City Driving Guide

travelwyse By travelwyse, 31st May 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Transport>Cars

Driving in a city is very different to driving anywhere else in the UK but if you are well prepared then it doesn't need to be as difficult as you might imagine; with this handy guide you will be well on your way to enjoying the delights of the UKs beautiful cities.

City Driving Guide

More and more people are choosing to Stay-cation in the UK instead of taking their holidays abroad; and why shouldn’t they?

The UK has so much to offer as a holiday destination! Great attractions, rolling countryside, seaside towns, the UK has it all; including some of the most beautiful cities in the world!

Many may not be aware of just what the UKs great cities have to offer and are put off from visiting because they are worried they are too busy and crowded; but taking a city break stay-cation is the perfect opportunity to explore the hidden side to the hustle and bustle of the city.

If you are going to visit a UK city though you will need to get to grips with driving in some of the busiest cities in the world; don’t worry though, it is not as bad as it seems and with this handy guide you will be well on your way to enjoying the delights of the UKs beautiful cities.


Driving in a city is very different to driving anywhere else in the UK but if you are well prepared then it doesn’t need to be as difficult as you might imagine. The first thing to think about is the car you will be driving, having a small car is easier for driving in built up areas particularly in the busiest cities; you might want to consider car hire in London for example, to make it easier to navigate the busy streets. Try Europcar for cheap car hire options.

Once you have the best car for the city you are driving in, you need to make yourself familiar with the roads you will be driving on. The best advice is to plan your route in advance this way you will not be surprised by an unexpected one way street or dead end. Even though your route it is still a good idea to use a Sat Nav or a good old fashioned map just in case, even with the best of intentions it is easy to get lost in a city.

You can most likely expect that it will take longer to arrive at your destination than it should, don’t worry about this just remember when planning your trips to allow extra time for unexpected traffic and avoid driving during rush hour when the streets will be at their busiest. It is also advisable to check with your hotel or online to find out if there are any road works you need to be aware of which could disrupt your planned route.

Be Aware:

Once you are finally on the road there are a few things to be aware of; firstly there is much more going on in a city so you need to always be alert making sure to keep an eye out for pedestrians, cyclists and children as well as other vehicles. Also remember to be considerate of other drivers who have just as much to contend with as you do; signal constantly with plenty of time to let other drivers know your intentions this will reduce the chances of a collision or causing unnecessary frustration.

When driving be sure to stick to speed limits; the last thing you want to do on your holiday is get a speeding ticket and although the limit is 30 in built up areas, in many residential areas this can be lower. Another thing to watch out for if you want to avoid a hefty fine is bus lanes; it is clearly marked at the entrance of a bus lane what times it is operational, the best bet is if you are not sure avoid using a bus lane. In any case, it is best to avoid changing lanes were possible; changing lanes doesn’t actually save a vast amount of time and increases the chances of a collision with another driver.


The last thing to consider when driving in the city is the time spent away from your car. Parking in a city can be much more difficult and there are things you need to be aware of.

It is advisable to find out where the best areas for parking are before you set off, that way you can avoid finding yourself in a permit only zone or somewhere with no parking at all. You can also find out how much parking in that area will be so you are not stung with expensive parking fees. It is handy to keep change in your car anyway though in case you have to park in a metred parking zone.

Once you have parked think about what you have on display in your car, make sure you don’t leave any leave valuables or bags visible and if possible avoid transferring these items to the boot after you have parked so it is less likely someone will see that they are in there. The less you have on display the less of a target your car will be for theft and the last thing you want is to return to your car to find your things are gone.

And it is as easy as that; the most important thing to remember is to relax, stay calm and enjoy your holiday!


Advice, City Break, City Driving, Driving, Driving Tips

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author avatar travelwyse
Hello and welcome to Travelwyse, a travel blog staffed by a motley crew of writers and passionate globe-trotters. We’re based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

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author avatar Robb714
31st May 2012 (#)

A very nice article though I didn't see any mention advising against driving on the right side of the road.

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author avatar travelwyse
6th Jun 2012 (#)

Thank you for your comment Robb714, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. The guide is aimed at those living in the UK choosing to explore UK cities as something different to do for their vacations. However as you have rightly pointed out many my find it a useful guide and a mention of the road side difference would be helpful to those visiting from abroad. Thank you for this advice!

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