Driving in London, London
We hired a car and drove around the UK... It was easy for us since we are used to driving on the left side of the road, although the strange road signs had us wondering a few times... :)
The roads were all very good except for the traffic jams around the larger cities...try to avoid 'peak' hours if you can help it.
The distances between cities in the UK are all fairly short, it doesn't really take too long to get anywhere except if you stop for photos every few minutes. ;)
I had couple of bad experiences with Alamo car rental once at Heathrow and once at Stansted. My sister also had bad experiences with Alamo at Stansted Airport.
Their customer service representative are very rude. I believe many people like me had bad experiences cos I have seen people arguing with their representative at the airport while I was waiting in the long long queue. Any way, as a customer, being given the wrong information is the responsibility of their customer even though information are given by their customer services through the telephone is absolutely ridiculous.
Go to other rental company such as Hertz. Their car is good and new. Alamo's car, though said that it was new, it is not very new as the engine are a bit noisy for a new car. The car do not seem to get washed for the next customer. At Hertz, the cars are more reliable and clean. I tried to choose a car at Heathrow (Alamo), and all the cars have scratches or dents! And the exterior was not cleaned, hence I was left with a blur side mirror.
ALAMO = SUCKS !
There's a congestion charge to drive in central London from Monday to Friday from 7am to 6.30pm. For more information such as the map of the boundary and about the charges, go to http://www.cclondon.com/.
Starting Monday 17 Feb 2003, central London will be subject to congestion charging between 7am and 6:30pm, Monday to Friday. This means that if you want to drive into central London during those hours, you will have to pay 5 pounds. Not paying the charge will result in hefty fines. This is all a plan from our mayor, Ken Livingstone, to reduce the number of vehicles in central London during the week. On the one hand, something needs to be done because the situation is getting ridiculous. One the other hand, nobody knows whether this scheme will really have a positive impact. However, the money collected must by law be invested in improving public transports so it can't be all bad.
Driving in London is an art. There is really no need to take a car into the central area, but sometimes it's necessary to drive around the periphery. The standard of driving is high (if you don't believe me try driving in Bristol!), and the knack is to find routes you will use regularly and get to know which lanes you should be in.
The first rule of the road in London is, if you see a gap, move into it. This is not a city for the nervous or indecisive!
Best ways in and out - to the west, the Western Avenue (A40) is a doddle. Northwards you want to avoid the Finchley Road - try the A4088 through Willesden and Wembley to Stanmore. Southwards, I always found the A217 through MItcham and Sutton towards Reigate less painful than most roads south of the river. Eastwards, there is no hope!
Driving around central London is slow!!!!!!!!! and unless you are really well orientated with the City and like chancing death, then I suggest you try the other methods of getting around London. Also the Parking can cost you second mortgage.
But if you really want to drive in London, first go and see a Psychiatrist, then go and check out this site for self drive hire cars.
Don't drive, traffic sucks. You can walk most places or take the tube if you're going to the other side of town. The hooligans on the tube look like little school boys compared to the ones on the D.C. subway so you don't have to worry about them.
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I think we had a better time on vacation beacause we could stop where we wanted. Also, you get a chance to drive on the other side of the road. Drivers almost everywhere we went were polite.