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Driving in London

If you're planning to drive while in London, make sure you've read this quick guide to navigating the streets.
  • In London, as in all of the UK, cars drive on the left.

  • Public transport is often a faster way to get to your destination.

  • Charges may apply, including the Congestion Charge.

  • All drivers and passengers must wear seat belts.

  • Car seats are compulsory for children.

The Congestion Charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Low Emission Zone (LEZ) have been reintroduced. There had been a temporary suspension of charges due to coronavirus. The Congestion Charge has temporarily increased to £15 and the hours of operation have been extended to 7am to 10pm, seven days a week.  For more information, visit the Transport for London website.

It's a good idea to avoid driving in central London, particularly at peak times. London has a well-developed public transport system, which often offers the quickest way to get around.

Charges for driving in London

The Congestion Charge applies to most vehicles which drive into central London from Monday to Friday (7am to 6pm). 

The central London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) covers all areas within the North and South Circular roads. The North Circular (A406) and South Circular (A205) roads are not in the zone. This operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year, except for Christmas Day. Most vehicles need to meet certain emissions standards or drivers will be required to pay a daily charge. 

The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) covers most of Greater London: the most polluting diesel vehicles must meet certain emissions standards or pay to drive there, including coaches, minibuses and lorries. Cars and motorcycles are not affected by the LEZ. 

Penalty charges may be issued if the applicable charges are not paid.

Essential London driving rules

Make sure you are fully aware of the rules of the road before you decide to drive in London. Most importantly, remember that in the UK we drive on the left! You should obtain a copy of the Highway Code, available from most bookshops.

All drivers and passengers must wear seatbelts where fitted. Car seats or appropriate restraints are compulsory for children. Motorcyclists must wear a helmet.

See the Department for Transport website for full details of the legal requirements for drivers.

Driving licence and insurance in the UK

Learn if you can use your non-UK driving licence during your trip on the official UK government website. 

Make sure you are adequately insured to drive in the UK. Find out everything you need to know about driving in the UK after Brexit

Motorbikes and scooters in London

If you're planning to ride a motorcycle or scooter in London, you should be aware that many roads are narrow, busy and congested.

BikeSafe is an initiative run by the police for both new and experienced riders where police motorcyclists teach you safer riding skills specific to the streets of London. The courses are suitable for locals, motorbike or scooter-riding tourists and students, as well as corporate clients.

London maps and traffic updates

Find your way around London with a pocket atlas or similar guide.

You can also get London live traffic updates on the Highways England’s website, which provides up-to-the-minute traffic news to avoid problem roads.

Car parks in London

Parking in London can prove quite difficult if you don't know where to go. There are car parking companies operating in London with properties throughout the city. NCP (National Car Parks) run about 100 car parks in London, including airport car parks.

Car hire in London

London's points of arrival, including airports, train stations and sea ports are all well served by car hire companies, which you can book in advance. Always use a reputable car hire company.

Accessible driving and car hire in London

Disabled Motoring UK aims to promote and protect the welfare of disabled people and to promote their personal mobility. Find more information on the Disabled Motoring UK website.

How to get to London by car and motorcycle

London is easy to reach using the UK's motorway network – with the M1, M2, M3, M4, M11, M20, M23, M25 and M40 motorways in or near London – as well as a multitude of major A-roads. All of London's motorways intersect the M25 orbital motorway. There are good road connections with London's airports and relevant ports.

You can also bring a car or motorcycle into the UK via Eurotunnel or ferry.

Find out more about how to get around London.