance: Booking a car rental in advance can help you secure lower rates. Rental companies often increase their rates as the date of rental approaches, so booking early can help you save money.
- Compare prices: Compare prices from different car rental companies to find the best deal. Use online comparison websites or check the rental companies’ websites directly.
- Check for promotions and discounts: Rental companies may offer promotions and discounts on car rentals. Check for any current deals or discounts that could help you save money.
- Choose the right type of car: Choosing the right type of car for your needs can help you save money. A smaller car, for example, may be more fuel-efficient and cost less to rent.
- Avoid additional fees: Be aware of additional fees, such as insurance, fuel, and additional driver fees. Check the rental agreement carefully and decline any unnecessary fees or charges.
- Consider rental duration: Longer rental durations may be eligible for lower rates. If you plan to rent a car for an extended period, consider negotiating a lower rate with the rental company.
By following these tips, you can find the cheapest car hire in the UK that fits your needs and budget.
What is the cost of week-long car hire in the UK?
The cost of a week-long car hire in the UK varies depending on several factors, such as the type of vehicle, rental company, rental location, and time of year. However, as a general estimate, here are some average costs for a week-long car hire in the UK:
- Economy or compact car: £100-£200 per week
- Mid-size car: £150-£300 per week
- SUV or minivan: £250-£500 per week
To get the best deal on a week-long car hire in the UK, it’s recommended to book in advance, compare prices from multiple rental companies, and check for any discounts or promotions. Some rental companies may offer discounts for booking in advance or for longer rental durations.
What is the cost for a month-long car hire in the UK?
The cost of a month-long car hire in the UK varies depending on several factors, such as the type of vehicle, rental company, rental location, and time of year. However, as a general estimate, here are some average costs for a month-long car hire in the UK:
- Economy or compact car: £400-£800 per month
- Mid-size car: £600-£1,200 per month
- SUV or minivan: £1,000-£2,000 per month
It’s important to note that prices can be higher during peak travel seasons, such as summer and holidays. Additionally, car rental companies may charge extra fees for optional insurance, additional drivers, and equipment like GPS or child seats.
What is the average daily price for car hire in the UK?
- Economy or compact car: £20-£40 per day
- Mid-size car: £30-£60 per day
- SUV or minivan: £50-£100 per day
How much is the average car rental duration in the UK?
The average car rental duration in the UK varies depending on the purpose of the rental and the traveler’s needs. However, as a general estimate, a typical car rental in the UK is for 3-7 days.
Short-term rentals for weekends or day trips are also common, as well as longer-term rentals for a week or more. Some travelers may also opt for monthly rentals, especially for extended trips or business travel.
It’s important to note that rental companies may offer better rates for longer rental durations, so it’s worth considering your travel plans and choosing a rental period that suits your needs and budget.
What is the most booked car rental type in the UK?
The most booked car rental type in the UK is typically an economy or compact car. These cars are popular among travelers due to their fuel efficiency, affordability, and ease of use in cities and towns with narrow roads and tight parking spaces.
However, other car types such as mid-size cars, SUVs, and minivans are also popular depending on the traveler’s needs and preferences. Mid-size cars are suitable for longer journeys and provide more space for passengers and luggage, while SUVs and minivans are ideal for families or groups traveling with larger luggage or equipment.
What is the cheapest car hire in the UK?
The cheapest car hire in the UK varies depending on several factors, such as the rental location, rental duration, and the type of vehicle. However, as a general estimate, economy or compact cars are typically the cheapest car rental options in the UK.
To find the cheapest car hire in the UK, it’s recommended to compare prices from multiple rental companies and to book in advance. Some rental companies may offer discounts for early booking or for longer rental periods. Additionally, booking a car rental in less touristy or less busy locations may also result in lower prices.
Can you hire a car in the UK with a US or EU licence?
Yes, you can hire a car in the UK with a valid driving licence issued by the US or EU. The UK recognises driving licences from most countries, including the US and EU member states, and allows visitors to drive with their foreign driving licence for up to 12 months.
However, it’s important to note that the driving licence must be valid, written in English or accompanied by a certified translation, and must have been held for at least one year. Additionally, the minimum age for renting a car in the UK is 21 years old, and some rental companies may have additional age restrictions or requirements.
It’s recommended to check with the car rental company in advance to ensure that they accept your foreign driving licence and to familiarise yourself with the UK’s road rules and driving practices.
Is it possible to do one way car hire in the UK to another country?
Yes, it is possible to do one-way car hire in the UK to another country, but it may depend on the rental company and the specific countries involved. Some rental companies may allow you to pick up a car in the UK and drop it off in another country within Europe, but there may be additional fees or restrictions involved.
How much does it cost to hire a camper van and a people carrier van in the UK?
The cost of hiring a camper van or a people carrier van in the UK can vary depending on several factors, such as the rental company, the size and type of vehicle, the rental duration, and the time of year.
As a general estimate, the daily rental rate for a camper van in the UK can range from £50 to £150, depending on the size and features of the vehicle. However, it’s worth noting that some camper vans may have a minimum rental period of several days or weeks, especially during peak travel periods.
Similarly, the cost of hiring a people carrier van in the UK can vary depending on the rental company and the specific model of the vehicle. As a general estimate, the daily rental rate for a people carrier van can range from £40 to £120, depending on the size and features of the vehicle.
What is the best way to get around the UK?
The best way to get around the UK depends on several factors, such as your destination, travel preferences, and budget. Here are some of the most common and convenient options:
- Public transport: The UK has an extensive network of trains, buses, and underground systems that connect major cities and towns. Public transport is often affordable, convenient, and offers scenic views of the countryside. You can buy tickets online or at ticket offices, and some cities offer travel cards that provide unlimited travel for a set period.
- Car rental: Renting a car can be a good option if you want to explore rural areas or have more flexibility in your travel itinerary. It’s worth noting that driving in the UK is on the left-hand side of the road, and some roads can be narrow and winding. It’s important to ensure that you have adequate insurance coverage and to familiarise yourself with the UK’s road rules and driving practices.
- Taxis and ride-sharing services: Taxis and ride-sharing services such as Uber are widely available in major cities and towns. They can be more expensive than public transport, but they offer convenience and can be useful for short trips or when travelling with luggage.
- Cycling and walking: Cycling and walking can be a great way to explore cities and towns, and many cities have bike rental schemes or cycle paths. Walking is also a good option for short distances or sightseeing.
What is the best car hire company in the UK?
It’s difficult to determine the best car hire company in the UK as there are several reputable companies that offer quality services and competitive rates. Some of the most well-known car hire companies in the UK include:
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car
- Budget Car Rental
- National Car Rental
- Thrifty Car Rental
- Alamo Rent A Car
To determine the best car hire company for your needs, it’s recommended to compare rates, services, and customer reviews from multiple companies. Additionally, you can check for any special deals or discounts that may be available and review the rental terms and conditions to ensure that they meet your requirements.
What do I need to hire a vehicle in the UK?
To hire a vehicle in the UK, you will typically need the following:
- A valid driving licence: You can use a driving licence issued in the UK or another country, as long as it’s in English or has an accompanying certified translation. If you have a non-UK driving licence, you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to accompany your licence.
- A credit or debit card: You will need a credit or debit card to pay for the rental and to provide a deposit. Some car hire companies may also accept cash deposits, but this varies depending on the company.
- Proof of identification: You will need to provide proof of identification, such as a passport or ID card.
- Rental agreement: You will need to sign a rental agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of the rental, including the rental period, insurance coverage, and any additional fees or charges.
- Age requirements: Most car hire companies require drivers to be at least 21 years old and to have held a driving licence for a minimum of one or two years. Some companies may have additional age restrictions or surcharges for drivers under 25 or over 70 years old.
- Insurance: Car hire companies typically offer several insurance options, including collision damage waiver (CDW) and theft protection. You may also have the option to purchase additional coverage, such as personal accident insurance or excess insurance.
What is the maximum speed limit in the UK?
The maximum speed limit in the UK varies depending on the type of road and vehicle being driven. The following are the general speed limits:
- Motorways: The maximum speed limit on motorways in the UK is 70 mph (113 km/h).
- Dual carriageways: The maximum speed limit on dual carriageways is generally 70 mph (113 km/h), but there may be lower limits in certain areas or during certain times.
- Single carriageways: The maximum speed limit on single carriageways is 60 mph (97 km/h), but it can be lower in certain areas or during certain times.
- Built-up areas: The maximum speed limit in built-up areas is 30 mph (48 km/h), but it can be lower in certain areas or during certain times.
It’s important to note that these are general speed limits and there may be lower speed limits posted in certain areas or during certain times, such as in school zones, construction areas, or near roadworks. Additionally, drivers should always drive at a speed that is safe for the road conditions and traffic flow.
How old do you have to be to hire a car in the UK?
In the UK, the minimum age to hire a car is generally 21 years old. However, some car hire companies may require drivers to be at least 23 or 25 years old, and some may have additional age restrictions or surcharges for drivers under 25 or over 70 years old.
In addition to age requirements, most car hire companies also require drivers to have held a valid driving licence for a minimum of one or two years, depending on the company. It’s recommended to check the specific requirements of the car hire company you plan to use and to ensure that you meet all the necessary criteria before booking your rental.
Can I book now and pay later for my rented car?
It is possible to find car hire companies in the UK that offer the option to book now and pay later. However, this will depend on the specific car hire company and the type of rental you are booking.
Some car hire companies may require a deposit or prepayment at the time of booking, while others may allow you to reserve the car without making a payment and pay later when you pick up the rental. In general, it’s recommended to carefully read the terms and conditions of the car hire company you plan to use and to check their payment policies before booking your rental.
Additionally, it’s important to note that if you choose to pay later, you may still need to provide a credit card or other form of payment as a guarantee when you pick up the rental car.
Can I do a one-way rental from the UK to France and vice versa?
It is generally possible to arrange a one-way car rental between the UK and France, but it will depend on the specific car hire company and the availability of the rental vehicles. There may be additional fees or restrictions for one-way rentals, such as drop-off charges, mileage limits, or restrictions on which types of vehicles can be rented for one-way trips.
If you are interested in a one-way rental between the UK and France, it’s recommended to check with multiple car hire companies and compare their rates and policies. It’s also important to confirm any fees or restrictions that may apply to one-way rentals and to plan your trip accordingly.
What is the price of fuel in the UK?
The average price for a liter of petrol (gasoline) in the UK was around £1.48, while the average price for a liter of diesel was around £1.57.
It’s important to note that fuel prices can fluctuate over time and can vary by location and by fuel station. Additionally, prices can be affected by factors such as taxes, supply and demand, and global oil prices. It’s recommended to check current fuel prices in the specific areas where you plan to drive, as well as to compare prices between different fuel stations.
Parking in the UK
Parking in the UK can be a challenge in some areas, especially in busy cities or popular tourist destinations. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to parking in the UK:
- Parking restrictions: Many areas of the UK have parking restrictions, which may include time limits, resident-only parking, pay-and-display systems, or parking permits. Make sure to read and follow the signs and markings in the area where you plan to park to avoid getting a ticket or having your vehicle towed.
- Parking fees: In areas where parking is allowed, you may need to pay a fee to park. This can be done through pay-and-display machines, mobile apps, or parking meters. Fees can vary depending on the location and the time of day.
- Parking garages: In some areas, it may be easier to park in a multi-story parking garage or car park. These can be found in most cities and town centers, and usually charge an hourly or daily rate.
- Parking fines: If you violate parking restrictions or fail to pay for parking, you may be fined. The fines can vary depending on the offense, but can be as high as £100 or more.
- Blue badge scheme: The UK has a “Blue Badge” scheme that provides parking concessions for people with disabilities. If you have a disability, you may be eligible for a Blue Badge, which allows you to park in designated disabled parking spaces and in some cases, park for free.
In general, it’s recommended to plan ahead and research parking options in the areas where you plan to drive in the UK. Make sure to follow parking rules and regulations to avoid fines or other penalties.
Car hire prices in the UK
Car hire prices in the UK can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of vehicle, rental duration, pick-up/drop-off location, time of year, and any additional extras or insurance options you select. Here are some general price ranges for car hire in the UK:
- Economy car: £10-£25 per day
- Compact car: £12-£35 per day
- Mid-size car: £20-£50 per day
- Full-size car: £30-£70 per day
- Luxury car: £70-£200+ per day
It’s always a good idea to compare prices from different car hire companies and book in advance to get the best deals. Some popular car hire companies in the UK include Hertz, Enterprise, Avis, Europcar, and Sixt.
Car hire United Kingdom FAQ
The best car rental in the UK varies depending on your needs, but companies like Enterprise, Europcar, and Hertz consistently receive high ratings for their customer service, vehicle quality, and availability across the country. Online platforms such as Kayak and Skyscanner can help you compare options and secure the best deal.
Cheap car rental in the UK can be found with providers like Easirent, Europcar, and Enterprise, but the rates can fluctuate depending on factors like location, car type, and booking period. For the best deals, try booking well in advance, especially for peak travel periods.
Enterprise UK is a well-established car rental company with a vast network of locations across the country. Known for its broad range of vehicles and good customer service, Enterprise also offers flexible rental periods, from hourly to long-term rentals.
Car hire in London offers numerous options, from international brands like Avis and Hertz to local providers such as Green Motion. With many pick-up locations across the city and at major airports, it’s advisable to compare rates and book in advance for the best deal.
Budget Car Hire UK offers a range of vehicle options at competitive prices, and their services are available at numerous locations, including airports and city centres. Customer experiences vary, so it’s a good idea to review their terms and conditions carefully before booking.
Enterprise Car Hire UK is known for its wide selection of vehicles, multiple pick-up and drop-off locations, and good customer service. With options for daily, weekly, or long-term rentals, Enterprise can cater to various car hire needs.
Car hire comparison in the UK can be done through online platforms like Skyscanner, Expedia, and discovercars. These websites compare prices and services from multiple providers, helping you find the best deal based on your specific requirements.
Europcar UK is a well-known car rental company offering a variety of vehicles, from compact cars to vans. With a presence in major cities and airports, Europcar also provides flexible booking options and a loyalty program, but customers should always read terms and conditions carefully.
Is it worth driving around the UK?
Yes, driving around the UK can be a great way to explore the country and see all that it has to offer. The UK has an extensive network of roads and highways, and driving can provide a lot of flexibility and independence, allowing you to visit remote areas and take your time to see different sights at your own pace.
There are also many scenic driving routes in the UK, such as the North Coast 500 in Scotland, the Causeway Coastal Route in Northern Ireland, and the Cotswolds in England, which offer stunning landscapes and picturesque towns along the way.
However, it’s important to note that driving in the UK can also be challenging, especially if you’re not used to driving on the left-hand side of the road or navigating unfamiliar roads and traffic. It’s essential to take proper precautions, including following traffic laws, avoiding distractions, and planning your routes in advance.
Ultimately, whether or not it’s worth driving around the UK depends on your personal preferences and travel plans. If you’re comfortable driving and want to explore the country independently, it can be a great option. However, if you prefer to rely on public transportation or guided tours, there are also many other options for getting around the UK.