London to Belgium, with a car?

We're traveling from London to Belgium in a car we're renting in England (we'll be back in England after Belgium, driving around in both countries).

I have two questions:

  1. The British car will have the wheel on the British side, and once we're in Belgium, I am assuming this may be a real problem. We do drivve in Britain (but are not experts), but I'm afraid driving on the right hand side of the road in a British car might be a bit dangerous due to our inexperience.

Might we want to get one car in Belgium, and another on our return to England??

What's the most interesting, fun way to go by car from London to Belgium? We haven't got a lot of time, but could drive to Dover, do the boat (if they still have them)), then drive to Belgium from there, but it's been many years since I've travelled between 2 countries with a car, so I'm not sure about today's options.

Many thanks!


Posted by Andreas
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2701 posts

Merry, with regards to your first question, you can drive with a British car on the Continent. It's not that difficult but the person on the passenger seat needs to understand that he can see a bit more than the driver and must pass on those informations. Also only the passenger seat person can actually take tickets from car park entries etc. Yes, there still are car ferry boats and you can cross borders easily.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
1400 posts

I've never been comfortable driving in the UK with RH drive. Evidently you have plenty of experience.

Because I grew up in NYC, and neither of my parents every owned a car in their entire lives, I have a different perspective than many. But I've been to Belgium at least seven times, and I never missed having a car. (I will say that we once drove from Cologne to Leuven, and dropped the car at BRU to go home. But that was a deliberate auto expedition that included the Floriade in Venlo NL. There were no major tourist cities on the trip.) You should think about whether you'll really want a car for the cities you want to visit. Belgium has superb local train service that isn't particularly expensive. Parking lots are expensive and have very narrow stalls and aisles. And big cities like Antwerp and Brussels have nasty traffic and narrow, one-way streets. Even small cities like Leuven have medieval street plans.

What I'm saying is that I used to go with my wife on business trips to Antwerp. Every morning I'd walk to the lovely Centraal Station and take a train to someplace like Mechelen or Gent and be back to have dinner with her at 6:30PM. To me, there is NO fun way to drive from London to Belgium.

Have you considered second-country drop-off-fees, weekly rental discounts, ferry fares, and ferries that don't take pedestrians in your calculations? You don't sound like a travel newbie at all, but you do sound America-centric in your car usage. (Not a slam, just attempting to read internet-affect. Sorry!)

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
3399 posts

I've taken an English car all over Western Europe. I kept getting in the left passenger seat out of habit, and my wife actually thought I wanted her to drive. She scares me to death driving.
The best and most efficient way to Brussels from London is on the Eurostar fast train.

After you're there, if you need a car, you can rent one with left hand drive.

Posted by Nancy
Corvallis OR
2902 posts

Any reason why this 6-1/2 yr old post is being brought up? I don't see a new question.

Posted by Tim
Wyckoff, NJ, USA
1400 posts

Thank you Nancy. The specific reason may be the reorganization of the newsboards. Perhaps they should have a filter of some kind. We all have to learn the new layout. Too bad the new design doesn't include a "stale" flag. Yeah, I'm sorry I wasted my time,.