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View of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Compare the best London car hire

As the capital of the United Kingdom and one of the iconic cities of the world, London is packed with places to visit and things to see and do. Hire a car and it is easy to get around the outskirts of the capital and to venture beyond the city to see more of what the nation has on offer.

Why go?

If you're visiting the iconic city of London for the first time, there are a number of touchstones you will want to tick off.

Big Ben, the Tower of London, Tate Modern and Madame Tussauds to name just a few.

But once you have taken a trip on the London Eye, waited around for the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace and had your photo taken next to Nelson's Column or a red pillar box, you might want to explore further than the central London tourist route.

Car hire in London is a cost effective way to see the most of this great city, its surrounding areas and further out into the wider UK. Driving around central London can be tricky at times, with heavy traffic in the rush hours and a congestion charge in place throughout the busier areas. You will also have to be mindful of expensive parking so you should try and keep your car rental for journeys outside of the central zone.

If you are planning to travel out of the city as soon as you arrive, London car hire is available from all city airports including Gatwick Airport (LGW), Heathrow Airport (LHR), London City Airport (LCY), Luton Airport (LTN) and Stansted Airport (STN). In addition you can rent vehicles from locations all over the London area such as the West End, Croydon, Shepherds Bush and the City, so you will easily find a handy location close to where you are staying or living.

Car hire drop off is available at more than 500 locations in the UK, so feel free to enjoy the drive from London to as far away locations as Manchester and the Peak District or even all the way up north to visit the Highlands of Scotland, Loch Ness or even Stirling Castle.

Consider car hire in London as an easy way to tackle some of the small tasks that can present a problem if you are lacking in transport, whether that's a family day trip out of town, moving into a new flat or visiting family at Christmas or New Years.

Driving on Britain's roads should be straightforward enough for most drivers. Driving is on the left with all cars being unleaded or diesel. Petrol stations are self-service with payment being made after filling up; all stations accept credit or debit card payment.

To find the best price on car hire in London, compare prices online now and save money on walk-up prices by pre-booking.

Where to explore?

Once you decide to head out of town, where can you head to within striking distance of the capital? Here are a few ideas.

Getting out of the big smoke of the city and on to nearby Kent - known as the Garden of England- will show you a different side of the UK. Miles of extensive coastline and blue flag award winning beaches lead you to England's south east corner and onto some of the area's historic landmarks, such as the Canterbury Cathedral, Leeds Castle or a short drive on to the While Cliffs of Dover.

Driving further south east will take you along the scenic South Downs Way, regarded as one of the county's most scenic drives. Travelling further south will bring you to Brighton, a great British seaside town of traditional fish and chips, a classic seafront pier and the elaborately designed Royal Pavilion.

Travel south west of the capital to the ancient stone circles of Stonehenge near Salisbury in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside. Driving further south west will bring you to Cornwall where you can take in the renowned Devonshire hills, try a locally made Cornish Pastry, followed up by some world famous Cornish ice cream.

Another option from London is to drive North West towards the historic university town of Oxford, well worth a visit with many attractions to see.