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Expat Exchange - Driving in London 2024
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Ice Cream in Hyde Park, London


Driving in London

By Betsy Burlingame

William Russell
William Russell

Summary: Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in London.

1. Understand the Congestion Charge

Driving in Central London between 7 am and 10 pm on weekdays incurs a congestion charge. This is a fee charged to most vehicles operating within the Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ). The charge aims to reduce high traffic flow in central London and raise investment funds for London's transport system. Make sure you understand the rules and how to pay the charge to avoid fines.

2. Be Prepared for Busy Traffic

London is a bustling city with heavy traffic, especially during peak hours. It's important to be patient and stay calm. Always plan your journey in advance and allow extra time for unexpected delays.

3. Consider a Small, Fuel-Efficient Car

Due to the narrow streets and limited parking, a small, fuel-efficient car is recommended for driving in London. Electric or hybrid cars are also a good choice as they are exempt from the congestion charge.

4. Parking Can Be Difficult and Expensive

Finding a parking spot in London can be challenging, especially in central areas. Parking can also be quite expensive. It's advisable to research parking options before you travel. Some people find it more convenient and cost-effective to park outside the city and use public transport.

5. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in the UK with an international driving permit (IDP) for up to 12 months from the date they last entered the UK. After 12 months, you will need to exchange your foreign license for a UK one or pass the UK driving test.

6. Getting a UK Driver's License

To get a UK driver's license, you need to apply to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). The process involves a theory test and a practical driving test. It's recommended to take some driving lessons to familiarize yourself with UK driving rules and conditions.

7. Familiarize Yourself with UK Driving Rules

Driving in the UK might be quite different from your home country. The UK drives on the left side of the road, and the driver's seat is on the right side of the car. There are also specific UK road signs and rules to learn. It's a good idea to read the Highway Code, a guide to using the roads safely and legally.

8. Consider Alternatives to Driving

London has an excellent public transport system, including the Underground (Tube), buses, and trains. Many people find it more convenient and cheaper to use public transport rather than driving. Cycling is also a popular option, with many dedicated cycle lanes throughout the city.

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Allianz Care's plans ensure that you have access to quality healthcare whenever you need it. Our flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget. You can submit your claims digitally and our helpline is available 24/7 to help you anytime.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


William Russell
William Russell

William Russell
William Russell

Ice Cream in Hyde Park, London

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Allianz Care

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Flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget. Use Promocode: LIFE10 and get 10% off your international health insurance for life!
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