Compare car hire at Gatwick airport

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*Based on an individual aged 31 with no pre-existing medical conditions taking single trip cover for 7 days to France. Cover starts on July 8, 2024 and ends on July 14, 2024. Price correct as of June 13, 2024.

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Gatwick is the UK's second largest airport, handling well in excess of 20 million passengers a year, and is a busy location for car rental. Gatwick is also very close to the M25, making it the ideal place to begin your exploration of the southern part of the UK, and London, the nation's capital.

There are plenty of places to visit around the Gatwick area and car rental makes it easy to discover what is on offer...

The glorious countryside of the southern counties of Surrey, Sussex and Kent are ideal. Kent, often referred to as the Garden of England, is also home to the famous cities of Canterbury and Rochester and here you will also find the splendid coastal resorts of Herne Bay and Whitstable. Rochester is also home to the great Guildhall History Museum.

Surrey also has some great landscapes but more importantly for some (especially the kids), it also has Thorpe Park and the Chessington World of Adventures. Thorpe Park features attractions such as the Nemesis Inferno, an inverted rollercoaster with interlocking corkscrews and Colossus, a record-breaking, multi-looping rollercoaster. The park is situated in Chertsey, which is about 25 km clockwise on the M25 from the M23 junction. Chessington includes both a zoo and a theme park and is just 20 km from Gatwick via the M25 and A243.

The county of Sussex also has its attractions. It shares the magnificent South Downs with its neighbouring county, Hampshire. The South Downs consist essentially of chalk hills, which extend over 260 square miles from the Itchen Valley to Beachy Head in east Sussex. Regarded as one of the foremost landscapes in England, the South Downs National Park is certainly a must-see.

For an entirely different experience, however, take the short trip (28 miles from Gatwick) to Britain's favourite bohemian city, Brighton. Here you will not only find some of the most interesting and colourful people in the country but also plenty of culture and fine dining, with the splendid Pavilion as perhaps the greatest highlight.

If you don't mind travelling a little further, you could always take a day trip to the fascinating Isle of Wight. It can be reached by ferry either from Portsmouth (to Ryde or Fishbourne), Southampton (to Cowes) or Lymington (to Yarmouth). The ferry journey takes between 40 minutes and an hour.

The island is home to some of the most exceptional wildlife in the country and is said to be one of the richest areas for dinosaur fossils in the whole of Europe. It also tends to have a much milder climate than the mainland of Britain. Cowes, Ryde and Shanklin are perhaps the best and most interesting of the isle's many towns.

These are just a few examples of the areas you can explore when flying in to Gatwick Airport.

Find answers to your questions

Driver requirements

What age do I need to be to hire a vehicle in Gatwick?

Each car hire company at Gatwick has different age requirements. In general, the minimum age is 21, but many companies won’t rent cars to drivers under 25. Check with your provider before you book, as there may also be a surcharge for younger drivers.

What do I need to hire a vehicle in Gatwick?

In general, you will need your driving licence, usually held for a minimum of 12 months, and a credit card in the same name. Proof of address and a DVLA ‘check code’ may also be required.

Do I need car hire excess insurance in the UK?

Car hire excess insurance is not required in the UK, but it may ease your mind during your trip. If you get into an accident, you’ll be expected to pay the excess (also known as a deductible), which can be very expensive on some policies. Car hire companies always offer excess insurance as an add-on, but you’ll usually find a better deal by shopping around for a third-party provider.

Can I rent a car with a debit card in Gatwick?

Yes. Many car hire companies at Gatwick let you pay with a debit card, as long as it’s associated with a major credit company like Visa or Mastercard. Credit cards are the preferred payment method. Using a debit card may require a larger deposit, so be sure to check the terms.

Which rental companies are available at Gatwick Airport?

Car hire companies available at Gatwick Airport include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Green Motion, Hertz, National and Sixt. Gatwick has two terminals, so double check where to go before you arrive.

Is it cheaper to rent a car at the airport or off-site in Gatwick?

It’s usually cheaper to hire a car from a provider located outside the airport. However, you should be able to find good deals from all the major car hire companies that operate at Gatwick if you book in advance.

Can you rent a car in Gatwick and drop it off in another city?

Yes. One-way car hire is common in the UK, and many companies at Gatwick offer this option. Check the terms carefully before booking, as some firms charge an extra fee to drop the car off at a different location.

Can you rent a car the same day in Gatwick?

Yes, you can hire a car the day you arrive, though you probably won’t get the best deal. Many of the car hire desks are located in Gatwick’s South Terminal so head there to make a same-day booking.

Can I hire a vehicle at 21 years of age in Gatwick?

Yes, you can hire a car at Gatwick if you are 21. That said, each car hire company has different age requirements, so check when you book. Note that you will likely be charged a higher fare, generally called the ‘young driver surcharge’, if you’re under 25. Expect a smaller range of cars to choose from, too.