How To Find Parking In London

Monday 1st March 2021

Sophie Rioch

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Cars parked along the side of London road


If you’re planning a day out in London, it may be worth looking into nearby car parks in advance. Finding a secure parking space in the cultural hotspot is often a task in itself. 

Failure to locate a space before you go may put you in a predicament. Whilst it can be tempting to break the rules, it’s important to consider the social and financial impacts of your decision. 

In 2020 alone, the average council in London issued more than £850,000 in parking fines. According to an investigation by Compare The Market, the London Borough of Newham is now regarded as the parking fine capital of the UK.  

Yet, parking fines can be avoided. All it takes is planning. 

Plan ahead

Did you know that you can book a parking space in advance?

Thanks to websites such as Parkopedia and Your Parking Space, you can now plan where you’re going to park ahead of your actual journey. 

Parkopedia is a great choice for advance bookings. Their website lists not only car parks with available spaces, but also how many spaces are left at each site. 

Your Parking Space is convenient and fairly cheap in comparison to other booking sites. The company allows you to rent a car park space for as low as £1.50 an hour. 

Research by Your Parking Space reveals that the average daily parking price is £26.70, whilst the average monthly parking price in London is £315.78. 

Another website to check out is National Car Parks (NCP), who run over 100 car parks in London, including airport car parks. NCP offer a friendly rate for key locations, such as the West End.

Likewise, Q-Park host a range of car parks in Central London, including car parks in:

  • Oxford Street
  • Park Lane
  • Soho
  • Leicester Square
  • Chinatown
  • Harley Street
  • Queensway
  • Victoria
  • Knightsbridge

Q-Park is an ideal option for London-goers as the company takes pride in the appearance of their car parks. Their sites are kept clean and well-lit, with CCTV security cameras and secure entry gates. 

Typical restrictions

If it’s too late to book ahead and you find yourself frantically driving round the streets of London in hope of a free space, it’s vital to be aware of parking restrictions in the area. 

Street parking in central London can be difficult, particularly between 8:30 am and 6:30 pm from Monday to Saturday.

If you’re unsure of the rules, here are 5 key points:

  • Do not stop on zig-zag markings
  • Do not park in pedestrian areas or pavements
  • Do not park next to dropped footways or raised carriageways
  • Do not stop on road corners or double park
  • Do not stop where your vehicle will cause obstruction or danger to oncoming traffic or pedestrians

It can be tempting to break the rules, but do not give in. 

If your vehicle is parked in contravention of parking or traffic restrictions, you will most likely be issued a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). In some areas, your vehicle may even be clamped. 

Parking fines usually range between £80 and £130, and can be paid online, by post, by phone or in person. If you pay the fine within 14 days of issue, a 50% discount will be applied. 

How to avoid fines

We all aim to avoid getting fined, but how can we ensure it doesn’t happen?

Well, by checking nearby signs, lines and plates, you can usually gather an idea as to whether parking is permitted. If there are no road markings, check for controlled zone entry signs. 

If parking is permitted, make sure to park fully within the markings of the bay, with your permit or badge on clear display at all times. 

You should avoid parking on footways or in permit holder bays during restricted times, and beware that some parking restrictions still apply during Bank Holidays, weekends or in the evenings. 

Most importantly, do not make assumptions based on others’ behaviour. Just because someone else has parked there, does not mean that it is legal or safe to do so. If in doubt, ask a Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO). 

Alternative transport options

London is one of the most well-connected cities in the world with a host of public transport available. 

If parking is proving a real challenge, or you’re worried about the cost of parking, you may choose to explore public transport options. The most recognised, of course, is the London Underground.

The London Underground dates back to 1863, when the world’s first underground railway, the Metropolitan Railway, opened between Paddington and Farringdon. As of 2021, the network covers 270 stations. 

London is also home to the iconic double-decker red bus. London’s buses are a cheap, convenient way to travel around the city, costing just £1.50 per ride. 

If trains and buses aren’t your thing; you may opt for a black cab. London’s famous taxis can be booked in advance, hailed on the street, or picked up from designated taxi ranks. 

Where to find more information

To discover more about where to find parking in London, check out the official London visitor guide: Visit London

If you own a car park in London which requires a facelift, we can help. 

ICE Cleaning

Affordable, clean car parks should be a given – but, in many cases, options are limited, and those with available spaces are dingy and unclean. 

We’re on a mission to make car parks a safer place. 

Here at ICE Cleaning, we’re leading the way for car park cleaning in the UK. 

To find out more about our full range of services, give us a call on 0208 066 0360 or email us on [email protected]

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