London is the crown jewel of England, with many treasures to explore. Before arriving at London's Stansted Airport, consider a good, cheap car rental with Skyscanner.
Arrival at Stansted Airport
There are eight rental companies in the Stansted Airport Car Rental Village, which is within walking distance of the terminal: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, National, and Sixt. Fuel can be purchased in advance, additional drivers nominated, or add GPS to help navigate the city. The airport is 30 miles northeast of downtown London, on the M11 motorway.
Drivers will need both the card and paper equivalent of their driver's license to rent a car in London. Drive on the left side of the road. If driving in central London during certain times on weekdays, expect to pay a congestion charge — most recently it was 11.50 pounds ($15) and easiest to pay by auto-pay. Parking is difficult to find and expensive, especially in central London, where it can go up to 40 pounds a day (about $52). Download JustPark, a parking app, for help. Rush hour causes what the Telegraph calls "Airport Hell", and usually occurs between 7-9 a.m. and 5-7 p.m.
Things to See and Do in London
London may be a pricey city, but that doesn't mean there aren't free things to do!
The Natural History Museum is home to about 80 million items across five scientific categories: botany, entomology (insects), mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology. Sometimes called "a cathedral of nature", the museum has everything from the skeleton of a blue whale to the eggs of a giant elephant bird.
Unlock the secrets of language with the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum. Spanning more than 2 million years of human history, the museum is not only British: Egyptian mummies and Greek Parthenon sculptures are also displayed.
There are plenty of free things for children to do in London, too. Harry Potter fans can push a trolley through Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross and discover a magical store full of wands, time turners, and robes. Become pirates on Captain Hook's ship at Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground. View the toys of yesteryear at the V&A Museum of Childhood, which has toys dating back to the 1600s alongside more modern toys.
Exploring Outside London
Want to explore beyond London? Consider a day trip to Essex County. The Epping Forest District is home to charming towns and quaint villages, an ancient forest, and the Epping Ongar Heritage Steam Railway. Go white-water rafting, explore the remains of two Iron Age forts, visit Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge, tour a Battle of Britain site, and learn about the history of gunpowder, rockets, and explosives at The Royal Gunpowder Mills. Visitors are welcome to handle various historic firearms at the Armoury.
Returning The Car
London's Stansted Airport is just off the M11 motorway. Use Junction 8A if approaching from London or Junction 8 if approaching from Cambridge, then follow the signs. The closest 24-hour gas station is a BP at the airport.
When renting a car with Skyscanner, tourists have transportation to everything from the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London (that's the gate-closing ceremony). Enjoy London!