The four countries which make up the United Kingdom each bring their very own cultural identity, proud traditions and a whole host of fascinating sites and stories. The collective group of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is easily traversed using its major road networks, and as such provides a new and wonderful experience wherever you decide to drive.
We have hundreds of branches dotted throughout the region – including all major cities, as well as Heathrow, Edinburgh Airport and Manchester Airport - so you’ll never be far away from a pick-up point, whether you’re here for an extended break in the country, on business or a short city break.
Simply choose your desired car online beforehand, and we'll have everything you’ve requested arranged for when you arrive. You’ll get peace of mind thanks to a 24-hour helpline, there are no hidden credit card fees, and with our NeverLost system, navigating along Italy’s famous winding roads will be a breeze.
The diverse range of landscapes and very British weather means you can be at the sunny coastline one day and in the thick of the snowy peaks the next, but you’ll still find some of Europe’s best roads, and driving in the UK is an absolute pleasure.
Roads are classified as M (motorway), A or B roads, with the B roads being minor roads, usually with less traffic. One of the busiest roads is the M1, a north-south motorway connecting London with the city of Leeds. English capital London is home to the country’s 10 most-visited tourist sites, making for a great place to start your road trip.
On the other end of the A1 – the UK’s longest numbered road which runs through Newcastle, Leeds and York – you’ll find the Scottish capital of Edinburgh which boasts numerous historic sites, including Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace. The M4 links London to Wales, running through south-west England and into south Wales, while the M8 links Scotland’s most populated area between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
A visit to Northern Ireland is also well worth fitting in – there are regular car ferry services to Belfast from Liverpool in England and Stranraer in Scotland. Roads in the UK are generally well-maintained but the terrain varies hugely, and it’s worth taking extra care in more rural areas, where roads can be narrow.
In the UK, people drive on the left. Speed limits vary but the standard speed limit in built-up areas is 30mph. It’s 60mph outside of built up areas and 70mph on highways and dual carriageways (expressways). London and Durham are the only two cities in the UK to have a congestion charge. You'll find a page full of tips and advice for drivers planning on driving in the UK here.
From its vital role in the Industrial Revolution to being one of the world’s most culturally relevant destinations, here in the UK visitors will find gorgeous beaches, towering mountains and lively cities packed with award-winning museums and art galleries.
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, you’ll be blown away by the sheer variety of the UK’s landscape, whether it’s the rolling green hills of the southern home counties, the jagged peaks of Wales’ mountains or the shimmering lakes in north-west England. Check out the UK’s newest national park - the South Downs National Park, a coastal range of chalk hills which stretches from the peaceful Itchen Valley in Hampshire to the dramatic Beachy Head in East Sussex.
Snowdonia in Wales attracts millions of hikers every year. Home to Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, you can easily reach the summit on foot or by train. Head north in your rental car and check out the beautiful Lake District in north-west England. This area is filled with awe-inspiring lakes, valleys and mountains, and was the inspiration for much of the work by the 19th century poet William Wordsworth.
No two UK cities are the same. London boasts the majority of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions, including Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London. It’s also a great shopping destination – if you’re after designer labels, head to chic Bond Street or Mayfair, or to Oxford Street and the enormous Westfield Shopping Center in Stratford for the UK’s top high street brands. But don’t ignore the lively markets, either. The markets on Brick Lane in East London and Portobello Road in Notting Hill are both great places to sample a wide range of different cuisines, and to shop for locally-made clothes and homeware.
The Scottish capital of Edinburgh is the UK’s second most-visited city; quite apart from the annual Edinburgh Festivals which bring the very best artists and performers to the area, along with huge crowds, there’s diversion and enjoyment to be had at every turn. With its Michelin-starred restaurants, historical landmarks and galleries to lose yourself in, Edinburgh is the ideal place for a cultural escape.
We also recommend checking out some of the UK’s smaller cities, such as York, which is famous for its stunning cathedral, cobbled streets and gorgeous tea rooms, or Cardiff, whose seaside bay provides a stunning backdrop to the city’s many visitor attractions.
Some of Europe’s oldest buildings can be found in the UK - but the most important sites aren’t just located in the cities, they’re often deep in the countryside too. One of the world’s most important prehistoric monuments can be found in Wiltshire. Stonehenge, near the beautiful cathedral town of Salisbury, is a ring of standing stones which dates back to 3000 BC. To discover the country’s industrial heritage, head to historic Leeds and the city’s Industrial Museum, which is housed inside what was once the world’s largest woollen mill. The Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast offers visitors a look back at the country’s fascinating penal past, and you can take in views of the old prison layout and explore the underground tunnel that runs beneath it.
With swathes of storied scenery and great days out sweeping the four corners of the UK, you’ll always find something new to admire and another event or venue to enjoy on each visit to this sceptered isle. Ready to book your trip? Click here.