About London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
Address: Northern Perimeter Road West Hounslow, Middlesex, London, Tw6 2qe
London Heathrow Airport (LHR) is the dominant air travel hub of Greater London, located approximately 14 miles (23 km) west of Central London. The world’s second busiest international passenger airport is served by an appropriate selection of major airport rental car companies. With reception desks found inside the terminals, car rentals from Alamo, Hertz, Europcar, Sixt, and Enterprise are just a quick shuttle bus ride from the terminals.
With millions of cars on the road every day, obviously, getting around Greater London is totally manageable, and most likely, the best way of navigating the surrounding areas. If it’s your first time driving a car hire in London, you’ll want to get acquainted with the particular traffic regulations and best practices.
Traffic is such a problem in London that there’s a daily Congestion Charge for operating vehicles within the Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ), which generally covers the area within the London Inner Ring Road, the Financial District, and the West End. Speaking of the Inner Ring Road, also known as the M25, almost everybody uses this route at some point in their visit to London, whether it’s as a landmark for orientation, or in reaching parts outside of the city. Driving the M25 is free, but there’s a toll charge to cross the River Thames at Dartford.
Choosing your car
Greater London is a massive and sprawling metropolis with an endless selection of must-see attractions. Thus, choosing your car will be dictated by your agenda. Fortunately, you have a plethora of options at (LHR). A Chevrolet compact is ideal for hardcore city driving. For extended road trips, a spacious full-sized BMW carries 5 passengers and their luggage. With a group of travel companions, you’ll want a 7-9 seater minivan from Nissan or Ford. And for all-purpose urban navigation, rent a Ford SUV.
Tips and advice
Speed limits are clearly posted (in miles per hour) but generally speaking, national limits are 70 mph (110 kph) on major highways, 60 mph ( 96kph ) on divided roads, and 30 mph (48 kph) in dense urban areas such as the West End and backstreets.
Some (LHR) airport car rental companies offer “preferred” or “express” service at a flat rate. For example, Avis offers a Fast Track program that starts from the moment you exit the plane, expediting the car rental process by a considerable margin. If time is precious, consider opting in to such a plan.
You’ll need TWO forms of identification to rent a car at (LHR). Your driver’s license from your home country must be in English (or have an English translation). An International Driver’s Permit is generally not necessary to drive in the U.K.
Bear in mind that your airport car rental provider is not obligated to put you in the exact make and model of car that you chose. Thus, you may wind up getting a car that’s similar to a standard Toyota, as opposed to a Toyota.
Whether it’s Trafalgar Square or the National Gallery, parking in London is highly competitive and budget-busting expensive. Consider leaving your car within walking distance of major attractions and approaching on foot or by public transportation.
Many major attractions such as Windsor Castle and the city of Oxford are approximately an hour’s drive from Central London — perfect for day trips.