Driving in and around Central London can be a challenge and is not recommended for visitors. However, if you do need to drive in London, there are plenty of car hire companies to choose from with a range of vehicles, including electric cars, on offer.
If you're travelling to London from Europe or the UK, or looking to travel beyond London once you're here, hiring a car may be a good option.
London's roads are busy and congested and the city has excellent public transport links for visitors and residents alike. If you drive through Central London you'll have to pay the congestion charge and car parking in London is limited and expensive. However, if you do find yourself needing to hire a car, here's what to do.
London Car Hire Companies
There is no shortage of car rental agencies in Central London and throughout Greater London. Competition is fierce so make sure you compare prices, car models and agency locations to get the best deal and always use a reputable company such as Europcar.
The Congestion Charge and Electric Car Hire in London
When you drive through Central London, you'll have to pay the Congestion Charge whether you're in a hire car or your own vehicle. One way to avoid the congestion charge is by driving an electric car.
Electric Cars are available to hire across London from lots of car rental companies. In addition to the obvious environmental advantages, electric cars can cost less compared to the cost of hiring a normal car, when you take into account the savings that are possible on fuel, parking and congestion zone charges.
Chauffeur Services and Car Tours
If you'd rather not drive yourself, you can book a London Taxi or one of the many mini cabs or chauffeur services on offer. Chauffeur services include airport transfers as well as private drivers to pick you up and drop you off at your various engagements.
As with hire cars, there are many chauffeur services in London, so shop around and compare prices and make sure you only use reputable licensed private hire vehicle operators such as Tristar Worldwide Chauffeur Services and iChauffeur.
London Car Clubs
London residents or longer-stay visitors who wish to drive regularly might consider joining a car club. Car clubs give you access to a car when you need it, for a fraction of the cost of owning and running your own vehicle.
With car club membership, you can access numerous vehicles located in most London areas. Members need to pre-book the car club car for a time period – anything from a few hours to several days – then pay fixed charges based on how long the vehicle was in use, mileage or petrol.
Visit Transport for London's Car Clubs website.