About United Kingdom (UK)
Comprised of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom is an island nation in northeastern Europe. Its capital city of London has numerous iconic attractions including Big Ben, the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye and the British Museum.
Booking a car rental in United Kingdom is the best way to explore the country at your leisure. In the southern half of England, you can discover the ancient Roman city of Bath, as well as the venerable university towns of Oxford and Cambridge. You can also visit Stonehenge, perhaps the world’s best-known Neolithic site. Wales is to the west (don’t miss the capital of Cardiff), and in the north of England you can drive through the idyllic Lake District. In Scotland, discover beautiful rolling hills, the culture hotspot of Edinburgh, the Loch Ness, and the stunning Highland region.
In the UK, you drive on the left side of the road, which can be confusing for drivers coming from countries where you drive on the right. Give yourself some time to adjust to this change when you rent a car, and drive cautiously until you have become accustomed to it (remember, for example, to stay in the left lane of a multi-lane road). Another potential point of difference is that distances (and speed limits) use miles and yards.
There are three road types in the United Kingdom. The first is high-speed motorways, where the speed limit is 70 miles per hour (about 112 kilometers per hour). For the most part, the motorways are toll-free (tolls are most often levied for river crossings). The next category of roads is “A” and “B” roads. While most UK roads are in good condition, there are some that are in less good condition, especially in Scotland.
Choosing your car
United Kingdom car rental companies include international providers such as Enterprise, Thrifty and Avis. In Scotland, you may want to book a car with a 4x4 transmission, especially if you are headed to more rugged areas such as the Scottish Highlands. Larger groups can book an SUV, people mover or 7—12 person mini van for optimal comfort. Other options are a luxury sedan, a sports car, or a cheap car rental such as an economy compact car.
Tips and advice
If you drive in central London at certain times of the day, you will have to pay a congestion charge, which must be paid online ahead of your trip.
Roundabouts are frequently used in the UK; keep in mind that the traffic goes clockwise.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the blood alcohol limit is higher than in Scotland. If you exceed the limit, you could face a hefty fine.
Before bringing your car hire on a ferry, check that this is allowed by the car rental company.
The UK can on occasion have dangerous driving conditions such as snow, ice and fog. Keep on an eye on the weather forecast, and be aware of the typical conditions for the area you are driving through.
Before your trip, it’s a good idea to read the comprehensive UK Highway Code, which is available online. There are some key facts on driving rules provided here though.