Car Rental UK
Car hire in the UK with 'The Car Rental Centre'
We try to be as unbiased as possible on Britain Express, to give you our honest opinion on travel and heritage matters in the UK, and present a variety of travel options, including those which might be considered to be in competition with us. But we have to say we're pretty excited about our partnership with The Car Rental Centre, who will now offer car rental in the UK to Britain Express users. The Car Rental Centre are a car rental broker, which essentially means that they select the best deals from a variety of major car rental companies, including some of the top UK and European car hire companies.
If you'd rather book with just one car rental agency we have made a special arrangement with
voted the most trusted brand in UK car rental
No Hidden Extras
Your car rental quotation IS the final price. There are no hidden extra fees.
The Car Rental Centre is a friendly, family operated business, giving you a personal touch. All rentals are guaranteed, but in the unlikely event that you have a problem at any stage with your rental, someone will be there there to help you sort things out by phone or email.
Helpful Tips for Car Rental in the UK
These are general tips culled from our own experiences renting cars in the UK and from questions we've been asked over the years by users of Britain Express.
We occasionally get enquiries from seniors wanting to know if they can rent cars in the UK. The short answer is "it depends". Primarily, it depends upon the policy of the rental agency. Most car rental agencies have policies restricting rentals on an age basis, with 75 being the usual cut-off point, though some do not allow rentals to those aged 70 or over.
Pre-paid petrol fill-up
As with elsewhere in the world, when you rent a car in the UK you will normally be expected to return it with the petrol (gas) tank full. That doesn't sound like a big issue, but from personal experience you may find yourself rushed for time when returning a vehicle or it may prove difficult to find a petrol station near your vehicle drop-off point. I find it worth my while to pre-pay for a fill-up when picking up the vehicle. That means that a reasonable amount is added to your bill, but you can return the car without filling up the tank. From experience, the amount it costs to pre-pay is far less than the penalty for returning a vehicle with the petrol tank almost empty!
One way rentals
Yes, one way rentals are available to most locations, but usually there is a slightly higher fee involved than there would be if you were returning the car to the same location. This makes sense, of course, as the rental agency must then shuffle the cars about to make sure that each location has the number of cars needed.
What Documents do
I need to Rent a Car in the UK?
If you are arriving in the UK from abroad you will generally need only show a valid drivers license from your home country, and your passport. You will probably also need a credit or debit card, unless you are paying by cash.
Though Automatic transmission vehicles are very common in some parts of the world (notably the US), most vehicles in the UK are manual transmission. If you want to rent an automatic transmission vehicle, it will probably be more expensive than a standard transmission car.
Quite honestly, it can be time consuming getting around in the UK if you are not familiar with the roads. Most rental agencies will provide a small, handy road atlas when you pick up your car, but these are generally only useful for getting an overview of the major road systems. If you are arriving in the UK from abroad PLEASE consider purchasing a good road atlas before you arrive. The one I personally use is the AA "Friendly" road atlas, which seems to have gone out of print. The next best is probably the "Maxi" AA Atlas, available from Amazon.co.uk here. You should also be able to pick up a good atlas in almost any major airport or rail station in the UK upon your arrival.
Other driving resources on Britain Express:
Driving on the Left - The prospect of driving a car in the UK can be intimidating if you are not used to driving on the left hand side of the road. This article covers the basics of driving a car in the UK, and shows that with attention to a few basic concepts, anyone can have an enjoyable, relaxing time driving a car about Britain.
Airport Parking services - these companies offer drivers a variety of car parking options at major UK airports, such as Gatwick and Heathrow.
Other Resources for driving in the UK
RAC - (Royal Automobile Club) offers a similar range of car and driver services to the AA.
International Drivers License Scam - This article exposes the IDL scam, prevalent online. An IDL (not to be confused with the very legitimate International Drivers Permit mentioned below) is a worthless document with no legal value in the UK.
International Drivers Permit - drivers coming to the UK from a different country generally require only their passport and a valid drivers license from their home country in order to rent and drive a car. However, if you are going to be continuing on to other countries after your stay in the UK, consider an International Drivers Permit. These inexpensive documents essentially translate your normal license into a variety of foreign languages, and verify its validity. In the US, these permits are only available from the Automobile Association of America and the American Automobile Touring Alliance.