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Guide to UK Parking


Finding somewhere to park your car in the UK is something most people donít think about until they are struggling to find a car park in a particular town or city. In this section youíll find out what parking options are available in the UK and how to avoid parking penalties.

The range of car parking available in the UK is quite varied as drivers can choose to leave their cars in multi-storey car parks, open car parks or street parking as well as take advantage of park and ride facilities and free shoppers car parks.

If you are unfamiliar with the city you hope to park in then itís best to head for the local council run open car parks or the commercial multi-storey car park. All the UKís major cityís have commercial multi-storey car parks for you to use, run by companies like NCP. When it comes to paying for your parking at these car parks you will usually find one of two payment options, either pay in advance for the time you expect to leave your car in the car park, or take a card and pay for your parking when you return to the car park to collect your car.

Open car parks and on street parking tend to work in a similar way. Both these car parking options are usually run and maintained by the local council. If you want to park your car on the street then you need to make sure you park it in one of the marked out bays and then pay at the parking meter next to it or the parking machine near the space. On street parking is usually the most expensive parking option in many towns and cities because you are not only paying for the parking space but itís convenient location as well. Open city centre car parks mostly offer a cheap car parking option but may not offer a central location.

Many of the bigger towns and cities in the UK also operate park and ride schemes. Park and ride gives you the chance to go into some of the busier city centres without having to deal with the congestion. You simply park your car in a designated car park outside the city centre, then a bus will come and take you into the city centre. When you want to go home simply return to the bus stop and the bus will take you through the traffic back to the car park and back to your car. There is no time limit on how long you can leave your car at the park and ride as you only have to pay for your bus fare to and from the car park.

Going to out of town supermarkets and shopping complexes often offers the most convenient parking options as many offer free parking to customers. The busier shops will have a time limit on how long you can leave your car there so itís not always a good idea to park in a supermarket car park and then go off elsewhere to do your shopping.

Aside from the park & ride parking option, if you overstay your time at a car park, or if you do not pay for your stay in full then you could face a penalty fine, your car could be clamped, or your car could be towed away, so it is important that you do not overstay your time at a car park otherwise it could cost you a lot more in the long run.

Other times when you could face a parking penalty is if you park your car where it shouldnít be parked, for example: • Where a loading or unloading restriction is in operation.

• Taxi ranks, bus stops, cycle lanes, loading bays, pedestrian crossings, double yellow lines, clearways or School 'Keep Clear' markings.

• Where temporary restrictions on parking are in force along a length of road, e.g. as indicated by no-waiting cones.

• Where it would be obstructive or cause a danger to others, e.g. narrow stretches of road, blocking vehicle entrances, at school entrances, close to a junction, emergency vehicle entrances, pavements.

Now that you know what parking options there are in the UK, why not find one thatís handy for you by using our car park search facility below.

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