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Car hire in London starting from $21 per day

Pick up your rental from Heathrow or Gatwick and prepare to explore the best of the nation on four wheels.

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Its black cabs and red double decker buses might rule the roads of London, but to explore the landscapes and sights that surround the city, you'll need to hire a car.

A set of wheels can let you enjoy the White Cliffs of Dover, the Lake District and the seaside resort of Brighton as well as Land's End, the place where the UK falls into the sea.

Here's what you need to know to hire a car in London - including which companies have desks at the airport.


Get the latest prices for your London car hire

Compare hire cars and prices in London

To give you an idea of car hire cost, we searched our rental cars search engine and uncovered the cheapest prices for four different types of vehicles hired from London's Heathrow Airport.

We looked at a seven-day hire for a driver aged between 30 and 65 booked two months in advance. Prices were retrieved on 12 August 2019 for a hire starting 12 October 2019.

Fiat 500

Small, economy car

  • Car: Fiat 500
  • Seats: 4
  • Luggage: 1 large bag
  • Rental company: Easirent
  • Cost: $141.26 for 7-days or $20.18 per day

Hyundai i20

Medium car

  • Car: Hyundai i20
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: 1 large bag and 1 small bag
  • Rental company: Easirent
  • Cost: $150.67 for 7-days or $21.52 per day

Skoda Octavia

Large car

  • Car: Skoda Octavia
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: 1 large bag and 1 small bag
  • Rental company: Europcar
  • Cost: $179.67 for 7-days or $25.67 per day

Hyundai i30 estate

Estate car

  • Car: Hyundai i30 Estate
  • Seats: 5
  • Luggage: 1 large bag and 1 small bag
  • Rental company: Easirent
  • Cost: $301.34 or $43.05 per day

Prices mentioned above were retrieved on 12 August 2019 and change constantly. Get the latest prices for your car hire today.


Who offers car hire at London Heathrow Airport?

You'll find car hire desks for the following car hire companies at Heathrow terminals 2-5:


Who offers car hire at London Gatwick Airport?

Gatwick Airport's car hire rental partners include:


I'm ready to book my car hire!

Tips for driving in and around London

  • Drive on the left. In London, as in the rest of the UK, you must drive on the left-hand side of the road.
  • You may need to pay the T-Charge. Designed to limit vehicle emissions, the T-Charge operates within the congestion charge zone, this includes London, and applies to all vehicles that do not meet the required emissions standards. Find out more about the T-Charge here.
  • The congestion charge applies in central London. For most vehicles, the congestion charge applies in central London between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. A large letter C in a red circle indicates that you are entering the congestion zone. The charge varies from £10.50 to £14.
  • Road signs use the imperial system. Speed limits are given in miles, not kilometres. In built-up areas, the standard speed limit is 30m/h, or 48km/h; on single carriageways it is 60m/h, or 96km/h; and on dual carriageways it is 70m/h, or 112km/h.

FAQ about car hire in London

  • Can you take a hire car from London to Ireland, Scotland or Wales? Most car hire companies let you travel around the UK and even to the Republic of Ireland via ferry. However fees and conditions may apply. An important consideration is that most rental companies don't cover cars while they're on a ferry, so should damage occur between the UK and Ireland, you are liable for the repair costs.
  • Can I take a hire car from London to Europe (e.g. France)? Some car hire companies, including Budget and Avis, allow transcontinental travel. Those that do may offer continental cover where renters receive a green card to drive their rental car around Europe, proving that appropriate third-party liability insurance is in place.
  • Do I need an International Driving License to drive in London? No, Australia is one of the UK's designated countries, and as long as you hold a valid driver's licence, you are permitted to drive on UK roads.
  • Can provisional licence platers drive in the UK? No, provisional non-UK residents are not permitted to drive on the roads in the UK.
  • Do I need car insurance? As an Australian traveller, your standard travel insurance might already include car hire rental insurance, so you may not need to take out car rental excess. If it doesn't or you wish to purchase it separately, you can compare your excess insurance options here. If you've left it to the last minute, car hire companies generally offer rental insurance at a premium.

5 popular driving routes in London

London to Brighton

  • How long is the drive? 86km
  • How long do I need? 2-3 hours
  • Must-sees along the way: Turn off the M25 to visit the Surrey Hills or leave the A23 to see the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Head to Brighton for a dose of the great British seaside and enjoy its pier, which is topped with arcades, ice cream stands and a traditional fish and chip shop. If you love a good shopping spree, Brighton is not to be missed. It's full of independent and vintage shops selling out-of-the-ordinary items.


The Romantic Road (London to Cotswolds via Cheltenham)

  • How long is the drive? 343km, round trip
  • How long do I need? 3 days
  • Must-sees along the way: Bourton on the Water, Snowshill, Batsford Arboretum

Drive to the Cotswolds from London then spend a couple of days taking the circular route around the area. If you have time, take a side trip to visit nearby Blenheim Palace – the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.


The Lake District

  • How long is the drive? 466km, one way
  • How long do I need? 3-5 days
  • Must-sees along the way: Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Birmingham, Stoke-on-Trent and Preston.

Point your compass north-west and wind your way through quaint towns and big cities while you make your way to the Lake District National Park, aka the Lake District. It's an area overflowing with outdoor activities where you can hike, kayak or just wander the cobblestoned streets of the small towns.


Stonehenge and Bath

  • How long is the drive? 387km, round trip
  • How long do I need? 1-2 days
  • Must-sees along the way: Windsor Castle, Reading, Stonehenge.

One of the most popular and iconic day trips from London takes you on a historical journey. On the outskirts of London sits one of the Queens' residences, Windsor Castle, where exhibitions, talks and room tours abound. Further west, you can explore the mysterious Stonehenge monoliths and the Roman baths in the town of Bath. Some of these attractions are included in the London Pass.


London to Scotland via Glencoe

  • How long is the drive? 805km, one-way
  • How long do I need? 1 week
  • Must-sees along the way: Oxford, Birmingham, Lake District, Dumfries, Loch Lomond and Bridge of Orchy.

When all other roads have been conquered, the one to take is the long journey north across the border into the land of lochs and highlands – aka Scotland. Two hours north-west of Glasgow lies Glencoe, a sweeping expanse of lush green moorland punctuated by ice lochs and frosted tors.

Experience natural beauty at its best, set against a backdrop of beautiful purple-grey skies though you'll need to give yourself enough time to get there and back.


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