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Car Rental - Visiting Cotswolds

Hello, We will be in London for few days and will be staying in Cotswolds for couple of days. I would like to rent a car to drive to and around Cotswolds. We have to return to London to catch Eurostar to Paris. What is the best place to rent a car in and around London? I hear the city traffic is pretty bad and it may not be prudent to rent a car within the city. Does it make sense to rent a car from one of the suburbs? May be Heathrow? We will be staying near Earls Court tube station in London. Thanks for your time. PS: I can't drive manual, will have to rent automatic:)

Posted by
1020 posts

I've driven in London many times and find the warnings about driving there much exaggerated. But if you've not driven on the left before, city traffic might be a challenge. If you don't feel comfortable with that, you could go out to Heathrow and pick up a car. The exit from LHR car rental facilities onto the M4 West is easy, then stay in the right lane and take M25N to M40 to Oxford then on to the Cotswolds.

Posted by
31471 posts

WriteFace, One other option you might consider would be to take a train or National Express Coach from London to Bath, and rent the car there. If you haven't driven on the "correct side of the road" before, that will provide a more "gentle" introduction to driving in the U.K. One other thought is that if your children are interested in military hardware, you could also take some time to visit either the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton, or the Tank Museum in Bovington (both are excellent!). When you've finished touring, drop the car in Bath and take the train or Bus back to London and St. Pancras for the EuroStar.

Posted by
1986 posts

We usually take train to Reading or Guildford because we are long time customers there. Any of the towns outside of London would work . Unless you are going direct from Heathrow to Cotswolds no need to rent at Heathrow as you need to be back in London for Eurostar. When you reserve your car specify automatic- they usually oblige. If you dont reserve ahead that may be an issue.

Posted by
58 posts

Heathrow or even Oxford are excellent suggestions. It is difficult to rent an automatic so the sooner you reserve, the better. We had the experience of reserving an automatic then when we arrived at the car rental, were informed that, sorry, no automatics available! Be aware that roads in the Cotswolds are very narrow compared to the US so renting a small car is essential. Also, fuel runs about the equivalent of $8/gal right now...last weekend it cost about $75 to fill our very small rental car. One last suggestion: purchase a good, detailed map of the area--study it beforehand and become familiar with the road numbers and your destinations...it can be very confusing when you arrive at one of the many, many roundabouts...

Posted by
1426 posts

We always rent a car at Heathrow and find it very easy to drive out from there.

Posted by
58 posts

All, Thanks for sharing your ideas. I have booked a car from Heathrow. Thanks for your time.

Posted by
1986 posts

I agree- a good fairly detailed map is eessential so you dont miss any of the sights. But dont hesitate to follow your nose if some lane or road looks interesting. You really cant get too badly lost, and you will soon come to a village or signpost that will get you back on track