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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're heading to Blighty in late September and will be renting a car to travel around the southwest. No London driving. I was wondering if anyone had recommendations for a car hire agency. We used Sixt a couple years ago in Germany and they tried to pin some non-existent damage on us after we got back to the US. I won't use them again.

And due to the highway robbery cost of renting a GPS, I'll be buying a map card for ours and bringing it with me. Does anyone know if the cigarette lighter ports on the cars there are the same as here in the US? We'll probably be renting a VW or small Audi/BMW, so I would think they'd be the same, but you never know.

I'd appreciate any other dos and don'ts from anyone who's done this before. I'm hoping to find some driving simulator software for the UK, but it seem to be rare, if it exist at all.
 

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Sixt is even worse in England, I specifically reserved an A1 and prepaid for it for a months use. Show up at the one in Heathrow, no A1 in sight, ended up with a Golf TDI and then they told me I could drive back down from N. Yorkshire later on in the week to pick one up. Ended up returning it a few days early and they wouldn't refund me the days I didn't use.

One thing about the Audi/VW's, they use that MMI interface, so you can't use a normal usb cable for your ipod. They typically have SD slots though, so you can fill one up and use that for music.

If a road has street lights, it means 30 mph, no street lights mean 60 mph, divided highway is 70 mph. The only time it deviates from this is when a speed is posted. Round-a-bouts are probably the toughest, just remember go left.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I won't have much need for music as I'll need to be concentrating on driving against my instincts. The voices in my head screaming at me that I'm on the wrong side of the road will be enough noise without the music. :confused:

But no USB means I'll definitely need the cigarette lighter (or power port) cord with me. I just hope it fits.
 

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on the damage aspect - I now take iphone photos of all sides of the car and the odometer when returning rentals - *and* - if I valet my car these days.
 

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I've never been overseas, so I don't know what's available for rentals. But I did book a car in Miami for this December and Sixt has a facility there and the website offered some great prices on nice cars. I was "this" close to booking until I did a little research and found nothing but complaints from customers about Sixt's poor business practices, horrible customer service, unexplained charges, claims of damage, etc. from people in pretty much every country where Sixt is available.
 

· The King of Common Sense
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I'm not familiar with renting a car that is on the other side of the pond, but I use travelocity.com to compare and rent from them when I go to Germany. As for GPS, I use of Garmin 270, about 5 year old now. You can probably pick one up in eBay with EU maps, cheap.
 

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I just checked the Enterprise website out of interest - the price for an AUTOMATIC transmission car is SIGNIFICANTLY higher..

prices in pounds PER week:

Class B Economy:
Manual Trans: 90.58
Auto Trans: 119.57
or - as a percentage: 32.00% higher for an Auto Trans

Class E Intermediate:
Manual Trans: 101.45
Auto Trans: 156.52
or - as a percentage: 54.28% higher for an Auto Trans

Class F Standard:
Manual Trans: 109.79
Auto Trans: 206.52
or - as a percentage: 88.10% higher for an Auto Trans

So my suggestion would be - if you can - get the Stick shift - the up-sell to Auto-Trans is EXPENSIVE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah, I know a slushbox is pricier. But I don't want to be thinking about shifting with my left hand while trying to remember which side of the road to be on. Plus I'd probably rent that class of car anyway. I don't like tiny cars.
 

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Depending on where you're driving, you may want a smaller car. That's why I was trying to get an A1 for my last rental. Our 1er wasn't too bad to drive around, but I didn't like taking it up on curbs when parking. Driving our MDX around the Isle of Skye was a little dicey, it was as wide as some of the roads.
 

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+1 on what ND40oz said - I'm *from* the UK and I can throw my 5-series down a country lane like the best of them - but I REALLY wouldn't put our Yukon on those roads without thinking twice about the turns I might be making ahead...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Geez, are all the roads that small that a 1er will be too big? :yikes:

We'll be staying in the southwest, mostly in the Stonehenge-Glastonbury-Bath area. I plan to do as little driving as possible. I'd like to drive from one town to the next and park the car for the day.
 

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The 1er is what I'd consider an average size vehicle, it wasn't bad driving there, but 2 door coupes aren't the greatest for getting out of your vehicle in parking spots. Most people are really considerate when it comes to getting out of their vehicles and not door dinging you, but it does happen. Parking spaces are much tighter together, so much so, that the MDX could almost touch both white lines on each side in some of the smaller spots. The one nice thing about having the bigger vehicle is people move over for you. Just watch out for lorries, had one decide to pass another car coming toward me on a two lane road and luckily there was a soft shoulder and not a hedge or wall or else I was goner.

You should be able to just park in the middle of Bath and just walk around, great city to visit for the day. I just wouldn't recommend driving in London, take the train or tube in from outside and use it to get around. Outside of London it's not a big deal, just be careful on tighter roads that have hedge rows and walls that you can't see around.. If you watched the cycling on the Olympics, those are the roads you'll be driving on.
 

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Geez, are all the roads that small that a 1er will be too big? :yikes:

We'll be staying in the southwest, mostly in the Stonehenge-Glastonbury-Bath area. I plan to do as little driving as possible. I'd like to drive from one town to the next and park the car for the day.
no - not at all - that is my neck of the woods - I grew up in Wiltshire.

There is a fun little road you need to drive though... I'll PM you the details - we used to hurry down these roads as teens in our Minis...

Go and see Stonehenge - get out of the car - walk across the road but don't pay to go into the place - take photos OVER the fence - walk up and down the road and get an idea of the history...



Now get back into the car - and drive to Avebury - park the car at the Red Lion pub and get a drink and bite to eat, THEN tour the stone circle at Avebury - where you can walk up to the stones, touch them - sit on them - please don't chisel them or steal them... the pub is basically in the middle of that S-curve on the bottom of the curve - the road to swindon goes right through avebury.



- then drive up the road to Silbury Hill - it's 2-3 miles



You can cllimb to the top of Silbury Hill unless they closed it. Now - 1 mile or less from Silbury - is West Kennet Long Barrow - a saxon lord's burial chamber - you can go inside this...



Now head to Devizes and take in the Wadworth Brewery Tour - I grew up in Devizes - and there are a ton of places I can recommend to eat/drink in the area - viewing of the Caen Hill Locks are mandatory...



(if you're stood where this photo was taken - you're within a few hundred yards of the house where I grew up)

Then you have that drive I was telling you about - imagine doing the road I will give you info on at 60-85 mph in a mini ... ;) - don't try it though... ;)

Other things of interest you can take in on the way to Bath - Westbury White Horse - if you didn't detour on the way to Devizes and take in the Cherhill White Horse:

Cherhill:



Westbury:

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
^^^^Very cool. Looks like this will be a day's plan for us. Pm me the exact location of your former home and I'll grab some pics of it. :thumbup:
 

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maybe 100 yards to the west of the wall of that lower lock in the Kennet and Avon Canal is where we used to dig up bottles, clay pipes and I even found a roman coin there - the canal was empty when I was a wee lad - we would put our boots on - go dig up "treasure" and often get stuck in the mud there - it would be under 8 feet of water now.. ;)
 

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This is neat - I just found this on the BBC site today - the Tow path of the Kennet and Avon canal from Devizes is now the first canal to get Google streetview via their trike:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-19065434

A Wiltshire canal is one of the first stretches of Britain's canal network to appear on Google Street View.

The application allows internet users to take a 360-degree virtual walk along the Kennet and Avon Canal past the Caen Hill Lock Flight in Devizes.

Canal tow-paths between Devizes and Semington were photographed by Google's Street View Trike early in the summer.

A Canal and River Trust spokesman said it puts the canal "on a par with the likes of Stonehenge and the Coliseum".

The stretches of canal available to see on Street View include the historic Caen Hill flight of 16 locks constructed in the early 1800s and the Kennet and Avon Canal between Devizes and Semington.

"Two hundred years ago, the canal network helped put the 'Great' into Great Britain as an industrial nation," said Robin Evans, from the Canal and River Trust.

"Having these canals on Street View helps open them up to millions of people right around the globe who might not otherwise be able to come and experience them."

The Google Maps service, providing panoramic street-level views, was launched in 2007.

It focuses mainly on towns and cities but also includes the ancient heritage site of Stonehenge.
http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=51....=GtFJEqxZjFgM3aqGg0nhaQ&cbp=12,71.14,,0,10.95
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So we made it to Devizes and Avebury today. Very cool places. I loved the locks. We sat at the cafe up top and watched a canal boat go through on his way down. Then we stopped at the bottom and got "the shot."



We also had lunch at the Red Lion Pub.



And you may recognize this spread, wyb.





I owe you one, wyb. We had a great day seeing some of the sites you mentioned. Thanks a ton for the excellent advice. :thumbup:
 

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So we made it to Devizes and Avebury today. Very cool places. I loved the locks. We sat at the cafe up top and watched a canal boat go through on his way down. Then we stopped at the bottom and got "the shot."



We also had lunch at the Red Lion Pub.



And you may recognize this spread, wyb.





I owe you one, wyb. We had a great day seeing some of the sites you mentioned. Thanks a ton for the excellent advice. :thumbup:
:thumbup:

When you were taking that photo of the canal locks, you were just yards from my childhood home... ;)

oh heck - I just noticed - that is my childhood home - they got a windmill now! lol

The solar panels on the ranch style home are right over my bedroom - the field to before the home is where I took-off by hot air balloon on the day the Queen came to re-open the canal after it was renovated...
 

· resU deretsigeR
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Great photos.

Sorry I missed this thread when you first posted.

I've rented cars in the UK from Herz, Enterprise and a couple of local companies. Hertz is by far the most expensive. Hertz tried to charge my Father for collision damage even though he paid for the damage waiver. Enterprise is generally better but just like in US I found they will reserve cars they don't have.

Locally, our best results have been from the independents. If you are traveling to Anglesey or North West Wales, I've had good experiences with Aberconwy Car Hire and Queyside Self Drive. Quayside mostly has vans but they have a few cars too. Aberconwy will deliver and pickup from area hotels.

http://www.quaysideselfdrive.co.uk/
http://www.aberconwycarhire.co.uk/
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
We ended up with Thrifty and got a good car (VW Golf TDI - automatic). I decided to take the full insurance option this time (I usually don't). When I got back they found a scrape on a hubcap (which I don't think I caused) and made me fill out an accident report. I think they were just looking for someone who had the full insurance to cover the cost of replacing the hubcap. They kept saying over and over that it's no big deal and it won't cost me anything. I kept saying that's beside the point, that I didn't cause that damage, but we went round and round and I needed to get to London, so I filled out the report and carried on. In the US they wouldn't have cared but the hubcap.
 
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