Car Hire UK

Want a simple, quick and easy way to compare all of the different UK car rental options and prices?. You've come to the right place! There are so many different car rental brands, prices and insurance options to choose from, making the process much more stress full than we believe it should be! That's why we summarise all of the key terms and conditions, so that you can quickly and easily compare the best car rental prices and find the insurance option that works for you.

Looking to hire an SUV to take your family on holiday in the UK's beautiful countryside? or a minibus for your golf trip? Whatever your budget, whether you're looking for a low cost small car, a larger car, a convertible or a people carrier, Stress Free Car Rental has all of the options you could possibly look for when comparing car rental in the UK. Whichever make and model you choose, we won't be beaten on price - our price match promise means that if you find the same car cheaper on another website we'll refund the difference.

We're partnered with some of the biggest names in the car rental industry: Europcar, Enterprise and Hertz and many more. Our website only compares car rental deals that include a fair full to full fuel policy from car rental brands you can trust. We're also committed to ensure that you have a full selection of insurance options, including options for zero excess, low deposits and pay by debit card.

Worried you can't rent a car because you don't have a credit card? We offer a wide range of UK car rental options that you can collect with a debit card. You can quickly and easily find these using the filters on our website.

Make your car hire even more affordable by booking your rental car with an extra driver included in the price. You can find rentals with additional drivers included on our search results page. Change of plans? No problem. We offer free cancellation on all bookings up to 48 hours before collection. Just get in touch with our customer services team – no hassle and no hidden cancellation charges.

We know that finding a hire car can be a confusing process - so we're here to help. Just get in touch with one of our car rental advisors and we'll have you on the road in no time.

Paying for car hire in the UK

You can pay on our website using all major payment cards, including Mastercard, Visa and American Express. You can use a debit card to pay on our website. However, if you wish to use a debit card when you collect the car, keep in mind that this may be affected by the terms and conditions of the rental agreement. Always be sure to check the terms and conditions if you plan to use a debit card when you collect the car.

Popular destinations map for United Kingdom

Airport Car Hire in the UK

London Heathrow Airport

Officially the busiest airport in Europe, Heathrow has hundreds of thousands of flights from terminals two to five. Over 80 million passengers were handled at Heathrow in 2019, since it has so many different flight paths and connecting flights passing through its runways. The most popular route from LHR is to New York JFK airport. LHR is quite easily accessible by car, and has its own tube station on the London Underground.

London Gatwick Airport

Technically located in West Sussex, Gatwick is the second largest airport with a London title, and is the second largest airport in the UK as a whole. Over 40 million passengers were handled in 2019, making it a necessary alternative to the doubly busier LHR. Almost two thirds of the total flights chartered from Gatwick were of a budget airline, making it a popular airport for short stay vacations.

London Stansted Airport

A major base for the budget airline Ryanair, Stansted is the fourth busiest airport in the UK. The total statistics for travellers passing through Stansted dipped in 2012, but the airport has seen record numbers in recent years. Three of the busiest routes from Stansted are domestic within the UK, but it still acts as a popular airport for European destinations.

London Luton Airport

Yet another London-titled airport that's extremely popular, Luton offers low-cost flights to international destinations. As a single-runway airport with a large terminal building, it rivals nearby Stansted but hasn't dipped in passenger numbers since the 1980s. Most of the routes aren't domestic, but the top locations from Luton are Amsterdam and Bucharest. This airport is used often since it is in such close proximity to the M1.

Manchester Airport

The busiest airport in the north of England is also the third most popular airport in the UK. It serves for almost 200 locations globally, making it 13th on the list of most destinations for an airport in the world. With three already huge terminals, a £1 Billion extension of T2 began last year to double it in size. Although it does feature domestic destinations, it mostly flies internationally.

Birmingham Airport

Birmingham Airport is one of the operating bases of Jet2 and is the seventh busiest airport in the UK. It was the base of most major domestic flights with the now defunct FlyBe, but in recent years has become one of the major carriers to Spanish airports.

Edinburgh Airport

A single-runway airport with around 15 million passengers a year, Edinburgh is the busiest of all the Scottish airports. The three most popular destinations from Edinburgh are the aforementioned three busiest London airports: Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

Newcastle Airport

The second busiest airport in the north of England handles around 5 million passengers per year, making it one of the most important airports in the north east. As an international airport, it mostly makes flights to domestic locations and the typical locations such as Dubai, Dublin and Amsterdam.

Glasgow Airport

The ninth biggest airport in the UK is also the 2nd biggest in Scotland in terms of passenger volume. It is the official hub of Loganair, and has become one of the fastest growing airports in the UK. A proposed airport link from the main train station in the city to the airport will begin construction in 2022. Ten out of its top twenty most flied-to destinations are all domestic.

Belfast Airport

Belfast International airport, not to be confused with the George Best City Airport, is one of the major international airports of the UK. It's the biggest airport for volume in Northern Ireland, with over 2 million passengers passing through every year. The top ten most popular locations from Belfast International are domestic despite being specialised for international travel.

UK airport and national car hire insurance options

Our rental insurance options in the UK usually include Essential and Premium cover. A key difference between these two options is the security deposit and excess amount required to be held on your credit card. Take some time to decide which option is best for you. If you fail to insure your car rental excess the amount could be taken from your credit card in the event of an issue. Our Premium cover option often reduces the insurance security deposit to zero, meaning there is no excess risk.

Car rental during the COVID pandemic

As always ensuring the safety of our customers continues to be our number one priority. Prior to the crisis and throughout Stress Free Car Rental offer free cancellation with a full refund on all rental cars. During the pandemic, we've significantly reduced our cancellation and refund time, all refunds are processed within 24 hours of receiving the customer cancellation request - the funds usually clearing to the customer's credit card in less than a week.

Enhanced vehicle hygeine procedures at United Kingdom

All of our car hire providers have implemented additional cleaning procedures throughout the current COVID pandemic. The following is an outline of some of the further measures carried out.

Prior to collection of all rentals, Hertz and Thrifty are implementing a multi stage cleaning and increased hygiene process, involving thorough cleaning of the steering wheel, door handles, seats etc.

New processes are now in place with Greenmotion, involving the installation of safety protection screens and sanitiser units at all locations. Staff are now wearing PPE such as gloves and masks. Greenmotion are also fully sanitising each vehicle between each rental.

Enterprise, Alamo and National locations in have implemented a complete clean pledge. This involves the deep cleaning each car between every hire ,including disinfecting the car keys.

Europcar have implemented additional car deep disinfecting measures. Vehicle keys are also disinfected between each rental and then kept in a sealed envelope once disinfection is complete. A zero contact policy is in place at the pick up and drop off areas, with all desks cleaned thoroughly between each customer collection.

We will continue to provide further information as new information becomes available.

Collecting your rental car

The requirements for renting a car in the UK vary between the different car rental companies. Whether you drive in the UK all of the time or if you're travelling to the UK from overseas, you should always take some time to understand the documentation you'll need when you collect the car. If you don't have the correct documentation you won't be allowed to drive away in the car. Here's our brief guide on some of the documentation you'll need for collection:

IDP: If you have a non EU driving licence you'll need an international driving permit (IDP). You can find more information on which kind of IDP applies to you here.

Proof of address: You'll need a utility bill or credit card statement clearly showing your home address. If you provide a credit card statement this might need to be for the same credit card that you're using for the security deposit when you collect the car.

DVLA Code: If your driving licence is issued in the UK you'll need to generate a DVLA code here and take a printed copy with you.

Drivers licence and passport: Always take your passport as proof of your identification. Some car rental companies might stipulate that your driving licence should be free of endorsements to hire in the UK. We recommend that you check the terms and conditions for your chosen car rental company if you have endorsements on your licence before booking on our website.

Proof of travel dates: If you're a non UK resident, some car rental brands require you to provide proof of your travel dates – so you should take proof of your return flight / ferry / train tickets along with you when you collect the car.

Driving and parking in the UK

The UK has some of the safest drivers in the world, as the EU has named it the safest country to drive in Europe on a number of occasions. The UK government has clamped down on the use of phones whilst driving, by introducing the penalty of 6 points and a £200 fine if you're ever caught using a handheld device while driving.

The road signs for the UK are very similar to the standardised road signs of other European countries, but if you're struggling with what a certain sign means, just refer to the Highway Code. Some of the major differences to other countries are quite easy to master, such as the steering wheel being in front of the right passenger seat and cars driving on the left side of the road.

However, some may struggle with the rules and regulations for roundabouts or country lanes. If you're used to a road system that has an infrastructure designed and put in place within the last few decades, you may have a culture shock on UK roads. Sometimes, roads can be quite narrow either due to them being designed for horses and being repurposed in the modern age. This means that there are many narrow lanes and one-way streets in the urban and rural areas. Driving with caution and using common sense will be the best advice for anyone from other continents driving on UK roads.

When it comes to parking … Avoid parking on curbs and blocking pedestrians, or on the side of the road on double or single yellow lines. Find the nearest car park and refer to the rules of parking that will be signposted as you arrive.

For all the information regarding how to park visit here. For the most part, the vital information on parking, is what not to park on:

  • Single yellow lines
  • Double yellow lines
  • Single or double red lines
  • Clearways (signposted as a round blue sign with a red cross)
  • Loading bays (signposted)
  • Zig zag road markings
  • Curb-sides or pavements
  • The roadsides that will block traffic or entrances

Signs that say ‘parking' or a blue sign with a white ‘P' indicates paid car parks that will be more suitable than parking on the roadside. Not all car parks will charge the same rates, but when it comes to safety, you can't get better than NCPs. National Car Parks tend to have the most advanced parking technology that makes sure no one has access to break into cars without security on hand to neutralise the situation. Most NCPs are multi-storey indoor car parks that require a printed ticket to gain access inside (which you would've been given upon arrival).

Make sure you're aware of any routes you take that involve tolls. Some tolls, such as the M6 Toll, require either card or contactless payment with only a couple of attendants accepting cash payments. Whereas other tolls such as the Mersey Flow require online payment by 11.59pm the following day and don't require vehicles to stop and make a physical payment. One way of knowing if you're passing through a toll is by calculating the route through your Sat Nav, which will give the option either to notify as to whether there are tolls, or have the option to avoid tolls altogether.

If you have any emergency situations, or you're involved in an accident, make sure to check if all passengers are in stable condition before making any phone calls. Take as many pictures of the incident aftermath as you can, and contact emergency services.

Either call 112 or 999 for emergency services.

If the accident involves other drivers on the road, make sure to ask for their insurance details, their name and a point of contact such as a phone number or email address. Before receiving the keys to the vehicle you'll be hiring, don't take the UK roads and road regulations for granted. Make sure you do your homework before making the trip and consider your routes before travelling. If you decide to not choose the sat nav extra as an add-on to your rental car, do not consult a map or an app on your phone whilst driving. If you're lost, pull over and turn off the car engine in a safe and legal position before using gps on a smart phone or other device.

Overall, the best advice for driving on UK roads for the first time is to just be diligent. Although it still has some of the safest roads in the world, accidents still happen. Some motorways such as the M6 and the M25 have reputations for being congested and accident-prone. Make sure to do your research before making road trips and stay relaxed.

Popular destinations for cheap car rental in United Kingdom