Essential Information Regarding Driving to London

If you are driving to London by car or motorcycle, it is important for you to know all the essential information about driving in London that will help you in moving about the city conveniently and without any hassles. There are many important aspects regarding driving in London, hiring a car and about congestion charges in central London. As knowledge is power, knowing about all these aspects will go a long way in enabling you to drive in the city comfortably. Although it is possible to move about the city through its extensive public transport network, driving to London in your own vehicle offers a lot of fun and adventure as long as you have all the pertinent information regarding the same. If you are planning to stay in the city for a few days, it would be ideal to stay at Executive Rooms London Kensington as you would be located in a posh and sophisticated area of the city that is located close to most attractions of the city.

It is easy to reach London by using the motorway network of the country, as the M1, M2, M3, M4, M11, M20, M23, M25 and M40 motorways are located in or near London along with many major A-roads. Moreover, all of London’s motorways intersect the M25 orbital motorway. London’s airports and relevant ports are also well connected with good road connections. It is also possible to use the Eurotunnel or ferry to bring a car or motorcycle into the UK.

Legal Aspects

The most essential requirement for driving in Britain is a valid driving license that can be from UK or from any other country from outside the UK. However, it should be valid for up to 12 months from the date of arrival in the country. The other legal requirements are that you should be adequately insured and the vehicle should be roadworthy. It is also necessary under British law for all drivers and passengers to wear seat belts. Moreover, hand-held mobile phones or similar devices should not be used while driving. Children travelling in any vehicle need to be properly retrained with a car seat or any other appropriate device. The use of a helmet while riding a motorcycle is also mandatory. Driving under the influence of alcohol is strictly punishable under British law. The rules of the road and information regarding road signs are detailed in the Highway Code, which is available at bookshops and Tourist Information Centres and it is necessary to obtain a copy and study it before driving in Britain.

Riding a Motorcycle or Scooter in London

Many roads in London are narrow, busy and congested and riding a motorcycle or scooter needs a lot of skill. It is a good idea to enroll for the BikeSafe course run by the police for both new and experienced riders to teach safer riding skills that are specific to the streets of London. Locals, tourists, students and corporate clients find the course to be very useful.

Car Hire in London

Car hire companies are operating at all points of arrival in London, particularly at airports, sea ports and train stations. You can book a car in advance so that you can get it as soon as you arrive. However, it is advisable to deal with a reputable car hire company. You can also hire an adapted vehicle for disabled drivers from London airports and other locations in the city. A wide range of vehicles, including electric cars, are available at the car hire companies. Hiring a car is a good option if you are planning to travel beyond London after arriving at the city.

Competition is fierce among the car hire companies so make sure you compare prices, car models and agency locations to get the best deal. Electric Cars are also 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

For people who do not wish to drive in London, chauffeur services are also available or they can book a London Taxi or one of the many mini cabs. Chauffeur services include airport transfers as well as private drivers to pick you up and drop you off at your various engagements. Since there are many chauffeur services available in London, it is good to shop around and compare prices and use only reputable licensed private hire service operators.

Congestion Charges 

Central London is very busy and congested and as such, a congestion charge has to be paid if you wish to drive through central London, irrespective of whether you are in hire car or your own vehicle. However, you can avoid paying the congestion charge if you drive an electric car. The congestion charge applies between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays and between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The charging zone is clearly marked by traffic signs and road markings. Motorcycles and electric cars are exempt from the charge, or may qualify for a discount. Disabled drivers are also exempt but must apply in advance.

Parking in London

There are many car parks including those run by National Car Parks and they can be booked in advance. It can prove to be quite difficult to find a car park if you don’t know where to go. There are car parking companies operating in London with properties throughout the city.

You can find your way around London with a pocket atlas or similar guide. One of these will make London’s complex road network much more navigable. You can also join a car club that will give you access to a car when you need it, for a fraction of the cost of owning and running your own vehicle.a

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