London - Post Report Question and Answers

What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

We didn't have a car and really never missed it in London. Rental cars are readily available if you need a car for travel around the rest of the UK. - Nov 2022

We did not bring a car. On one hand I am glad because parking and driving in the city would be such a huge pain and I am sure the car would get dinged up a bit, on the other hand I am sure we would have gotten out more as a family if we did. We rent a car to go on long trips from time to time which seems to work fine when there isn't a train strike but I could have seen us going on more day trips with a car. I would just weigh your options depending on where your housing is. - Aug 2022

The smaller the better. VW Golf is pretty ideal size and something like a Honda CRV is probably the absolute biggest thing you would want. Most don't need a car and rentals/zip cars are easy to get. No need for AWD or high ground clearance and you would be fine with whatever side you steering wheel is on. - May 2022

Given the cost of petrol, the difficulty with parking, and the narrow roads, I wouldn't recommend bringing anything big, especially if you live in central London. We have no car at all, and find it liberating. Public transport and walking work just fine for most things. It would be nice to have a car to get out of the city on weekends, but if a train won't get us there, we could always rent a car. Other options are Zipcar or Easy Car Club (like AirBnB but for cars). Most Americans we know who have cars bought them here, apparently used cars are not terribly expensive. - Jun 2017

Unless you have a large family, I'd leave the car at home. It's completely unneeded with London's excellent public transportation system, and parking is difficult to find. - Feb 2017

One doesn't need a car in London. Traffic and parking are a challenge. - Feb 2016

I don't have a car. And I'd be way too scared to drive here anyway, since I'm not used to right-hand drive cars. - Nov 2015

My advice is "Don't bring a car." That said, many people had one. The Embassy paid for a parking spot at my apartment. Parking anywhere else in the city center is hard to find. - Aug 2015

We did not have a car, and absolutely didn't feel that we needed one. I would suggest something small to mid-size at most. - Jun 2015

Unless you plan on doing a ton of driving outside of the city, I would not bother bringing a vehicle. We brought ours and thought we would see a lot of the country. But driving in and out of London is really stressful, and the public transportation routes are so good. Maintenance, parts and insurance are expensive, and there's very little parking available. We parked our car on the side of the road most of the time, and it has a few new scratches and dings. - Jun 2015

We don't have a car and have been fine without it. I honestly don't miss it, though we do have parking in our building. Anything too large would be a hassle here. There are many zipcars around. A lot of people use their cars to travel locally and to travel to the military base for cheaper groceries/household items. - May 2015

Don't bring a huge SUV or you'll be sorry. - Aug 2014

The transit system is fantastic and I did not bring a vehicle. I never regretted this decision. - Sep 2012

Smaller is better because the roads are narrow and gas is expensive. I'd recommend buying a car once you arrive. It's easier to navigate in a car that was made for driving on the other side of the road. Parking is a nightmare in London. - Jan 2012

Parking is difficult, insurance is high, driving in the city a pain, transport good ... it is easier to rent a car once in a while. A small car is better, unless you are bringing it specifically to make runs to the RAF Base in Lakenheath for shopping! - Aug 2011

As small a vehicle as you can find! I wouldn't recommend bringing a car to London at all - driving is a nightmare and is ridiculously costly with the price of petrol and the congestion tax. Public transport is ubiquitous. - Nov 2009

Anything. Check with the housing board for the parking around your house though. People drive both U.K. and U.S. spec cars here. Driving on the other side of the road isn't hard. Buy a GPS unit though to navigate. - Mar 2009

Small, many of the roads are quite small. If you are not government, perhaps a hybrid would be suitable to avoid additional charges in the city. - Sep 2008

You don't need a car in London, but if you were to bring one, bring as small a car as you can. The streets are really narrow and gas is really expensive. - Feb 2008

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