Driving in London

If you're planning to drive while in London, make sure you've read our quick guide to navigating the streets.
  • In London, as in all of the UK, cars drive on the left.

  • Public transport is often a faster way to get to your destination.

  • Charges may apply, including the Congestion Charge.

  • All drivers must wear seat belts.

  • Car seats are compulsory for children.

It's a good idea to avoid driving in central London, particularly at peak times. London has a well-developed public transport system which often offers the quickest way to getting around.

Charges for driving in London

The Congestion Charge applies to most vehicles which drive into central London during the week.

The T-Charge (also known as the Emissions Surcharge) is a daily charge in addition to the Congestion Charge, which applies to the most polluting vehicles.

The Low Emission Zone covers most of Greater London: the most polluting diesel vehicles must pay to drive there, including some coaches, minibuses and lorries.

Penalty charges may be issued if the applicable charges are not paid.

Essential London driving rules

Make sure you are fully aware of the rules of the road before you decide to drive in London. Most importantly, remember that in the UK we drive on the left! You should obtain a copy of the Highway Code, available at AA and RAC outlets, and in many bookshops.

All drivers must wear seatbelts, and passengers must wear them where fitted. Car seats or appropriate restraints are compulsory for children. Motorcyclists must wear a helmet.

See the Department for Transport website for full details of the legal requirements for drivers.

Driving licence and insurance in the UK

A non-UK driving licence is valid in Britain for up to 12 months from the time of your last entry into the country. Make sure you are adequately insured.

Motorbikes and scooters in London

If you're planning to ride a motorcycle or scooter in London, you should be aware that many roads are narrow, busy and congested.

BikeSafe is an initiative run by the police for both new and experienced riders where police motorcyclists teach you safer riding skills specific to the streets of London. The courses are suitable for locals, motorbike or scooter-riding tourists and students, as well as corporate clients. Take a look at the BikeSafe website for more information and to book.

London maps and traffic updates

Find your way around London with a pocket atlas or similar guide.

You can also get London live traffic updates on the Highways Agency’s website, which provides up-to-the-minute traffic news to avoid problem roads.

Driving and car hire in London for disabled people

Disabled Motoring UK aims to promote and protect the welfare of disabled people and to promote their personal mobility. Find more information on the Disabled Motoring UK website.

There are car hire agencies in London that specialise in adapted vehicles for people with disabilities. For more information visit the Mobility Centre website.

Find out more about how to get around London, and see our guides to parking in London and car hire in London.