London Gatwick Airport (LGW) is Britain’s second-busiest next to Heathrow and processes a mind-boggling 46.6 million passengers annually.
It partners with over 50 air carriers, meaning that you can find a choice of full service, economy and charter services here, connecting with a wide range of locations including Miami, Kingston Jamaica, Rio De Janeiro and Kuwait City, as well as the rest of the UK and Europe.
Gatwick is a great place to begin your Great British adventure because it’s a short hop to the centre of London and the rest of the country is accessible via the nearby M25 motorway.
With Enjoy Car Hire, you can rent a wide range of compact cars like the Ford Focus or Toyota Aygo, spacious saloons like the Honda Civic and Mercedes C-Class and even roomy seven-seaters like the Vauxhall Sharan and Ford Galaxy.
And trusted Gatwick car hire companies like Europcar, Alamo, Green Motion and Easirent offer flexible packages with competitive prices, 24-hour assistance and free cancellation up to 48 hours prior to the start of the rental period.
Booking couldn’t be easier – simply pop your details in our easy access form and you’ll be served up with a stunning selection of Gatwick car rental deals in a split second.
Ready to find out more about driving in the area around LGW and the awesome attractions in London and south east England? Rev up your engine and let’s roll!
Driving in and around London Gatwick Airport
Driving from LGW to central London is child’s play – the airport is just 45km south of the city and connected to the M23 at junction nine and to the A23 road to Brighton. If you’re driving beyond London, the M25 is minutes away and from here you can conveniently connect to the national road network.
The easiest way to find directions from Gatwick to your London location is by using the airport’s accessible journey planner, but you can also use a Satnav if one is available, and friendly Gatwick car rental company employees will also be happy to answer any questions you may have.
There’s a newly introduced speed limit of 32 km/h in many areas of central London, but the regular speed limits are 48 km/h in built-up areas, 96 km/h for single carriageways, 112 km/h for dual carriageways and 112 km/h on motorways.
Please remember that there’s a congestion charge zone within the London Inner Ring Road – this includes the financial area of the City of London, and the West End, which is the retail and entertainment centre in the capital. The applicable charge is currently £11.50 daily, and the zone operates between 7am and 6pm Monday-Friday, with weekends excluded. You can find out more and set up auto payment at a discounted rate on the Transport for London website.
The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) applies in the same geographical area as the congestion zone, and it’s operational all day, every day of the year except Christmas Day – this basically means that vehicles driving here have to meet a certain standard for emissions, but your Gatwick car hire provider can advise further and ensure that your choice of vehicle is compliant.
There’s also a Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) which covers the whole of Greater London, but this concerns high pollution lorries and coaches rather than cars and motorbikes.
The first step to safe driving in London is consulting the Highway Code before you arrive – these are the rules that govern road safety in the UK and knowing them means you’ll feel much more comfortable and confident in your car in London and beyond. Here are a few other tips:
- Always drive on the left in London (and everywhere else in the UK)
- Passengers and drivers must wear seatbelts and children should use car seats or some other type of age-appropriate restraint.
- You can drive in London with many non-UK driver’s licenses – check whether yours is acceptable on this official website.
- London has a well-developed public transport system, so there are many bus lanes operating in and outwith the city centre – they run at certain hours and this is flagged up before and during the route by distinctive blue signs. Motorbikes and London taxis are allowed to use bus lanes during operational hours but regular cars aren’t – if you do so and are caught, you could be issued with a £130 fine.
- You shouldn’t stop on designated red routes either – these areas are indicated either by a blue circle sign with a red cross, double or single red lines. Double red line areas are enforced 24/7, 365, whereas you can stop in single red line zones during limited, strictly regulated times. If you fail to observe the red route rules, you could be fined.
- Parking can be tricky in London if you’re unfamiliar with the city, but if you take your time and know which signs to watch out for, you’ll find an appropriate space if you’re patient. When you drive into a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ), the hours of control will be clearly signposted. You can park safely in the areas marked by dashed white lines, provided you buy a ticket from the Pay and Display machines located close by and display it clearly inside your vehicle before you walk off. There could be resident parking spaces in the same locations but these are clearly marked so that you can avoid them.
- You might find yourself driving alongside cyclists on some London roads. If you’re unfamiliar with this experience, please remember to give a bike the same space which you would a car, and if you’re exiting a car on the roadside, please check behind you first in case a cyclist is approaching who might collide with your door. Observing these courtesies ensures everyone can use London roads safely and enjoy the city’s attractions together.
Follow the tips above and hire a car at Gatwick that you’re comfortable with and you’ll fully embrace your London driving experience.
A handy guide to London and south east England for LGW car hire customers
London is a magnet for millions of visitors from around the world and a magnificent place for locals to live – when you spend a few days here seeing the sights, you’ll be made so welcome that you’ll feel like an adopted Londoner by the time you leave.
But the south east of England is beautiful too – there are charming seaside towns and scenic spots aplenty, so please take time to soak up the ambience here before you hit the road and take in the rest of Britain. Here are some highlights to look out for in London and South east England:
- The V&A is the world’s leading art and design museum and if you love culture and all things creative, you’ll be in seventh heaven here. There’s so much to see, but one particularly awe-inspiring feature is the porcelain courtyard crafted from 11,000 tiles and created by architect Amanda Levete – it’s the first of its kind in the world.
- If you’re a gourmet, head straight to Borough Market to tantalise your taste buds and slake your thirst – it’s London’s oldest food market and has a history that stretches back to the thirteenth century. You’ll find artisan coffee and some of the trendiest bars and restaurants in the city – this is a much more immersive experience than a mere meal.
- Windsor is situated to the west of London and north west of Gatwick – it’s a short drive from both locations. Windsor Castle is the main tourist attraction here and, as well as its ancient history, it was recently the setting for the royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan. This imposing castellated complex can’t fail to impress all who encounter it and it has provided a home for kings and queens for over 1000 years.
- Portsmouth is a port city with a proud maritime heritage and one of its impressive attractions for history buffs is Henry VIII’s Mary Rose. The iconic English king’s favourite ship, she was launched in 1511 and fought in one war against Scotland and two against France. She capsized in 1545 just off the coast of Portsmouth with her 500-strong crew and lay there until she was salvaged in 1982 in a live TV event that captivated an audience of 60 million people around the globe. Half of her structure has been lost, but what remains has been faithfully restored and actually equates to a unique cutaway example of a Tudor warship.
As you can see, renting a car at Gatwick with Enjoy Car Hire opens up a whole world of exciting travel opportunities in London and the south east – choose from a fantastic range of deals today and get moving!
Popular London airports
|Luton Airport||London City||Southend|
Popular UK car hire destinations