What you should know before hiring a car in London
London city centre
Car hires in London: practical information
Where to rent a car in London
With 2000+ years of history, you're going to want to rent a car in London to help you zip from one end of the city to the other and back again. While not recommended to go by car into London City, it's a great way to explore the Greater London boroughs. The best place to rent a car is from one of London's airports upon arrival.
There are hundreds of car hire agencies in central London as well. Europcar, Hertz, Sixt, Avis... You will find their offices located all around London City, particularly along Euston Road and near major train stations like Waterloo and Victoria.
Driving in London: parking and other tips
The first thing you should know about driving in London is that there is a congestion charge, which is why many choose to park & ride to visit Zones 1 and 2. The best place to park in the city are at the London Car Park Lots, marked by huge white P's. Tip: there is always one near a train station. Also, look for NCP (National Car Parks). There's no free street parking in London, so if you snag a spot, look for the appropriate parking metre to way your stay. Usually you can park here for a maximum of 2-3 hours so watch the clock. Street parking is free after 6:30pm.
The cost of improperly parking is clamping, plus a fine. It costs £45 to get the clamp off and the parking fine will be between £40 and £80... an expensive mistake so don't make it while on holidays in London. Also, it's a good idea to check with your hotel in London their parking policies. Some offer it for free, others don't.
Road trips from London: what to do, what to see
Greenwich, located south-east from London, is a great little place to discover by car. This historic district is home to some pretty impressive sights like the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum and the Old Royal Naval College. If you really want to be a tourist, get your photo taken standing with one foot on either side of the Greenwich Meridian Line (0° longitude). It would be an understatement to say that the view from the hill in Greenwich Park is amazing. With the Queen's House and the National Maritime Museum in the foreground, this is the best place to take a panorama of London.
Windsor, home to the world's largest and oldest occupied castle. It's just a 45 minute drive away from London, straight out of the city via the M4. Today it's one of the biggest tourist draws outside of the Greater London area. The castle houses a big portion of the Royal Collection of art and artifacts from the castle's long history. Apart from palace tours, the town itself is really worth checking out. The small shops in Windsor Royal Station are just the place to pick up something nice. If you're lucky the Queen herself might even be at home!
A proper day-trip: Brighton is the best place to go if you want a taste of the sea side without having to travel too far from London. Just 1h 30min away by car, Brighton's famous pier and heritage buildings will certainly give you something to write home about. The Royal Pavilion, noted for its Into-Saracenic architecture, the Brighton Pier and the Grand Hotel are all must-sees on a trip to Brighton. Come summer, Brighton's beaches and arcades are packed, especially Kemp Town Beach, a local's favourite. Don't miss Brighton Festival, the second largest arts festival in the UK.