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    Car rental in London - see all the amazing sights

    London is the capital city of England and the United Kingom. It is a vibrant, modern but yet ancient city full of exciting things to discover. A city that never really sleeps, London is the largest city in Europe covering an astounding 611 square miles and home to an estimated 8 million people. Through its center runs the iconic River Thames, once a thriving river with links all over the world.

    West London encompasses world renowned names such as Carnaby Street, Leicester Square, Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Piccadilly Circus. South London on the southbank, you’ll come across the Royal Festival Hall, London Eye and numerous restaurants, bars and clubs. London Bridge and the Isle of Dogs is the city’s main financial center. Here you’ll find multiple skyscrapers such as Canary Wharf, Tower 42, the Gherkin and the Shard at London Bridge.

    When you decide to opt for a car rental with Auto Europe, you are opting for peace of mind and added security. With over 60 years of industry experience, we have partnered with local, national and international car hire suppliers to provide you with unprecedented choice. Along with great car hire deals, we also provide luxury and motorhome hire.

    How is the traffic in London?

    London experiences high congestion like any major city. During rush hour especially many of its main routes into the city are very slow. The M25 which circles London and the A406 inner circular road can become very congested. Likewise with motorways like the M23, M11 and M4 which lead into the city can be very slow. We would recommend a smaller vehicle for ease of parking and maneuvering when you decide on a car rental in London.

    To try and reduce congestion in the actual City of London, a congestion charge was introduced by TFL (Transport for London). If you enter this area you will have to pay the daily charge, which will allow you to enter the zone as often as you wish during that day. The zone is marked by a big letter C on the roads surface - with licence plate cameras directly above. Sign posts will inform you of operating times. For more information, consult here.

    Where can I park my car rental in London?

    Free parking can be found in the Greater London area, inner London is slightly more difficult and you may have to resort to using a parking garage. On-street parking is normally reserved for resident permit holders only, if not, then it will either be a pay-and-display bay or a traditional meter. Parking will have a maximum stay and feeding the meter is not allowed.

    A single yellow line will mean you can park on Sundays and outside of peak times. A double yellow line means no parking and a single red line means no stopping or parking at any time. Make sure you look at the relevant street signs when driving your car hire from London around town.

    London Airports

    There are a total of five international airports serving London, with some located in bordering counties, but all with excellent transport links into the city. London’s main airport and the busiest is Heathrow Airport, located in west London. This airport is the second busiest in the world and the busiest in Europe. It also is the only airport with a direct underground line to it.

    Other airports include London Gatwick, situated south of London, Stanstead Airport located in northeast of London, London Luton Airport, located north of London and lastly London City Airport, located in the docklands area of East London.

    London City Airport is primarily used by business users, but also has some international flights. This airport is served by the docklands light rail network. Other airports have overground connections with express trains into the city.

    Heathrow Airport - (LHR)
    Heathrow Airport is located in Middlesex around 19 miles west of Central London.
    Telephone: +44 0844 335 1801

    Gatwick - (LGW)
    Gatwick Airport is located in West Sussex around 29 miles south of Central London.
    Telephone: +44 0844 892 0322

    Stansted Airport - (STN)
    Stansted Airport is located in Essex around 34 miles northeast of Central London.
    Telephone: +44 0844 335 1803

    Luton Airport - (LTN)
    Luton International Airport is located in Bedfordshire around 31 miles north of Central London.
    Telephone: +44 0158 240 5100

    London City Airport - (LCY)
    London City Airport is located in East London, near the financial district.
    Telephone: +44 0158 240 5100

    What to do in London

    London can often seem like a mammoth city to explore. From the Sky Garden, to the Natural History Museum, or the Science Museum to the only surviving WWII battleship HMS Belfast, here are our recommendations of what not to miss when visiting:

    • London Dungeon: This popular tourist attraction opened its doors in 1974 and to date has become one of London’s top attractions. Taking the unsuspecting visitor on a journey covering over 1000 years of London’s gruesome past – the London Dungeon showcases the Great Fire of London to Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel and the plague eras. Using actors, prompts, shows, multimedia and entertaining rides, the dungeon successfully immerses you in a world of skeletons and torturers.

    • London Eye: Located on the South Bank of the River Thames near the houses of parliament, you’ll find it hard to miss the London Eye. This big Ferris wheel provides excellent views over the city and beyond. As Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, it was opened in the year 2000 and designed by architect Frank Anatole. It is 541 feet high and greets an estimated 3.74 million tourists per year. Since its opening it has become the UK’s most popular tourist attraction.

    • Museum of London: With around 1 million visitors per year, a visit to the Museum of London is a must for anyone interested in finding out all about this magnificent city. The museum first opened its doors in 1976 and was designed to take you on a magical journey through London’s prehistoric past until modern day. Containing the world’s largest selection of urban history the museum has around six million artefacts.

    • Legoland Windsor: Just west of London is a magical place called Legoland Windsor. This theme park is great for families, big and young kids alike. Located outside London’s M25 ring road, this park is dedicated to everything Lego. Opened in 1996, Legoland Windsor to date has a couple of roller coaster rides, fifty five attractions and up to six water rides. With just over 2 million visitors per year, it currently has twelve individually themed zones.

    • Buckingham Palace: Officially the residence of the British Monarch since 1837, Buckingham Palace is one of those London landmarks everyone visits when in London. An iconic photo in front of the palace gates is customary. When the Royal Standard flag is flown at the palace is signifies that the queen is present.

    Best day trips with my car hire in London

    Brighton: The seaside city of Brighton is only one hour and a half from London by car. This makes it ideal for a day trip when you decide on a car rental in London. If not, then a train is also available from multiple main train stations in London. Brighton is an extremely lively place with an abundance of clubs, bars, restaurants and coffee houses. It has plenty of culture in the form of museums and the British Airways i360 – which will allow great views over the city.

    Oxford: Only an hour away from London you’ll come across the home of Oxford University – the city of Oxford. This quaint city is full of period architecture and a notably vibrant student community. Numerous coffee houses, bars, clubs and restaurants have popped up to cater for the local student population. Oxford also attracts a substantial amount of tourists per year due to its cultural English significance.

    Bath: Only one and a half hours from London is the Spa town of Bath. This splendid example of Georgian architecture makes for a great day trip. A vibrant Roman Spa Town, you’ll enjoy the sheer quantity of restaurants, coffee houses, stylish boutiques and street performers on offer. Bath attracts just under 4 million tourists per year and is one of the nicest cities you’ll have the privilege of visiting.

    Geographic Information & History

    Originally founded as Londinium in 43AD, it became a commercial centre in Roman Britain. The capital of England, London is a modern thriving city and an economic powerhouse in the United Kingdom. It is one of the world’s top holiday destinations and therefore offers lots of tourist and cultural attractions. The River Thames runs through the heart of the city and is a valuable asset to the city. Once a major waterway accepting cargo from all over the globe, the river now serves for leisure, tourism, commercial and travel purposes.

    Modern day London was built on flat lowlands and apart from a few hills in surrounding north and south, it is still relatively flat. London’s weather can be unpredictable, you can often experience multiple seasons in one day. Winters are moderately mild by comparison with other countries on the same latitude. This is due to the Gulf Stream that rises up and warms the atmosphere. Summer can be equally as unpredictable, with temperatures around 18 degrees, but can rise into its 30s.

    How to get around London


    London is served by a few bus companies – Stagecoach, Arriva, etc - all of which provide excellent coverage of inner and greater London. Buses operate during the day and terminate at various times depending on the route - normally midnight. A limited bus night service exists and spreads out from Trafalgar Square to different points of the Greater London.

    If you are looking to head further out, then National Express operates a national and international bus service out of main London bus garages. For example, you can you can catch a coach from London Victoria bus station to Cardiff, Liverpool and even Paris!

    London Underground

    The Underground or Tube has more than 250 stations and covers all of inner and greater London, spreading out in some home counties – Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. The Tube is an excellent method for getting around the city. It is advisable to avoid rush hour because it can get heavily congested, even on the platforms. There are a total of eleven lines covering 250miles.

    A limited underground tube serve operates on Friday and Saturday. Lines include, Central line, Northern line, Jubilee line, Piccadilly Line and Victoria line.


    London cabs or taxis are black with a lit up taxi sign on its roof. Affectionately known as a Black Cab, these vehicles are metered and distinctive in design. Seating is only in the back, with a luggage space next to the driver. A Hackney Carriage licence plaque can be found at the rear of the taxi. Only official taxis have these. Black cabs can be pre-booked, hailed on the street or picked up at a taxi rank.

    A licenced mini cab service also operates in London, along with Uber. These can be pre-booked or pick-up at a mini cab office. Confirm that the mini cab is an official one before getting on. Minicabs generally operate at all hours, day and night and can be often cheaper than a black cab alternative.

    Useful links

    Official Tourism Website London