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A Guide for Australians Driving in the UK

Highway Through Wales, UK

The UK is a must-see destination for many Aussies, who look forward to exploring the busy streets of London and driving the narrow highways of Scotland. However, there are a few differences you should be aware of if you are planning to drive in the UK. VroomVroomVroom has put together a quick guide to help you.

Check if your driving licence will be accepted

If you are planning to drive in the UK with a licence issued in Australia, this will be acceptable for up to 12 months. If your driving licence is not printed in English, you will need to apply for an International Driving Permit.

It is also a good idea to check what other forms of identification you will need to bring to the rental depot to collect your hire car. In some cases, suppliers will ask to see your passport, travel documents, and the licences of any additional drivers. The driver will also be required to present a credit card in their name.

Familiarise yourself with local speed limits

Take note that speed limits and distances will be listed in miles while you are travelling in the UK. The speed limit for cars in built-up areas is 30 miles per hour (48km), and up to 60 miles per hour (96km) on single carriageways unless otherwise signed.

On dual lane motorways the speed limits for cars is 70 miles per hour (112km). Keep in mind that different speed limits apply if you are driving a van.

Follow the signs

If you are unfamiliar with driving in the UK, make sure you travel with a GPS. The roads are well-signed, but you need to be familiar with the direction you want to head and the roads you will need. Blue signs indicate a motorway, while green signs indicate a major route. White signs mark minor roads while brown signs point out areas of interest.

Avoid parking in the centre of town

When you start exploring the cities, you will notice signs for Park and Ride. You can leave your car in a car park on the outskirts of a city and for a small fee a bus will take you the rest of the way. With smaller roads and limited space, drivers from Australia may find it difficult to park in the narrow inner-city streets, so this can be a great way around that. 

London congestion charge

If you plan to drive in London, you need to be aware of the congestion charge. Drivers are charged £11.50 if they drive within the designated zone per day. There are a number of ways to pay this charge, including online and over the phone. Note that traffic can get quite heavy in and around London, particularly during peak times. 

If you're struggling to choose a destination to visit in the UK, check out our locations guide and start planning your holiday. 

Do you have any tips for fellow Aussies driving in the UK? Share your advice in the comment section below.