It’s important to be aware of the fact that parking in the centre of London can be difficult. If you’re visiting London and plan to drive, plan ahead by researching the car parks available near your destination and pre-book a space wherever possible. You can also pre-pay the London Congestion Charge to make your journey quicker and easier.
Driving in crowded Central London streets is best attempted if you don’t want to use the underground – by the far the most popular commuting choice of Londoners – and you are okay navigating crowded roads at a slow speed. You have a choice of on-street and off-street parking, and hourly parking rates can be rather steep. Greater London Properties gives you a quick insight into the Best Places to Park in Central London.
Firstly – looking at properties to rent in Soho? Park your vehicle at Westminster City Council for £7.00 / hour. This would be off-street parking however the cheaper alternative is on-street parking. Here’s a quick look at both and other parking options.
The City of London is home to seven off-street car parks operated by the council. Prices vary across operators (ex: Brewer Street charges a higher hourly rate than Leicester Square) and at some, you can park for a maximum of six hours. All have a maximum stay of a couple of hours only.
London has Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs), which are areas reserved for residents who pay an annual fee to park their vehicles in front of their homes. Non-residents are allowed to park in CPZs, but seldom for four hours continuously on weekdays. Parking timings keep changing, although restriction-free parking is available in the evenings, usually between 6.30 pm and 8.30 am. All-day parking for free is available on Sunday. On Saturdays too, you may find free parking in some areas. Usually, noon and late evenings offer good opportunities to park for free at CPZs.
Private car parks
You could consider parking at one of the 100 off-street car parks operated by National Car Parks (NCP), the U.K’s largest parking provider offering 24×7 services. NCP offers discounted prices on weekend parking at Central London car parks on pre-booking. For less than £16 pounds, you can park your car safely for six hours.
One of the best places to park in Central London is at a tube station car parks and avoid the £11.50 daily congestion charge. Parking charges are under £10 on weekdays and cheaper on weekends and then you can easily jump a tube in a couple of stops from Zone 2 to 1.
Best Place to Park for London – Car Parks:
Around one hundred car parks in London are run by National Car Parks (NCP), including airport car parks. While you can simply arrive and pay at an NCP car park, you can save money and time by pre-booking and pre-paying for your space using the NCP app.
Sixteen car parks in Central London are operated by Q-Park. These include Park Lane, Trafalgar Square, Harley Street, Chinatown, Oxford Street, Leicester Square, Victoria, Knightsbridge, and Queensway. You can use the Parkopedia website to search for parking spaces at your destination when planning ahead.
You may park in some areas on London streets, however, bear in mind that this is not always the best option since parking restrictions will typically apply in most areas from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm from Monday to Saturday. Check the signs on each street for more information on the specific parking restrictions in place. If you are able to park, there are usually ‘Pay and Display’ schemes in place where you’ll need to purchase a ticket and display it on your windscreen. In some streets, you can use apps like Pay By Phone or Ringgo to purchase your tickets with your mobile phone after creating an account and registering your payment card.
Best Place to Park in London for Disabled Drivers:
If you hold a Blue Badge, parking in Central London is easier with a range of benefits for eligible disabled drivers. However, bear in mind that while the Blue Badge scheme operates throughout the UK, Central London is a little different with standard entitlements not always applicable. Blue Badge parking concessions do not apply in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the City of Westminster, the London Borough of Camden, and the Corporation of London. While there are some Blue Badge parking bays in these areas, it’s important to check parking restrictions before you drive if you are a Blue Badge holder. Elsewhere in London, standard entitlements will apply.
If you are a Blue Badge holder, you can also register at the Transport for London website to receive a 100% discount on the London Congestion Charge. Several car parks located in Central London offer designated parking pays for disabled drivers who hold a Blue Badge. These are charged at the standard tariff.
Parking Fines in London:
It’s important to research parking in London before your journey to avoid getting a parking fine. If your vehicle is parked in contravention of the traffic or parking restrictions, you will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). In some areas, being parked in contravention of restrictions might lead to your vehicle being clamped or towed. Parking penalties and fines will be administered by the London borough where the contravention occurs.
Parking fines in London are typically at least £80. If you are able to pay the fine within fourteen days of the date that it was issued, you will usually be able to take advantage of a 50% discount. You can pay London parking fines in a variety of ways including online, over the phone, in person, or by post. There will be more information on the different ways to pay on your PCN. You can also contact the relevant London borough for more information.
Other London Parking Options:
Aside from the standard car parks and street parking options, there are some other options for parking in London that you can consider. Those who are staying in the city for a longer period of time might find it useful to rent a private parking space. This is usually done through designated websites where homeowners and other private parking space owners will advertise their space for rent at a price set by them. This is often a cheaper alternative to parking long-term elsewhere, however, it is often difficult to find a parking space located in Central London using this option.
Parking Outside of Central London:
To save money, another option to consider is parking outside of Central London and using the public transport options to make your way into the city. You can find several NCP car parks and various street parking options on the outskirts of the city that are cheaper compared to central city parking. In addition, these parking options are often quieter compared to the city centre, reducing the risk of damage to your vehicle while it is parked. You can also avoid paying the London Congestion Charge by finding a car park outside of the zone.
Don’t forget, transport options into London are excellent and it’s often cheaper to leave the car at home and catch a train in. Most station car parks are relatively inexpensive for all-day parking, and if you can buy a cheap train ticket in advance, it will save you money overall.
Some things to consider :
- Be mindful of parking restrictions.
- The AppyParking app allows drivers to view every on-street and off-street parking space in London.
- The City of London has more than 200 designated disabled bays. However, the Blue Badge Scheme does not apply. Get the details here.
Hopefully this article provides you with some great ideas on the Best Places to Park in Central London. If you need any further information call Greater London Properties on 0207 734 4062 or 0207 113 1066 or visit our website.