The United Kingdom, popularly referred to as the UK, is a highly dense country with a population of about 66.6 million people.
It consists of 4 countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. (Fun fact: the United Kingdom is actually the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland so Northern Ireland isn’t actually part of Great Britain)
With breathtaking landmarks like the London Eye in England, the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol and Stonehenge in Wiltshire to mention a few, England is surely a must-stop destination on your travel list. London was ranked 5th on The World’s 30 Best Places to Visit in 2018 by U.S. News & World Report, so that should be some motivation for you.
Although public transportation is quite effective in most cities in the UK, it causes freedom of mind to know that you don’t have to wake up at a certain time or even leave an event early just to rush down to the bus stop to avoid missing a bus. Also, the privacy and freedom that comes with having your own personal mode of transportation doesn’t hurt either.
I know your next question might be something along the lines of “That’s all very well and good but how much are we talking here?” Don’t worry, we will be going through a detailed list of possible questions you may have and also a step-by-step guide on the process of renting a car.
Does anyone actually need to do anything really? But, look at it this way, imagine yourself cruising down the cool countryside with the windows down and the wind blowing through your hair (or scalp). You won’t be getting that feeling on a bus anytime soon, I can assure you.
I would say the best places to drive these rental cars are in the countryside as public transportation is not as broad as it is in the cities. Most places do have a parking fee but that shouldn’t stop you, it’s the best way to move around at your own convenience and can you really put a price on comfort?
The prices for car rentals are wildly exaggerated. Prices can start as low as £4 and vary based on the make of the car, pickup and drop-off location, availability of the car, number of seats and other factors. Renting a car on an average in UK will cost an estimated $108 for the period of one week.
Getting fuel is quite expensive here and a gallon is being sold for about $6.5. In autumn you can rent a car for a week at about $155, spring at about $180 if you pick from an airport location, a cheap deal in summer will be $198 – $220.
The most important thing is to carry out proper research, know what you’re paying for (insurance, deposit charges etc.), find the right company that suits your needs and go for it.
If you want to get a good deal, you can book multiple orders so you monitor which fees go down first and select accordingly. Avoid airport rentals as they usually charge a lot.
Because we’re so eager to help, we’ve listed a few of the best car rental companies to fit any budget. We’ve also included the worst car rental companies so you know which to avoid.
This list was compiled based on customer reviews and detailed enquiries.
Most companies will require you to sign up on their platform online and hire a car with your credit card. They need it mostly for paperwork, however some let you pay in cash at the pickup location while others let you use a debit card.
Booking online is the preferred option as you’re likely to pay less and avoid any instances of unavailable cars.
The legal minimum age to rent a car in the UK is 21 however some companies will include extra charges for that and you will be asked to specify your age when registering. The generally accepted age by most companies is 25 as you won’t be charged any extra fees.
Most companies deem 70 to 75 years unfit to rent a vehicle but some still let the people in this age group hire one. In most cases, you pay an additional fee and you are asked to bring your doctor’s note
Take your time to the fine print before deciding on a car. Some car rental agencies have ridiculously high surcharges on customers who are below 25 years of age, so be sure to ask a lot of questions.
“We’ve upgraded your vehicle!”
Don’t be fooled by this scam, most times you are given the same vehicle and you pay a higher amount compared with the price at which you booked in the first place.
Also be sure to look at the insurance policy and let the company explain what you are paying for and what you aren’t, in order to avoid problems when returning the car
Generally you should hire the car that fits your hand and driving style as both have their own benefits.
The manual car has more car control and lets you save up on fuel, the automatic has the comfort of no constant gear changes and less strain on both legs.
If you intend to cover a vast area i.e. the countryside, the automatic car is best.
If you want to be in charge of your drive full time, the manual is the one for you.
Generally, automatic cars are more expensive because they are more in demand and provide somewhat smoother drives.
You must have these documents on you at all times:
You must be more than 21 if you are driving a rented car
You can read up on more laws here:
When hiring a car you would need to get the following documents :
But most companies ask for the first three only and you’re good to go.
In the UK, there are toll gate fees on certain motorways, tunnels, bridges and entrances. The fees are collected at designated toll gates and can be paid in cash or with a credit card.
You will be required to show a valid ID before you can rent a car and you should familiarize yourself with common road signs and, if necessary, acclimatize to driving on an opposite side of the road. Get yourself a smaller car as most roads are narrow, especially in the countryside. It’s also easier to park with small cars.
There are lots of hidden cameras on most roads to capture speeding drivers so be sure to stay within the speed limit. The cameras are also used to identify illegally parked cars so keep that in mind.
If you are caught on camera, you will be fined £60. This fine will automatically be deducted from your account by the car hire company. It’s best you read up on all the road rules before hopping on the wheel
You should return the car in the same condition it was given to you unless you’re willing to forgo your deposit.
It’s polite to top off the fuel tank or at least fill it up to the original amount.
Some companies provide the option of returning the car to a different location than the pick up so you can look into that as well.
Below are some emergency phone numbers:
Ambulance: 999 or 112
Fire: 999 or 112
Police: 999 or 112
Gas emergency: 0800 111 999.
NHS Direct (24-hour health helpline): 0845 46 47 or 111
Useful Links as a Tourist in UK
For the news
Now that you know basically all you need to about renting a car, there should be nothing standing in the way of your driving freedom.
Good luck and happy travels!