About London Gatwick Airport (LGW)
Address: London Gatwick South Terminal London Gatwick Airport, Gatwick, Rh6 0np
London Gatwick Airport (LGW) is located 29 miles (44 km) south of central London, and the U.K.’s second busiest airport — second only to London Heathrow. Travelers to (LGW) will find a comparable selection of airport car rental options just minutes after stepping off the plane. Big names like Avis, Hertz, Europcar and Sixt have rental counters in both north and south terminals.
Driving in London is a challenge — to put it mildly. In addition to contending with roundabouts, yellow box junctions, bus lanes, and hidden cameras monitoring your every move, getting around London in your car hire is considerably more expensive than many other major European cities. First of all, you won’t leave the airport without a discussion about Congestion Charges — a daily fee for operating a vehicle within certain parts of central London during peak hours.
London’s famous subway system is a curious attraction, but it’s not the best way to get around. Most visitors to London will find it necessary rent a car. Once you’ve reckoned with fees and paperwork, you’re on your own in the dense concrete jungle. Driving in any mega metropolis without a GPS is inadvisable, so you’re going to want to spring for the receiver — another added expense. Meanwhile, the Greater London area is well connected by a serviceable network of roads, so you’ll get where you’re going, but it might take a while.
Choosing your car
Choosing your car for a visit to London is pretty straightforward. An economy Vauxhall is great for singles and couples planning to visit historical sights in town. Likewise, a Fiat mini car is an inexpensive and convenient option. For families, a mid-sized Skoda has plenty of room and a smooth ride. For more curb appeal, a premium Mercedes is one of the most classy cars on the road. If you’re the chaperone of a larger group, a 7-9 seater Nissan minivan is ideal for large families or business groups for city and countryside driving.
Tips and advice
Designed to combat gridlock, yellow box junctions are crisscrossed yellow lines on the pavement that must be kept clear at all times — with two notable exceptions. First (and obviously), drivers are welcome to pass through the boxes in free-flowing traffic. Second, you may enter the box when waiting for oncoming traffic before making a turn. Otherwise, even half a car length is considered a violation — and remember, there are cameras everywhere — subject to a significant fine.
If you do get caught on a yellow box junction violation, you probably won’t know about it until sometime after the fact. You’re likely to receive an email from your airport car rental provider with instructions for paying the fine — wherever you may be.
Greater London has a large number of bus lanes throughout the city and surrounding areas. Driving in bus lanes is prohibited during certain hours (as marked by blue signs you’ll see all over town. Again, get caught — big fine. Be ware of the tendency to follow taxis or motorcycles into the bus lanes: they’re allowed to use them during certain hours.
(LGA) airport rental prices are considerably lower than off-site locations. Likewise, mini cars can be rented at a significant discount.
All vehicles in the U.K. drive on the left-hand side of the road.
It almost goes without saying, but traffic congestion in the Greater London area is — shall we say — somewhat of a problem.