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Bordering Surrey, Crawley is a popular town in West Sussex, located just a stone’s throw away from London Gatwick Airport. While the destination has its own attractions, as well as being home to a David and Goliath-type football club that has challenged some of the country's biggest teams in the FA Cup, it is usually used as a peaceful base for taking regular trips in and out of the UK capital, London. Those that prefer to be near the airport and the capital but out of the thick of things often find Crawley a great mid-way destination.
Who to Book With
There are eight car hire companies for interested parties to choose from, the majority of which are either located at London Gatwick Airport (Europcar, Avis, Thrifty, Hertz and Budget), or close to it (Choice, Practical, Enterprise). Booking online prior to leaving your home can cut costs and create more spending money for your holiday.
Best Time to Go
Crawley is best visited over the summer months, when the weather in the UK is at its most pleasant. Due to the town's close proximity to London Gatwick, which is one of the busiest airports in the country, advance bookings of hire vehicles, as well as accommodation, avoids disappointment upon arrival.
Need to Know Essentials
You need the following documents in order to collect a rental car in Crawley:
- A British driving license or equivalent
- Photo ID like a passport
- The booking credit card
- Some form of rental confirmation
Crawley town centre is small enough to walk around but can become awfully congested for drivers given its close proximity to Gatwick Airport. For those looking to head into London and other towns that surround Crawley, however, car rental is most definitely a good option. Good places to park in town include the County Mall and Crawley Town's train station.
While Crawley town centre can be walked around, its limited public transport network means that hire vehicles are required for most ventures elsewhere. Taxis and buses are unfortunately the only other options for those without their own transportation.
Although trains aren't a means of transport for getting around Crawley itself, the town has its own train station that is mainly serviced by South East Trains. Regular trains can be caught to and from the likes of Gatwick Airport, London Victoria, Brighton, Haywards Heath and Brighton.
Taxis, which can be caught from outside the railway station, can be relied upon to transport passengers around Crawley or to the airport. These cabs almost always use the meter. Pre-arranged fares can be agreed upon with some of the private car hire companies, however, such as United Cars, Metro Cars and Alpha Cars.
Buses are operated by Metrobus. The company's most prominent services are the 10, 100, 200 and 300. The number 10 runs to and from Gatwick Airport and is available 24 hours per day (except on Sundays and public holidays), costing around £1.60 per person.
After they have had their fill of the interesting old buildings along High Street and attractions such as the Crawley Museum Centre, those with car rental usually start planning their trips out of the town. Most other points of interest are either located in and around London, or elsewhere in West Sussex and neighbouring county Surrey.
London - One of the world's most popular tourist destinations, is conveniently accessible from Crawley, which is regarded as a suburb of the nation's capital. Tourists can take their pick from landmarks such as Big Ben, entertainment in the West End and shopping along Oxford Street.
Horsham - Offers a pleasant daytrip from Crawley, with the A624 taking drivers and their passengers on a serene trip parallel to St Leonard Forest and through Buchan County Park. In Horsham, the main attractions are located in and around Carfax, the main centre square.
East Grinstead - This is a historical and friendly town, often visited by those making their way between London and the south coast. Hever Castle is the main draw, but the close access to Ashdown Forest is also well worth taking advantage of.