A guide to driving in the UK
A break in the UK could be infinitely enhanced by driving your way around the sights you wish to see. Scottish mountains and lochs, Welsh rugged cliffs and beaches, beautiful English countryside, Northern Ireland and its dramatic landscapes — the UK is a sight for the senses, and a road trip is the best way to truly appreciate the differences between regions.
Of course, this all raises the issue of driving on a foreign license, learning new regulations and making sure you stay within a law that may be different to that in your own country.
To legally drive in the UK, you must carry your driving license at all times, and it is possible to drive within the UK with a driving license issued in another country for up to 12 months duration. You can also get an International Driving Permit (IDP) from your home country. The license should carry your photograph, in case it doesn't you should carry your passport to back it up.
To drive in the UK, you must be over 17 years of age and the holder of a valid driving licence, issued either in the UK or another country.
The driving law
- Drive on the left hand side of the road
- Electronic devices like mobile phones should not be used
- Everyone in the car must be wearing a seatbelt
- Give way to other cars on the right hand side of the road
- During poor visibility, always use dipped headlights
- Always give priority to emergency services vehicles
- During restricted hours, don't drive in bus lanes
- Always use indicator while turning
- Always carry license while driving
- Children should always be in the rear car-seat
Roads within the UK are governed by the National Speed Limit, and this should be adhered to at all times. The normal speed limits on UK roads are as follows:
- 112 km/h (70 mph) on divided highways
- 96 km/h (60 mph) on undivided highways
- 48 km/h (30 mph) on built up areas
Speed cameras are in operation throughout the country and fines are handed out readily for those who overspeed.
While there is a legal limit of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) measured at 0.08mg/100ml, how you process alcohol varies from person to person, and it’s just not worth the risk. Police can stop you and ask you to take a breath test if they suspect you’re over the limit. And if you are, you can expect a hefty fine or a ban as the lightest punishment, and in case of a serious criminal offence, you could also be sent to prison. In short, don’t do it.
There are plentiful pay and display car parks, or pay on exit multi-storey car parks up and down the country. However, if you’re parking on the road, be sure to note any markings, such as double yellows, which mean parking is prohibited or you could risk a parking fine ticket.
Spend Less, Do More – United Kingdom Driving Guide
The United Kingdom offers the visitor so much that one can’t go wrong in any area. Wales, Scotland and England are a mixture of stunning scenery, exemplary history, and entertainment matching every taste. The question is not what to do, but can you do it all? Absolutely not is the answer, so chose well and just be content, knowing that this area is a multi-trip destination. United Kingdom accommodations are as plentiful as they are diverse, so don’t sacrifice a good night’s sleep by staying in the pub too long because there’s a whole lot of things to do and places to see in your United Kingdom car rental.
Located beside the English Channel, the city is very convenient with reasonably short driving distances from London’s Gatwick Airport and Southampton, or if arriving by ferry from Europe. Brighton Pier is as British as fish and chips and you’ll want a selfie with the landmark structure behind, and the city’s trendy Laines district is back-to-back shops offering something to purchase for every taste, and then some.
Travel along the coast to Peacehaven, 10 km (6 miles), and walk the Greenwich Mean Time Trail or travel further to Eastbourne, 39 km (24 miles), that is a toned-down, relaxed version of Brighton with its own elaborate pier.
This town in central England has many things going for it by being charming, picturesque, conveniently located and with nearby places to visit. Situated on the edge of the Peak District, rolling hills and massive valleys represent what is considered rural England and beg to be walked or cycled. Literally just down the road from Matlock is Matlock Bath, 3 km (2 miles), an historic spa town that was a destination for British aristocracy and royalty. Cable cars also take sightseers to the top of the Heights of Abraham for majestic sweeping views of the countryside. For children and those who think young, a fun attraction is Gulliver’s Theme Park.
Chatsworth House, 13 km (8 miles), is one of Britain’s finest estates with an extensive garden (105 acres) that invites daydreaming. A restored mining community and also the location of a tramway museum is Crich Tramway Village, 10 km (6 miles), where visitors can ride the rails in antique tramcars. A trip to the area must include tasting the specialty, a Bakewell Pudding (but more like a tart), and what could be better than trying one where it originated. Bakewell, 14 km (8.5 miles), is also a market town and thus, an excellent opportunity to sample local fare and produce.
Bakewell is also located in the Peak District National Park and wherever you drive in this designated area with its moors, dales and highlands will not be a disappointment for your eyes or your camera. The city of Sheffield, 35 km (22 miles), is where one of Britain’s largest greenhouses, the Winter Garden, keeps over 2500 plant species comfortable in a temperate indoor climate.
The capital of Scotland, this well-planned city offers historical charm with a great nightlife, and not many cities can claim an extinct volcano in its midst. Overlooking the city is Edinburgh Castle and the sound of bagpipes ricocheting off the old walls completes all expectations and certainly requires a visit. After the sun sets, experience the netherworld and the city’s colourful and infamous history with a guided ghost tour.
Just outside Edinburgh are The Lothians, a picturesque pastoral lowland that has countless trails to walk or cycle, beaches to wander and of course, golf courses in the same area where the game began. In the coastal town of North Berwick, 40 km (25 miles), is the Scottish Seabird Centre where abundant avian life on Scotland’s coast can be viewed, along with a boat trip to a local habitat made available (weather pending). Scotland’s early commerce was built on coal mining, and in Dalkeith, 12 km (8 miles), is the National Mining Museum that provides light on this subterranean activity.
The United Kingdom is an extremely diverse area and regardless of where you visit there’s always something of interest and made economically feasible with a Cheaperthancars car rental and lodgings through Cheaperthanhotels.
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